Elder Gerrit W. Gong and Sister Susan L. Gong of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presented advice and encouragement to young adults in a worldwide devotional broadcast on Sunday, Jan. 10.
They spoke of hope, God’s unwavering love, healing, building relationships, and becoming a better person and disciple of Christ.
Speakers and musical contributors to the broadcast followed local health guidelines during the production of the devotional.
Select virtual choirs opened the broadcast by singing “I Need Thee Every Hour” and “Let Us All Press On.” Susan L. Gong then addressed the young adults with a message of hope.
She emphasized how the greatest hope in the world is Jesus Christ because “He knows the end from the beginning” even when the end is unclear or hard to envision. She expressed how there is a bright future because God has a plan for every individual.
“These are invaluable years,” Sister Gong said. “This is a season to develop talents …This is a season to seek out wise and righteous mentors, parents or grandparents, teachers, friends, church leaders and most importantly, Jesus Christ to help us build meaningful lives.”
She focused on the importance of being anxiously engaged in good causes and in developing talents.
Sister Gong referenced the words of President Russell M. Nelson.
“Education is the difference between wishing you could help other people and being able to help them. The good and useful things you learn now will shape and bless your whole life,” she said.
She encouraged young adults to begin each day with a prayer of gratitude to invite greater hope and deeper meaning into their lives. She then quoted Romans 8:38–39 where the Apostle Paul teaches that nothing can separate us from the love of God.
At the conclusion of her remarks, Sister Gong encouraged everyone to “trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Following Sister Gong’s talk, Elder Gong began his address by extending three distinct invitations.
Inspired by Doctrine and Covenants 100:16, Elder Gong invited all to “be still.” He later explained how one Hebrew language commentator notes that “be still” can also be translated as “let go.”
Elder Gong used this secondary translation to build upon his understanding of God’s biblical command to be still.
“To be still and know that I am God is to let God prevail in our lives,” Elder Gong said.
He closed his first invitation by reemphasizing the importance of being still and remembering God.
“Sometimes slowing down in things that matter less, helps us find the things that matter most,” he said.
Elder Gong gave a second invitation to build relationships that change the future now. He explained this invitation by telling the story of Melba Oaks, a woman who befriended and fellowshipped his mother Jean Gong when she was a 17-year-old convert to the Church.
At that time, Jean Gong was the only member of the Church in her family and greatly benefitted from the support and love of Oaks during her early years of membership in the Church. Elder Gong expressed gratitude for Oaks’ friendship to his mother which had a lasting impact on his family.
“In helping Jean Gong when she was a first fragile convert, Melba Oaks blessed what are now four Gong family generations on this side of the veil and 34 known Gong family generations on the other side of the veil,” Elder Gong said.
He emphasized the importance and power of inclusion and earnestly encouraged young adults to be a “Melba Oaks” and include, compliment, and encourage others who come as they are into the gospel and into the Church.
Thirdly, Elder Gong invited all to become better by working with and beside the Lord of the Harvest. He referenced scriptures that illustrate how a good harvest only comes if the seed is good and if worthy efforts have contributed to the growth of the fruit.
Elder Gong continued by describing the contributions of young adults to humanitarian needs in various capacities. He then cited statistics from the United Nations which predicts that 130 million individuals will be pushed into chronic hunger due to consequences of the pandemic.
Elder Gong encouraged continued young adults to continue participating in service activities, especially during this pandemic which has demanded increased humanitarian efforts across the globe. He called on the needed Christian nature of young adult Latter-day Saints by saying, “We stay while needs continue long after the news cameras have gone.”
“I pray taken together, these invitations will strengthen your faith and draw you closer to God and those around you as you find enduring joy on His covenant path,” Elder Gong said.
The full devotional can be found here.