Dear Elders and Sisters,
It has been a great blessing to be able to see you and spend time with you twice in the last two weeks. As I see the thirst that you have to learn and improve it increases my confidence that we can accomplish what the Lord has sent us here to do. As I witness the love that you have for each other, it reminds me that this is a work that must be done with love as the foundation for all that we do. We should follow the example of Enos. We must first learn to love ourselves, then our companion, and finally everyone else. We show our love by sharing with them the most precious thing that we possess, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. As you go forth each day, like the apostles of old, you can say, “silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, give I thee” (Acts 3:6).
We are not here to just “put in our time.” We are here to love others and serve the Lord. In order to do so, we must be willing to change, grow and improve. As we personally change, grow and improve we are then in a position to teach others from our own experience and show them how to do it. That is very different from teaching others to do what we have read in a book or been taught by someone else. Our personal growth and improvement are an essential element of this great work of salvation in which we are engaged. Our teaching will have greater power and influence when it includes our deepest personal convictions. As we work and give of ourselves in this way, we are truly following in the footsteps of the Master.
In order to experience the greatest joy in this process of change, growth and improvement, we must go about our labors with a willing attitude. Last week a missionary wrote to me, “I've learned that patience, love, and having a good attitude and just remembering what I'm out here for, who I am, and the blessings of the gospel truly bring peace to ones soul regardless of whatever afflictions or trials we might be facing. Regardless of what kind of world we live in or who’s around us, we ultimately decide our fate. If we go out and do the work and live the way the Lord wants us to work and live, then we go out and receive the blessings the Lord wants us to receive, bringing fruit unto the Master, and partaking of fruit unto life everlasting.”
I have always found inspiration and comfort in this simple statement from the Lord to Joseph Smith, “Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days” (D&C 64: 34). As you whole heartedly strive to be obedient and willingly submit to the Lord in changing, growing, and improving, you will find the greatest happiness that you have ever experienced as you truly become a disciple of Christ. You will know the joy that can only come from emulating the Master and being in His service.