“Each person here tonight — in fact, everyone — lives with challenges,” said President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at a Sunday devotional in San Antonio, Texas. “This period of our mortal probation is studded with challenging issues. They can be physical, spiritual or both.”
“Some challenges come to us from accidents beyond our control,” said President Nelson to the thousands of Latter-day Saints gathered in the Alamodome, which is well-known as a venue for sporting events.
There are more than 353,000 Latter-day Saints and four temples in Texas.
“For each of us, there may be a really serious storm sometime in our lives or there may be a tragedy,” he said. “But with faith in a loving God and trust in His divine plan, the pain of such a tragedy can be endured. And if we truly understand who we are and why we are here, we can face the future with faith in God and His eternal plan of happiness.”
President Nelson spoke of the importance of the Book of Mormon “for the convincing of all that Jesus is the Christ.”
Sister Nelson told the audience that she has noticed changes in her 94-year-old husband since he was named the president of the Church in January.
“I can tell that my husband’s superb ability to bring forth the strengths in others as they together solve monumental problems and wrestle with the chronicity of others — that ability is being magnified day after day. And his vigor for the Lord’s work is only increasing,” she said.
Elder Bednar encouraged the members to become more committed to living the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Faithfulness is not foolishness or fanaticism. Rather, it is trusting and placing our confidence in Jesus Christ as our Savior, on His name and in His promises,” said the apostle.
“We should not feel we need to be perfect to be ‘all in’ Latter-day Saints. Rather, we simply need to continue pressing forward with faith in Christ and strive to the best of our ability to be devoted consistently to a sacred purpose,” explained Elder Bednar.
The Bednars have ties to Texas. They once lived in Lubbock and Fayetteville, Arkansas, which were both in the Dallas Texas Temple district. In fact, they donated money to help build the temple, and three of their grandchildren were born in Texas.
“I think ‘all y’all’ can claim us as fellow citizens with the Saints here in San Antonio,” said Sister Bednar.
She offered five life lessons that she learned in Texas, including sacrifice and temple service, the importance of teaching Sabbath day observance to children, the necessity of being a better example, joy is a gift and Heavenly Father knows who we are and is aware of our concerns.
The Ochoas shared how the Book of Mormon helped strengthen their testimonies by teaching them more about Jesus Christ.
Prior to the devotional, President and Sister Nelson met with Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of the Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio. The Church leaders also greeted other community leaders during a reception at the venue.
The Church has more than 6.6 million Latter-day Saints in more than 14,000 congregations in the United States. There are 81 temples in operation in the country. Missionary work began in Texas in 1843, two years before the Lone Star State received statehood.