This past fall our family gathered in our home together with friends and relatives for a special and long awaited event. There was an atmosphere of excitement, anticipation, love, and a bit of nervousness as our eldest son prepared to open an envelope that had arrived for him from Church headquarters. In this letter our son received his call to serve as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his assignment to labor in the Thailand Bangkok Mission.
Find His Sheep
I am very thankful for the Lord’s instruction for his disciples to “go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”(Mark 16:15).
Missionary work holds a special place in my heart because it was through the dedicated efforts of young full-time missionaries and faithful fellowshipping by members, that my parents were baptized over 40 years ago. I am so grateful for the comfort, guidance, protection and eternal blessings that the gospel has provided my family through membership in the restored Church of Jesus Christ.
The story of my parent’s conversion is a testimony to me of our Heavenly Father’s love and concern for each of us. It was certainly no coincidence that the missionaries knocked on their door at a time in their lives that they were prepared to accept the gospel. Having a young family, they had been approached with offers to attend various churches and were looking for the right one. The spirit that they felt whenever the missionaries were in their home and the love of caring members touched their hearts and souls. These types of support ultimately brought them into the fold of the Savior.
As we reach the end of the Gospels of the New Testament in the readings for the week of June 24-30 in Come Follow Me - For Families and Individuals, I am reminded again of how love has been a recurring theme in our study of Christ’s life. The Savior’s teachings range from the doctrine of loving God with all our heart, soul and mind, and loving our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40), to performing the ultimate sacrifice for his friends (John 15:13), and providing us with the miraculous gifts of the Resurrection and Atonement (Luke 24:46-47).
The topic that stood out to me in particular this week was the exchange between Peter and the resurrected Savior in John 21:15-17. I have taken time to reflect on what my response would be if I were asked by the Lord, “Lovest thou me?” and what I can do in my life to better demonstrate my love for Him.
Feed His Sheep
Our son’s preparation to leave on his mission and the sharing of his missionary experiences have truly blessed and inspired my family.
During this time period, my mind has often turned to memories of my own missionary service as a young man in the French West Indies. It was there that my love for our Heavenly Father and His Son increased as I developed a love for the gospel, the work, and the people.
But what about now? How can I better minister to the Lord’s sheep? I am grateful for the teachings that so many of our Church leaders have given us on this subject.
Sister Jean B. Bingham, general president of the Relief Society, shared the following reminder: “Sometimes we think we have to do something grand and heroic to ‘count’ as serving our neighbors. Yet simple acts of service can have profound effects on others—as well as ourselves” (“Ministering as the Savior Does,” Ensign. May 2018).
Throughout the accounts in the four Gospels, the Savior shows us by example how to serve and minister to those around us. We are also blessed with the gift of the Spirit to help guide and direct us in our efforts.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles lists some ways in which we can show our loyalty and love: “We have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord” (“The First Great Commandment,” Ensign, Nov. 2012).
Be His Sheep
As I accept the Savior's invitation to feed his sheep, I realize that I myself am also in need of nourishment and care while journeying along life’s path. There have been times in my life when I have had the opportunity to play the role of shepherd, and others do, when I have required and been blessed to receive the ministering of others.
I am comforted by the promise of Elder Quentin L. Cook “that as we focus on our love for the Savior and His Atonement, make Him the centerpiece of our efforts to gather Israel on both sides of the veil, minister to others, and individually prepare to meet God, the influence of the adversary will be diminished and the joy, delight, and peace of the gospel will magnify our homes with Christ-like love” (“Great Love for Our Father’s Children,” Ensign, May 2019, 43).
I do love the Lord. His gospel brings me great joy and gives me hope—hope that we might all faithfully continue along the path of discipleship in finding, feeding, and becoming His sheep. We do this so that when He returns and gathers all nations before him, we may be set on his right hand and hear him say, “Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).