“You did not come to this mission to be good salesmen or to have cultural expansion, not even to develop your personal skills and talents. You came here to share the Gospel.” The words of visiting Utah-based Church leader and guest speaker, Brother Bruce Bryan Bingham permeated the Sacrament Hall of the Dumaguete Stake Center in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental last January 27 during the Missionary Meeting held from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. that day.
About 80 active missionaries of both gender from various mission fields in the south of Negros province attended the said meeting, along with local Church leaders led by Dumaguete Stake President, brother Jairus Perez , who was the concluding speaker.
The missionaries immersed themselves with the enlightening counsel of Brother Bingham, 68, whose message was punctuated by both wisdom and humor.
Sharing some amusing anecdotes about his own missionary days, Brother Bingham narrated , “Even a simple missionary rule like making your own bed has its value. As a newly-arrived missionary before, that’s what I realized. So, after four days, I stopped rebelling against it and did my own bed! “ (Laughter)
He also explained to them about the Keys of Priesthood and the relevance of these to the geographic areas of each missionary. Then his topic led to the importance of obedience ‘in the mission fields and beyond.’
“Be obedient with the mission rules for 30 days, and you’ll succeed. We must be doers of what we teach so as not to lose the Holy Spirit as our testifier,” he emphasized.
Halfway through his message, he told the missionaries, “Please put up your hands as high as you could.” When they all did, he smiled and said ,” Good. That’s what you do when you want to participate by asking something.” (Laughter).
Then he opened the two-way discussion by quoting what he considered his favorite verse : ‘’There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. “ [D&C 130:20–21]
The missionaries answered his questions with enthusiasm. When asked why the Lord’s commandments must not be deemed as a reason to constrain us, a missionary named Elder Hales from Arizona gave an analogy about ‘snorkeling undersea but staying inside a cage. Insodoing, the cage is meant to protect us from predators like sharks. It is not meant to constrain us.”
When asked why obedience is important, another missionary named Sister Rosner from Utah opined,” When we stretch ourselves to be obedient, we adhere to a higher law and that’s the Law of Consecration.”
Meanwhile, Elder Charifa of Manila, who serves in the Siquijor island, said he ‘strongly felt the Holy Spirit speaking’ to him thru Brother Bingham. This was the same impression shared by Elder Balasbas of Canada and Elder Gonzales of California, among others. For her part Sister Naylor, who became teary-eyed, said that she learned so much to a point that her ‘testimony suddenly grows’.
Finally , Brother Bingham underscored his message by quoting the late President Ezra Taft Benson who said, “When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power.” (quoted in Donald L. Staheli, “Obedience—Life’s Great Challenge,” Ensign, May 1998, 82).
At this juncture, he turned emotional as he implored to them: ”Don’t give up the good in you. Do not ever violate your covenants. You are all anointed and consecrated to be a King and a Queen in the making. Be faithful and true.”**
(NOTE: Written on a special assignment from the Area Presidency Office,Manila thru brother Noel Maglaque)