Dear brothers and sisters, it is difficult to put our feelings in order after six years of service in the Caribbean Area, and also to say goodbye to all of you.
The way in which the Lord has ordered our lives has been truly miraculous. We have seen that, with the help of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, everything is possible.
Our parents were baptized in their youth along with some of our grandparents. We were baptized at the age of eight in Argentina in the first chapel built by the Church in South America. We never had to question the truthfulness of the Church.
On November 20, 1966, we had the opportunity to participate in the organization of the first stake in Argentina, which was presided over by Elder Spencer W. Kimball. It was the second stake in South America, after that of Brazil on May 1st of that year.
We grew up together in the same branch except for three years when Sister Zivic was in the United States and three years when she was in Chile. When she returned, as teenagers, we fell in love. We were married in January 1972. For both of us, it was our first and only courtship.
At that time there was no temple in Argentina, so we had to wait until January 1979 to be sealed in the recently dedicated temple of Sao Paulo, Brazil. That was one of the most wonderful and spiritual experiences of our lives. We traveled 4,000 km round trip, in our own car, from Buenos Aires, Argentina with our three small children. We now have five children. We remember the special moment when we saw the beautiful temple. Our hearts began to beat very hard as we realized we were facing the reality that, in a few hours, our family would be eternal.
After we were sealed together as a couple, they brought us our three little children, dressed in white. What a thrill! We could not stop crying. We all held hands and were sealed for time and for all eternity. We then were able to look in the mirrors in the sealing room to see ourselves as an eternal family. What a wonderful experience!
As a General Authority, it has been very special to have had the opportunity to do six temple reviews. One of them was in the temple in Arizona which was the place where, at the age of nine, Sister Zivic was sealed to her parents. We were able to travel there together, and after fifty years she was able to be in that temple again. The impact was that, by going through the different sealing rooms, she could clearly feel which room it was in which she had been sealed.
We testify of the truthfulness of this work. The promises we have received from our loving Heavenly Father, through His patriarchs, have been fulfilled in wonderful ways we could not have imagined. We cannot doubt that revelation exists, that He is watching over us, and that His help is always available if we turn to Him with humility and with broken and contrite hearts.
We know that God, our Heavenly Father, loves us and prepared the beautiful Plan of Salvation for us to return to His presence. We know that because of the love that the Father has for us, he “gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
We testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Willingly he volunteered in the council of heaven to come down to earth and fulfill His mission. He lived a life without sin. He suffered in Gethsemane and on the cross in a manner incomprehensible to the human mind. By suffering for the sins, sorrows, diseases, injustices, and sufferings of humanity, he knows how to succor us.
We know that he is always willing to help us, and he does. We know that he did it out of love because of that charity that only He has in a perfect way. He is the Jehovah of the Old Testament, the promised Messiah, the Christ announced by all the prophets, the great I Am. His tender invitation is: “Come, follow me.”
We testify that the Prophet Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son that glorious spring morning. They spoke to him, beginning the restoration of the true Church after years of darkness. The heavens were opened, bringing the fullness of the gospel to the earth. The keys of the priesthood were conferred and the Book of Mormon came forth from the dust of the earth, another testament of Jesus Christ, the key to our religion. We know that it contains the truth and that it brings us closer to God than any other book.
Our Heavenly Father has always raised prophets to warn and admonish his people. We testify that President Russell M. Nelson has been called by God to help us stay on the path in these days.
We know that we are eternal and of great value; we are children of a King, our Heavenly Father. May He bless you always. We love you. We have always received and felt the love of all of you.
Until we meet again. . .