'I have testimony of him, his work; he guides Church'

Pledges service to Master

Speaks of spreading gospel- Testifies of Christ

Pledging his "all to the service of the Master," newly sustained Presiding Bishop Merrill J. Bateman addressed general conference Sunday morning.

"For two days, two passages of scriptures have been coming, floating through my mind," related Bishop Bateman, who had served in the Second Quorum of the Seventy since October 1992. He referred to the second chapter of Daniel and the 54th chapter of Isaiah. Both chapters are related, he said, in that they speak of the gospel spreading over the earth in the last days.

"As I've thought about those passages, I've thought about the awesome task of supporting the Brethren in carrying the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, that being the responsibility of the Presiding Bishopric and all those who work with them."

The new Presiding Bishop also paid tribute to his wife, Marilyn. "She's stood beside me for 35 years," he said.

Bishop Bateman related how a few months ago he and Sister Bateman were on a tour of the Japan Fukuoka Mission and were introduced to a young Japanese brother, a convert.

"He'd met the missionaries; he was interested in the message, but during the course of the lessons, he could not understand or feel the need for a Savior."

Then one morning, Bishop Bateman related, an elderly woman came into the optician's shop where the young man made glasses. "He remembered her coming in a few weeks before. She had broken her glasses. When she'd come in earlier, she didn't have enough money and had gone away to save more in order to buy some glasses.

"She showed him again her spectacles, showed him the money she now had, and he realized that she didn't have enough yet. Then a thought came to him: `I have some money. I don't need to tell her, but I can make up the difference.'

"And so he told her that the money she had was adequate, took her glasses, sent her on her way and made an appointment for her to return when he had finished making the spectacles.

"She returned later. He handed [the glasses] to her and she put them on," Bishop Bateman related as he put on his own glasses. " `I see, I see.' And she began to cry.

"At that point, a burning sensation came inside the pit of [the young man's] stomach, and it began to swell. He said, I understand. I understand.' And he began to cry. Out the door he ran looking for the missionaries. When he saw them, he said,I see. My eyes have been opened. I know that Jesus is the Son of God.' "

In conclusion, Bishop Bateman declared: "I have a deep testimony of Him, of His work on this earth, that He's the one who guides and directs the affairs of this Church."

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