Sunday, July 22, 2018

Elder Ulisses Soares on the focus of priorities and programs in the Church

Elder Ulisses Soares (born October 2, 1958 in Brazil) has served as a Seventy since April 2005, and as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy since January 2013. He was sustained to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles on April 1, 2018.
"Jesus showed patience and love to all who came to Him seeking relief for their physical, emotional, or spiritual illnesses and who felt discouraged and downtrodden.
"To follow the Savior’s example, each one of us must look around and reach out to the sheep who are facing the same circumstances and lift them up and encourage them to proceed on the journey towards eternal life.
"This need today is as great as or perhaps even greater than when the Savior walked on this earth. As shepherds we must understand that we should nurture each one of our sheep to bring them to Christ, which is the purpose of all we do in this Church.
"Any activity, meeting, or program should focus on this same objective. As we stay in tune with the needs of the people, we can strengthen them and help them overcome their challenges, so they will remain steadfast in the way which will lead them back to our Heavenly Father’s presence and help them endure to the end.
"The gospel of Jesus Christ is about people, not programs. Sometimes, in the haste of fulfilling our Church responsibilities, we spend too much time concentrating on programs, instead of focusing on people, and end up taking their real needs for granted. When things like that happen, we lose the perspective of our callings, neglect people, and prevent them from reaching their divine potential to gain eternal life."
- Ulisses Soares, “Feed My Sheep," General Conference October 2005
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

This was the first general conference message shared by Elder Soares after his call as a general authority in 2005. He talked about the sacred responsibility we share as members of the Church to care for one another, truly following the example and teachings of the Savior. As recorded in the scriptures, His ministry focused on those who "felt discouraged and downtrodden" as He offered "relief for their physical, emotional, or spiritual illnesses." We might ask ourselves how well we are doing in following that specific example!

Truly, a primary reason for the organization and existence of the Church is to facilitate our serving one another in this manner. We must never lose that focus and priority! That is the way we help one another reach our "divine potential to gain eternal life."

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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