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Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita: 'Be Ambitious for Christ'

Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita, General Authority Seventy, urged members to "be ambitious for Christ," in his talk during the Saturday afternoon session of general conference.

"Being ambitious for Christ means being motivated, focused and dedicated to His work," Elder Yamashita said. "Being ambitious for Christ means that we serve faithfully and diligently in our wards and branches without complaint and with joyful hearts. ...

"Our missionaries serving throughout the world are beautiful examples of those who are truly ambitious for Christ," Elder Yamashita said. He presided over the Japan Nagoya Mission from 2013-2015.

One of the missionaries who served under him, Elder Cowan, exemplified being ambitious for Christ. Because of a bicycle accident as a youth, he didn't have his right leg. His prosthetic leg kept breaking because he was required to ride a bike on his mission. This caused him a lot of pain. "The area medical advisor recommended that Elder Cowan return home for a possible mission reassignment," Elder Yamashita said. "I resisted this advice because Elder Cowan was a great missionary, and he had a strong desire to remain in Japan."

Even as Elder Cowan approached his physical limit and eventually had to be reassigned, he worked hard despite the pain. "I am proud, not only of Elder Cowan, but of all the missionaries throughout the world who serve willingly without murmuring or complaining."

Like Alma the younger, Elder Yamashita's second son lived much of his youth apart from the Church. "When he turned 20, he had an experience that made him want to change his life," he said, and his son was called to serve in the Washington Seattle Mission. The first few months were difficult and he suffered great discouragement, wondering why he was there.

After a year, he wrote an email home saying, "'... right now I can really feel the love of God and of Jesus. I will work hard to become like the prophets of old. Though I am also experiencing a lot of difficulties, I am truly happy. Serving Jesus really is the best thing ever.'"

Elder Yamashita said, "In our lives we experience trials, but if we are ambitious for Christ, we can focus on Him and feel joy even in the midst of them."

vjohnson@deseretnews.com

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