Area Vision - Look to the Saviour and to the Temple

Area Vision - Look to the Saviour and to the Temple

When I was a young boy, my parents taught me the importance of loving God. They explained my debt to Him. He had enabled us to be saved because of His great love for us. They taught me stories of Jesus Christ and I loved Him. As a result of our parents’ dedication to their religion, all seven of their children shared the same devotion. Going to Church on Sundays was just a natural thing for us to do. We were Catholics and I am grateful that the Catholic Church taught me to be disciplined in my worship and regular in my religious duties.

Many of us here in West Africa have had a similar background. We don’t think twice about going to Church. This, thankfully, carries over to our membership in the Saviour’s true Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But when we discover His true gospel, we should do much more than simply “go to Church”. When we learn the truths that the missionaries teach us, we come to know much more about the Saviour. We do more than just love Him; we come to really know Him. He becomes our personal Redeemer and our Friend. We want to do the things that He wants us to do. We want to change our behaviour. We no longer want to just “go to Church”; we want to become true disciples.

In fact, we are taught in Preach My Gospel that: “Commitment is an essential part of repentance. It is the act of obligating oneself to a course of action and then diligently following through on that decision. When people are genuinely committed, they have real intent, meaning that they fully intend to do what they have committed to do. They make an unwavering and earnest decision to change. They become devoted to Christ and dedicate themselves to His gospel.” (Preach My Gospel, first page of Ch.11)

This devotion and dedication has brought me so much joy. It gives me a feeling of satisfaction when I am constantly trying to do what I can to show God that I am serious about the gospel. In Australia, we have a saying when someone is really committed or totally dedicated to something. We say that they are “fair dinkum”. I love to see members of the Church who are fair dinkum about living the gospel, rather than just going to Church. I see that often in the members of the Church in various parts of West Africa. Africans know what it means to be fair dinkum about things, whether that be family, or Church, or their need to care for one another, or just walking from place to place with a baby wrapped on their back and a heavy load on their head. My wife and I love that!

This, then, is our desire as an Area Presidency – that the members of the Church here will all be fair dinkum about living the gospel.

That feeling was the catalyst for the Area Presidency’s spiritually seeking the Lord’s will in relation to His Church in West Africa. As an Area Presidency, we counselled together and with other leaders in our Area Council and in various meetings and in other interactions with members. We then sought spiritual direction before finally determining together our Area Vision. You should all have received a copy of that Area Vision and have it hanging in a prominent place in your homes. It states:

“With faith, we will look to the Saviour. We will love, trust, and know Him. This will lead us to seek for ourselves and our families all the blessings of the temple and eternal life.”

We hope that by now, many families will know this statement well enough that they do not need to read it. We want it to become an integral part of our lives. Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement is the first principle of the gospel, and it is the first thing mentioned in this Area Vision.

As I indicated earlier, I loved the Saviour as a Catholic without really knowing Him. Since joining the Church, I know His character and qualities so much better that I trust Him completely. I know He will allow and help me to meet the challenges in my life that He has customized for me so that I can learn and grow. And I know Him. I really know Him. We want all members here to do the same.

As a result of our relationship with Him, we naturally want to repent, and to “commit” which the quote from Preach My Gospel taught is an essential element in order to repent. This commitment will lead us to all of the ordinances that the Saviour has taught are necessary for exultation. Those ordinances are only available in the Holy Temple. We need them for ourselves but we also need them for those of our loved ones who have passed from this life. They receive those ordinances only through our efforts and our service in the temple.

Aba Temple Night.jpg

For these reasons, we have asked that you keep before you throughout this year these questions:

“What is my role in accomplishing this Area Plan?”

“Do I love, trust, and know the Saviour, Jesus Christ, and do I constantly seek for the blessings of the temple?”

If we are fair dinkum about the gospel, then our answers to these questions will be as clear as they are critically important. Our personal goals will be obvious, and our efforts to accomplish them will be unceasing.

We seek your help in continuing to teach this Area Vision in your wards and branches, but most importantly, in your homes. Encourage each family member to memorise the Area Vision and to regularly examine what they are doing to accomplish it.

When we do His will, He blesses us with assurance, comfort, and peace. I know this.