This past Thursday night Angie prepared a great lesson on the signs of the times as part of Matthew 24 in our study of the New Testament. We discussed that it is important to not only know the signs of the times, but also listen attentively to the words of the living prophets in the latter-days. “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). It came to Sister Johnsen that the words of the prophets are like the satellite that warned us of the coming typhoon Bopha. We were able to track its progress, and know it was upon us (even at our door) even though the weather Sunday morning would have given no clue that these islands were about to be touched with trouble. Similarly, the prophets not only give us advance warning of the perilous times of the last days, but by knowing the signs and keeping track of their fulfillment we can know how far the storm of life has progressed. For example, we reflected on this quote from the opening session of the October 2001 conference where Pres. Hinckley said: “The vision of Joel has been fulfilled wherein he declared:
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
“And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
“And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.
“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call” (Joel 2:28–32). While that particular scripture’s fulfillment could be repeated in the years to come we don’t have to wonder if it’s fulfillment is yet in the future; for a prophet of God has declared it fulfilled. Clearly we are blessed to live in the fulness of times (Eph 1:10) when living prophets are upon the earth and we have the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Speaking of fullness, the big event on Thursday afternoon was a district picnic at long island park followed by district meeting. We always have a lunch before transfer week, but since the elders had spent all their money on canned goods to prepare for the storm, they were short of cash. So instead of going out we had a picnic. Sister Johnsen made two pasta salads and to that we added a jell-o fruit bowl that Elder J had prepared. We had tuna sandwiches because everybody had lots of canned tuna. We borrowed the elder’s big chest cooler and found a picnic table in the shade. The only problem was that the wind was blowing pretty hard, and it raised havoc with our table cloth. Elder Fullmer took a spill on the slick concrete when he went after the lid to one of our bowls that had blown off in the wind—luckily he wasn’t hurt. The food was super good, and we had just enough; everyone had their fill but with no leftovers. We all felt the fullness of a good meal!
Both E/S Johnsen taught Sunday school this week. Elder Johnsen actually had 2 investigators in his Sunday school class along with Kessy who was just recently baptized. As part of the Moroni chapter 6 discussion, we talked about the qualifications for baptism which really seemed to appeal to our investigators who were present. While we were talking about Moroni 6:4 where “after they had been received unto baptism . . . they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ and their names were taken that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way” Elder Johnsen was reminded of all the work we’ve done in Palau to find the members, correct our Branch records to reflect people who are actually here, and then to line up our priesthood service night where we attempt to get a message into the home of every member every month. Kessy (our recent convert) described what she saw on Wednesday night when Elder Johnsen was updating the records. She said that she saw that we input locations on Google map so we know where each person stays, and we have a picture for most of our members. Not only are their names taken but we can know them when we see them. The youth SS class seemed to be very interested in how many points our services and procedures follow that are outlined by Moroni—including the fact that we fast and pray often (Moroni 6:5), and the priests kneel when they say the sacrament prayer (Moroni 4:2). Truly the coming forth of the Book of Mormon is part of the fulness of times.
Our hearts were filled with gratitude when the song the YW have been practicing came off without a hitch in Sacrament meeting. Elder Johnsen was present for their final practice on Wednesday night when the girls were struggling to stay with the music.
However, the actual performance was better than any rehearsal that he attended. In our experience that rarely happens. We had about 55 people in our Sacrament meeting Sunday, and nearly 20 of them participated in the musical number. It seemed like a great army had invaded the area behind the podium when they all came forward to sing.
We will conclude with President Hinckley’s words: “We have become as a great army. We are now a people of consequence. Our voice is heard when we speak up. We have demonstrated our strength in meeting adversity. Our strength is our faith in the Almighty. No cause under the heavens can stop the work of God. Adversity may raise its ugly head. The world may be troubled with wars and rumors of wars, but this cause will go forward.
You are familiar with these great words written by the Prophet Joseph: “No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (History of the Church, 4:540).
The Lord has given us the goal toward which we work. That goal is to build His kingdom, which is a mighty cause of great numbers of men and women of faith, of integrity, of love and concern for mankind, marching forward to create a better society, bringing blessings upon ourselves and upon the heads of others.” (Living in the fulness of times, Gordon B. Hinckley, October 2001 general conference)
We feel so blessed to be a part of this great latter-day work.
- ▼ December (5)