In the 12 years since Elder Neil L. Andersen was called as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, he has experienced sacred moments, “unspeakable experiences and feelings that I never anticipated in my life, assuring me of the reality of Jesus Christ,” he related in a devotional broadcast on Sunday, Feb. 21.
As a “friend and fellow disciple” motivated by love and respect, Elder Andersen testified to French-speaking young adult Latter-day Saints “that your faith in Jesus Christ is not in vain. You will see Him again. All the world will know He is the Son of God.”
Elder Andersen’s live broadcast was the first of six area devotionals designed to reach Latter-day Saint young adults around the world.
Speaking in French to listeners in Africa, Tahiti, France, Canada, Haiti and the French islands of the Caribbean and other locations, Elder Andersen was joined by his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, who also speaks French, in reinforcing and encouraging young adults’ faith.
A 20-year-old young woman from Cameroon said that listening to the broadcast was “a very special experience.”
“I am thankful to know the true gospel and to have leaders called of God. Today, once again, I was able to understand my value to my Heavenly Father. I am a daughter of God and I love Him as He loves me and you,” she commented on social media.
Elder Randall K. Bennett, president of the North America Northeast Area, who also speaks fluent French, conducted and introduced the meeting. Two French-speaking young adults, Pauline Caussé and Eric Lepore, offered the invocation and benediction, respectively.
The modern Apostle began by sharing the words of the ancient Apostle Paul, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
“Substance. Evidence. This is what faith is,” Elder Andersen said. “This is what belief is. It is real. It is part of our inner being. Our spirits long to believe in God and long to have faith in Christ.”
Elder Andersen then shared six belief-related injunctions.
1. “Believe in God”
Quoting the prophet Alma and King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon, Elder Andersen emphasized that all things created, both in the heavens and on the earth, bear witness of a Supreme Creator.
“As we look upon the beauties of the earth, the amazing laws of physics and science and how they all connect together, ‘everything denotes there is a God’ (Alma 30:44), everything reveals the handiwork of our Heavenly Father,” Elder Andersen said.
As an example, Elder Andersen described the 6,400-kilometer migration of the Monarch butterfly from Canada to Mexico and then back again.
In “this amazing demonstration of the wonders of God,” no single butterfly is able to make the entire journey. It takes four generations “without any visible direction” for the butterfly to reach its destination.
2. “Believe you are a daughter or son of God and that He knows and loves you.”
Recognizing that individuals might not see themselves as unique or special, Elder Andersen testified, “You are a daughter or a son of our Heavenly Father, and He loves you in an incalculable way.”
Some may feel as Enoch, Elder Andersen said, who “bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?”
However, the Lord reassured Enoch, “Behold my Spirit is upon you,” and He opened Enoch’s eyes, and he became a great prophet (Moses 6:31, 34).
“You are a son or a daughter of God, and you have infinite value,” Elder Andersen told listeners.
3. “Believe that you can speak to your Heavenly Father and He will send His Spirit upon you.”
Sister Andersen joined her husband in speaking “beautifully” about the power of prayer.
She invited the young adults to remember the words of President Russell M. Nelson. “Find a quiet place where you can go regularly. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to him for answers and comfort. Pray in the name of Jesus Christ for your worries, your fears, your weaknesses, yes, for the very longings of your heart” (April 2018 general conference).
Sister Andersen said something special happened as she began to pray like the Prophet suggested. She bore witness that “we do have a Heavenly Father” who is loving, kind and generous.
“He understands all — all the feelings of our hearts and souls. He loves us with a love that is more complete, purer, more perfect, more expansive than anything we can imagine. We are His children. If we will call to Him, ‘Father are you there?’ He will hear our prayer. I know this is true,” she said.
4. “Believe that the kingdom of God is rolling forth across the world and that we each are an important part of preparing for the Second Coming of the Savior.”
Referencing a talk he gave in the October 2016 general conference, Elder Andersen compared the spreading of the gospel to fill the whole earth to “an enormous puzzle whose pieces will be set in place prior to the events of the Second Coming.”
Each individual is a piece of the puzzle, Elder Andersen explained. “You are important to this great cause. Our view ahead is now clear. We can see the miracle continuing and the Lord’s hand guiding us as we complete the gaps that remain.”
The Apostle invited young adults to be “witnesses of God,” which led to his fifth admonition.
5. “Believe that others who you know will embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Quoting the prophet Jeremiah, Elder Andersen said Latter-day Saints must, like fishers, throw their line into the sea or hunt “from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks,” (Jeremiah 16:16).
Elder Andersen noted that those most willing to hear the message of the gospel are “those we know” and invited listeners to be open about their faith in Jesus Christ.
“Be unafraid to share how your faith has improved your life,” Elder Andersen said. “Invite those who are interested in your example to come with you to the activities of the Church, and if they are willing, to meet with the missionaries. This is one important way we do our part in assembling the magnificent puzzle in preparation to the Savior’s return.”
6. “Believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World.”
Elder Andersen said he has had a firm faith in Jesus Christ for many years, but serving in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has provided a clear, certain witness that Christ lives, is resurrected and is the Beloved Son of God.
“For me, there are no words in any language to truly describe the majesty, the power, the glory, or the love of the Son of God,” Elder Andersen said.
As individuals deeply consider his or her own sins and recognize complete dependence upon Jesus Christ, their love for God blossoms, the Apostle taught. “As we understand even the smallest part of the price He paid for our sins, we are filled with never-ending love for Him.”
Speaking on a topic that, he said, “stirs my soul,” Elder Andersen described the “glorious day of the Savior’s return to the earth.”
“The scope and grandeur, the vastness and magnificence, will exceed anything mortal eyes have ever seen or experienced,” he said.
In that day the Savior will not come “wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger,” but He will appear “in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory; with all the holy angels” (Doctrine and Covenants 45:44).
“In that day the skeptics will be silent, ‘for every ear shall hear …, and every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess’ (Doctrine and Covenants 88:104) that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world,” Elder Andersen testified.