Dear Sisters and Elders,
I thank you with all my heart for your sacrifice, hard work and faith! All 200 of you are serving the Lord with faith and love. Thank you.
There are two ways to live your life:
1. "Wishy Washy": Every time you are in a situation you think about what you will do--Will I be obedient today or not? Will I read my scriptures today or will I put it off? Will I go through the motions or will I put my heart into the work? Will I be honest or will I lie a little? Will I do my duty or will I be lazy? Will I pray or will I wait until another time? Will I turn off that bad video or will I watch it for a little while? Will I keep the law of chastity? Will I pay my tithing? Will I keep the commandments or will I slack off?
Living this way requires you to make thousands of decisions over and over again. Every day you have to decide if you will live according to your beliefs or if you will make an exception and choose the weak path.
2. "With Integrity": You decide once and for all, completely and entirely, that you will live your life according to what you believe. You will not ever need to decide again whether or not you will be honest, hard-working or faithful. You have already made that decision. All of your energy goes into living your life by the decision to live what you believe.
Some decisions only need to be made once.
There is great power in making strong decisions one time only.
One of the great joys of serving as a mission president is watching you come to the point when you reach your TURNING POINT...YOUR TIME OF DECISION...when you decide once, and for all time, to live with integrity.
I pray for the time when each of you comes to that turning point...the point of conversion...the point of integrity.
Integrity is living your life according to what you believe. No excuses, no rationalization, no procrastination.
This time came for DAVID when he faced the giant Goliath. He was a young man, experienced in taking care of sheep but completely inexperienced in battle. He good desires. He talked a good talk. But the time came that he needed to go out on the battlefield to face the giant.
What did he do? He picked up some stones and RAN toward Goliath. He completely committed himself. He accomplished the impossible.
BRIGHAM YOUNG was also a man who made the decision to serve the Lord. He studied about the church for two years and received a spiritual witness that it is true. After he made that decision, he never looked back. He was called to leave his family to serve a mission in England. When it was time for him to leave with his companions he was so sick that he couldn't stand up. His wife, with a newborn child, was also sick, as were his children. Determined to fulfill his promise to the Lord and go on a mission, Brigham crawled out of the house and staggered to a wagon. After a painful ride to the river's edge, and then across the river, he lay on the ground for a long time. A horseman came along and gave him a ride to the Kimball home where he found Heber also sick. The two men lay bed-ridden for a week or two, but finally determined that they had to be about the Lord's business. They got up, arranged for a wagon to take them out of town, and said good bye to their wives. (Brigham's wife, Mary Ann, had come across the river to help nurse him.)
Weakened by their illness, the two men climbed into the wagon and lay down. Brother Kimball said to Brigham, "let's not leave them this way." They staggered to their feet, waved their hats and shouted, "Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah for Zion!" and collapsed to the floor of the wagon.
During the next few months they worked their way to New York. Brigham traveled in rags. The only way he had to keep warm that winter was to have an old quilt tied around him with a rope.
By February 1840 they were determined to sail to England, but they had no money. Brigham appealed to the local Saints. "We have come this far without money,' he said. "Now we must get to England, and we can't swim the ocean." The members raised the money.
In March, they sailed for Liverpool, England. The month-long trip was miserable for Brigham; he was seasick most of the time and was unable to eat. He lost so much weight that his cousin Willard Richards, who met him at the dock in Liverpool, couldn't recognize him.
During the next year, Brigham and his colleagues did a great missionary work in Britain...and brought an estimated 8,000 people into the Church. (Liahona, June 1989)
Brigham made the decision to serve the Lord and never looked back. He lived with integrity.
There are many other examples: Joseph of Egypt, Abraham...and many of you.
I invite you to make the decision, the once-in-a-lifetime, rock solid decision that you will be a man or woman of God. That you will serve Him with all of your heart, might, mind and strength. This is not a "yes, that sounds like a good idea" decision. This is not a "yes, I'll do that today but tomorrow I might be tired" decision.
This is a decision to be like NEPHI:
"Blessed art thou, Nephi, for the things which thou hast don; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but has sought my will, to keep my commandments." (Helaman 10:4)
This is a decision to be like the LAMANITES converted by the sons of Mosiah:
"And as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren...were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away." (Alma 23:6)
"...the Lamanites who were converted unto the true faith; and they would not depart from it, for they were firm, and steadfast, and immovable, willing with all diligence to keep the commandments of the Lord." (3 Nephi )
This is a decision to be like MORONI:
"And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding...Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people.
Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion even to the loss of his blood.
Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of children of men." (Alma 48:11-13,17)
May the Lord bless you my dear friends, to make this decision and never look back.
Mahal ko po kayo,
President Creg Ostler