Monday, 10 February 2014

Stake leaders gather to catch vision of the hastening

On Sunday 9 January, nearly 100 leaders from around the stake gathered at the Devonport Stake Centre to be taught by the Area Presidency in their annual leadership training broadcast.

Elder James J. Hamula, Pacific Area President, opened the meeting by describing that although steady work over the past 5 years had produced steady results throughout the area, the time had come to follow the call of the Prophet to hasten the work by reaching out in love to extend the blessings of the gospel to all of God's children.

Elder Kevin W. Pearson, first counsellor in the Area Presidency, taught of the importance of helping members to deepen their conversion to Jesus Christ by: increasing their faith in Him, recommitting to the law of the fast, and immersing themselves in the Book of Mormon.

Elder O. Vincent Haleck, second counsellor in the Area Presidency, described how the hastening included work for God's children on both sides of the veil. He challenged members throughout the area to become actively engaged in family history research to find and provide saving ordinances to our deceased family members. In support of this effort, a new quarterly report issued by the First Presidency will enable leaders to track the number of members actively submitting family names to the temple.

Elder Hamula concluded the meeting by reissuing the invitations extended to leaders at the 2013 Area Presidency broadcast: to hold presidency and council meetings at least twice per month, and to set aside one night a week to rescue visits and one night a week to interviews. He promised that as we are faithful in actively reaching out to rescue and minister to God's children through deepening their personal conversion to Jesus Christ and providing saving ordinances, we will see great success and growth in our stakes, wards and branches.

Following the broadcast, President Prebble, stake president, invited second counsellor President Walters to introduce the 2014 Stake Mission Plan, which although formulated several months previous, incorporated all of the challenges extended by the Area Presidency in the broadcast. He described the vision of "preparing in every way for a temple in Tasmania" as both a figurative and a literal goal as members strive to make their wards, homes and individual lives a "temple offering" to the Lord. He reminded leaders that the Church would need to experience significant growth in Tasmania before a literal fulfillment of the vision was possible, but promised that faithful attention to the vision, goals and activities set forth in the mission plan would help guide ward and branch councils in realising that growth.

President Prebble concluded by re-issuing the stake challenge to read the Book of Mormon daily, and to invite a non-member or less-active member to the general session of stake conference. He also reminded leaders that because the conference would not be webcast, ward and branch councils should work to ensure that every member is present in the stake centre for every appropriate session.

A recording and handouts from the 2014 Area Presidency broadcast are available here.