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Accept callings, releases- Don't give up

To leaders, members and new converts looking for retention and reactivation, Elder Julio E. Davila of the Seventy had some advice in his Saturday afternoon conference address:"Let every man and woman participate in the preparation of this world for the Second Coming of our Savior. Receive with joy the callings and releases that come from the Lord through inspired leaders. Be co-workers with God in `bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.' (Moses 1:39.)

"We must be sure that all the people are having the opportunity to give of their time, talents, skills and facilities to help others find the truth."

Elder Davila spoke of his own conversion. "At the time the missionaries came to teach us, I was going through some trials, and had many sorrows and concerns, and I needed to make some important decisions in my life. However, at the beginning, I was not aware that their message of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and of His Church was the answer and solution to my needs. I didn't realize that those young messengers were sent to me by my Heavenly Father.

"Now I understand His mercy, because He sent to us His Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who through the miracle of His atonement, sacrificed His life for our salvation, broke the bands of death, defied the grave and invited us to follow Him."

Elder Davila continued, "I testify that the conversion is a process. I am sure that the missionaries were praying and fasting for the change of my mind, because as soon as we started to attend the meetings, I began criticizing many temporal things at the meetinghouse, such as the crooked pictures on the walls. The branch president, a fine and wise man, appointed me as the `pictures supervisor,' this being my first calling in the Church. Incidentally, I have never seen that position in the handbooks, but it served me very well to start my involvement in the service of the Lord."

He related his first encounter with preaching the gospel. He said that near his office in Bogota, Colombia, he saw a multitude. He went down to see what was happening and to his surprise he found the missionaries with displays about the Church and with copies of the Book of Mormon.

"They recognized me and asked me to stand in the middle of the park with a banner saying: `Be happy. . . . Be a Mormon. . . ' I stood for a while in that place; I was a Mormon, but at that moment I was not so happy. But I started to feel better about my ability as a missionary, losing my fear to talk with people about the Church. I let go of my own restrictions . . . and realized that this is a Church of love and service, of sacrifice and blessings, of happiness and eternal life.

"My message to the missionaries, to the people who are investigating the Church at this time, and to the members is: Don't give up; continue looking for the best results in this wonderful work."