Dear Brothers and Sisters, we are grateful for this opportunity to join you during your 5th Sunday lesson. We hope that following this short video you will have a meaningful council session in your wards and branches as well as in your homes about how you can make the Area Plan a meaningful part of your lives.
Last November we introduced a heightened vision to make Christ the center of our lives under the banner, “Come Unto Christ, I Will Go, I Will Serve.” This theme reminds us of the Lord’s teachings that we most effectively draw near to the Savior and feel His comfort and His power in our lives when we make and keep sacred covenants through the ordinances of the gospel.
We are grateful for previous Area Plans that have prepared us for this higher and holier vision and focus on drawing nearer to Christ in personal our lives. You will recall that, under the prior Area Plan the focus was on “Obey, Covenant and Establish.” Each of these elements included a separate list of priorities we should implement in our lives. The Plan consisted of two full pages of instruction. As we move forward today to the adjusted Area Plan we reemphasize that the primary focus is on coming unto Christ. The path is simple and described by the well-known phrase “I Will Go, I Will Serve.”
Our desire for you is that as you adopt this motto in your families you will say “I Will Go” and in your minds you will think - I Will Go to the ordinances and covenants of the gospel. As a reminder, the Area Plan lists the saving ordinances, which include baptism and confirmation, ordination to the priesthood and receiving the blessings of temple ordinances. This path to the Jesus Christ is simple, direct, and clear.
Next, we declare “I Will Serve.” The motivating power of the ordinances strengthens our conversion to the gospel and drives us to look for ways to serve others. As you declare in your personal lives and in your families “I Will Serve” think of our Philippines Area priorities including temple and family history, serving a mission, ministering, and gathering scattered Israel through love, share and invite and linking arms with missionaries in the ministry to part-member families.
With this heightened vision, no longer do we say “I will go, I will serve” and only think of going on a mission. This Area Plan represents so much more than that. Come Unto Christ, I Will Go, I Will Serve is a springboard for a lifetime of sincere participation in the ordinances and covenants of the gospel and serving others to help bring them to the ordinances and covenants of the gospel as well.
Brothers and sisters, before I continue, please let me reemphasize that our highest goal is to come unto Christ, and it is through the ordinances and covenants of the gospel that we come unto Christ. Baptism is the gateway to the covenant path that leads to Christ. Daily repentance, and partaking of the sacrament each Sunday allows us to keep the companionship of the Holy Ghost we received at the time we were confirmed members of the Church. Priesthood ordination allows us to help others experience the same saving ordinances, and all of these things prepare us to enter the temple.
I hope we will all set our sights on the temple this year.
Speaking of the blessings of the temple, President Nelson declared: “It is His house. It is filled with His power. Let us never lose sight of what the Lord is doing for us now. He is making His temples more accessible. He is accelerating the pace at which we are building temples. He is increasing our ability to help gather Israel. He is also making it easier for each of us to become spiritually refined. I promise that increased time in the temple will bless your life in ways nothing else can.”
If you have been planning to go to the temple but for some reason have not yet accomplished that goal, I invite you to talk to your bishop and seek help to overcome whatever obstacles are in your way. As a family, set a goal to be sealed in the temple by helping every member to prepare. To our youth, young single adults, and unendowed adult members, ask your bishop or branch president to help you prepare for and receive a temple recommend. I promise you, having and using your temple recommend will be a cherished blessing in your life.
As President Nelson said at the October 2019 general conference, “Individual worthiness to enter the Lord’s house requires much individual spiritual preparation. But with the Lord’s help, nothing is impossible. In some respects, it is easier to build a temple than it is to build a people prepared for a temple. Individual worthiness requires a total conversion of mind and heart to be more like the Lord, to be an honest citizen, to be a better example, and to be a holier person.”
To ward and branch councils, we encourage you to identify individuals and families who require assistance in preparing to enter the temple. Organize temple preparation classes and make it a goal for every student to finish the course and go to the temple to participate in holy ordinances, and make sacred covenants, that will bless their lives.
Our focus in all that we do as members of the Church is on the enabling power that comes through our Savior, Jesus Christ. Coming unto Christ and participating in the ordinances of the gospel, and particularly temple ordinances are inseparably connected.
Our prayer is that we may all decide within ourselves to leave this meeting today with a firm and unwavering resolve to “Come Unto Christ, I Will Go, I Will Serve.”