Sunday, August 25, 2013

Go and Teach All Nations

Today in our sacrament meeting we had two young men that have been called by the Lord to serve missions for two years that spoke to us prior to leaving on their missions. One will be serving in Argentina and the other in Peru. I sat there thinking of these young men and how they have traveled their own pathways to faith and why they have chosen to accept the call to go on a mission for two years at their own expense. I remembered the commandment the resurrected Savior gave to his Apostles just before he ascended into heaven. It is found in several of the gospels in the New Testament. The one in Matthew says:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nationsbaptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. “ (Matthew 28:19-20)

This is a daunting commandment. Is it really possible to take the gospel message to all nations of the world? I answer that question with another question – If it were not possible would the Lord have given the commandment in the first place? I do not think he would ask us to do something that is not possible. The prophet Nephi in the Book of Mormon gives this testimony:

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. (I Nephi 3:7)

As members of the Lord’s Church we take this commandment to take the gospel to all the world very seriously. Every worthy young man knows it is his priesthood duty to give his time in helping fulfill this commandment, though not all choose to serve many do. Many young women and senior couples also make the choice to serve full-time missions and go wherever they are called.

I have watched the two young men who spoke in our ward meeting today since they were toddlers. I know their parents and have admired them as they taught their children the gospel and helped them develop their testimonies. Most young men and many young women have life long dreams of serving as full-time missionaries. Both of these missionaries talked about always having a desire to serve and now their opportunity to serve was here for them. They have been called and are about to go forth to serve. Our meeting house was packed full of their friends and family who came to hear their testimonies and message as they are now called to join the 75,000 plus missionary force that are currently serving throughout the world in 405 missions. As of 2011, the LDS Church had established congregations in 169 countries. The Book of Mormon has been translated into 109 languages and as of April 2011 there has been 150 million copies of the Book of Mormon published since it was first publish 181 years ago. The gospel has not quite made it to all the world but our work is not finished. The Prophet Joseph Smith made this statement about the growth of the church:

"The truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done." (History of the Church 4:540).

So we will go on until the Lord’s command has been fulfilled. Each week the best and brightest of our youth join the ranks and go forth to bring their message of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world and they do it with faith and courage.

The closing hymn in our meeting today was titled “Go Forth with Faith” and it says:

1. Go forth with faith to tell the world
Of Jesus Christ, the Lord.
Bear witness he is God's own Son;
Proclaim his wondrous word.
Go forth with hope and courage strong
To spread the word abroad
That people of all nations
Are children of our God.
2. Go forth with love to tell the world
The joy of families—
That we may be with those we love
Thru all eternity.
Go forth to serve and do your best
With no thought of reward;
Then you shall know the boundless joy
Of serving Christ, the Lord.
3. Go forth with pow'r to tell the world
The gospel is restored,
That all may gain eternal life
Thru Jesus Christ, the Lord.
Go forth to preach his glorious truths
Of peace, of joy, and love,
That all who heed his holy word
May praise the Lord above.
Text: Ruth M. Gardner, 1927-1999. © 1985 IRI
Music: Lyall J. Gardner, b. 1926. © 1985 IRI

Today our ward has added two great young men that will serve with all their hearts, might, mind and strength. They go out as young men, but they will return as servants of the Lord ready to take their place as future leaders of the church. I add my prayers along with their family and friends that they will be valiant in their testimony of Christ and they will return safely and with honor. They with the thousands of other missionaries will bear witness of the Savior Jesus Christ and the restoration of his gospel in these latter days. They will be able to say to those that they meet “silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I unto thee.” (Acts 3:6) and then they will reach down and lift them up to a better life in Christ Jesus.

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