Friday, May 1, 2015

Timely Prophetic Counsel

Our family lived in Baltimore for 6 years. I remember clearly still the day my kids and I stepped into the Inner Harbor Branch (we later became a Ward).  I was alone. My husband was deployed in Iraq.  But I will never forget the feeling of coming home. It was so real and so beautiful! 
To see a city we enjoyed and have such great memories of, become a place of turmoil and tragedy, was very sad to me. 

In the news this morning there was a discussion on what the causes might be that enable a community to remain in poverty, or to become so "broken spirited". The panel discussed welfare system. They even discussed the need for fathers to take responsibility in the lives of their children.  And the talks from conference that we read last week and this week kept ringing in my head. 

Elder Sitati's talk was especially powerful. He knows first hand poverty and the despair that can come into such a life.
"I was born and raised in humble circumstances typical to many families in Africa. I gained the ability to lift myself from those circumstances by seeking and obtaining, with the caring help of my parents, a good education. Developing a vision of what I could become was essential to my progress. Later, as a young couple, my wife, Gladys, and I found the restored gospel, which continues to bless our lives with spiritual direction. Like every family, we have our trials and challenges. But as we look to the Lord for help, we have found answers that bring peace and comfort, and we do not feel overwhelmed by these things.
"The challenges facing human society today, including immorality, pornography, armed conflict, pollution, substance abuse, and poverty, flourish because many in the world have turned themselves over by choice “to the will of the devil and the flesh” rather than to the will of God. “They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world.”
"However, God invites all His children to obtain His help to overcome and endure the challenges of this life with these words:
“I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh.
“… If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, … ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you.”
"Faithful Latter-day Saints who understand their divine potential and rely wholeheartedly on the power available through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ are strengthened in their natural weakness and “can do all things.” They are enabled to overcome the enticings of evil that have put many under bondage to the adversary.
I am grateful for the knowledge I have, that so many do not have, that a Father in Heaven loves me. And because He loves me, He has a plan for me that will allow me to have true happiness in this life. And because He loves me, I can have His help when things get tough, and that the tough things will make me a better person. If every young person in Baltimore knew what I know, perhaps the would be more mutual respect, more desire for virtue, more tolerance and peace.