How Great Shall Be Your Joy with Him
    Footnotes

    Area Leadership Message

    How Great Shall Be Your Joy with Him

    Our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, have an infinite love for each one of us. Jesus Christ taught us the following:

    “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

    “How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

    “And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

    “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:11–14).

    The ordination of the holy calling of a Seventy includes the sacred duty revealed by the Lord: “The Seventy are to act in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Twelve or the traveling high council, in building up the church and regulating all the affairs of the same in all nations, first unto the Gentiles and then to the Jews” (D&C 107:34).

    I recently traveled to the island of Manihi for a district conference with a mission counselor, President Nauta. As we met and discussed with the branch president, we felt the deep distress he was going through due to some disunity in the branch.

    “I am almost at the bottom of despair . . . my father and all of my brothers and sisters are not coming to church anymore since I have been called as the branch president,” he expressed.

    We felt impressed to give him a priesthood blessing before we biked to his home. As we met his wife, we assured them they were not alone in their struggles and that our Saviour is near them.

    It was obvious that we had a lot of rescue visits to perform and to meet and to bless the people.

    The words of the Lord resounded in our minds: “Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5).

    That Friday afternoon we formed two groups, and I visited a family who lived just a few metres away from the chapel. He had been sealed to his family and had three beautiful children, one of which was born in the covenant, but they all fell into inactivity for a number of years now. We taught them of the love of our Heavenly Father and testified of the power of the Atonement in their life if they put their faith in our Saviour Jesus Christ and forsook their wrongdoings. We expressed our love for them and gave them a priesthood blessing and invited them to come unto the Saviour and to attend the conference sessions. “Yes, we will,” they both expressed.

    The next day we continued to visit a few families, and amongst them was John, the brother of the branch president, and his family. They had not been to church for quite a number of years. He has seven children and more than 10 grandchildren: a total of 20 in his family alone. We expressed our love for them and the love of our Heavenly Father for them and quoted the following:

    “Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?

    “Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.

    “Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are” (3 Nephi 9:13–15).

    We testified of our Father in Heaven and our Saviour’s love for them and asked them, “Will you come unto our Saviour by preparing yourselves and your family to go to the temple?”

    “Yes, we will,” they responded.

    We asked if they would attend the conference sessions.

    “Yes, we will,” they smiled.

    On the Sunday session, there were 135 who attended, twice as many as on a normal Sunday. Several families came back, and John bore his testimony and he was sustained as the branch clerk at the conference. What a wonderful joy to see the sons of God return home and serve our Saviour. The branch president was overwhelmed and felt peace and joy as miracles were performed before his eyes.

    I testify that our Lord Jesus Christ will attend to all priesthood holders around the world and bring the lost sheep back into the fold. I testify He will bring peace and joy as we invite Him into our life, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.