For centuries, the olive branch has been associated with the idea of peace. The dove came to Noah in the ark, with an olive leaf in her mouth to symbolize that the earth was again at peace with God (1).
Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace
Peace is needed by people who do not feel well. Some are physically injured; others suffer spiritually because of the loss of loved ones or other emotional trauma. Peace can be given to you if you build your faith upon the Prince of Peace.
Peace can be given to people who carry heavy burdens, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”(4) Peace can be given to the afflicted. The Lord said, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”(5) When we experience the death of a loved one, the promptings of the Spirit can fill us with the Lord’s peace. “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”(6)
The olive tree is unique in the way it begins to grow. An uncultivated olive tree turns into a tangle of branches producing only a small worthless fruit (7). To become the “tame” olive tree, which bears good fruits, we must completely cut the main stem of the wild tree, and then we must have a branch of a tame olive tree grafted onto the stem of the wild tree. By pruning it and carefully nourishing it, we see the tree starting to bear its first fruits after about seven years; it would take nearly fifteen years for it to reach its full maturity.
I am the Vine, Ye are the Branches
When we enter into the waters of baptism, we pledge to remain faithful to the covenants we have made and keep the mind and heart turned towards the temple. We do the same when we partake of the sacrament every Sunday. In this way, our commitment to follow the highest principles of the gospel shows our attachment to Christ.
The Savior said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abides in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abides in me, and I in him, the same bringeth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”(8)
The Church will grow in Africa as the members attach themselves to the blessings of the temple, participate in family history work, sustain their leaders and forsake false traditions in order to adopt the “gospel culture”.
Multigenerational Families will be Born in the Church in Africa
Another amazing quality of the olive tree is that when it eventually grows old and begins to die, the roots put forth new green shoots. If they are grafted and pruned they become real olive trees. So whilst the tree itself may bear fruit for centuries, its roots can continue to produce fruits and new trees for thousands of years.
In Africa, the wars and its accompanying disasters: destruction, looting, hatred and death were hardly suitable for the cultivation of the Church, or olive groves, that require many years of care to reach full maturity.
1. Genesis 8 :11
2. Elder Quentin L. Cook : “Personal Peace: The Reward of Righteousness” Ensign, May 2013
3. 3 Nephi 17 :7
4. Matthew 11 :28
5. Matthew 5 :4
6. John 14 :27
7. Harold N. and Alma L. Moldenke, plants of the Bible, P. 159
8. John 15:4-5