Welden Andersen, IRI
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf invited new mission presidents — as they begin a new and exciting journey as disciples of Christ — “to consider the example of the apostle Peter, who overcame his fears and became a courageous missionary and leader of the Church.”
“We can learn not only from Peter, we can learn from all missionaries who have the same kind of commitment and dedication — missionaries like the many you find in all missions around the globe — missionaries like those who will serve with you,” said President Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency. “Each day, let us remind ourselves that we are disciples of the Savior, Jesus Christ. And because He is with us, we do not fear.”
Speaking at the 2014 Seminar for New Mission Presidents in Provo, Utah, on June 24, President Uchtdorf addressed the topic, “Fear Not, I Am With Thee.”
“My dear friends, my beloved brothers and sisters, I am grateful to be with you as you embark on this great and marvelous journey to proclaim the Savior’s message to the nations of the world,” he told the mission leaders.
President Uchtdorf said as he prepared an Easter message earlier this year, the question arose of why the Church doesn’t celebrate more openly the events surrounding Easter.
“As members of the Church we actually celebrate Easter week every Sunday by partaking of the sacrament,” he said. “It was on the Thursday before Easter Sunday when the sacrament was established. As we partake of the sacrament, we recommit ourselves to remember the Savior’s sacrifice and to keep His commandments. At the same time, we are promised to have His Spirit to be with us at all times and at all places.”
President Uchtdorf asked the mission leaders to think about what happened during the week following Palm Sunday and culminating in Easter Sunday — when Jesus Christ rose triumphant from the tomb. “He broke the bonds of death and made it possible for all mankind to be resurrected,” he explained.
“For us as missionaries, as servants of the Lord, this is the core message we take to the world. Make sure that your missionaries never forget this. Keep this in mind when you and your missionaries partake of the sacrament on Sundays, and when you invite people to attend sacrament services with you. Partaking of the sacrament is a very sacred act. If you explain to those who seek truth what the gospel and the sacrament can be to them, you will touch their hearts.
“Because of Christ’s sinless life and through the profound miracle of the Atonement, He created a way for us to be purified and glorious — a way for us to return to our Heavenly Father and to receive eternal life.”
But it is also interesting what else happened as a result of His rising from the tomb, said President Uchtdorf. “This act of love transformed a band of frightened, worried, disciples into a dynamic group of fearless missionaries who changed the world.”
He told the new mission leaders that the events of that day have the potential and power to do the same for every servant of the Lord, “for every one of you who is proclaiming and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
After His Resurrection, the Savior appeared to His disciples and invited them to touch Him and see for themselves that He lived, noted President Uchtdorf.
“It is remarkable to me how things changed after that day. Before His death, Jesus’ disciples were mostly in the role of witnesses and followers. They observed and learned, and they witnessed the Savior’s acts and teachings.
“But everything changed for them after Christ rose from the tomb.”