My dear and precious sisters, four months have now passed since I extended my invitation to you to help gather scattered Israel. Do you recall how I told you that gathering Israel is “the greatest challenge, the greatest cause, and the greatest work on earth today”? Many of you have seized this challenge with great vigor. I wish to tell you that the Lord loves you and is pleased with every effort you make.
Since last October, I have heard from women all over the world about how they have responded to my four invitations to help gather scattered Israel. You will remember that the four invitations included:
Participate in a 10-day fast from social media and any other media that bring negative and impure thoughts to your mind.
Read the Book of Mormon by the end of 2018.
Establish a pattern of regular temple attendance.
Participate fully in Relief Society.
If you participated in any of these challenges, I want you to know that you are helping to gather scattered Israel. No matter how much time you spend on them, please know that the Lord is mindful and pleased with every effort you make.
On my Instagram and Facebook accounts, I asked to hear about your experiences. I was overwhelmed to see that more than 10,000 women responded! My heart was touched by what you shared. Here are a few examples:
“President Nelson, thank you for the challenge of reading the Book of Mormon. I started the next morning. Little did I know that later that week I would be diagnosed with cancer. I have loved my time with those wonderful prophets and their teachings. Every morning I have found something to help me through one more day of my battle with this disease.”
“I’ve learned that the Book of Mormon has a lot of goodness in it. I know that sounds simple, but I’ve had several friends leave the Church over the last few years and it’s left me with a lot of questions. Reading the Book of Mormon with a focus on Christ helped me see how focused on Christ it really is and helped me see the goodness in the book. I appreciate the challenge to read it.”
“When you first issued the invitation to read the Book of Mormon, I thought, this is impossible. I have five children, I work, the list of excuses went on and on. But then I thought, if the prophet is asking me to do this, then I can do it. I started with the 10-day social media fast challenge. As soon as I started, I realized that I had more time than I thought. Each time I went to click on a social media app, I would click on the scriptures and read instead. As I did my best to do these challenges, it has truly blessed my life and I’ve felt closer to my Savior and more patience for my children. I’ll be finishing the Book of Mormon today!”
“I learned that social media is a fun place to be but not where to go to find peace and happiness. The scriptures can and will be that beacon for me!”
“My husband and I have struggled with infertility since we were married 6 years ago. We had a miscarriage a little over a year ago and it was reading the scriptures that kept me strong as I felt the Lord directing our lives and giving us comfort and strength and guidance during such a hard trial. I hold on to those personal whisperings of the Spirit ever so close to my heart.
“With this challenge I went to God in faith asking for the greatest desire of my heart, to be a mother, knowing that in the end, I trusted His timing and will for us no matter what. But I also very strongly believed and felt that I needed to ask in faith, not wavering but being believing. I felt as though all I could offer and give to Him would fall short, but nevertheless my heart was all in. I trusted and truly believed that the Lord would answer my prayers if I tried my best, even if I’ll always fall short.
“Heavenly Father answered the longings of my heart, and on December 17 we found out we are pregnant. I believe in the power of faith and following the guidance of our prophet, that miracles do happen through the power of our faith and love in Jesus Christ.”
“My 9-year-old daughter and I read the Book of Mormon together. It was a struggle since her reading ability caused us to move at a painfully slow rate. Her 7-year-old sister decided to join in, making the process even slower as we took turns reading. After weeks of reading, they both improved and things began to go smoother. I mentioned to my girls that their reading had improved dramatically. My oldest quickly pointed out that it was a blessing from following the prophet and reading the Book of Mormon.
“We finished reading a few days before Christmas. The biggest blessing though is seeing my oldest read the Book of Mormon independently now every morning since we finished reading it together. I know it’s the small and simple things that will build her faith.”
I wish to thank you all for responding to my invitations. Your experiences with these challenges have been varied but meaningful. As we shift to a more home-centered, Church-supported curriculum, please remember that we need you. You are a key to the success of this new, balanced, and coordinated gospel-teaching effort.
Sisters, I love you and thank you. As a result of your efforts, I promise that the heavens will open for you. The Lord will bless you with increased inspiration and revelation. Together we can do all that our Heavenly Father needs us to do to prepare the world for the Second Coming of His Beloved Son.