“ … And they were also distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end.” - Alma 27:27

Friday, March 18, 2016

President Brent H. and Sister Marcia Nielson Tour Singapore Mission

Rarely does one have the opportunity to hear from a General Authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in an intimate setting.  On March 10th, the missionaries in the Kuala Lumpur District were privileged to not only hear from a General Authority from the First Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Brent Nielson, but also from his lovely wife, Sister Marcia Nielson at a Zone Conference held in the Petaling Jaya meeting house.  Elder Nielson is the Executive Director of the Missionary Department of the worldwide Church.  The Nielsons were touring the Singapore Mission area with Mission President and Sister Simmons.  All four addressed the missionaries in Singapore, West and East Malaysia by the week’s end.
The day in Kuala Lumpur (Petaling Jaya) began with Elder Nielson teaching the missionary leaders and Sister Nielson addressing only the Sister Missionaries.  She said the most important thing happening today in Malaysia was this meeting, that this work is the most important work on the earth. Then, with inspirational and encouraging words and stories, she assured these sisters that missions are emotionally hard and arduous, but that is what teaches them things about themselves. Those are the things that Heavenly Father wants them to learn.  She went on to stress that there needs to be holiness in daily life.  She encouraged the sisters to “cheerfully do all things that lie in our power,” and then to stand still to see what direction and inspiration await them.  She affirmed that Heavenly Father loves them, no matter what level each person is on.

In the main session, with all missionaries in attendance, Elder Nielson took some time to address Christlike attributes. He said the Lord has called these missionaries to labor here and has a special work for all to do. There is no room for fear. All should move forward in faith and diligence. 

Sister Simmons spoke about faith. She challenged all missionaries to not just endure  their missions, but to rejoice in the opportunities that have come, and find joy. President Simmons followed with counsel to listen with open hears to receive guidance.  He said that the adversary attacks families to frustrate the Lord’s work.  In the mission field, he attacks companionships.  He reminded the missionaries that he talks constantly about obedience, since disobedience chases away the Spirit.  Each person needs to ask the Holy Ghost to guide and comfort them with a brightness of hope and faith. 

Sister Nielson then warmly thanked all the missionaries for their service, and proceeded to talk about diversity.  She explained the Nielson family background and what activities they enjoyed doing together.  Then, when the children married, their spouses had different upbringings.  This added to the overall family talents and abilities. She compared these family in-laws to companions who are diverse.  While there are differences, a companionship is on the same team, wanting the same results. She challenged the missionaries to learn what it is they are supposed to learn from their companions each transfer, and to be grateful for their companions.  No criticism is allowed. Be 100% obedient.  Help others to be happy. These were some tidbits of wisdom learned from her sons as they served successful missions.

Elder Nielson graciously expressed his appreciation for the missionaries’ service. He said that the Lord has called you here and has a special work for you to do. Be diligent. Don't be discouraged. He brought the audience along in his presentation of the Doctrines of Christ. He explained that is what missionaries teach. Christlike attributes are taught in Preach My Gospel. Discouragement, doubt, and fear are not Christlike attributes. When there is fear, there is no faith. With faith, there is no fear.  Move forward with faith, he said.  There is power in the Atonement, both redeeming power and enabling power.  We are saved by grace and then changed by grace. A missionary is called to connect people to heaven.  Help people see what the Doctrines of Christ can do in their lives.

During the concluding question and answer session, Elder Nielson masterfully explained scriptures to answer questions, to build faith, and to recommend obedient behavior.  He reminded all that Lord is hastening his work and carrying the gospel to nearly all the lands of the earth.  He said that our faith should be in Jesus Christ.  We trust in His will.  During his final remarks, Elder Nielson expressed the love of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles.  They pray for the missionaries. Their hearts and prayers are always with the missionaries.  He said the Savior fed the 5,000 miraculously, and there were baskets of leftovers. This is symbolic of His grace being sufficient for all men, with more left over. He bore his testimony as one who is ordained and set apart to do so.

The attending missionaries expressed appreciation for Elder and Sister Nielson’s visit. They received encouragement and validation, and they felt loved, watched over, and re-energized. Sister Andrewson stated that she appreciated Elder Nielson’s words on the Atonement and its relationship to the presence of the Holy Spirit in her life. Elder Barney especially liked hearing in the leadership meeting that the job of missionaries is to help people improve and to focus on what is truly important and not just to focus on doing good things, but to continually improve and grow.  Sister Crandall said it was so good to travel to this meeting, to be buoyed up, and to learn more about being faithful and finding holiness in everyday life.  

One observing the events of the day could not deny that there was joy in the room, in the service of the Lord.  His Spirit was poured out in abundance.  Time together was cherished as the missionaries enjoyed seeing one another from different areas. A General Authority came to visit today. They shook his hand, felt the Spirit, received strength and encouragement to carry on in this important work. The concluding hymn was especially poignant, “Thy Spirit Lord has Stirred Our Souls.”

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