When I first started my mission in Chile, I had the privilege of serving with an elder who was completing his mission just a month and a half after my arrival. The day before Elder Araya's departure we had picked up my new companion, Elder Drake, and had settled him into our apartment. The next morning, I bid Elder Araya goodbye and went out into the area with Elder Drake to continue the work we had been called to perform. When we came back for lunch, Elder Araya had gone home.
Two short years later my last companion, Elder Zuchel, walked me to the bus stop with his new companion where he helped me load my luggage on the bus before giving me a farewell abrazo. As the bus pulled away I turned to look out the back window and watched these two missionaries begin their work for the day, continuing where I had left off and not missing a beat. When the bus dropped down the hill and I lost sight of the two missionaries, I remembered that morning two years earlier when I had said goodbye to Elder Araya and then continued the work I had been called to do. I remembered how, later that day, I commented to my new companion that the church was like an enormous merry go round. People get on and off of it, but it never stopped moving.
Looking back now, I realize that there is a much better analogy of this phenomenon of continuity:
"The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth." (D&C 65:2)
These keys are with the Church today, and are held by our new prophet, President Thomas S. Monson.
The calling of a new prophet has always been a renewal of my testimony that God lives, that He loves us, and that He is directing the work of His Church. He never leaves us without leadership. Even when the First Presidency is dissolved upon the death of the prophet, the keys are not taken away from us. They continue with the Church and, as a result, the work of the Church continues towards the fulfillment of its divine mission. There is never a pause in this work, it is too important.
I am grateful for President Monson and his two able couselors, President Eyring and President Uchtdorf. These men, together with their associates in the Quorum of the 12, are prophets, seers, and revelators. They hold all of the keys to bring the gospel to the whole world, to govern the affairs of the Church, and to open the doors of salvation to all of us through the Atonement of Christ
I know that President Monson has been called of God to be our prophet at this stage of the world's history, and I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's kingdom here on the earth. This stone that is cut out of the mountain without hands will roll forth until it has filled the whole earth, and each of us has the privilege of being a part of this great work.
Let us each square our shoulders to the tasks that are before us and join with President Monson, his counelors, and the other General Authorities in rolling this Church onward towards its divine destiny.