Monday, September 7, 2015

9-7-15 President's Weekly Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters,

In June of this year, Elder Russell M. Nelson, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke to the newly called mission presidents and their wives.  He reminded them that although the work of salvation is hastening, and some of the methods for doing the work have changed, God’s underlying goals have not changed. His work and his glory are always to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children. As a kind, merciful and loving Father, his greatest desire is the safe return of all of His children. He has given us His gospel and His church to bless all who will listen and obey.

For this brief and very unique period of our lives, we are privileged to act as His representatives, to preach His gospel and assist our fellowmen to come unto Him and qualify for His greatest gift – even eternal life. Elder Nelson reminded us of an “amazing concept” taught by the Apostle Paul:

He declared that each agent, each disciple, yes, each missionary, can become a living "epistle of Christ…, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God… [embedded] in the fleshy tables of the heart" (2Cor. 3:3).

The Lord foresaw our day when He said through His prophet, "I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people" (Jer. 31:33). More than anything else we want our missionaries to receive that blessing, to have the doctrine of Christ engraved in their hearts – rooted deeply in the marrow of their bones. Through these mighty missionaries, more and more people will come to a knowledge of the Lord and be baptized.

When we have internalized God’s laws and commandments by making covenants with Him – when those laws, commandments, and covenants are written in our hearts – we, like the people of King Benjamin, will, "have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually" (Mosiah 5:2).  

Keeping our covenants will bless and protect us and give us strength, just as the faith of the stripling warriors in what their mothers had taught them brought them power and protection. Elder Nelson continues:

Missionaries who strive for the Lord’s law to be inscribed on their hearts literally become – by their action, example and ministry – "[epistles] of Christ" to be "known and read of all men" (2Cor. 3:2-3).  Because the gospel of Christ is written indelibly upon their hearts, they become true messengers and eloquent examples of the Lord.

When you become one of these true disciples of Christ, I can see it in your countenance, read it in your emails and perceive it in your work. And it makes me want to shout for joy! My greatest desire for each of you, is that prior to your return home, you will have the new and everlasting covenant written in the fleshy tables of your heart. I testify that through making and keeping covenants, and the power of the Atonement of Christ that enables us to overcome our weaknesses (Ether 12:27), each of us is capable of personally become a living “epistle of Christ,” regardless of our personal challenges or shortcomings.

President Blickenstaff

Mentor of Epistles of the Lord

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