Monday, December 14, 2015

Mission Newsletter

Engrave His Image Upon Your Countenance
Ukraine Kyiv Mission
14 December 2015
Quote: I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?” Alma 5: 19
Dear Elders and Sisters
I, like many, have been studying the Savior’s birth and life during this season. I am so grateful to a loving Heavenly Father who prepared such a perfect plan for His children, one that preserves our freedom of choice and allows us to grow and become like Him by providing a Savior. Why did the Savior come in the meridian of time and not in the beginning? I remember this question was posed by the wife of a young family who missionaries were teaching. The husband, who didn’t seem very interested throughout the lesson, thought for a minute during the silence as the missionaries scrambled to think of an answer, and said, “I bet it is so that there were prophets that could testify about his coming.” I am sure that there are many other reasons than just this one, but this simple answer is powerful. All true prophets from throughout history have prophesied and testified of the coming and the mission of the Savior. People, before his birth, exercised immense faith and held out hope that a Savior would be born and would finish the atonement. Prophets foretold of signs and wonders that would be given at the time of His birth.
Many people, despite the signs, would still not believe. He came to His own and they rejected Him. These people were looking for deliverance from a King and did not seek Him in the humble circumstances in which He was born. The King of kings had a manger as His first bed. The greatest of all was born in a stable not a palace. These humble beginnings did not keep Jesus from accomplishing His divine destiny, but helped to facilitate it. He did something great despite the humble circumstances of His birth and life. This humble beginning is one of first lessons of the Savior’s earthly ministry. These circumstances and the events leading up to and after were carefully chosen and carried out by a Loving, All-knowing Heavenly Father. Once on earth, The Savior descended below all things” as He suffered in Gethsemane and gave His Life for us on the cross.
We know that the resurrected Lord, with a perfect immortal body, kept the scars from the nails on His feet and hands and the spear mark on His side as a testimony that He is the Redeemer. Through His sacrifice, the Savior has literally engraved us on Himself. He prepared a way for us to return to our Father in Heaven and inherit all that He has if we will just follow Him. Twice in just a few verses, Alma asks, “And now behold, I ask you brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? I say unto you, can ye look up to god at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?” Alma 5:14,19 To engrave something requires work and signifies permanence. Why else would the Lord require that the prophets of old labor diligently to record the Book of Mormon on metal plates. He needed these plates to last for thousands of years, it required hard work but it was permanent.
To engrave the Savior’s image on our countenances also requires effort from us. Missions and life are tough. They were designed that way. Following the Savior proves challenging because it requires that we have to learn to forgive, to sacrifice, and to love unconditionally. Persecutions may arise, challenges my come, disappointment may discourage, but it will all be for our good. Can we not take, as Elder Holland says, “a few footsteps” toward Gethsemane so that we also can engrave the Savior permanently into our countenances.
Thank you for all that you are doing. We are seeing an increase in people found and taught. The members are very grateful for your commitment. They see and feel a difference in the missionaries. Sister Packer and I are so excited and proud. We love this work. We love the Lord. We love each one of you.
Full of Holliday Cheer,

President and Sister Packer 

No comments:

Post a Comment