A choir consisting of 32 missionaries, each from a different country, formed a remarkable visual aid for Elder Mervyn B. Arnold, General Authority Seventy, as he gave his presentation on the restoration and gathering of Israel for the 2017 Seminar for New Missionary Training Center Presidents and Visitors’ Center Directors Jan. 11 at the Provo MTC.
“In most instances, English is their second language, and here they are,” Elder Arnold said in reference to the choir that sang several hymns pertaining to the Restoration. “I find it most interesting as we think about where they come from, how long they have been members of the Church, where they were gathered from and how many of the tribes of Israel are involved with us today.”
Elder Arnold shared with the departing missionary couples several scriptures pertaining to the latter-day restoration of the gospel and the attendant gathering of descendants of the tribes of Israel. Some of the scriptures were read by members of the choir in between their singing of related hymns such as “O How Lovely Was the Morning” and “Israel, Israel, God Is Calling.”
He asked individual seminar participants to share their feelings about the doctrine of the gathering of Israel and the experience they were having of hearing the missionaries from disparate nations singing hymns, reading scriptures and bearing testimony.
Sister Carolyn Pace, who with her husband, Elder Lonny Pace, is bound for the Wyoming Mormon Trail Mission, said they had visited Jerusalem a few weeks prior to their departure for their mission. She said they had an overpowering feeling it was where Christ walked and talked and where He had started His church.
Listening to the young missionaries in the choir and seeing their photos and biographical information projected on the screen “made me feel the Church is definitely going forward,” she said. “The gathering has happened physically and is now being done spiritually, and the Lord is totally in charge of this church.”
Sister KLynn Lochhead, who is going to the Mesa Arizona Temple Visitor’s Center with her husband, Elder Robert Bruce Lochhead, said of the choir, “I was overcome by looking into their beautiful faces and realizing how much the Savior loves them and appreciates their sacrifice, appreciates their willingness to go and serve Him.”
Elder Lochhead added, “I was looking into their futures. I see them serving honorable missions and doing great good.” Then turning to the choir, he said, “But that’s just the beginning. I see you going back home to your native countries, being married in the temple, raising children and being the kernel from which the Church will grow in the countries where you come from. You will bless the missions, and I’m just honored to be in the same room with you.”
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