By Dennis Gaunt
This is truly an exciting time to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are living in a day when prophecies made centuries ago are being fulfilled and where the work of the Lord is moving forward faster than ever. The Lord has brought the Church “out of obscurity and out of darkness” (D&C 1:30) to the point where we are now well known throughout the world, or, as President Harold B. Lee once remarked, “this isn’t 1830, and there aren’t just six of us.” But there is still much more to do.
With the lowering of ages for missionary service and the changes in curriculum for both youth Sunday school and seminary, it feels as though the Lord has now shifted the Church into high gear and is hastening the work (see D&C 88:73). As a result, the time to prepare for missionary service has been hastened. Youth today need to begin preparing early—in their homes and in seminary—because 18 and 19 are just around the corner, and will be here before you know it.
This sense of hastening; this feeling of “let’s get up and get moving,” is all in harmony with what the scriptures teach. The prophet Isaiah likened the Lord’s Church to a giant tent that would cover the whole earth in the last days, and which would be a “place of refuge” (Isaiah 4:6). He also said that the Lord would send “swift messengers” (Isaiah 18:2) to go out into the world and bring people back to the refuge of the tent. These messengers would be able to move so quickly that they would not “slumber nor sleep . . . nor the latchet of their shoes be broken” (Isaiah 5:27). When we consider that missionaries can literally be on the other side of the world in a matter of hours instead of days or weeks, we can begin to see what Isaiah meant.
Jesus Himself echoed the same ideas in a parable He taught about a king who was hosting a great feast. The king instructed his servants to “Go out quickly, into the streets and the lanes of the city . . . go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:21, 22). Whether we bring people into the Lord’s tent to get in out of the storm, or whether they are invited into the king’s house for a feast, the imagery is the same: our brothers and sisters out there in the world need the protection and nourishment only found here in the Lord’s Church. And in both cases, speed plays an important role.
In a recent worldwide missionary broadcast entitled “The Work of Salvation,” Elder L. Tom Perry announced that missionaries will now be able to spend part of their daily time using the Internet, social media, texting, and email to help coordinate their time more effectively, as well as to find, fellowship, and teach others. How much faster can you move than to point, click, and type? One wonders how many pairs of shoes and shoelaces this new direction in missionary work will save from breaking!
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland reminded us, “Don’t delay. It’s getting late.” The good news is we don’t have to wait for full time missionary service to begin utilizing these wonderful tools the Lord has blessed us with. We can begin now by liking and friending missionaries on Facebook. When the Spirit prompts us, we can share our beliefs with others online. We can be a positive influence on those around us—even in cyberspace. So let’s get up and get moving. Let’s do all we can to become the Lord’s “swift messengers” and help hasten the work!