Monday, August 12, 2013

Every Nation, Kindred, Tongue and People

Last year in Relief Society we studied the life of George Albert Smith, who was the prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1945 to 1951. President Smith was a forward thinking prophet. "He was a strong proponent of the aviation industry and saw it as a way to fulfill his travel assignments as a General Authority more efficiently. He also supported the Church's use of radio and television to take the word of the Lord to a broader audience. He said, 'We ought to regard these [inventions] as blessings from the Lord.'"

One Sunday morning, several months ago, the Relief Society teacher in the ward we were visiting read a quote that astonished me. She quoted a General Conference address in 1946, where President Smith prophesied: "It will not be long until, from this pulpit and other places that will be provided, the servants of the Lord will be able to deliver messages to isolated groups who are so far away they cannot be reached. In that way and other ways, the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord, the only power of God unto salvation in preparation for the celestial kingdom, will be heard in all parts of the world, and many of you who are here will live to see that day." (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, Chapter 15: Advancing the Work of the Lord)

My astonishment was that I have lived to see the literal fulfillment of that prophecy! I have heard since I was a child that the gospel would spread to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. I have always wondered how that would happen. President Smith had already seen this day and spoke of it over 65 years ago, before I was born. Many who heard President Smith that day are still alive to see it's fulfillment. Through the miracle of technology, the gospel is now being taught in nearly every corner of the world. That's amazing!

During our mission here in England, we have watched this miracle unfold. On June 23rd, this year, a worldwide missionary fireside was broadcast from the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. It was held in conjunction with the Mission Presidents' Training at the MTC. Most English speaking members of the church throughout the world have had a chance to view the fireside online, either at home or during regularly scheduled Sunday church meetings.  Elder L. Tom Parry. an apostle, announced that missionaries will now be using computers and IPads to teach lessons and gospel principles using, Facebook, blogs, email and text messages. Our sister missionaries have already been doing that!

For many months, our mission had already been part of a pilot program where the visitors' centre sisters (as part of the ELSM media zone) were encouraged to develop missionary Facebook pages and blogs, along with the Chat and email teaching they were already doing. They have also been teaching the gospel by Skype to people in many different parts of the world. The results have been exciting! This year, our missionaries have seen about fifteen of the people that they are teaching online join the Church in various parts of the world. Three more have made the decision to be baptized later this month. It is privilege and a joy to see how peoples' lives change for the better as they come to know their Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sister Cardona, Sister Stewart teaching online
with Elder Carpenter in the background in our makeshift office.
Because of all the time that our sisters are now spending teaching online, we have completely outgrown the small work area in our visitors' centre. We have been needing a more efficient place to work for several months. It seemed like there were laptops and teaching materials strewn everywhere during the week - not a very welcoming sight to those who came to visit. When we recently received approval to purchase a new reception desk, we immediately went to work and ordered one. It took about a month - a very long month - for the desk to be delivered to us. All of us visitors' centre missionaries were counting the days. It finally arrived just last Friday. We were all so excited!

Elder Carpenter got the first look at the new desk.

The first piece is wheeled into the visitors' centre.

Unwrapping the pieces.

Assembling the new reception desk.

Our temple engineers came to help.

Mic, Wayne, Neal, and Neal's cute wife Nora
are always available to help us with anything we need.
Do you remember "Motel" in Fiddler On The Roof when he received his new sewing machine and the whole village came to admire it?  That's how we feel!  So proud of our new acquisition - and so grateful for the new work space that will keep us more organized and able to teach the gospel.

Sister Cardona and Sister Stewart are the first to check it out.

Sister Berati and Sister Walmsley

Sisters Ylisaari, Watt, Berati and Walmsley checking out the new space.

Ready to go to work.
The Church is growing. The work is progressing. The gospel is being taken to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. Prophecies are being fulfilled. It is such a blessing to be able to be a part of this great work!          ~Pat~

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