Friday, June 16, 2017

2017-06-18 President's Message

Dear Sisters and Elders,
You are amazing blessings in my life. I thank the Lord for every minute I get to spend with you! I thank the Lord that He sent you and me here to serve Him together. Thank you for being such devoted, faithful servants of the Lord. Thank you for your support and friendship.
There is a great truth that many people never learn. It is the truth that HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE. HAPPINESS IS NOT JUST SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS TO YOU.
So many people say "I will be happy when...
my investigators keep their commitments
when it stops raining
when the weather is not so hot
when I go home from my mission
when I am a leader
when I have a different companion
when my companion changes his behavior
when I get married
when I finish school
when I have a baby
when I have a job
when my spouse improves
when my children grow up and leave home
when I have a lot of money."
Many, many people wait their whole lives for happiness to come to them. They are the "victim of circumstance."
But real happiness does not come from possessing things, or from things that other people do, or from the passing of time.
Happiness is a choice! It is YOUR choice!
What are the sources of true happiness? All of them come from Heavenly Father.
HOPE: "And what is it that ye shall hope for? ...Ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal." (Moroni 7:41)
LOVE OF GOD: "And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people....and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the had of God." (4 Nephi 1:15-16)
" are that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25)
BRINGING OTHERS TO THE LORD: "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" (DC 18:15)
FAITHFUL SERVICE TO THE LORD, EVEN WHEN IT IS HARD...ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS HARD: "And it came to pass that while he [Alma] was journeying thither, being weighed down with sorrow, wading through much tribulation and anguish of soul, because of the wickedness of the came to pass while Alma was thus weighed down with sorrow, behold an angel of the Lord appeared unto him, saying: Blessed art thou Alma, therefore, LIFT UP THY HEAD AND REJOICE; for thou hast been faithful in keeping the commandments of God..." (Alma 8:14-15)
In the scriptures, there are 10 places where the Lord says: "Be of good cheer." It is interesting that the first 8 references all refer to the love of God or the Atonement. The remaining 2 refer to the joy of sharing the gospel. NONE OF THEM refer to being happy because circumstances are easy, or someone else makes changes. ALL OF THEM refer to the love of God and the joy of bringing others to Him.
"...In the world he shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
" of good cheer, little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you." (DC 61:36)
"Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you..." (DC 68:6)
"And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours." (DC 78:18)
"...Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee." (Matthew 9:2)
[When Jesus appeared to the disciples at night, walking on the water} " of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid." (Matthew 14:27 and Mark 6:50)
"...behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying: Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world..." (3 Nephi 1:13)
"And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome." (Acts 23:11)
"Let thy heart be of good cheer before my face; and thou shalt bear record of my name...unto the ends of the earth." (DC 112:4)
Do you want to be happy? Do you want to "be of good cheer?"
If you do, then use the agency which God has given you. Follow the two Great Commandments:
1-"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind."
This means that we love God so much that we keep all of his commandments, we honor our covenants and our whole souls are full of gratitude for the great plan of happiness that comes to us through the Atonement of Christ. This means that we notice, and enjoy and feel a deep gratitude for the blessings He has given us, including the beauty of small things and the value of each soul.
2-"And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Matthew 22:37,39)
This means that we serve our fellow men with great love and devotion. We put our own selfish wants and desires aside and we truly consecrate our time, talents and heart to the service of the Lord and our fellow men.
I have now had the privilege of serving with more than 500 missionaries in this mission. The happiest most joyful missionaries are those who live these two commandments. I recently met with a missionary who has made a big change in his life. He has begun to serve with great obedience and great diligence. His countenance is now different...there is peace and strength and confidence and hope in his eyes. He is physically different...he looks like a man of God and not just a boy trying to serve a mission. His investigators and members in his ward have noticed something different. He is receiving more referrals. People are keeping their commitments more often. But most of all, he is truly happy for the first time in his mission...and the first time in his life.
I invite you to choose happiness. Choosing happiness does not mean that "Today I will choose to be happy." It means that "Today I will DO the things that bring true happiness."
Joseph Smith taught: "Happiness is the object and design of our existence, and will be the end thereof if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness and keeping all the commandments of God." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 255-256)
May the Lord bless you my dear fellow-servants, that you will DO the things that lead to true happiness.
Mahal ko po kayo,
President Creg Ostler