Friend to Friend: Remembering Promises


Jay E. Jensen
Remember also the promises which were made to you (D&C 3:5).

When I was serving as mission president in Colombia, I left on a Thursday morning to fly to a city in our mission. I spent the day interviewing, and as I spoke with the missionaries, a number of concerns began to worry me.

After a zone conference with the missionaries, I conducted a district conference with Church leaders and members on Saturday and Sunday. There were challenges in this area: low Church attendance, poor preparation, and other concerns. The experiences that I had over these four days left me feeling low.

On the flight home, I used the time to read, ponder, and pray. I took my scriptures in hand and thumbed through the pages, reading here and there. Soon I came to some verses in Doctrine and Covenants section 3 that will never be the same to me: “The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught” (v. 1).

I thought about these words. I realized that on my trip I had come to the wrong conclusion that the purposes, designs, and works of God were being “frustrated” in that city.

I continued on: “For God doth not walk in crooked paths” (v. 2). Some of the missionaries and members seemed to be walking in crooked paths.

In verse 5 I found a treasure—one of the most wonderful insights I have ever found in the scriptures: “Behold, you have been entrusted with these things.”

I paused to reflect upon the things entrusted to me: my wife and six children, 100 missionaries, 6,000 members, 13–14 million nonmembers, a mission, districts, branches, budgets, buildings, and so forth.

Then I came to the phrase “remember also the promises” (v. 5). What power, what insight, what comfort, what depth of feeling and meaning! Four words from scripture had never affected me as those four did that day.

I realized that for four days I had focused on nothing but problems. Not once had I stopped to remember the great promises given to me. I asked myself, “What promises?” The first ones that came to my mind were those in my patriarchal blessing. I had it with me on the plane, and I read it over. My, what promises! I then pondered on the special promises given to me when I was set apart as mission president. I thought about the promises of the temple and promises from the scriptures. My spirit soared! I was inspired!

As I look back on that flight home, I realize I was taught from on high. From that day until today, my life has been different, all because of four simple words: “remember also the promises.”

[photos] Photographs courtesy of the Jensen family

[photo] Age 12

[photo] Age 10 (right) with his brothers Marvin (left) and Richard (center)

[photo] Age 19, before his mission

[photo] Elder and Sister Jensen (center) with their children and grandchildren

[illustration] Background © Photospin

[illustration] Illustration by Robert A. McKay