Thursday, May 18, 2017

2016-05-21 President's Message - Get Back Up

Dear Elders and Sisters,

We love you so very much! Thank you for serving the Lord. Thank you for loving and helping others to come to Christ. Thank you for praying and studying and talking to everyone about the gospel. You are wonderful!

A wise man once shared his secret to success: "I GET UP WHEN I FALL DOWN."

"Perseverance" (tiyaga in Tagalog) is:  Continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure or opposition. Not giving up. Persistence. Tenacity. The effort required to do something, and keep doing it till the end, even if it's hard.  Elder James E. Faust said: "Success is usually earned by persevering and not becoming discouraged when we encounter challenges...perseverance is demonstrated by those who keep going when the going gets tough, who don't give up even when others say, "It can't be done." (April 2005 General Conference)
In Preach My Gospel page 121 we are admonished to: "Continue until you have done all you can, even when you are tired..."

Think of the great heroes who have persisted and persevered even when things were difficult:
Nephi could have easily given up on his assignment to obtain the sacred records from Jerusalem. After Laman was accused of being a robber and threatened with death his brothers wanted to give up and return to their father in the wilderness. Instead, Nephi expressed his faith and his willingness to persevere: '"As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us. Wherefore, LET US BE FAITHFUL!"  The next effort failed as well. Nephi's response: "Let us go up again unto Jerusalem, and LET US BE FAITHFUL in keeping the commandments of the Lord. "  Nephi was willing to try, try, try and try until he was successful. He did not know the words "Can't" or "Discouraged" or "Let's take it easy." He was a man who always said: "I will go and do..." (1 Nephi 3, 4)

Samuel the Lamanite prophet was kicked out of the Land of Zarahemla and was about to return to his own land. But the Lord told him to return and keep trying. What did he do? Did he become shy and discouraged because he had been rejected? No! He climbed up on the city wall and boldly taught the people the word of God. The people threw stones and shot arrows at him but "the Spirit of the Lord was with him" and he was not hurt. Many people joined the Church because of his perseverance and courage. (Helaman 16)

Remember President Uchtdorf's talk about the "Fourth Floor, Last Door?" He thanked the missionaries who did not give up, but knocked on every door on every floor of the building until they found his future wife's family and taught the the gospel.  In your life, and on your mission, the key to success is GET UP WHEN YOU FALL DOWN. PERSEVERE. NEVER GIVE UP.

There is a scientific principle called "Escape Velocity." This is the speed that a rocket needs to travel in order to exit the gravitational pull of the earth and fly out into space. To leave the earth, a rocket needs to travel at least 40,000 kilometers per hour (25,000 mph). If a rocket is traveling at 39,000 kmh...even though may be a great rocket, very well designed, perfectly will crash back down to the earth. It needs to gain speed until it goes 40,000 kmh before it can be successful.
Are you a person who tries very hard for a short time but gives up easily? Are you someone who tries very hard for a long time and then gives up just before success? Or are you someone who will keep going, not matter how hard it is, no matter how much rejection you face, no matter how much your feet hurt? Are you a rocket that will come crashing back to the earth or will you achieve "escape velocity?"

There is another, more simple scientific principle. It is that, at sea level, water boils at 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit). If you go to all the work to heat up water to 99 degrees and then give up and turn off the burner, you will never boil the water! Are you someone who works hard and gets the water to 85, 90, 95 or even 99 degrees and then you give up because it is too hard to bring it to boiling?  Many of the most wonderful miracles in your mission (and in your life) will happen when you go the extra distance, when you give the extra effort.

How should you react when your favorite investigator tells you to never come back?  How should you react when your family sends you difficult news?  A successful person will GET BACK UP, PERSEVERE AND EXERCISE MORE FAITH.  Will hard times discourage you or will they motivate you to try harder and work with more faith?  There are so many wonderful people who have been baptized because a missionary refused to become discouraged and kept working up to the last street, the last door or the last minute of the day.  What blessings does the Lord have waiting for you if you will just keep going?  "For all the sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: 'It might have been.'" (John GreenleafWhittier)

Sisters and Elders, I testify to you that most of my personal success as a missionary, most of my business success, most of my family success and most of the spiritual experiences in my life have come at the end of a long effort when I could easily have given up or slacked off.  Never let it be said of you: "She could have been really great." Or "He almost achieved his potential."  Let it be said of you, as the Lord said to later Nephi: "Blessed are thou Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but has sought my will, and to keep my commandments And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works..." (Helaman 10:4-5)

May the Lord bless you my friends and fellow-servants, with the faith and strength to persevere...and receive the blessings He has waiting for you.

Mahal ko po kayo,
President Creg Ostler