Bishop Michael Onoalapo opened the service with these words :
"The Lord has put so much on Earth today so that we should not lose our way. We have the Living Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. We can be guided by the Spirit of the Lord to do the things our Heavenly Father wants us to do, what would be pleasing in his eyes.
Perfection is a continuous process in life. President Monson was asked by a journalist "What thought would you like to share with us?"
President Monson, quoting our Saviour, said "Tell them to love one another as I have loved you - that is the commandment of our Lord".
As we read the Book of Mormon, we will come closer to God. We are in the right place in this church.
This was followed by the testimony of Sister Alyssia Harper, who recently returned from a mission to Japan. "I have been back 8 months from the mission, but it feels like two years. I was nervous and very excited to be going to Japan, Tokyo. The Mission President asked me how good I was at languages. I have German at GCSE. I am not an A+ plus student, but nor an F student. I am a B student, and I play the piano. That's good enough, said the Mission President, we'll send you to Tokyo, Japan.....I was going to help the people there in their study of the Bible.
It was a challenge, as her companion's Japanese wasn't that fluent either. Sometimes they hardly understood the people they did the fellowshipping with. But they had faith, that Spirit would help. And it did.
Some of the questions they were asked in Tokyo were :
Is Jesus really the Saviour?
How can I protect my teenagers from drugs and immorality?
How can I find work to support my family?
Brilliant questions. (This would make a good booklet)
Why is there so much sin out there?
Sister Harper realised that if we read the Book of Mormon with spirit, it helps us find the answers. (So my friends in Japan, this is the answer for you. Read the Book of Mormon with the companionship of the Spirit, and you will be guided to answers to your questions).
"One of our investigators (seeking to join the church and investigating our beliefs)
had a riddled life, bless her soul. But after reading the Book of Mormon, her life changed. She gave up wearing the micromini skirts and wore pants instead. "Ever since reading the Book of Mormon, a change has come over me. I have joy in my life, I feel so happy."
I have made a personal goal to read it at least ten minutes each day, to get closer to our Heavenly Father. There is always time to read the Scriptures, even if we have to give up ten minutes of our sleep.
The Book of Mormon is true, and Joseph Smith was a true Prophet of God. Our purpose should be to help others. Amen. "
This was followed by Brother Harper, who has studied the words of John Pontius and has a small library at home. "Prayer is our communication, our communion with God. He can see the beginning and the end, but He will never force us to do anything. We find it difficult to pray at times, we all have our ups and downs. "
Brother Harper read three pages of his talk entitled "Anatomy of Prayer".
Essentially, his message was that for prayers to be effective, we have to pray with spirit, and then wait for the answers.
There are three voices that we can hear : 1) the voice of our own mind - the loudest; 2) the voice of the Spirit, which is revealatory, the voice of Christ (it may not be audible, but it will be a good message); 3)the voice of evil, which panders to our flesh and our vanity, and induces apathy.
This suggests we should listen to the guidance of the 'still small voice'. Now having a clue how to distinguish it, we know what to follow, and what will bring us most comfort and joy.
I find it very satisfying to worship with all these people, who have tuned into living good wholesome lives, guided by righteous living, 'as our Heavenly Father would have us live'. I ask for blessings upon all, in the name of Jesus our Saviour and Redeemer. Amen.
Melchizedek Priest at the LDS Church, Ilford)