His Work Embraces Eternity

I was at the Saturday session of our Stake Conference this evening. Every talk was uplifting. Each speaker left a lasting impression. All the talks had one focus – the saving of souls. These are some of the thoughts that made an impression on me.

One of the first brethren to speak reminded us of the times in the scriptures when there was a need for haste – when Noah was getting things onto the ark, when Moses led the Israelites to the Red Sea, when Lehi and his family departed for the wilderness, when Joseph, Mary and Jesus fled Herod’s bloody campaign against the innocent, when the Pioneers fled their persecutors for Salt Lake. The need for haste is upon us again. The need for our Heavenly Father’s family to come to a knowledge of His plan for them.

If we love our Father in Heaven, we will share His interest in the souls of men. Salvation is in the balance.

And how do we share His interest in the souls of men?

Another speaker answered that for us with a quote from Alma 31:34-35

O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ. Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.

The time for inviting is over. It is now time to bring our less-actives and non-members to the Lord. We do this by being their friend. By being loyal and consistent in showing our love to them. By talking to them of eternal principles. By listening to and caring for them.

The wife of the Mission President shared her thoughts on how to prepare our children and grandchildren for missions. This had my attention because it’s one of my favorite things to learn about. She said there we many who can tell us about all the physical preparations that need to be made, like how many white shirts to buys, or what sorts of things to pack. There are so many spiritual things to be prepared well before the call arrives:

  1. Challenging them to read the Book of Mormon with a missionary perspective.
  2. Making the study of  Preach My Gospel a family experience.
  3. Getting a Returned Missionary to be a mentor.
  4. Being involved in experiences with sharing the gospel with others.
  5. Preparing to enter the temple worthily – it is a far more important thing to enter the temple worthily than it is to enter the Missionary Training Center.
  6. Helping them understand that growth requires change.
  7. Teaching them the value of exact obedience. Preparing them for the boundaries in the mission field so that they will be able to be a support to those who will struggle with keeping the commandments and missionary guidelines. Practice being exactly obedient from when they get their call.
  8. Be clean!

And finally, the last remarks were about temples and how they become the bridge between heaven and earth. We were reminded of the immense sacrifices made by the early saints to build these holy edifices, of the great love and urgency that the early saints had for temple ordinances. Then we were asked this question:

What did the early saints understand about the temple that we do not understand?

I have a great love for the temple. I love knowing that there is a welding link that holds generations together for eternity. But I realized tonight that there is so much more that I need to know and value about the temple to fully appreciate the value of having one so close to me.

I left the Stake Center with a renewed desire to prayerfully bring at least one soul unto the Lord in the next few weeks. I want to show my Heavenly Father that I love him by having an interest in His work, which is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

 

Question: How are you helping to hasten the work?

Challenge: Bring someone to church this week, or to the next activity in your auxiliary.

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Set Apart

I know it’s been a while since I last updated this blog, but my explanations would warrant an entire post of its own – for which I have no strength.

I have a few post that were meant to come in the past few weeks, but they’ll come as I take time to gather my thoughts and frame them well enough to unleash on the world. All those posts are on topics that are dear to me so I want to do them justice.

I wanted to do today’s post today because of the sweet spirit I felt as I attended the Setting Apart of a very close friend of mine as a Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Elder Matthew Snowden (or as we have known him up until this evening, Matt) is headed for the Iloilo, Phillipines Mission for two years. Matt is just one of those rare people that has a powerful, yet warm presence. He has left a lasting impression on me, even though I have only known him a relatively short period of time. He has the makings of a great missionary. He bore a powerful testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ in his Sacrament Meeting talk today and I have no doubt that once the people of Iloilo get to know him, they too will have no choice but to love him as wholeheartedly as I do!

As close friends and family gathered together in a little room, there was talk of how sorely he will be missed. Adored by boys and girls alike, Matt is nothing short of a superstar. When he walked in with the Stake President, we were told that there was a short delay as we were waiting on the Bishop to arrive with another member. Matt took this opportunity to go around the room and squeeze in a last hug from all his female friends. 🙂

The Stake President gave a wonderful talk about how life-changing a mission can be and that all of the returned-missionaries of his Stake, none have ever spoken of those mission years with any measure of regret. And that, to his knowledge, the adjustment to home after mission can be more difficult that the adjustment from home to mission because of the love and attachment you develop for people when you render selfless service to them for so long. You grow to love them with a different kind of love.

When they got to the ordaining part, I felt a great rush of love in the room as Matt asked all his friends that were Melchizedek Priesthood holders to participate. It was a beautiful, intimate and sacred moment as each laid one hand on that precious head, and another on the shoulder of the person standing next to them while the Stake President spoke wondrous words to set apart this remarkable young man to the work of the Lord, sending him out to ‘[thrust] in his sickle with his might’ (D&C 4:4).

set apart v. to dedicate or reserve for a specific use.

My friend, Elder Snowden, has been set apart for arguably the most exceptional work one can ever do – the rescue of souls for his Father in Heaven.

How do sacred ordinances help you feel closer to your Heavenly Father?