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justfunsermonsstratford1 (Susan ** )

Talk given at the Stratford Group Sacrament meeting by Sister Susan Taylor, July 2014

Sacrament meeting talk for the Stratford Group – July 20, 2014

I am grateful to be in sacrament meeting with the Stratford Group.  I am grateful to partake of the sacrament.

Over 75 years ago, my dad was a missionary in New Zealand.  He also served here as an interim mission president and as the temple president.  My dad loved this city of Stratford.  He is now 96 years old but he still talks about the city of Stratford and ‘the mountain’.  Prior to us coming to New Zealand, my dad told me many stories about Stratford.  He will be so pleased to learn that we have been here in Sacrament meeting with you today.

From the time of the creation of the earth, the children of God looked forward to the coming of Jesus Christ.  His birth was foretold by prophets as read in scripture throughout the Bible.   As Heavenly Father promised, He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to earth over 2,000 years ago.  The children of God on earth awaited this glorious event.   Jesus Christ came to earth as an infant baby, grew and performed His earthly ministry.  He lived a perfect, sinless life.  During His earth ministry, the Savior taught His gospel and performed many miracles.  He organized His Church on the earth.  He called and ordained twelve men to be His Apostles.  He laid His hands on their heads and gave them priesthood authority so they could teach his gospel and baptize.  He instructed His disciples and followers that revelation from God was the ‘rock’ upon which He would build His Church.

In organizing His church on earth and coming to earth, Jesus Christ fulfilled prophecy.  Many people followed Jesus Christ and joyously accepted his teachings and gospel and enjoyed the ‘glad tidings of great joy’ that His coming brought to the earth.   Sadly, He was rejected and crucified.  But, gratefully, Jesus Christ, fulfilled His mission on earth and completed the Atonement.  He accomplished all that His Heavenly Father sent Him to do.  Even though Jesus Christ was no longer on the earth, His gospel was organized and established here.  Before the Savior’s death and resurrection, He gave His Apostles authority to teach His gospel, perform the ordinances of Salvation, such as baptism, and establish His church on the world.

Our loving Father in Heaven truly wants all of us, His children, to return to Him.  Through learning the teachings of Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can by individual choice, accept His gospel and live so that we can return to Him.  I am grateful that Jesus Christ came to earth, organized His church and through the priesthood and proper authority introduced the ordinances of salvation to all of His children.  I testify that His gospel and church in purity and truth is on the earth once again today just as He organized it when He lived on the earth.

I promise you by following Jesus Christ and accepting His gospel, you will find joy and peace and direction in your life.  Over 75 years ago my father left his home and family in the United States to come and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ in New Zealand and to share the good news that His church was on the earth.  I am thankful for the life and example of my father that prompted President Taylor and me to leave our family and loved ones and join these young faithful missionaries and followers of Jesus Christ in proclaiming His gospel in the land of New Zealand.  

The theme scripture that President Taylor and I chose for our mission is:  “Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.”  (3 Nephi 5:13)   I know I have been called by Christ, and I will do my best to declare His word.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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