On Saturday, March 22, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Bradley D. Foster of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, accompanied by Bishop Dean M. Davies of the Presiding Bishopric and Elder Walter C. Selden of the Sixth Quorum of the Seventy visited the Toronto area. Early that morning, they also conducted a mission conference for the Canada Toronto Mission. A priesthood leadership conference for stake leaders stakes followed. Later that evening, Elder Bednar and Elder Selden attended a Young Single Adult devotional while Elder Foster and Bishop Davies met with the area’s young men and women.
“Our leadership training with general authorities included eight stakes and one district,” explained President Brent Scott, mission president of the Canada Toronto Mission. “We had a mission conference, the leadership conference, a Toronto Stake conference with Elder Foster, and a Hamilton Stake conference with Bishop Davies. Elder Bednar conducted the Oshawa Stake conference with our area seventy, Elder David P. Homer.”
All 293 missionaries were in attendance for the mission conference. It was the first time that they had been together because many are in many remote areas. “We found ways to get them all here”, says President Scott. “We felt it was important to bring them in for such an important occasion.”
Elder Bednar spoke of conversion and testimony. He explained that missionaries need to be acting in faith. He taught that faith is a principle of action and power. It is not enough to just pray; we gain power as we pray and go to work. This concept was very enlightening to the missionaries.
In the Sunday Toronto conference, Elder Foster taught members to use parables as they teach their children and grandchildren. He said that using stories children can relate to will aid in learning and faith. President Scott spoke about the healing influence of the Saviour and of His Atonement in our lives.
A Young Single Adult member, André Zanoncello from the Toronto Ontario Stake recalls the emphasis Elder Foster placed on missionary service. “He explained that the most important missionary work we will do will be within our own families. Satan wants our children to be lost. Teaching correct principles in our home is one of the most important things we can do in being a missionary.”
“I loved his teaching that it’s never too early and never too late to make a change and to turn around,” André recalls. “It’s never too early and never too late to pick up scriptures, to pray or to turn to Heavenly Father.” With Elder Foster’s council, I feel I need to focus on my scriptures. I’ve been more relaxed and occasional with my scripture reading. I can change that - do better at scripture study and make it a priority. His wife, Sister Foster, mentioned that ‘a small rudder makes a big difference in steering a ship.’ So a small thing like reading my scriptures can make big difference in my life.”
Bishop Paul Beasley of the Peterborough Ward attended the Oshawa Stake Conference where Elder Bednar conducted with Elder Sheldon. The meeting was broadcast to four other chapels in the stake.
“Elder Bednar’s address was a masterful address of the prophet Joseph, of his witness of Joseph’s divine mission and his work,” said Bishop Beasley. “He shared a lot of experiences and stories about faith and showed how the Lord’s hand was involved in making it all work, such as the official acceptance of the Church in Slovakia. He talked about priesthood, it’s role in the Church and the way the Lord’s hand is in this work. He told us that we need to be servants and to be receptive and be in the right places at the right times to be tools in His hands.”
At the conclusion of the meeting Elder Bednar testified of his apostolic witness of the Saviour, then said, “I invoke this blessing upon you that as you live the simplest truths and ordinances of the gospel that you know, you will receive the blessings and the strength and power from on high to meet all that you will face.’”
“The message that I walked away with was ‘If you want to be able to withstand the tough times that are ahead, you just need to live the simple truths of the gospel,’” said Bishop Beasley.
Fourteen-year-old Tessa Checketts attended the Hamilton Stake conference. There Bishop Dean M. Davies, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, gave counsel that impressed her. Last week Tessa had received her patriarchal blessing from her grandfather, so when Bishop Davies spoke of how his patriarchal blessing helped him, she took notice. Bishop Davies said that his blessing helped him to be alert to opportunities in his life. Tessa appreciates knowing that she should look for the opportunities mentioned in her blessing and not miss them when they come. She said, “Bishop Davies said that will help me, so I can keep my testimony growing.”