Dear Sisters and Elders,
Every week is a good week when I get to spend time with the Missionaries of the Florida Tampa Mission- the best mission in the church! I enjoyed being with you for zone conference. As always, the strength of your love and faithfulness lifts me and energizes me.
We have been studying the Fourth watch. The Savior, in Galilee, fed five thousand from five loaves and 2 fishes. He then sent his disciples ahead of Him to cross the Sea of Galilee in a ship which is soon tossed with the waves in a contrary wind. He did not come to them in the first, second, or third watch of the night. They are left to struggle. I am sure, with all their might, against the storm tossed sea -strengthening their muscles, hearts and wills until they have done all they can do. Then in the early morning, during the fourth and last watch He comes walking across the turbulent waters; first to build and strengthen their faith and then to calm the wind and sea. The end result of this experience is a group of disciples who are tired but strong in body and spirit. They also know that He will come to strengthen them in difficult circumstances after they do all in their own power. They are becoming disciples of courage who, in the not too distant future, will stand strong and faithful in the face of difficult circumstances to build up the early Church of Jesus Christ. They will exhibit great power and perform many mighty miracles in their future ministry. They will be men of courage and strength. In Mathew’s Gospel this is the first time that they expressed their belief that Jesus was the Son of God! “of a truth thou art the Son of God.”
Henry Eyring, the father of President Henry B. Eyring, was a wonderful man and scientist. He was a wise and good saint. He was nominated for a Nobel Prize for his contributions to science. At the end of his life, he was stricken with prostate cancer, which migrated to the bone. He was in severe pain and suffered much prior to his death. He spoke with his friend saying, “Why do I have to suffer so? Why is this so hard? “ Then he slipped into unconsciousness. He later awakened and spoke again to his friend saying: “I now know why I must suffer: GOD NEEDS MEN OF COURAGE!”
I am reminded at this time that the kingdom of God would also need to come forth in these latter days in the midst of turbulent times -Out of obscurity and out of darkness and shine to all the nations. God needs men and women of courage; men and women of faith, strength and valiance; men and women who would stay true, obedient, diligent, happy and optimistic in rough times; men and women who knew how to obtain His strength to accomplish great things in the midst of difficult circumstances. He needs to be able to count on the men and women of the Florida Tampa Mission to build the Kingdom now and for all of their lives. I have a firm testimony of these truths for those missionaries that are striving for this excellence. I know the end result will be men and women of courage and strength now and always.
I love and believe in you and pray that as an ambassador of Jesus Christ, you will plant your roots deep in the fertile soil of the Florida Tampa Mission and bring many unto Christ.