Sunday, April 9, 2017

2017-04-09 President's Message

Dear Sisters and Elders,

What a wonderful opportunity we have to have our "first taste" of the April 2017 General Conference of the Church! I say "first taste" because, in addition to the scriptures, these inspired talks need to be our "walk and talk" during the six months until the next conference. We need to study them repeatedly and gain all of the wisdom and spiritual nourishment we can.

1.  Our first priority as we listen to conference is always to focus first and foremost on the counsel and guidance of our living prophet.

What did he teach us?


"The importance of having a firm and sure testimony of the Book of Mormon cannot be overstated...What will protect us from the sin and evil so prevalent in the world today? I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His gospel will help see us through to safety. IF YOU ARE NOT READING THE BOOK OF MORMON EACH DAY, PLEASE DO SO...My dear associates in the work of the Lord I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven's help in our lives."

"...let us examine our lives and determine to follow the Savior's example by being kind, loving, and charitable. And as we do so, we will be in a better position to call down the powers of heaven for ourselves, for our families, and for our fellow travelers in this sometimes difficult journey back to our heavenly home."
"Kindness is the essence of a celestial life. Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others. Kindness should permeate all of our words and actions at work, at school, at church, and especially in our homes." (last quote from Joseph B. Wirthlin)

2.  Our next priority is to find the principles, doctrines and examples that resonate with us spiritually.

There were many wonderful and profound teachings in this conference but I want to highlight just one particular talk today. It was the talk of Elder S. Mark Palmer, a former mission president, entitled "Then Jesus Beholding Him Loved Him."  Elder Palmer shared his personal, spiritual experience with the story from the life of Christ as told in Mark chapter ten. The story tells of Christ talking to the rich young man, asking him to sacrifice his worldly possessions, and then it says, "Then Jesus beholding him loved him."

Elder Palmer's story of how he prayed for Christlike love for his missionaries and how he was filled with love for them struck a deep chord with me. I have likewise felt the Spirit of the Lord fill me with love for each of you. His Spirit has shown me the great goodness and potential in your souls. I have felt the deep, deep desire that I could somehow be a conduit for the Lord's love for you so that, through me, you could feel God's love for you.

I invite each of you to pray with all of your heart to be filled with love for those you teach as well as for your fellow missionaries.

Elder Palmer also shares these four things that he learned from the scripture:
"1. As we learn to see others as the Lord sees them rather than with our own eyes, our love for them will grow and so will our desire to help them.
2. No true teaching or learning will ever occur when done in frustration or anger, and hearts will not change where love is not present.
3. Love should never be withdrawn when an [investigator, member, companion], child, friend or family member fails to live up to our expectations.
4. Because He loves us, the Lord expects much of us. If we are humble, we will welcome the Lord's invitations to repent, to sacrifice, and to serve as evidence of His perfect love for us."

Dear Elders and Sisters, thank you for your faith, love and obedience to the Lord. Thank you for sacrificing to bring Heavenly Father's children back to Him. Let us decide now to follow the prophet by reading the Book of Mormon every day of our lives and by being kind, loving and charitable. Let us pray to be filled with love for those we serve.

May He bless you this week, and through the rest of your lives, as you serve Him with all of your heart, might, mind and strength.

Mahal ko po kayo,
President Creg D. Ostler