Cultivate charity, 'the pure love of Christ'
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The work of bringing converts and reactivated members into the fold of the Church is more effective when members and full-time missionaries cultivate charity and combine efforts, said Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi.
Speaking Saturday morning, Elder Kikuchi of the Seventy explained the need to be "filled with this love [charity], which He hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of His Son Jesus Christ." (Moroni 7:48.)He related an experience of President Joseph F. Smith. At age 5 he lost his father and at age 14 his mother. At age 15, he went on a mission to Hawaii.
Elder Smith became seriously ill, and was given a priesthood blessing but remained ill and almost died, said Elder Kikuchi. For three months he was cared for by a native Hawaiian couple.
This young couple did everything possible, even fasting and praying, to save Elder Smith's life. "This young missionary never forgot a kindness and never forsook a friend. He always treated and honored this wonderful Hawaiian lady, Ma Manuhii, as his own Hawaiian mother."
Many years later, Elder Smith, as president of the Church, returned to the Hawaiian Islands.
Elder Kikuchi quoted from the diary of Bishop Charles W. Nibley, a member of the Presiding Bishopric, who accompanied President Smith on his visit to the Islands:
" `It was a beautiful sight to see the deep-seated love, the even tearful affection, that these people had for him [President SmithT. In the midst of it all I noticed a poor old blind woman tottering under the weight of about 90 years, being led in."
Bishop Nibley wrote, according to Elder Kikuchi, that President Smith saw her and ran to her and clasped her in his arms, hugged her and kissed her over and over again, saying " `Mama, Mama, my dear old Mama!' "
Elder Kikuchi pointed out that when Sister Ma Manuhii cared for Elder Smith, she had no idea he would someday be president of the Church. "She helped him because she loved the Lord's missionary with the `pure love of God.' " (Moroni 7:47.)
Elder Kikuchi admonished members to follow Sister Ma Manuhii's "noble example" of love, by not only feeding the missionaries, but also taking them to non-members, part-member families and less-active members.
Above all, he said, missionaries "must cultivate this beautiful quality of love - `charity, the pure love of Christ.' (Moroni 7:47.)
"Brothers and sisters," Elder Kikuchi concluded, "with this love, when you and I, with the full-time missionaries, combine efforts, we can bring converts and many reactivated members to the temple, which is the House of the Lord. Your example will teach the missionaries when they return home and they will emulate your example."