NATION

A Revelation That Prepared, Fortified Families Before COVID-19 Struck

President Nelson, a retired world-renowned pioneering heart transplant surgeon, had introduced major changes to make the church more family-focused and increase the members’ faith in Jesus Christ.
20 Nov 2020 10:30
A Revelation That Prepared, Fortified Families Before COVID-19 Struck
President Russell Nelson (right) and his wife Wendy (left) wave to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori on May 22, 2019.

Twelve months before COVID-19 struck and the subsequent mass Sunday meeting ban Fijian members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were already spending more time at home with families than in church.

The change to a stay-at-home regime was seamless because they were already in transition mode.

They had joined millions of members worldwide in implementing the change announced by the church’s president, Russell M Nelson whom they revere as a prophet.

President Nelson, a retired world-renowned pioneering heart transplant surgeon, had introduced major changes to make the church more family-focused and increase the members’ faith in Jesus Christ.

Changes made

One of the changes was that the three-hour block meetings in church on Sunday, a long time practice, was reduced to two hours. This would allow members to spend more time with their families and provide parents with a wonderful opportunity to teach their children.

They were given a manual, Come Follow Me, an invitation by Jesus Christ, to study. It guides members to study the scriptures in their families. Many families who use this time wisely to teach and discuss the word of God as expounded by the scriptures in the Holy books experience a remarkable improvement in their lives both spiritually and temporally, despite the COVID-19 crisis.

They have strengthened their faith that in any adversity like this crisis, they know that God is in control and as long as they live their lives based on his doctrines he will see them through this pandemic.

They are grateful that the prophetic instructions and counsels given by President Nelson have become a steadying influence in their lives.

That is why tomorrow they will join millions of members around the world to listen to his address on the crisis facing the globe. There will also be videos available after the broadcast that are expected to reinforce what he announced last year.

Surviving spiritually

President Nelson said then the long-standing objective of the church “is to assist all members to increase their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and in His Atonement, to assist them in making and keeping their covenants with God, and to strengthen and seal their families”.

“In this complex world today, this is not easy. The adversary is increasing his attacks on faith and upon us and our families at an exponential rate.

“To survive spiritually, we need counter-strategies and proactive plans. Accordingly, we now want to put in place organisational adjustments that will further fortify our members and their families.

“For many years, church leaders have been working on an integrated curriculum to strengthen families and individuals through a home-centred and church-supported plan to learn doctrine, strengthen faith, and foster greater personal worship. Our efforts over these recent years to hallow the Sabbath—to make it a delight and a personal sign to God of our love for Him—will be augmented by the adjustments we will now introduce.

“This morning we will announce a new balance and connection between gospel instruction in the home and in the church. We are each responsible for our individual spiritual growth. And scriptures make it clear that parents have the primary responsibility to teach the doctrine to their children. It is the responsibility of the church to assist each member in the divinely defined goal of increasing his or her gospel knowledge.”

President Nelson’s revelation strengthens the belief that the greatest work we can ever do is within the four walls of our homes and that no success in life can compensate for failure in the homes.

A strong home, where children are raised with strong moral values and standards in an atmosphere of love and compassion will lead to strong communities and a strong nation.

Acknowledgments

Paul Whippy, a former national basketball coach, now an Area Seventy in the church based in Suva, says President Nelson is the Lord’s prophet in the world today and reveals the will and mind of the Lord to all God’s children everywhere.

“His messages of the past and present are always appropriate and relevant and are presented in a spirit of love and concern for us especially at this time when the world is faced with many unprecedented challenges and difficulties. The prophet speaks of peace, hope and deliverance through faith and obedience to the teachings of Jesus Christ. He always provides counsel and suggestions that if followed will protect us from present and future dangers and difficulties we will face both as individuals and also as families. I look forward to hear and feel the soft, gentle and sure voice of the Lord as President Nelson will talk to us as he is moved upon by the Holy Ghost. I look forward to receiving his apostolic blessings upon us and to feel the Lord’s peace and love for me and my family and everyone in Fiji and the world. I thank God for a prophet who leads us in these latter-days.”

Kamoe Varea, President Suva Fiji Stake, says “I love our beloved Prophet, President Nelson, with all my heart, I truly sustain him. I have no doubt that he is God’s Prophet. I have that opportunity to witness that when he visited our country in May 2019.

“That day of his proposed arrival the weather was so bad that I thought we might have a cyclone and his visit may be cancelled. When his plane touched down, the elements withdrew and there was calm all around. This strengthened my testimony.

“Our beloved Prophet taught the people the importance of the holy books including the Bible and the Book of Mormon and the significance of the Temple. He encouraged the people to find happiness in the Gospel and in their own lives and to share that with others. He encouraged us to value the importance of education because we can make a bigger difference in the world. I look forward to hear him talk and listen to his counsel and what I can do to fulfill it.

Bishop Anare Tavo of Nadi Ward of the church says “During these challenging times it’s comforting to know that we are led by a prophet of God; President Nelson. During his last visit to Fiji I was reminded that we are all children of God and that our purpose here on earth is to prepare ourselves and our family to one day gain eternal life.

“I look forward to hearing from him once again and I know his message will give us peace during these difficult times and hope that we can still find happiness as we embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ during these latter days.”

Bishop Rahul Solanki, Bishop Suva 3rd Ward, says

“When President Nelson visited Fiji last year I could feel his concern over the impending trials. He lovingly directed us to watch over the children as he knew that the coming year would really be tough, especially for the future generation of the church.

“I feel that we will be receiving warnings and instructions as what is to come due to the current worldwide situation and how we must prepare ourselves as members and non-members to stand as a light to the world with new programmes to help the community.”

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj



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