…VAN EEN VERNUFTIGE MAKELIJ…
(1 Nephi 18:1)
In October conference, President Monson announced the historic change to lower the age for missionary applications. The Lord was not just doing a favor for the 18 year and 19 year old members of the church. According to Elder Russell M. Nelson, the Lord is hastening his work. The Lord’s instructions to Joseph Smith were as follows regarding the work of gathering:
73 Behold, I will hasten my work in its time.
74 And I give unto you, who are the first laborers in this last kingdom, a commandment that you assemble yourselves together, and organize yourselves, and prepare yourselves, and sanctify yourselves; yea, purify your hearts, and cleanse your hands and your feet before me, that I may make you clean; (DC88:73-74)
We are fortunate to not only be witnessing but also boots-on-the-ground-involved with the gathering when this hastening begins to take place. We have come on a Mission to grow the church. We are to: “… teach all nations, baptizing them … in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost…teaching them to observe all things … and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world… (Matt 28:19-20). As we do this we have also been given the requirement to organize, prepare and sanctify ourselves, purify our hearts and cleanse our hands and feet. The Lord’s promise, “that I may make you clean”, in my opinion, is comforting that we need only to do our best since only he can make us clean.
Consider the following passages, that refer to the gathering, for the expectations of us as we are doing this important work:
64 That the work of the gathering together of my saints may continue, that I may build them up unto my name upon holy places; for the time of harvest is come, and my word must needs be fulfilled.
65 Therefore, I must gather together my people, according to the parable of the wheat and the tares, that the wheat may be secured in the garners to possess eternal life, and be crowned with celestial glory, when I shall come in the kingdom of my Father to reward every man according as his work shall be; (DC 101:64-65)
4 But behold, in the last days, even now while the Lord is beginning to bring forth the word, and the blade is springing up and is yet tender—
7 Therefore, let the wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest is fully ripe; then ye shall first gather out the wheat from among the tares, and after the gathering of the wheat, behold and lo, the tares are bound in bundles, and the field remaineth to be burned.
11 Therefore, blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness, a light unto the Gentiles, and through this priesthood, a savior unto my people Israel. The Lord hath said it. (DC86:4,7,11)
5 Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted.
6 Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea, neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place, that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them.
7 But behold, they are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, and they are his; and he will raise them up at the last day. (Alma 26:5-7)
“Holy places” and “garners” (or grainerys) are code words for temples. He says he, “must” gather his people according to the parable of the wheat and the tares. Why, so that the wheat may be secured in the grainerys where protection is provided. Through the priesthood, we become a savior unto his people. How, through saving ordinances administered by priesthood holders. It is clear that our efforts to baptize and retain should be focused on getting families and people to the temple.
This is a time when we must teach clearly, testify convincingly and motivate all with whom we come in contact to make our invitation part of their lives. President Teixeira says, “We have never seen a time like this. The church is growing in Europe.” New stakes are being formed all over the Europe Area.
I am a practical guy. We have a practical plan to accelerate our success. The Lord said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…(Proverbs 29:18). Baptisms are increasing. We have emphasized in Zone Conference and will be focusing in Zone Trainings and District Trainings simple, doable and effective methods to improve success. Do your best to follow the principles outlined so each companionship will experience more baptism success.
The Savior said:
36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest. (Matt. 9:36-38)
We are here in Belgium and Holland witnessing the sending forth of laborers into the harvest. It is a great time to serve and to witness the historic hastening and if you reap with your might, behold the number of your sheaves. It is truly a time we will harvest abundantly as prophesied.