A few weeks ago, President Thompson discovered that we had over 25 returned missionaries in the Newcastle area that were "less active". He commissioned leaders in the area to find these missionaries and invite them and other members who were not coming to church to a special fireside with a General Authority!
The meeting was held in the Madedeni Chapel where the photo below was taken. The entire room was filled.
I had the privilege to speak, President Thompson spoke, and then our General Authority spoke. There was a beautiful spirit.
During the question and answer period at the end, a gentleman stood. He expressed a deep concern and worry. He said that he had been a branch president and fell away from the church, making incorrect choices. However, he wanted to come back, but was concerned for the welfare and faith of others that knew of his transgressions.
Elder Palmer invited this man to come next to him on the stand. While the man was making his way, Elder Palmer taught the principle of repentance, love, and forgiveness. Elder Palmer gave the man a big hug as he stood next to him - the entire audience gasped. He further explained that no matter what this man had done, if he truly repented the Lord would forgive him. He also admonished the audience to offer forgiveness, and show forth love because we all make mistakes. There was a strong witness of these two important principles of the gospel. Tears streamed from my eyes and I could see throughout the audience that many could feel the spirit. Jesus Christ loves ALL! And, through his atonement, he is beside us every step, if we allow Him.
It was a beautiful fireside. Many of the "less actives" came to church the next day. The gospel is about CHANGING lives for the better, and we were able to see that miracle in just one fireside.
We don’t pray because we’re worthy. We pray because we need help.
We don’t take the sacrament because we are perfect, but because we are willing to be perfected.
We don’t go to the temple because we’ve made it, but because God is making us better there.
We are not earning a treasure in heaven, but learning to treasure heavenly things.
This young man is considering a mission. When I first took his photo, he didn't smile. I told him he had a wonderful smile, and when he questioned it, I snapped shutter on the camera. I think it's a great smile!