When super typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippines with the resultant loss of thousands of homes and lives many had cause to reflect on the tragedies we experience. The loss of employment, the death of a loved one or the missing out on a job opportunity; in their own way they are ‘typhoons’ that cause some pain and anguish.
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we understand that the precious gift inside the box is described best in John 3:16 in the New Testament, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The gift that was given to us by the Father is His Son.
“Rescue the One” is listed as one of the four “2013 Philippines Area Goals.” This goal has special meaning to me because of my personal background. I would like to share the story of my rescue as an example of how important it is for us to do everything we can to bring back to the fold those that have lost their way.
We spent a lot of our trip in roundabouts. In fact, we noticed that we could stay in a roundabout as long as we liked; there was no requirement to get out. So as we were trying to determine directions, we found ourselves stuck in roundabouts, going in circles.
When we hear the word feast, only one thing comes to our minds - food. When we feast upon something we don’t just nibble or take a bite, we partake of it freely and thoroughly enjoy the experience. It involves not only the sense of taste but involves other senses as well. When one feasts upon the words of Christ, the experience transcends from that of a physical and intellectual to one that is emotional and spiritual.
How very fortunate we are to have two temples in the Philippines and another announced for construction. To be so blessed is a mark of the growth of the Church in the Philippines, the Lord’s love for the people and of the faith of many members. The Lord is establishing His Church on these Islands and yet there is still much to do.
Because the “traditions of our fathers” can have such a powerful influence on future generations, we must develop traditions in our families, wards and branches that will help our children and grandchildren see the path that leads to eternal life and stay on that path.
God often tests His people. He wants to find out if we will put him first in our lives. Letting go of money and other material things in exchange for intangible spiritual or temporal promises is often difficult. It is a good test whether our loyalty is to God or to material things.
The Philippines Area 2013 Broadcast details the goals of the Philippines Area with messages from Elder Michael John U. Teh, Elder Brent H. Nielson and Elder Ian S. Ardern. The goals focus on daily scripture reading, strengthening families, saving the rising generation, establishing the church and rescuing the one.
Like the white sands of Boracay running through our fingers, unless we are very careful time will escape us and we will be left with so much to do. I encourage us to be sure that beginning this year we are all engaged in making better use of our time by doing the things that matter most.