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Updated: Church leaders echo President Nelson’s invitation to reach out to ‘the one’ for his 100th birthday

Here’s what Church leaders are saying on social media about President Nelson’s invitation

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are echoing President Russell M. Nelson’s recent invitation to spread the Savior’s love by reaching out to someone in need.

One hundred days before his 100th birthday on Sept. 9, President Nelson posted a message on social media highlighting the parable of the lost sheep — where Jesus uses the number 100 to teach about love and service.

“Though 99 of his flock were safely by his side, the shepherd went in search of the 1 who was lost,” President Nelson explained in a June 1 social media post. “At age 99, I have no need of physical gifts. But one spiritual offering that would brighten my life is for each of us to reach out to ‘the one’ in our lives who may be feeling lost or alone.”

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In the days following this invitation, Church leaders are reiterating President Nelson’s counsel on their social media channels using the hashtag #99plus1, sharing insights about serving closely with him and examples of when they or others have been cared for as “the one.”

‘Unfailingly kind and compassionate’

President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, said this year marks 40 years since he and President Nelson were both called, sustained and set apart as Apostles in the Quorum of the Twelve.

In the many years he has known him, “President Nelson has consistently taught me how to selflessly and lovingly serve others through his example,” President Oaks wrote in a June 3 social media post.

“I appreciate the invitation he recently shared with us to reach out to ‘the one’ as part of our efforts to be like the Savior Jesus Christ. President Nelson is an exemplary follower and servant of the Savior. He is a great role model for all members and leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is always very open and easy to approach, and he is unfailingly kind and compassionate,” President Oaks continued.

“May we follow the counsel of the Lord’s prophet and seek ways to improve our efforts to minister to ‘the one.’”

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‘Incredible, God-given love’

President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, commented on President Nelson’s “incredible, God-given love” for everyone he meets.

“I’ve always been impressed that his love for people leads him to learn and remember their names,” President Eyring said of President Nelson in a June 4 social media post. “I’ve watched him interact with countless individuals over many years, and it’s remarkable how he remembers when he met them and even the names of their spouse and children. The very sound of his voice as he speaks their names seems to convey his great love.

“May we all accept President Nelson’s recent invitation to reach out to someone just as the Savior would. This is a special opportunity to show our love to others, just as our dear prophet shares his Christlike love with all of God’s children.”

A true gentleman

President Jeffrey R. Holland, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, described President Nelson as “the kindest man I have ever been associated with” and “the man for whom the word ‘gentleman’ was created.”

“One of the virtues I have seen President Russell M. Nelson portray unfailingly is his genuine, heartfelt kindness, which has often led him to leave the ninety and nine to go after the one,” President Holland wrote in a June 5 social media post.

In the more than 40 years President Holland has known him, he said he cannot think of a time when President Nelson was unkind, abrupt, rude or insensitive. “As we strive to follow the Savior, let us follow the example of President Nelson’s Christlike character,” he wrote.

The recipient of an effort to seek after ‘the one’

In a June 17 social media post, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared an experience of when he was the recipient of someone’s efforts to seek after “the one.”

When Elder Cook was beginning junior high school, his family moved to a new home in a different congregation. He was still adjusting to the new ward when a father-son event was announced for Bear Lake, about 40 miles away.

“My father was exceptional in every way but was not an active member, so I did not think I would be able to attend,” Elder Cook wrote. “However, one devoted leader, Brother Dean Eyre, issued a special invitation for me to go with him. ... I decided to go with Brother Eyre and had a wonderful experience.”

Elder Cook described Brother Eyre as “a marvelous example of Christlike love” who was a mentor to him.

“There are many ‘ones’ out there for us to find and minister unto. May we all strive to be shepherds over the Lord’s flock in our individual realms of stewardship,” Elder Cook concluded.

The story of Abinadi and Alma

Sunday School General President Mark L. Pace said President Nelson’s invitation to minister to “the one” reminds him of Abinadi’s story in the Book of Mormon.

Standing in the Book of Mormon gallery in the Conference Center on Temple Square in front of a painting of Abinadi preaching the gospel to King Noah, President Pace recounted how Abinadi faced rejection and death. Yet his words reached Alma. Alma believed, fled, and later spread the gospel, impacting numerous lives.

“This story teaches us that even if we don’t see the immediate results of our efforts, our faith and courage could spread through generations,” President Pace wrote in a June 18 Instagram post.

“You might be the one who makes a lasting difference in someone’s life. Embrace the prophet’s invitation to seek out and minister to the one who needs you. Your efforts, seen or unseen, can have profound impacts.”

‘You’re a good boy’

When Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles sat reverently during a Church meeting as a child, his neighbor Becky would affectionately grab his cheek, pat him on the head and say, “You’re a good boy.”

Later in his youth when he passed the sacrament, and at age 21 after he had reported on his mission in sacrament meeting, she did the same thing — “You’re a good boy,” she told him.

A few years ago, Elder Renlund returned to the ward he grew up in. At age 90, Becky again grabbed him by the cheek, patted his head and said, “You’re a good boy.”

“Her applause for my efforts to be good make me want to be good and to be better,” he wrote in a June 20 social media post. “Becky’s influence on me helps me understand the importance of seeing individuals and motivates me to take President Nelson’s invitation seriously and seek out individuals that I can help.”

Individualized ministry

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles echoed President Nelson’s invitation on social media by teaching that each member of the Church has a “personal and one-by-one ministry” to perform.

“In this individualized work of the ministry, the Savior frequently relies upon us to deliver His tender mercies,” he wrote in a June 23 social media post. “Sometimes we may be aware of the role we are performing in accomplishing God’s purposes; many, and perhaps even most times, we are not.

“We are blessed to be instruments through whom tender mercies can be delivered to those in need — because the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.”

A blessing from Elder Nelson

In a video posted to his social media channels, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared an experience in which then-Elder Nelson ministered to him in 2002.

Elder Andersen — who was serving as an area president in Brazil — was having doubts about his ability to speak Portuguese in a presentation for stake presidents. Elder Nelson offered encouragement and reassurance, and gave him a priesthood blessing. Elder Andersen was able to give the presentation in Portuguese.

“I have cherished the sweet blessing I received from then Elder Nelson all those years ago and continue to look up to him and his example as our dear prophet today,” Elder Andersen wrote in a June 24 social media post, with the accompanying video.

Elder Andersen then asked his followers, “When have you been ‘the one’?”

‘Sometimes we are the 99, sometimes we are the 1′

When Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was a young bishop, a family in his ward experienced significant water and termite issues. Ward members rallied to help repair the damage to the Ritter family’s home, including a skilled builder named Larry O’Connor.

Not long after, Larry and Tina O’Connor received emergency word their home was on fire. Again, ward members rallied to help repair the damage — this time, the Ritter family in the lead.

“During our lives, we will all be part of the 99 who help and the 1 who needs help,” Elder Gong wrote in a June 25 social media post. “Sometimes we are the 99 and sometimes we are the 1, but through covenant belonging we can each belong and be part of the whole — members of the household of faith and the community of Latter-day Saints, neighbors, friends, brothers and sisters.”

Magnifying daily efforts

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles posted a photo with Elder Carlos A. Godoy of the Presidency of the Seventy and shared Elder Godoy’s story of being ministered to as a new convert.

Young Elder Godoy suddenly felt like he did not fit in his congregation anymore as the missionaries who taught him were transferred and he didn’t have friends in the ward. “He began to stray from the flock,” Elder Stevenson recounted in a June 26 social media post.

Then a fellow ward member, in a warm and inclusive way, invited Elder Godoy to return.

“Isn’t it remarkable how such small efforts can have eternal consequences? This truth is at the heart of our ministering efforts: Heavenly Father can take our simple, daily efforts and turn them into something miraculous,” Elder Stevenson wrote.

‘Give of ourselves quietly and kindly’

In a video posted to his social media channels, Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles narrated the story of a 10-year-old girl who “quietly left the 99 to serve someone in need.” She gave her coat — the only coat she had brought on a trip — to a young girl on the street who was wet and cold.

“I encourage all of you to take heed of this inspired invitation from our prophet,” Elder Soares wrote in the June 30 social media post, with the accompanying video. “Turning our hearts outward as the Savior did will bless us with limitless opportunities to give of ourselves quietly and kindly to people who need us.”

Inspiration on behalf of a missionary

When Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was serving as a mission president in New York, he felt impressed to ask a certain missionary to provide the opening prayer for a mission conference with Elder Neal A. Maxwell. Elder Rasband told the missionary of this prompting during an interview with him.

“With amazement and humility in his eyes, he began to weep deeply,” Elder Rasband recalled in a July 3 social media post. The missionary told him that Elder Maxwell had called his father to be the district president in Accra, Ghana, and had sealed his mother and father in the Salt Lake Temple.

“Now, I didn’t know any of this beforehand, but the Lord did, and He inspired a mission president on behalf of one missionary to provide a lifelong memory and testimony-building experience,” Elder Rasband wrote.

“Let us all strive [to] heed President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation to minister to the one, ‘one by one’ like the Savior.”

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