The mission president opened his scriptures.
I would like to read to you the first recorded words of the Savior as He began His formal ministry. He spoke to a gathering in the town where He spent His youth, to people who did not accept Him. But as He spoke, He declared the mission given to Him by his Father:
“…he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:16-21)
The president paused and looked at the missionaries gathered for the Zone conference. It would be the last time President Schmutz would talk to the missionaries in a Zone Conference, as his three years as a mission president would end on July 1. The missionaries had been announcing it as the “Farewell Zone Conference,” and looked forward to being taught by their beloved president one more time.
I want to say to all of you missionaries: it is a privilege to be called to preach. You—each and every one of you—are so valuable to the Savior’s completion of His mission.
You are the ones to find and teach the poor.
You are the ones sent to heal the broken-hearted through the miracle of the gospel.
You are the ones to bring deliverance to those captured and bruised by sin.
You are the ones to give spiritual sight to those blinded by false doctrine.
You are the ones to prepare the world for the acceptable year of the coming of the Lord.
The president paused again as he looked at the faces that he had come to love so much.
When you made the decision to serve a mission, you entered the great University of Mortality. You are earning your first and most important degree. The Savior is your advisor and mentor.
He is with you every day. He walks with you through the courses He Himself first completed. He will not let you fail, because you are working to complete the work that He began in the obscure town of Nazareth. Your work, like His work, will endure throughout the eternities.
Your textbooks are the scriptures. The books don’t cost you hundreds of dollars. They are easy to obtain. But when you hold them in your hands, think of what you have. You are holding centuries of the revealed word of God. Think of the pain, sorrow and sacrifice of the prophets as they prepared spiritually in their time to receive and give the word of God—and you can receive the words so easily!
Be grateful. Let the scriptures be life to you. Let them be bread and water to your soul. Let them open up your view of eternity.
The president paused again. Then he turned to the 53rd chapter of Isaiah.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Our Heavenly Father will ask you again and again to make sacrifices. We grow by sacrifice. The Savior taught us about sacrifice. He was bruised, put to grief, and bore our iniquities through the travail of His soul, as He poured out His soul unto death. He sacrificed all that He was and all that He had—for us. He sacrificed that He might go before the Father with His soul as an offering for our sins.
When we let Him make His soul an offering for our sins—when He can see in a single person the acceptance of His atonement—then He shall be satisfied. Then His mission shall be successful. Then, He who was cut off out of the land of the living without earthly seed, without a generation to declare, will receive His seed. For all who will make His soul as offering for their sins will become His seed and heirs, joint heirs with Him as He divides with each the portion of the great.
Let Jesus Christ be the “Captain of our Souls”.
Turn the wheel over to Him. He is a good driver.
Let Him encircle you about eternally in the arms of his love. (2 Nephi 1:15)