Sunday, January 27, 2008
President Gordon B. Hinckley
When I was in Hong Kong serving as a missionary, I had the choice experience of shaking hands with President Hinckley. He had stopped by the Mission Home while we were holding a leadership training meeting and decided to visit with us for a minute. As he walked in the room which we were sitting, President Ong immediately turned the time over to him. I remember I sat about 3 feet away from him, watching intently and listening to every word which he spoke. When a man whom you know talks with God speaks it's always a good idea to give him your full attention. I remember him sharing about his previous experiences in Hong Kong, how the Lord spoke to him about where the Hong Kong temple should be, how it's always hot and humid in Hong Kong and how amazed he was that we were all looking sharp in our suits. He expressed how much he loved us, and more importantly how much the Lord loved us, and then he flashed that smile of his, bore his testimony and went on with his business.
After President Hinckley left the room, our mission president, President Ong, spoke. He did not return to what he was talking about before our Prophet had entered, but shared some of his thoughts and feelings about being in the presence of the Lord's spokesman. He shared about how when you looked into President Hinckley's eyes you could tell that he was a man who loved the Lord. He was a man who you knew dedicated his life to serving his God, and those around him. He was a man who could light up a room just by walking into it, and his smile and attitude to those around him was such that it could melt away any bitterness or hate. President Ong then told me something that I will never forget. He said that even without the mantle of the prophet, even without being called as the President of the Lord's church, President Hinckley would still have had that look in his eyes, that effect when he walked into rooms, and that ability to make everyone feel at home. He said that if each of us would be willing to give ourselves to the Lord in the same way that President Hinckley decided to give himself to the Lord, that one day we might be able to have that same influence on people.
Although, the above experience is my only personal experience interacting with President Hinckley, he has greatly influenced my life. His example, teachings, demeanor, love for others, love for life, and prayers have been a great strength to me as I strive to develop a close relationship to my Savior. And although the prospect of not hearing his voice in this life again is quite saddening, when I think of his reunion with his wife Marjorie, I can not help but to smile. In addition, I know that the voice of the Lord will continue to come down to His people through the next prophet that will be called. The work on this side of the veil will continue to go forward, and the work on the other side of the veil now has another great leader to help its cause!