A wonderful branch conference today in Xinying!
The branch president chose Joshua 1:9 as the theme: Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. He spoke of the children of Israel, how their faith was insufficient for the Lord to deliver them, hence Moses had to lead them in the wilderness for 40 years. The prophet Elisha, however, had such great faith that when surrounded by the horses and chariots of the king of Syria, he feared not. Instead, Elisha prayed that the eyes of his servant would be opened to see that Elisha was encircled about by a mountain full of the Lord's horses and chariots of fire. The Lord promises us He will be with us if we have faith in Him.
A member of the district presidency then spoke of those 40 years in the wilderness as a time of preparation for the children of Israel to enter into the promised land, and likened that unto our own conversion process. He reminded us of their preservation in the wilderness, and how neither their clothes nor shoes waxed old and they neither ate bread nor drank wine, but were provided manna from heaven. As long as we keep the commandments, the Lord will sustain us.
President likened the journey in the wilderness to a mission, where missionaries quickly learn that missionary work is not always easy. However, as they study each day, overcome their weaknesses, and exercise faith and repentance, they go forth with faith in the strength of the Lord!
Surprise visit from a returned missionary!
President, giving him a hard time about his hair, asks for a show of hands if you prefer short hair over long!
You get to guess why he's grown his hair out:
1) He's currently living in Alaska and his neck keeps getting chaffed by the wind.
2) He made a truce with his best friend not to get a haircut for a year.
3) He's getting ready for the Nauvoo pageant this year!
Ward council members gather for lunch: