Dear Sisters and Elders,
Sister Ostler and I extend a special welcome to the 34 new elders and sisters who joined the ranks of the best mission on earth this week! We love you. We pray for you. We are grateful for your faith and testimony.
We now have a great opportunity as a mission. We have the opportunity to work together to make a great mission even better. We have 100 companionships in our mission. We received 18 new missionaries in September and 34 new missionaries this week. That means that 52 companionships (over half of the mission) are in training right now. 52 companionships are doing the 12 week training program. These last two batches have included some of the strongest new missionaries you will ever meet. We have more missionaries who have been called to serve here. As I pray for them, I feel that they will also bring great strength.
You know that OBEDIENCE in your life brings blessings. Obedience is the first law of heaven. "When we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." (DC 130:21)
You also know that EXACT OBEDIENCE brings miracles.
But did you know that being EXACTLY OBEDIENT AND UNIFIED multiplies the miracles?
Elders and Sisters, I am inviting you to live our mission theme. I am inviting you to make the solemn promise and commitment to the Lord today that you will be obedient for the rest of your lives. I am inviting you to do this, not only individually, but as companionships, apartments, districts and zones.
"The time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This is a season to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth and the importance of our mission. It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow...We have work to do. Let us get at it with a new commitment, putting our trust in the Lord. We can do it, if we will be prayerful and faithful. We can do better than we have ever done before. We have nothing to fear. God is at the helm. He will overrule for the good of this work. He will shower down blessings on those who walk in obedience to His commandments. Unitedly, working hand in hand, we shall move forward as servants of the living God, doing the work of His beloved Son, our Master, whom we serve and whose name we seek to glorify." (Gordon B. Hinckley)
I promise that the Lord will pour out His blessings on your investigators and on you in an amazing, amazing way if you will be UNITED IN OBEDIENCE.
This is not a small thing. We are not in a high school class or playing some kind of game. We are not asked to be obedient so that we can earn "points" to go to heaven. There is no such thing. We are engaged in a very serious venture. We are on the front lines of the battle between good and evil, between light and dark, between hope and despair, between eternal life and eternal misery. You are, what they call in the military, "the tip of the spear." You are like the young Book of Mormon warriors who followed Helaman. These young warriors changed defeat into victory. They changed the history of their nation. You are called to change the history of the nation of the Philippines.
As you accept my invitation, it will be said and written of you, like it was said and written of them:
"Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them...
And as the remainder of our army were about to give way before the Lamanites, behold, those two thousand and sixty were firm and undaunted...
Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; ye, and even according to their faith it was done unto them...Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they to put their trust in God continually." (Alma 57 and 58)
They would have failed if only some of them had been faithful and obedient. It was in their unity...their unity of faith and obedience...that allowed God to use them to do miracles.
Do you want to change the world? Do you want to change the investigators, recent converts and less actives you work with? Do you want to become the woman of God or man of God that you have always wished to become? Do it now. Commit to the Lord. Commit to each other. Put away childish things. Put away distractions. Repent of any past sins. I invite you to do this. The Lord invites you to do this.
As you do, you will fulfill the prophecy of John in the book of Revelation:
"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, and which no man could number, and all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb (Christ), clothed with white robes, and p;alms in their hands...
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?...These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple... They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." (Revelation 7)
You are here in the Philippines Manila Mission to bring souls to God. At some future day "How great shall be your joy with [them] in the kingdom of my Father!" (DC 18)
Sisters and Elders, now is the time. This is the place. You have been called by God to do this.
May He bless you with the courage and faith you need to take your place in the army of the Lord.
Mahal ko po kayo,
President Creg Ostler