Sunday, October 7, 2007


President Joseph Fielding Smith visits the Hong Kong Mission and Mission President W. Grant Heaton, 1955

The life of each missionary is a story of sacrifice and blessing, of trials, discouragements, and thrilling spiritual experiences. Each missionary could probably write a book of his experiences. Each family thrills with his letters. They vividly depict a changing attitude, a concern for others, and a wonderful growing knowledge, providing that the things of the Spirit are the most important. ("The Growth of a Missionary," Improvement Era, 65 [March 1962]: 177).

Never mind your difficulties and apparent losses; sink your own interests, and your success will be grand and glorious. (Lorenzo Snow, "Instructions to Missionaries," Improvement Era, 3:126).

Satan is continually at work, and in his cunning way tempts us through our appetites and passions and friends to do those things which are not right and proper for us to do. Too often, not only our youth, but some of the brethren in high places succumb to temptation. We must be on the job all the time guarding against evil. We must never relax or forget who we are and what we are trying to accomplish.

Not long ago I had the very sad experience of talking to a missionary who, before he was called into the mission field, was guilty of immorality. He did not tell his bishop or his stake president. In fact, he lied about it, and went into the mission field guilty of transgression and guilty of lying. He was not able to get the Spirit of the Lord. Finally he came to his mission president and admitted his wrong. He was very repentant and prayed to the Lord to forgive him.

As he talked to me he said, "I am prepared to be excommunicated or anything else. I just want to get back in good fellowship with the Lord and be forgiven by him. We cannot afford to waver in any way. (N. Eldon Tanner, CR A'75, Ensign, [May 1975]: 77).

I talked last night with the father of a missionary. He said, “I’ve just been talking with my son in another land. He is beaten; he is destroyed. He is lonely; he is afraid. What can I do to help him?”

I said, “How long has he been there?”

He said, “Three months.”

I said, “I guess that’s the experience of almost every missionary who has been there three months. There is scarcely a young man or woman who is called to go into the world in a position of great responsibility to represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who does not feel much of the time, I am sure, in the early months of his or her mission, the terrible loneliness of that responsibility. But he also comes to know, as he works in the service of the Lord, the sweet and marvelous companionship of the Holy Spirit which softens and takes from him that feeling of loneliness” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Loneliness of Leadership,” BYU Speeches of the Year, 1969 Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 1970).

From a young missionary's report came a sentence that was great in its implications. Speaking of enduring to the end, he said: "We must not only endure, we must prevail."(Richard L. Evans, Conference Report, April 1959.)

The missionaries of the Church who faithfully perform their duty, are under the obligation of leaving their testimony with all with whom they come in contact in their work. This testimony will stand as a witness against those who reject the message, at the judgment. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. Salt Lake City : Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1953, 1:223).

One word of warning: there is also a spirit of opposition and evil. That warning can also be found in the scriptures: “Whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him” (Moroni 7:17).

The spiritual communications from the Holy Ghost can be interrupted by the promptings and influence of the evil one. You will learn to recognize that.

To further our understanding of this principle, Nephi taught: “If ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray. But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray” (2 Nephi 32:8–9).

So when we speak of angels communicating by the power of the Holy Ghost and we are told by the prophets that we can speak with the tongue of angels, then we must know that there is an opposing influence. We must be able to detect it.

There is one word in the book of Jacob that should alert us: “Behold, will ye reject these words? Will ye reject the words of the prophets; and will ye reject all the words which have been spoken concerning Christ, after so many have spoken concerning him; and deny the good word of Christ, and the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and quench the Holy Spirit, and make a mock of the great plan of redemption?” (Jacob 6:8; emphasis added). So the Spirit can be quenched! (Boyd K. Packer, The Gift of the Holy Ghost: What Every Member Should Know,” Liahona [August 2006]:22; Mission Presidents’ Seminary, Provo, Utah, 24 June 2003).

Even when someone rejects the message, missionaries need to learn to have a positive attitude because the message is still true whether it is accepted or not. Now I know that tracting isn’t very efficient, but I think it is good for the soul of the missionaries.

Your missionaries should recognize that you are all witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ and that there is nothing more powerful than your own personal witness. I believe we must be prepared for more converts coming into the Church than we have ever had before. Perhaps it may not happen in every country. But in the main, the harvest will increase. The Church is being brought out of the wilderness “clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners” (D&C 5:14). (James E. Faust, “First Presidency Trains Mission Presidents,” Ensign, [September 1999]: 76).

I want to speak to you tonight in the context of ongoing anxiety in the world and some of the challenges we face at home and abroad. Of course there have always been challenges in every age and dispensation, but yesterday—-September 11—-was the third anniversary of a violent and near-unimaginable event that rocked the whole world. Indeed, the aftermath of that act has dramatically and perhaps permanently affected many of the ways in which the world now lives. Perhaps with such an anniversary yesterday, the fears and concerns of our modern times are still in your hearts today.

In any case, certainly our neighbors—-the citizens of the nations to which we are beaming this broadcast tonight—-have, since September 11, 2001, been dangling off balance, have been made more fearful, and have been alarmed by international events and the almost wholesale new use of the word terror. Not many years ago that word was reserved almost entirely for B-grade movie advertisements and Stephen King novels. Now, sadly, it is daily fare in our newspapers and so common in conversation that even young children, including the schoolchildren in Russia, are conscious that the world in which we live can be brutally, criminally affected by people called “terrorists.” And there are other disasters of other kinds, natural and otherwise, documented in the news that remind us that life can be fragile, that life can present fateful turns of events.

Against that backdrop, I know that many of you have wondered in your hearts what all of this means regarding the end of the world and your life in it. Many have asked, “Is this the hour of the Second Coming of the Savior and all that is prophesied surrounding that event?” Indeed, sometime not long after 9-11, I had a missionary ask me in all honesty and full of faith, “Elder Holland, are these the last days?” I saw the earnestness in his face and some of the fear in his eyes, and I wanted to be reassuring. I thought perhaps an arm around him and some humor could relieve his anxiety a little. Giving him a hug, I said, “Elder, I may not be the brightest person alive, but even I know the name of the Church.” We then talked about being Latter-day Saints. I said, “Yes, Elder, we are in the last days, but there is really nothing new about that. The promised Second Coming of the Savior began with the First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1820. So we already have about 184 years of experience seeing the Second Coming and the last days unfold. We can be certain that we are in the last days—years and years of them,” I said, and gave him a friendly shake of the hand and sent him on his way.

He smiled, seemed more reassured to put all this in some context, and went on his way. I assume he has long since finished a successful mission and is now happily at home getting on with his life, perhaps even sitting in this audience somewhere looking for a wife! (He’d better be.)

I hasten to say that I do know what this young man was really asking. What he really meant was, “Will I finish my mission? Is there any point in getting an education? Can I hope for a marriage? Do I have a future? Is there any happiness ahead for me?” And I say to all of you what I said three years ago to him: “Yes, certainly—-to all those questions.”

As far as the actual timing of the final, publicly witnessed Second Coming itself and its earthshaking events, I do not know when that will happen. Furthermore, President Gordon B. Hinckley has said that he doesn’t know when it will happen, and that is because no one knows when it will happen. The Savior said that even the angels in heaven would not know (see Matthew 24:36).

We should watch for the signs and read the meaning of the seasons, we should live as faithfully as we possibly can, and we should share the gospel with everyone so that blessings and protections will be available to all. But we cannot and must not be paralyzed just because that event and the events surrounding it are out there ahead of us somewhere. We cannot stop living life. Indeed, we should live life more fully than we have ever lived it before. After all, this is the dispensation of the fulness of times.

I say this because in recent times—-post 9-11 times, I suppose—-I have heard very fearful and even dismal opinions coming from some in your age--group regarding the questions that missionary had in mind. I have heard some of you say that you wonder whether there is any purpose in going on a mission or getting an education or planning for a career if the world we live in is going to be so uncertain. I have even heard sweethearts say, “We don’t know whether we should get married in such uncertain times.”

Worst of all, I have heard reports of some newlyweds questioning whether they should bring children into a terror-filled world on the brink of latter-day cataclysms. May I tell you that, in a way, those kinds of attitudes worry me more than Al-Qaeda worries me.

I have just two things to say to any of you who are troubled about the future. I say it lovingly and from my heart.

We must never, in any age or circumstance, let fear and the father of fear (Satan himself) divert us from our faith and faithful living. There have always been questions about the future. Every young person or every young couple in every era has had to walk by faith into what has always been some uncertainty—-starting with Adam and Eve in those first tremulous steps out of the Garden of Eden. But that is all right. This is the plan. It will be okay. Just be faithful. God is in charge. He knows your name and He knows your need. (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Terror, Triumph, and a Wedding Feast,” Brigham Young University CES Fireside for Young Adults, 12 September 2004).

The principle of accountability is fundamental in God’s eternal plan. We will stand before the Lord at the last judgment and give an accounting for what we have done with the opportunities He has given us (see Alma 5:15-19; D&C 137:9). There is much you can learn about accountability on your mission that will benefit you throughout your life.

· Approach your goal setting and planning with the idea that you will account for your efforts to your mission leaders and to the Lord through prayer.

· Feel personal responsibility for the sacred trust the Lord has given you.

· Set meaningful goals.

· Choose to be proactive in accounting for your work to the Lord and to your mission leaders. Don’t wait to be asked. Don’t require others to follow up with you frequently. Have a desire to account for your labor.

· Accept full responsibility for your efforts. Never blame others for difficult circumstances or lack of progress.

· Seek to learn from your leaders, and invite them to suggest ways you can improve.

· Be motivated to do your best work.

Accountability does not come only at the end of your mission. It is a principle that influences how you begin, how you think and feel about the responsibility the Lord has given you, how you approach your work, and how well you endure. (Preach my Gospel: A guide to missionary service. Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 2004, p. 150).

I say, while these reflections rest upon me, I feel desirous to urge upon my brethren, the elders of Israel, to labor faithfully while the day lasts. Try to save souls of men. Bless and not curse. Keep pure and clean before the Lord. Pray earnestly for the Holy Spirit to guide you. Be patient in well-doing. If you are persecuted and derided for the gospel's sake, remember that Jesus has trod that road before you, and descended lower than ever you will be called to go; and if you are cast out of doors and get hungry, have to travel on foot, get weary and sore, and are without money, remember that others, even your fathers after the flesh, have passed through the same ordeal. Brigham and Heber, Willard and John, Parley and Orson, Wilford and George A., have traveled over the same road, preached in the same halls and streets, got hungry the same as you are. We are all in the same old ship of Zion, and thanks be to God for the privilege. (Wilford Woodruff, "Encouragement to the Elders," Contributor [July 1884]: 396).

It is true that many people are opposing the Church, but the Church is like a mustard tree, the more you kick it the more the seeds spread. (Reed Smoot, Conference Report, October 1907, p. 59).

If people are properly taught, they never will fall away: “And as sure as the Lord liveth [that is an oath], so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them—-yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth [a second oath], as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away” (Alma 23:6; emphasis added).

Those who have been taught and who receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, the baptism of fire, will never fall away. They will be connected to the Almighty, who will guide them in their lives. (Boyd K. Packer, The Gift of the Holy Ghost: What Every Member Should Know,” Liahona [August 2006]:24; Mission Presidents’ Seminar, Provo, Utah, 24 June 2003).

Our missionaries have not participated in this great work without serious challenges, tribulations, and difficulties. Parents of missionaries have always known the risk of losing a loved one serving in the mission field due to accident or illness. Now, we must add to the risk of missionary service the possibility of acts of terrorism. Terrorism is centuries old but perhaps has never before been so open and blatant nor had such extensive news coverage.

Terrorism has many victims. They include the innocent and law abiding people residing in a troubled region who are striving to provide for their families and to do what is right. Missionaries live among the peoples of the world; and even with the protection of the members, they also can become innocent victims of acts of violence. We must not judge the people of any nation or region because of the irresponsible, cowardly acts of terrorism perpetrated by a few. (M. Russell Ballard, CR O'89, Ensign, (November 1989): 33).

I realize that it must be discouraging to meet so much languor and passiveness. It is far more stimulating to the missionary to receive active and bitter opposition; however, I hope you will not permit yourself to get discouraged. The evil one is very anxious to discourage the missionary. He will do his best to convince you that "it is of no use," but remember the comfort and consolation offered in the eighteenth section of the Doctrine and Covenants. (Spencer W. Kimball, ed. by Edward Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, pp. 138-139).

Never mind the indifference of some of those amongst whom you will labor, and the little disappointments you will meet with; the Spirit of the Lord will be upon you, and you will stir up the spirits of those to whom you minister, and conquer their indifference. (Lorenzo Snow, Improvement Era, 3:126-127).

In this life we send our missionaries into the world. We select our young men and give them missions to travel among the nations. It is not one of the most pleasant things that might be imagined for a young man to start out, not having had any experience, to go to a land and among a people that he knows nothing at all about, and in many instances does not even understand their language. He realizes that he will have trials, troubles, and difficulties to cope with, and many things of an unpleasant character. In one sense of the word, he parts with his friends unpleasantly; but it is an important duty that he feels now called upon to perform, and there will arise from the performance of these duties honor, and eventually glory and exaltation. (Lorenzo Snow, Deseret Weekly 50 [June 1895]: 737-738).

When an Elder goes out to preach he ought not to let his mind be filled with care for his family, only when he is praying about them; and if they have died during his absence, all right; they are the Lord's; and say--"He gave them to me, it is alright; at the same time I would like to have them, but blessed be the name of the Lord". (Brigham Young, "Missionary Labors,” Contributor, 10 [December 1888]: 45).

An Elder has possessions great or small, much or little, and instead of carrying those possessions in his feelings, he ought to leave them and say that they are the Lord's, and say: "I give my spirit and body and what is committed into my hands; I am only a steward over it; I yield its care to Him, since He sends me from my home so that I cannot directly look after it." That man can go as free as the air, and will feel that he has in his possession the spirit of the Lord, which should be considered of paramount importance. (Brigham Young, "Missionary Labors," 10 Contributor, [December 1888]: 45-46).

Many spiritual nutrients come while serving on a mission—-from being totally involved in the work of the Master. They come from helping people become spiritually awake so that they can accept the gospel. Over a century ago when Elder J. Golden Kimball presided over the Southern States Mission, he called for a meeting of the elders. They were to meet in a secluded spot in the woods so they would have privacy. One of the elders had a problem with one of his legs. It was raw and swollen to at least twice the size of his other leg. But the elder insisted on attending this special priesthood meeting in the woods. So two of the elders carried him to this meeting place.

Elder Kimball asked the missionaries,

"Brethren, what are you preaching?"

They said, "We are preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ."

"Are you telling these people that you have the power and authority, through
faith, to heal the sick?" he asked.

They said, "Yes."

"Well then," he continued, "why don't you believe it?"

The young man with the swollen leg spoke up and said, "I believe it."

Here is the rest of the story told in Elder Kimball's words: "[The elder] sat down on a stump and the elders gathered around him. He was anointed and I administered to him, and he was healed right in their presence. It was quite a shock; and every other elder that was sick was administered to, and they were all healed. We went out of that priesthood meeting and the elders received their appointments, and there was a joy and happiness that cannot be described." (In Max Nolan, "J. Golden Kimball in the South," New Era, July 1985, 10). Their nutrient of faith had been replenished and their zeal for missionary work revived. (James E. Faust, “Spiritual Nutrients,” General Conference, October 2006).

At his graduation ceremony Spencer [Kimball] was stunned to hear his father announce over the podium that instead of going to college, Spencer would be serving a mission. He hadn’t really given it much immediate thought, since most missionaries at that time were older men, but he embraced the formal call when it arrived from Salt Lake City. To finance his mission he sold his horse, and spent the summer working at a diary near Globe, Arizona. The eighteen-hour days were grueling, but at the end of the summer the cigar-smoking non-Mormon diary owner threw a party for Spencer and gave him a gold watch to take on his mission.

Spencer left for Missouri at nineteen, younger than most, at a time when missionaries still traveled “without purse or scrip.” After teaching in a schoolhouse one night, Spencer and his companion asked for a bed. In response, a family of eight led the two missionaries down a seemingly endless path through the dark woods to a one-room shack. The mother and five children climbed into the loft, and the father and his son shared a cot—giving Spencer and his companion the only bed in the house. They had given a widow’s mite, sacrificing all they had for the elders. (in A Prophet’s Voice: Inspiring Quotes from Spencer W. Kimball, compiled by Edward Kimball, American Fork, UT.: Covenant, 2007, pp. 4-5).

In June we dedicated a new temple in Atlanta, Georgia. This was the culmination of a dream that began a century and more ago when, in the days of the poverty of our people, missionaries were first sent to the southern states. A few accepted their testimony, but many more rose in bitterness against them. These early missionaries endured much persecution. Some were stripped and beaten; some were murdered by hateful enemies. But with faith they persevered. Eventually, thousands upon thousands joined the Church, and today the work is strong and growing in that beautiful part of the nation where we now have hundreds of faithful congregations of Latter-day Saints.
On the occasion of the Atlanta Temple dedication, the testimonies of the people—those spoken and those expressed in tears of gratitude—together with their songs of thanksgiving, all bore witness to the strength of their faith and their love for God. (Gordon B. Hinckley, CR O'83, Ensign, [November 1983]: 51-52).

All men are entitled to a testimony of the divinity of this work; and it is the exception to find a man connected with it who does not possess that testimony. It is because of this testimony that exists in the hearts of the members of this Church that the Elder, in his weakness, is enabled to go forth to the unbelieving world as a preacher of the Gospel; it is the consciousness of this testimony burning in his heart, and of his duty to his fellow man, which sustains him in responding to the call made upon him. And although weak in and of himself he feels strong in the Lord, and promises in confidence and great assurance to all who believe him as a messenger of salvation, the witness of the Holy Spirit which should reveal to them the mind and will of God and place them in possession of the same testimony which He himself possesses. (Heber J. Grant, Quarterly Conference, 1 September 1889).

Some of our missionaries have found themselves in increasingly more difficult circumstances. As the adviser to the South America North Area Presidency, I was saddened, as I know you were, at the news that two faithful missionaries, Elder Todd Ray Wilson and Elder Jeffrey Brent Ball, lost their lives in Bolivia. The deaths of these two righteous young men while they were in the service of the Lord caused the entire Church membership to mourn. We grieve also for other missionaries who have died from illness or accident since the first of the year.

Our sorrow at the loss of any faithful missionary can be tempered by this declaration from the Lord himself: “And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal.” (D&C 98:13.) To all parents, family members, and friends of missionaries who have lost their lives while in the service of the Master, we extend to you our love, gratitude, and prayers for comfort and peace.

With the permission of President Steven B. Wright of the Bolivia La Paz Mission, I share this special experience that came to him in a dream: “I saw these two elders dressed in white, standing at the doors of a beautiful building. They were greeting numerous people, who also were dressed in white as they entered the building. It was obvious from their dress that those who entered were Bolivians. I envisioned the temple that will someday be built in Bolivia. Elders Wilson and Ball were ushering those they had prepared to receive the gospel in the spirit world into the temple to witness the vicarious ordinances being performed in their behalf. This dream has been a great comfort to me and has helped me to understand and accept their deaths.”
This glimpse by President Wright of the work of redemption beyond mortality is consistent with the heavenly vision given to President Joseph F. Smith more than seven decades ago. He declared, “I beheld that the faithful elders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel … in the great world of the spirits.” (D&C 138:57). (M. Russell Ballard, “Duties, Rewards, and Risks,” Ensign, [November 1989]: 33).

When George A. Smith was very ill, he was visited by his cousin, the Prophet Joseph Smith. The afflicted man reported: "He [the Prophet] told me I should never get discouraged, whatever difficulties might surround me. If I were sunk into the lowest pit of Nova Scotia and all the Rocky Mountains piled on top of me, I ought not to be discouraged, but hang on, exercise faith, and keep up good courage, and I should come out on the top of the heap." (George A. Smith Family, comp. Zora Smith Jarvis, Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1962, p. 54).

There are times when you simply have to righteously hang on and outlast the devil until his depressive spirit leaves you. As the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith:

"Thine adversity and thine afflictions, shall be but a small moment;

"And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high" (D&C 121:7, 8).

"To press on in noble endeavors, even while surrounded by a cloud of depression, will eventually bring you out on top into the sunshine. Even our master Jesus the Christ, while facing that supreme test of being temporarily left alone by our Father during the crucifixion, continued performing his labors for the children of men, and then shortly thereafter he was glorified and received a fullness of joy. While you are going through your trial, you can recall your past victories and count the blessings that you do have with a sure hope of greater ones to follow if you are faithful. And you can have that certain knowledge that in due time God will wipe away all tears and that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (1 Corinthians 2:9). (Ezra Taft Benson, CR O '74, Ensign, 4 [November 1974]: 67).

You parents and prospective missionaries have no reason to be fearful and to feel that serving a mission is unusually dangerous or risky. Our records since 1981 reveal that the total number of missionaries who have lost their lives through accident, illness, or other causes is very small. The life-style of Latter-day Saint missionaries before and during their missions contributes to their health ad safety. For example, the death rate of young male missionaries from the United States serving worldwide is one-fifth the rate of young males of comparable age living in Utah. It is one-seventh the rate of young males of comparable age in the general population of the United States. I do not imply that missionary service is a guarantee of increased longevity, but missionaries obviously have a much lower risk of death than others of comparable age. (M. Russell Ballard, CR O'89, Ensign, [November 1989]: 34).

The Church is making great efforts to safeguard the health and safety of missionaries by decreasing the likelihood of illness and accident. In the past year, a highly qualified team of LDS doctors visited many of the missions in developing nations and made important recommendations that have been adopted to improve missionary health. We are doing and will continue to do all within our power to reduce any risks that could harm the missionaries. However, in a nation of free agency, the Church cannot eliminate all risk nor guarantee absolutely that a missionary will be ill, injured, or harmed. (M. Russell Ballard, CR O'89, Ensign, [November 1989]: 33).

The Missionary Department employs six former mission presidents who are on 24-hour-a-day call to serve mission presidents and their missionaries. They respond immediately with the resources of the Church to assure the well-being of missionaries and their families.

When a problem occurs, such as the recent unrest in Colombia, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve, through the able leadership of the General Authority Area Presidencies, monitor conditions daily and even hourly, if necessary.

Be assured that the safety and protection of missionaries always is a paramount concern. At the same time, however, the Church cannot retreat from areas of the world that are in turmoil unless absolutely necessary. Brothers and sisters, the charge from the Lord to "go ye therefore, and teach all nations" is a difficult one to fulfill. (Matthew 28:19). (M. Russell Ballard, CR O'89, Ensign, [November 1989]: 34).

When I visited the missionaries in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador immediately after the tragedy, I was extremely impressed with the deep love our missionaries feel for the people they are called to teach. Their intense desire to continue serving the precious people of their mission is beyond description. Sometimes parents and family members understandably voice worry, anxiety, or even feel alarm about the safety of their missionary sons or daughters, but rarely, if ever, do we hear the missionaries express such concerns. They love and care deeply about the people they are serving, and generally they want to continue in the service of the Lord. These dedicated missionaries illustrate so powerfully for the rest of us that "there is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear." (1 John 4:18). (M. Russell Ballard, CR O'89, Ensign, [November 1989]: 34).

In many ways, brothers and sisters, the past sixty years in the Church have been relatively calm, compared to the beginnings of the Restoration. Persecutions and tribulations have been minimal. Perhaps some of these recent events are a toughening process to help us learn how to shoulder and not shrink from our responsibilities to preach the gospel to all the peoples of the earth. (M. Russell Ballard, CR O'89, Ensign, [November 1989]: 34).

The work will continue to grow and prosper throughout the world. In recent years the Lord's servants have unlocked the door and opened the work in the German Democratic Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Yugoslavia. They have opened many nations of Africa, including Nigeria, Ghana, Zaire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Ivory Coast, and Namibia; and Papua, New Guinea. Thirteen nations and territories have been opened for missionary work in just the past four years. Many others will be opened to the preaching of the gospel. Truly, no unhallowed hand can stop the sacred work of proclaiming life and salvation to all nations and peoples, but this work will not continue without challenges and risks. (M. Russell Ballard, CR O'89, Ensign, [November 1989]: 34).

I have never heard one man, who had been a diligent, faithful and energetic servant of the Lord in spreading the gospel but what he would stand up and say that notwithstanding the trials, notwithstanding the opposition, notwithstanding the separation from family and friends, notwithstanding the giving up of his business, and failing to be materially rewarded for preaching the gospel, that it had brought to him a great joy, that it had been the best experience of his life, and that he had the most satisfaction in it of any labor every undertaken, by their fruits ye shall know them. (Heber J. Grant, "Latter-day Saints Church Should be Judged by its Fruit," Deseret News, [Saturday, 1 May 1915]: Section 3, vii).

As we have experienced harassment, destruction, vandalism, and even the loss of lives, the attitude of our missionaries is not one of being afraid but of marching forward in a spirit of "carry on." Few, if any, have asked for releases or transfers as the winds of fire, destruction, and danger have blown in their paths. It is a joy to see them stand firm as the mountains around us. God will continue to help them carry on, and their work will not be thwarted but will be enhanced and fruitful. (Marvin J. Ashton, CR O'89, Ensign, [November 1989]: 36).