Tom Smart, Deseret News
The hand of the Lord has unmistakably been revealed — his hand and his heart. We can feel his pleasure, can we not, in this astounding flowering of missionary work?
It is easy to get caught up in the sheer volume of missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints entering the field — both young men and young women that recently totaled 75,000 — to marvel that 58 new missions have been established and that a new Missionary Training Center in Mexico City brings the number of MTCs worldwide to 15.
There is a literal excitement in the air, emanating from the hearts and homes of Saints who have embraced the call. The flowering of testimony, commitment and eagerness to serve is an individual thing, touching each spirit and infusing it with new life. This is not a "mass experience," but a richly and sacredly personal experience — made powerful by the thousands of times it is happening before our eyes.
I have been watching and listening. It is evident that the Lord is pouring out blessings upon the heads of his sons and daughters — each and every one. I listen to the farewell talks of these young women and young men. They reveal a depth of knowledge of the gospel, a maturity of purpose, and a discipline of self that is deeply touching. Heavenly Father is opening their eyes to see and their hearts to understand. He is giving them preparatory experiences. He is qualifying them to do his work, to go forth in mighty power and love.
To what purpose? Where will this lead? What will these changes bring forth?
First and foremost, this array of Mormon youths will march forward like an army of light, offering miracles of hope and truth wherever they serve. As I wrote in a seminary song some years ago:
It’s a cold dark world around us,
And it’s filled with fears and sorrows,
There are people out there groping,
With no faith in their tomorrows.
There are clouds and there are evils,
And the cries for help and answers
Seem to billow up,
Surge about me in the air.
Lest we forget, Heavenly Father is anxious to heal and lift, to reach the hearts of his children who are groping in darkness. As the Prophet Joseph Smith stated, "After all that has been said, our greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel" (see "Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith," p. 113).
This is the hastening of the last great harvest. And what a gathering in will take place! Throughout the length and breadth of the earth, lives will be changed, hearts will be turned back to their creator, and priesthood will spread its blanket of love and authority to smother the darkness that is striving to engulf the children of God.
The vitality of the kingdom will increase, and knowledge of the Lord will spread into thousands of lives, into thousands of homes in every land.
The words of the song continue:
I have so little time here,
I could walk unfelt, unnoticed,
And leave the work for other hands to do,
But the Lord has richly blessed me,
And the burning deep inside of me
Will grow and spread,
If I bless others, too.
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