AREA PRESIDENCY MESSAGE

    A Friend for All Seasons

    JESUS NEVER ALONE

    'We all – at some point – will come to understand that we can count only on a handful of people, but ultimately, exclusively on our older Brother, Jesus Christ – for He is the only friend who can free us from the pains caused by our greatest fears: Death and the separation of our loved ones.'

    During this Easter season – as we ponder the Savior: His life, sacrifice and resurrection – His words found in John 15:13 seem to capture a special meaning: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”.

    Have you ever thought about how many good friends you actually have? 

    Or who is your very best friend?

    Some months ago, I was able to get in touch again, through a video conference, with one who used to be a very good friend in the past – but with whom I had no contact for nearly two decades. He had made some decisions in his life which caused many of his “good” friends, including myself, to decide not to be close to him anymore. During this video conference we were trying to catch up for nearly 20 missing years of our lives. He then called his younger son, who appeared in front of the screen smiling, and then he said pointing at me: “Son, I want you to meet your dad’s very best friend!” At that moment I felt a mixture of joy for learning that he still considers me his best friend – and pain for knowing that I had left him alone, perhaps when he needed me the most. We have, since then, reignited the flame of our precious friendship.

    If we pay close attention, we will realize that we all have different kinds of friends: The “good times” friends, which will be around if we have something to offer. The “bad times” friends, which will suddenly appear to sympathize for some difficult situation we are going through. There are also the “circumstantial” friends, which will interact with us as long as we are working, studying or even serving together, but disappear from our lives when we are not in close proximity any longer. Nowadays, we have the so called “social media” friends, which will “Like” and even comment on our pictures and posts, but perhaps will mostly remain in a shallow relationship.

    While we should enjoy and treasure all types of friendships and try to be friendly to all, when dark clouds come over our lives and we feel like we cannot go through life alone this critical question comes:

    Who can I really count on? 

    We all – at some point – will come to understand that we can count only on a handful of people, but ultimately, exclusively on our older Brother, Jesus Christ – for He is the only friend who can free us from the pains caused by our greatest fears: Death and the separation of our loved ones.

    “For behold this is my work and my glory – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39)

    Through His atonement and resurrection, we have the certainty of receiving immortal bodies (1 Cor 15:21-22) and the possibility of living with our loved ones for eternity by living His gospel and receiving His Temple ordinances.

    How can we show deep appreciation to the Lord for his perfect friendship?

    He gives the answer in John 15:14: “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you”.

    In our area plan we are directed to increase our faith (therefore our friendship) in Jesus Christ by:

    - Improving Sabbath Day Observance;

    - Worthily Have a Temple Recommend and Participate in Temple Work; and

    - Read and Ponder the Book of Mormon Daily.

    May we decide to do these things that the Lord has commanded us – all of which will strengthen our faith in and friendship with the Savior. We then will learn that He has been – and will continue – to be our best friend in every season of our lives.