President's Pen 10-5-15 (Conference Recap)

As missionaries in the Texas Houston South Mission, we know our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. We do this through our constant efforts to find, teach, invite, retain, and activate God’s children; we love it, we live it, and we do it! We begin with the “End in Mind”, and see God’s children as he does. We are Disciples of Jesus Christ and the best missionaries in the world!

Elders & Sisters,

What an amazing conference weekend!  I hope your spirits and souls were uplifted as you heard from our leaders.  We sustained three new apostles and how cool was it to sustain President Ashton as the 2nd counselor in the General Sunday School Presidency?  He and I caught up tonight, he sends his love, and he also felt the Spirit witness that the new apostles were called by God.  

As I went into conference weekend I asked three questions:  Where do I need to better focus my efforts as husband and father?  What should I do to better fulfill my responsibilities as a mission president? What guidance will I receive to bless the lives of the missionaries I serve?  My prayers and questions were answered in more ways than I could have possibly imagined.  Like many of you experienced, I felt as if the Lord was speaking to me directly, answering each of my questions, and giving me the guidance I need.   

After a great spiritual feast, the question we should ask ourselves is, "Did the inspiration I receive strengthen my faith and invite me to act?  Last week I asked you all to consider what it means to sustain our leaders.  All of you responded with the understanding that sustaining is more than just raising your hand to the square; it is doing what we've been asked to do.   As you go back and review the conference talks, highlight anything that looks like an invitation to act.  In D&C 1:38 we learn that, "whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same."  Recognize that we have heard the voice and will of the Lord this weekend!  What an amazing and a powerful thought to consider; we are so blessed to have prophets and apostles on the earth today.  Our call is to let the world know that Jesus is the Christ, that the fullness of the gospel has been restored, and that God's kingdom is on the earth again.  What a blessing it is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  

I thought I would also share with you a few of the quotes that I took away from each of the talks during Saturday and Sunday's sessions.  The talks will be available for download later in the week.   Anyone want to "Ponderize" with me?  Anyone up for a 20 year commitment?  We love you!!!  President Hall

Saturday Morning Session

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: "It works!"  - "Simplify your approach to discipleship" & “Is my experience in the Church working for me? Is it bringing me closer to Christ? Is it blessing me and my family with peace and joy as promised in the gospel?”

Elder M. Russell Ballard: "God is at the Helm" - "Our ship's destination is the full blessings of the gospel, the Kingdom of Heaven, the Celestial Glory, and the Presence of God!"

Elder Richard J. Maynes:"The Joy of Living a Christ-Centered Life" - “The world in which we live is similar to the potter’s spinning wheel and the speed of that wheel is increasing. Like the clay on the potter’s wheel, we must be centered as well. Our core, the center of our lives, must be Jesus Christ and His gospel.”

Sister Neill F. Marriott:"Yielding Our Hearts to God" - “When we offer our broken heart to Jesus Christ, He accepts our offering. He takes us back. No matter what losses, wounds, and rejection we may have suffered, His grace and healing are mightier than all. Truly, yoked to the Savior, we can say with confidence, ‘It will all work out.’”

Elder Larry R. Lawrence:"The Course of Steady Improvement" - "The journey of discipleship is a course of steady improvement.  As we travel along that strait and narrow path, the Spirit continually challenges us to be better and to climb higher."

Elder Francisco J. Vinas: "The Pleasing Word of God" - "In those difficult moments in our lives the pleasing word of God that heals the wounded souls brings the following message of comfort to our heart and mind: 'Peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine affliction shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high."

Elder Quentin L. Cook: "Be Temple Worthy In Good Times and Bad Times" - "In order to overcome the challenges and temptations that each of us inevitably face, it will require righteous preparation and the use of divinely provided protections. We must determine to be temple worthy, regardless of what befalls us. If we are prepared, we shall not fear."

Saturday Afternoon Session

Elder Robert D. Hales: "Meeting the Challenges of Today's World" - “You are living through a critical period of your life.  The choices you make — mission, education, marriage, career and service in the Church — will shape your eternal destiny. This means you will always be looking ahead — looking to the future.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: "Behold Thy Mother" - "Here, too, we see another comparison with the Divine. I need to remind us that Jesus died of a broken heart, one weary and worn out from bearing the sins of the world. So in any moment of temptation, may we 'Behold [our]mother' as well as our Savior and spare them both the sorrow of our sinning."

Elder Bradley D. Foster: "Its Never Too Early and Its Never Too Late" - “I know I can’t turn back time, but this I now know — that it’s never too early and it’s never too late — to lead, guide, and walk beside our children because families are forever.”

Elder Hugo Montoya: "Tested and Tempted — but Helped" - "It does not matter what our personal struggles are — whether they are disease or prolonged loneliness or suffering the temptations and tests of the adversary — the Good Shepherd is there. He calls us by name and says, 'Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

Elder Vern P. Stanfill: "Choose the Light" - “We have not been left alone to be influenced by every whim and change in the world’s attitude, but we have the power to choose belief over doubt. In order to access the promised compensatory spiritual power, we must choose to heed prophetic counsel, recognize and act upon spiritual promptings, be obedient to God’s commandments, and seek personal revelation. We must choose. May we choose the light of the Savior.”

Elder James B. Martino: "Turn to Him and Answers Will Come" - "Mortal life consists of trials and tests, and is not easy for anyone. Our response to life’s experiences will often greatly influence our testimonies.”

Elder Dallin H. Oaks: "Strengthened by the Atonement of Jesus Christ" - “He knows of our anguish, and He is there for us. Like the good Samaritan, when He finds us wounded at the wayside, He will bind up our wounds and care for us. The healing and strengthening power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is for all of us who will ask."

General Priesthood Session

Elder Neil L. Andersen: "Faith Is Not by Chance, but by Choice" - “Faith is a choice. Strengthen your faith and live to be deserving of the Savior’s approving words, ‘Great is thy faith.'"

Elder Randall K. Bennett: "Your Next Step" - “We fail only if we fail to take another faithful step forward. We will not fail if we are faithfully yoked to the Savior of the world—He who has never failed ... and will never fail us!”

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: "Be Not Afraid, Only Believe" -“When we choose to believe, exercise faith unto repentance and follow our Savior Jesus Christ, we open our spiritual eyes to splendors we can scarcely imagine. Thus our belief and faith will grow stronger, and we will see even more.”

President Henry B. Eyring: "You Are Not Alone in the Work" - “Whatever your calling in the priesthood, you may have at times felt Heavenly Father was unaware of you.  You can pray to know His will, and with the honest desire to do whatever He asks you to do, you will receive an answer.”

President Thomas S. Monson: "Keep the Commandments" - "The adversary knows us, and he knows the temptations which will be difficult for us to ignore. How vital it is that we exercise constant vigilance in order to avoid giving in to such lies and temptations.”

Sunday Morning Session

President Thomas S. Monson: "Be an Example and a Light" - "These things which make us different from most of the world also provide us with that light and that spirit which will shine in an increasingly dark world."

Elder Ronald A. Rasband: "I Stand All Amazed" - “The Lord has said, ‘Love one another; as I have loved you.’ I'm confident that there is no choice, sin, or mistake that you or anyone else can make that will change His love for you or for them. ... Jesus Christ looked past people’s ethnicity, rank, and circumstances in order to teach them this profound truth.”

Elder Gary E. Stevenson: "Fullness of Times" - "As I agonized over my inadequacies this week, I received a distinct impression which both chastened and comforted me: to focus not on what I can't do, but rather on what I can do. I can testify of the plain and precious truths of the gospel."

Elder Dale G. Renlund: "Through God's Eyes" - “We need to have eyes that see, ears that hear, and hearts that know and feel if we are to accomplish the rescue so frequently encouraged by President Thomas S. Monson,”

President Russell M. Nelson: "A Plea to My Sisters" - "It is converted, covenant keeping women whose righteous lives will increasingly stand out in a deteriorating world, and who will thus be seen as distinct and different in the happiest of way."

Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer: "Let the Clarion Trumpet Sound" - "True disciples of Christ are not looking to make excuses for the doctrine when it doesn't fit the world's current concepts. Instead, Paul desired for all who heard him to understand absolutely his message and to altogether become disciples instead of almost Christians."

Elder Claudio R. M. Costa: "That They Do Always Remember Him" - “The Sabbath and the sacrament become much more enjoyable as we study the stories of Christ. In so doing, we create traditions that build our faith and testimony, and also protect our family.”

President Henry B. Eyring: "The Holy Ghost as Your Companion" - "You can know when those impressions to act are from the Spirit rather than from our own desire.  When impressions square with what the Savior and His living prophets and apostles have said, you can choose to obey with confidence. Then the Lord will send His Spirit to attend you."

Sunday Afternoon Session

Elder D. Todd Christofferson: "Why the Church?" - "Two things must be borne in mind: that conversion is not to the Church, but to Christ and His gospel, facilitated by the Church, and that the family and Church serve and strengthen each other."

Brother Devin G. Durrant: "My Heart Pondereth Them Continually" - "Ponderize" & "We cannot just accept the status quo and be fed ugly words and sinful visuals almost everywhere we turn and do nothing in response. We must fight back. When our minds are filled with uplifting thoughts and images, when we ‘always remember him,’ there is no room left for filth and trash.”

Elder Von G. Keetch: "Blessed and Happy Are Those Who Keep the Commandments of God" - "We show our love for God — and our faith in Him — by doing our very best every day to follow the course that He has laid out for us and by keeping the commandments that He has given to us, especially when the reason to do so isn't fully understood."

Sister Carol M. Stephens: "If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments" - "As we seek for greater understanding, as we allow our Father to teach us — we will begin to see that His laws are a manifestation of His love for us, and obedience to His laws is an expression of our love for Him.”

Elder Allen D. Haynie: "Remembering in Whom We Have Trusted" - “He simply pleads with us to confess our sins and repent so that we will not have to suffer as He did. He invites us to become clean so that we are not left outside of our Father in Heaven’s house.”

Elder Kim B. Clark: "Eyes to See and Ears to Hear" - "In these perilous times, “whatever level of spirituality or faith or obedience we now have, it will not be sufficient for the work that lies ahead.  We need greater spiritual light and power. We need eyes to see more clearly the Savior working in our lives and ears to hear His voice more deeply in our hearts.”

Elder Koichi Aoyagi: "Hold on Thy Way" - "Isn't it enough to accept all the trials of this life for what they are, and then leave the rest up to the Lord? Don't you think that this problem will be resolved when we are resurrected?"

Elder David A. Bednar: "Chosen to Bear Testimony of His Name" - "May we hear and heed the eternal truths taught by the Lord's authorized representatives. As we do so, I promise our faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will be fortified, and we will receive spiritual guidance and protection for