Members reach out in service to bless lives

Recalling an effort to rescue lost snowmobile adventurers last winter in the Heber Valley east of Salt Lake City, President Thomas S. Monson compared it to the effort of priesthood holders to bless lives.

President Monson, second counselor in the First Presidency, recited for priesthood bearers Saturday evening the words of the hymn "Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd" (Hymns, No. 221)."Tonight," he said, "I express the gratitude of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles and all the General Authorities of the Church to members worldwide for your generosity and sacrifice in contributing your time, talents and means through fast offerings and other service to alleviate suffering and bless lives."

He mentioned that the Church during the past year took part in more than 350 hunger relief, community development and in-kind projects in Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States and Canada.

". . . We, in the fulfillment of our assignments, whatever they may be in His service, will see the evidence of His divine help and feel the touch of His gentle hand."

Recalling the lessons from scripture about the shepherd leaving the ninety and nine to save a lost sheep and about the prodigal son, President Monson told of writing regularly as a bishop to a serviceman from his ward serving in the Korean War. Only after 17 letters did the man respond, expressing thanks and saying he had been ordained that day as a teacher. Years later, the man approached President Monson at a Church meeting and said, "Thanks for the letters. That's why I'm here today."

"Brethren, in our priesthood callings I am confident we at times wonder if we are affecting the lives of others in a favorable manner," President Monson remarked.

"The simple words from Ecclesiastes, or the Preacher, carry an assurance that brings comfort and inspires effort: `Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.' "

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