News Story

'This is the Gospel of Glad Tidings'

Elder Russell M. Nelson Meets with Australian Latter-day Saints

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met with over a thousand Latter-day Saint leaders and missionaries this week in two separate meetings.

On Tuesday evening [18 February] Elder Nelson spoke to over 800 Latter-day Saint leaders from wards (congregations) and stakes (similar to dioceses) in Sydney, Newcastle, Canberra and other cities.

The following morning he spoke to around 450 missionaries and their leaders from the two Latter-day Saint missions covering New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Those who could not join the meetings in person were able to participate via satellite link.

“This is the gospel of glad tidings,” he told the Australian Latter-day Saints. He encouraged them to “rejoice and be glad as we build the kingdom together. We all need the living waters of Jesus Christ.”

“The Lord uses the unlikely to accomplish the impossible,” he said.  “Think of Moses’ story, bringing the children of Israel out of bondage, and parting the Red Sea. The Virgin Mary and Sarah, Abraham’s wife with their miraculous child bearing experiences.  Or the Latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith, who brought forth the restoration of the gospel, and now the nearly 82,000 young army of missionaries flooding the earth.”

Elder Nelson continued: “Satan is attacking the heart of the family. Now he is going about reducing the number of children families have, stopping marriage, and spreading the dreadful plague of pornography. He makes people feel there is no need for two parents.”

“How do we combat these incessant evils?” he asked.  “We must strengthen families, helping them come to the temple."

A young missionary from Maryland, USA, Elder Tsai, played the prelude and piano accompaniment for the missionary meeting.

He said of his experience listening to an apostle: “Elder Nelson’s visit will stay with me for the rest of my life. It was so great to be taught by an apostle of the Lord. My companion Elder Arnold and I serve in the [Australia Sydney] North Mission as Mandarin speaking missionaries and also travel by train into the [Australia Sydney] South Mission to teach people the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Elder Arnold, from Alpine, Utah, USA, said: ‘What a fabulous experience to be in the presence of a living apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I learned more about how we can deepen our personal relationship with the Saviour.”

At the close of the missionary meeting, Elder Nelson blessed those present “with safety and success.” He encouraged them to feast upon the scriptures and expressed his love and gratitude to all present.

Elder Nelson was accompanied by his wife, Sister Wendy Watson Nelson, in his visit to Australia. Pacific Area President, Elder James J. Hamula, and Sister Joyce Hamula travelled to Australia with Elder and Sister Nelson. Australian Church leader, Elder Andrew M. O’Riordan, and his wife Sister Helen O’Riordan accompanied the Nelsons and Hamulas.

Sister Wendy Watson Nelson shared her feelings about family history work with the Australian Latter-day Saints. “I’ve read Elder Richard G. Scott’s talk ‘The Joy of Redeeming the Dead,’ about 135 times and thought to myself, what have I done lately?” 

Sister Nelson says she began to pray earnestly and to dig deeper into her research for those who she might find, to do their temple work. Since that re-dedication and intensified effort towards her family history, she has prepared 1,800 family names for temple work.

Elder Hamula said, “In the parable of the Olive Tree in the Book of Mormon, the scripture Jacob 5:61 says, ‘Wherefore, go to, and call servants, that we may labour diligently with our might in the vineyard, that we may prepare the way, that I may bring forth again the natural fruit, which natural fruit is good and the most precious about all other fruit.’  Brothers and sisters, may we hear the call and help both the living and the dead. The Lord is with us as we serve.”

Sister Hamula shared memories of love from home teachers, bishops and a visiting teacher who taught her mother and “always brought a vanilla cake with cherries carefully placed on top, every month.”

“We are the Lord’s hands,” Sister Hamula said.

Elder O’Riordan said, “My parents are first generation members and I am grateful that they were taught by missionaries.  I was deeply touched when I was 12 years old and an apostle, Elder Spencer W. Kimball, visited and left a lasting spiritual impression with me.”

President Philip F. Howes, Sister Judy B. Howes (Australia Sydney North Mission), President Larry Lew, Sister Susanna Lew (Australia Sydney South Mission), and President Peter Barr and Sister Genny Barr (Sydney Australia Temple), also attended the meetings.

View more photographs at the Australia edition of Mormon Newsroom.

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