- The calling of an Apostle is to be a special witness of the name of Jesus Christ in all the world, particularly of his divinity and of his bodily resurrection from the dead. The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is “a Traveling Presiding High Council, to officiate in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Presidency of the Church, agreeable to the institution of heaven; to build up the church, and regulate all the affairs of the same in all nations, first unto the Gentiles and secondly unto the Jews.”
He talks about the early days of the church in South America and how hard it is for him to express his gratitude for the sacrifice of his grandfather.
- It is difficult to express my feelings as I read of the early beginnings of missionary work in South America. I am deeply touched to realize that for nearly eight months my grandfather walked the streets of Buenos Aires giving out two hundred to five hundred handbills every day but Sunday, inviting the people to learn the message of the Restoration.
The great work that general authorities do is evidenced in the lives of the saints across the world.
- The effective work of the General Authorities of the past and of those of today is evidenced in the faithful lives of the Saints. Thousands of missionaries have served with distinction. Dedicated men and women are leading the Church in their own countries in a magnificent way. It is a joy to see second- and third-generation members living worthy to be leaders in South America.
- The gospel of Jesus Christ radiates in the faces of the Saints. They express faith and commitment and love for the Lord. They are seeking to be worthy of the full blessings of the gospel.
Elder Ballard talks about the overwhelming task of taking the gospel to all the world. But this work is to be handled by Stake Presidents and Bishops at their local levels. Our ultimate goal is to bring people to the temple to make the covenants that will lead them to salvation. It takes all of us to help God's children move in this direction.
- I now know as never before that we live in a big world. Nearly five billion of our Heavenly Father’s children live on it. The responsibility of taking the gospel to them rests upon our shoulders. I am impressed, as I now start to see the larger picture, that the stake presidents must take more of the responsibility for preparing their people to receive all the blessings of the gospel. Bishops and branch presidents must do likewise. Our work is not complete until our Father’s children enter the temple to receive all of the necessary ordinances to prepare them for celestial living in the presence of our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
- Teaching and preparing the members of the Church to be worthy of the temple blessings rests upon the shoulders of the priesthood. There is no substitute, in my opinion, for inspired local leaders. I was most impressed with the conversion stories told by the stake presidencies in Bogota. One stake president, who has served for more than eight years, reported that he was called after only two and one-half years of membership in the Church. The Lord does bless his leaders when they put their trust in him.
- The building up of the Church will surely be enhanced if all Church leaders will teach the pure, simple, doctrinal truths that bring the children of God to a spiritual understanding.
He talks about the greatest message we can share to motivate members to make covenants is the plan of salvation. An understanding of the plan of salvation will motivate members to seek to make eternal covenants in the temple.
- The greatest motivator that we have in the Church is to have Church members understand the plan of salvation. Stake presidents and bishops, you are the key to having your members come to this understanding.
He concludes with expressing his gratitude for the priesthood and the calling of apostle that he has been called to.
- What a joy it is to know that the power of the holy priesthood is operating throughout the Church to bless the lives of the Saints. It is wonderful to know that the priesthood vested in the latter-day Apostles has, in this dispensation, opened many nations to the preaching of the gospel. Surely in the future we will see other nations opened in the same remarkable way.
Elder Ballard shares some great insights into the growth of the church throughout the world. I think we sometimes forget how humble and simple the first days of preaching the gospel were for the early saints. It is remarkable to hear about the nearly 8 months of very little progress in South America and to reflect on the many temples that are there today to bless the lives of all the saints. I appreciated his comments that we need to teach the plan of salvation as this will motivate members of the church to make eternal covenants in the temple. How sweet that message and motivating that message is to me today. I am working with men in my quorum to focus a little more on how they can become closer to the Savior in their lives. I know getting them to the temple is the ultimate goal and will bring them closer to the Savior.