Our dear Elder Powell,
First and foremost, we hope this email correspondence finds each of you happy and well. We express our sincere love to you as your Stake Presidency. We pray for you in your assigned labor and share our gratitude for the marvelous work in which you are engaged in.
In May of this year, the Draper Utah Meadows Stake was created by Elder Robert C. Gay and Elder Gene R. Chidester of the Seventy. It was a spiritual and sacred experience to meet with these faithful servants of God and to be called to serve in our respective callings. Like you, we humbly implore the Lord for his guidance in blessing the lives of the members of our stake.
Several weeks ago, our High Priests assembled together for our annual Stake High Priests Quorum Meeting. Wonderful instruction was given. One of the subjects addressed was the importance of being spiritual mentors in the lives of others. Much of the context shared was taken from a CES Fireside Talk given on March 7, 2010 entitled “Thy Friends Do Stand by Thee”.
In March of 1839, the Prophet Joseph Smith, with several of his companions, had been wrongfully incarcerated for months at Liberty Jail. Many Church historians have said that this experience was one of the most difficult and darkest periods of the prophet’s entire life. His words—recorded in Section 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants—speak of a desperate loneliness he felt in such of the bleakest of circumstances, “O God, where art thou?”
The Lord did NOT appear nor send angels; he did NOT thrash the guards or swing open the door of the prison. Simply put, He did NOT change the circumstances—but He spoke comfort and reassurance to Joseph by saying:
"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes." Then the Lord said this…"Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands." (Doctrine and Covenants 121: 7-9)
Elder Rasband stated, “Here was Joseph locked in jail by the treachery of men, some of whom had once been his close associates. But the Lord made the point so clear—“thy friends do stand by thee.” How comforting that declaration was to the Prophet Joseph; how comforting to us. Think for a minute, what it means to you to know you have someone standing right by you, someone you can trust to be your friend on good days and bad, someone who values you and supports you even when the two of you are apart.”
Pause for a moment and think, who has mentored you? Who helped you to get on a mission? What have you learned from them that changed your life? How have they watched over you?
All of us are products of those who have touched our lives for good. As full-time missionaries, you now assume the role of spiritual mentors in the mission field. We commend you for your efforts and testify that there are many from home—who do stand by you and shall hail you again with warm hearts and friendly hands.
We leave you with this thought given to the Church by President Gordon B. Hinckley many years ago. He said, “To those of the Church, all within the sound of my voice, I give the challenge that while you are performing the part to which you have been called, never lose sight of the whole majestic and wonderful picture of the purpose of this, the dispensation of the fullness of times. Weave beautifully your small thread in the grand tapestry, the pattern for which was laid out for us by the God of heaven. Hold high the standard under which we walk. Be diligent, be true, be virtuous, be faithful, that there may be no flaw in that banner.”
We send our love to you from across the miles and pray heaven’s choicest blessings will be yours as you bring all unto Christ.