Monthly Archives: July 2013

President Anderson’s Letter – July 28, 2013

This week I am including the complete letter and not just the missionary experience because I think it teaches ideas that everyone can use in their callings.

Dear Missionaries,

This last week, our Son who served a Mission in Argentina wrote me and shared the following:

“I was reading towards the end of Mosiah the other day and came across a scripture that made me think of what you all are doing down there [with Harvesting]…  Mosiah 27:14 where the angel is speaking to Alma and says, 

‘… Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith.’

… reading this I understood a little better how our prayers in behalf of other people can help them be brought to the knowledge of the truth, and sometimes angels intervene if our faith is great enough.”

I enjoyed his insight of how not just the Power and Authority of our calling is involved with Harvesting, but also, if our faith is great enough, angels can intervene in the conversion process.  As I was reading in the Doctrine and Covenants, I came across how our “power and authority” compares to angels “power and authority” in proclaiming this Gospel:

“ And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel, two by two, in my name, lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, declaring my word like unto angels of God. And ye shall go forth baptizing with water, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (D&C 42:6-7)

Immediately after Nephi instructs us of the importance of the “Doctrine of Christ” he teaches us by what power we can help others to understand and embrace this Doctrine, with “the tongue of angels”:

“And now, behold, my beloved brethren, I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do after ye have entered in by the way. But, behold, why do ye ponder these things in your hearts? Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost? Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.” (2 Nephi 32:1-3)

Hence we speak the “words of Christ” with “the tongue of angels” because of the “power of the Holy Ghost” that we are able to invite all to come to Him. It is by our faith that we will receive the blessings and miracles of the ministering of angels, whether we see them or feel their presence and influence. Mormon taught his son Moroni this principle:

“And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased? Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved? Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain. For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.” (Moroni 7:35-37, 30; see vs. 25-29 also)

Knowing and understanding that angels will minister to you and those you teach, whether you see them or not, will be something you and they will feel. The “power of the Holy Ghost” in you and in them is an important factor for the miracle of “ministering angels” to occur, and it will only come to those “of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness”.  According to your faith, ministering angels will lead you to those they have prepared:

“We found some amazing people, and one of the things we had struggled with, was opening our mouths, so I really went in with a huge focus on talking to everyone, well, because I raised my companion’s desires to talk to everyone, we saw miracles. Everyone I saw, I went up and talked to them, and in turn, by the end of the night, my companion had very high desires to do the same.  I saw a man, sitting on a curb, and ran up to him to give him a card of Jesus Christ, when I gave it to him, he said, ‘You are the ones who pray right?’  I in turn smiled and introduced the Harvest Blessing.  He told us that is what he needed and that he wanted very bad to be baptized.  It was a miracle to see that the Lord knew our desires, and he put certain people in our paths, knowing we would talk to them, and we found amazing people.”

Ministering angels will connect your faith to those you teach, and give you power and authority to commit them to everything that will give them the peace they seek:

“We visited a man who we had planned on teaching repentance. But when we got there I saw that he had cigarettes so we immediately decided to teach the word of wisdom as well. He has lost his family because of his addictions and kept saying over and over that he was ready to change. He said he’d keep the word of wisdom and when I asked him to hand over his lighter and cigarettes he did so with a smile on his face! He said how relieved and peaceful he felt! There were tears in his eyes as he told us that this was his time to change and to overcome his addictions. What a truly repentant man! He accepted baptism, church and was excitedly flipping through the pages of the Book of Mormon as we left his home.”

They will recognize that you truly are “ministering angels”, messengers sent from God, sent to them because of their prayers:

“We were harvesting, and were running short on time, but felt very strong that there was one more person that we needed to bless.  We stood in the middle of the road, and felt out which apartment was in need. We crossed and passed by a group of wild peacocks, to a little apartment building. We walked straight to the third door and knocked.  As we knocked, a woman got out of her car and called out to us in a southern drawl, ‘Yes? Can I help you?’ We explained who we are and asked for her name. ‘Why, I’m Miss Karen.’ She let us pray with her, and as we said amen, she started her own prayer and said, ‘Father God, thank you for these angels.  I saw them two hours ago talking to my neighbor, and by their countenances, I knew they were your messengers. I wanted to talk to them, but I didn’t dare. I prayed for them to come back and talk to me, and I thank you for answering my prayer.’  She finished, and we related to her how we were guided to her door.  Her eyes got all big and she said, ‘I was sitting in my car, getting ready to leave, when I had a quiet feeling to stay and wait a bit longer. I watched you walk out of that house, stand in the road, and then walk to my door.  I knew it was of God, and that I had to get out and talk to you.’  She’s going to be baptized, and it showed me how orchestrated every move of this work is.”

Elder Holland also teaches us the purpose of angels in this immense work:

“From the beginning down through the dispensations, God has used angels as His emissaries in conveying love and concern for His children. Time in this setting does not allow even a cursory examination of the scriptures or our own latter-day history, which are so filled with accounts of angels ministering to those on earth, but it is rich doctrine and rich history indeed. Usually such beings are not seen. Sometimes they are. But seen or unseen they are always near. Sometimes their assignments are very grand and have significance for the whole world. Sometimes the messages are more private. Occasionally the angelic purpose is to warn. But most often it is to comfort, to provide some form of merciful attention, guidance in difficult times.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, General Conference, October 2008)

Missionaries, I know we are surrounded by these “ministering angels” to give us power and authority to accomplish our purpose, God’s purpose, in bringing the souls of South Florida to Christ. They will manifest themselves according to your faith, diligence and authority as representatives of Jesus Christ. They will prepare the way and strengthen us through adversity. We are encircled, inspired and protected by these angels as we learn from one of President Monson’s favorite scriptures:

And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” (D&C 84:88)

President Anderson’s Letter – July 14, 2013 – Second Chances

“I can’t help but think of the second chance that the Lord gives all of us to repent and proclaim this Gospel to those that didn’t receive it the first time. Souls that have been praying to know the truth and to find peace. Those souls that we find every day. Alma had a second chance when he repented of his transgressions and served God: “Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost” (Alma 36:24).

Joseph Smith was given a second chance after losing the 116 translated pages of the Book of Mormon. The scriptures are full of examples of second chances. After we repent and learn from our experience, we trust in God by changing and He always gives us second chances.

I love your “second chance” (plan B)  diligence with opportunities when the first chance (plan A) falls through:

“We felt inspired to go and follow up again with a referral from a couple weeks ago for a woman they met in Wal-Mart. Sadly she was not home and we were about to leave but I felt like we were here for a reason so I looked around and said ‘ let’s knock on this door.’ So we did! They let us right in and we left a blessing with them – the Spirit was SO strong. We knew the Lord had sent us to them. They all immediately accepted baptism. The next day we returned to teach them – they are so amazing and are all getting baptized on the 21st! Then we went to see the referral again but she wasn’t home but her neighbor was right outside raking. We offered to help her and to leave a blessing on her home. She also immediately accepted baptism and was so grateful we came. When we came back the next day to see her she said ‘I know the Lord sent you because I have been so depressed and baptism is exactly what I need.’ Each time we came by we knocked on the referral’s door but she wasn’t home but on Saturday we tried again. She answered and again immediately let us in before we could even tell her who we were she said ‘I am so glad you came today!’ She had just had a big argument with her family and was praying as we knocked on her door. She also immediately accepted baptism and is getting work off on Sundays so she can repent and be baptized! The Lord is truly in this work. As we rely on the Spirit he guides us to those who are ready at exactly the right time!”

As we are diligent, the Lord will bless us with indirect blessings that will give others a “second chance”:

“When we got back to our area on transfer day, we knew we had 3 blessings, so we had to go out and harvest. Our goal was 5, we prayed about where to go, and then we decided on a spot. We went to that spot, and we got 6 blessings in an hour and a half! It was awesome! Half of the blessings said yes to baptism, and we were soo excited about starting off soo well. But the miracles didn’t stop there-we were just finishing harvesting when we got a referral from Mormon.org to go and see a lady. We decided to go and contact her immediately. We biked over there… and knocked on the door, and she opened and said ‘Elders, please come in!’ We went inside and sat down, and she introduced us to her husband, and two children. After talking a little bit, we found out that she used to be a very active member, and that her husband, was not a member. She has been less active for a number of years, but has such strong desires to come back to church! We left a harvest blessing, and then invited her husband to be baptized. He said yes, and accepted a date for the 14th! They came to church yesterday, and they were just like a part of the ward. I am soo excited for him to get baptized this Sunday.”

Giving our investigators a second chance with added boldness and love is sometimes what is needed to commit them to come to Christ:

“After transfers, I updated my companion on everybody we had and possibilities. As we counseled we decided on three people we should focus on, and two to go visit one more time before we took them out of the pool. We visited one on Saturday afternoon for one last time to discuss with her familiy the importance and truth of this gospel, we helped them feel the spirit and they remembered. Their spirits remembered. She was baptized yesterday and I have never felt a stronger spirit at a baptism.”

President Anderson’s Letter July 7, 2013….

Once again I was spiritually lifted as I read the experiences that the president shared this week. A week that include transfers – sorry we were traveling and I completely forgot to ask anyone to take and share pictures of new companionships. I am checking to see if any of the couples did take pictures and will send them to me. But nothing slowed the great above missionaries of the Florida Fort Lauderdale mission down…they had 36 baptisms this week and that is a great way to start a month…

“I love the solutions you missionaries find, even when you search for souls to invite from the area book:

“We didn’t have anyone set with a baptismal date for Sunday, so we discussed some ways that we could work for a miracle baptism. The Area Book was discussed and there were miracles shared about how missionaries had been able to find amazing people by looking through old records. At first I didn’t really think about it too much and we continued training. The next day a couple seconds before we walked out the door for proselyting time, I decided to stop ignoring the nagging feeling to go look in the Area Book. So I opened it up…  until I found someone who had been to church. All I wrote down was her name and her address. Well an appointment we had later that day fell through and so we ventured over to the Sister from the Area Book. We were disappointed to see that she lived in a gated community but only for a moment when a car pulled up and we were able to follow them right in. She was home and after a Harvest blessing she accepted baptism. When we told her that we were having a baptismal service this weekend she seemed a little reluctant. But the Spirit was so strong! We testified and then asked her to say a prayer and ask God if He wanted her to be baptized this weekend. After the prayer the Spirit was even stronger! After she said Amen she didn’t move or open her eyes. She waited and listened! And on Sunday she was ‘baptized.’”

I love when the Lord blesses you because you had the inspiration to find others during “round-up”:

We went to go round-up our investigator for church, but he wasn’t answering. This was the 2nd investigator’s door we had knocked for church and we were having no success-super sad! So, we looked at our watches, had some times and decided to start harvesting at 9:30am before PEC at 10. We knocked one door 3 times with no answer and started walking away when the door opened and this super sleepy guy looked at us. I can only imagine what he was thinking as he tiredly squinted at us and yawned, looking rather dazed and confused. Nevertheless we introduced ourselves as representatives of Jesus Christ, had a beautiful prayer and invited him to church. The story goes on with NONE of our investigators coming to church and as we sat down rather bewildered and discouraged, we realized we didn’t know who was sitting in front of us in a red polo. The man we harvested before church! He had come! We quickly got up and sat by him, and as we were talking, a member walked in and sat across from us. This man lit up as he recognized his close friend from work! The two got up and had the usual manly hand shake/hug combo thing you men do and he quickly felt comfortable, loved and happy to be there. Our member stayed with him in all the classes and at the end gave him a Book of Mormon with his testimony inside Coincidence? I think not! What an orchestration in the symphony of the Lord’s work! We felt honored and blessed to be a part of it. He is being baptized on Sunday.

I love when we use members to help in completing our solutions:

“Well, church came and went and we weren’t able to get anyone there. It was difficult, but we knew we put our best effort forth and that God would accept it. That afternoon, as we were still trying to get something going, we were having dinner with a few members and one said to us, ‘I was home teaching my family earlier today, a nice, older woman who has been a member of the church for many years. Her husband has come to church, but he never wants anything to do with the missionaries, but today he said he would like to hear a prayer from you Elders. Could you stop by today?’. We headed out with him right afterwards. After finding them home, we left the family with a blessing. We asked him how he felt. He said good. We invited him to baptism and he said yes. We asked him when was the last time he went to church and he told us recently. We were nervous, but exercised faith and asked him if he would prepare to be baptized that night. He said yes! We set everything up with the Bishop and Zone Leaders as my companion and members taught the commandments, restoration and gospel. He accepted everything. Three hours later he was baptized and confirmed a member of the church. His wife had been waiting for this day for 50 years. I have rarely seen anyone as happy as she was that night. I know God is truly a God of miracles.“

God will anxiously help us with the solution if we ask him, trust him, and act; Elder Scott teaches:

“Often when we pray for help with a significant matter, Heavenly Father will give us gentle promptings that require us to think, exercise faith, work, at times struggle, then act. It is a step-by-step process that enables us to discern inspired answers. I have discovered that what sometimes seems an impenetrable barrier to communication is a giant step to be taken in trust. Seldom will you receive a complete response all at once. It will come a piece at a time, in packets, so that you will grow in capacity. As each piece is followed in faith, you will be led to other portions until you have the whole answer. That pattern requires you to exercise faith in our Father’s capacity to respond. While sometimes it’s very hard, it results in significant personal growth. You are asked to look for an answer to your prayers. Obey the Master’s counsel to “study it out in your mind.” Often you will think of a solution; as you seek confirmation that your answer is right, help will come. It may be through your prayers, or as an impression of the Holy Ghost, and at times by the intervention of others.” (Richard G. Scott, General Conference April 2007)

President Anderson’s Letter June 30, 2013

We were traveling when this letter was sent and I did not get around to posting it until today. However as I read the great spiritual missionary experiences that the president shared, I was certain that everyone would feel that they were worth waiting for…

“We were working in a neighborhood following up with people. Everything had fallen through. And two dogs even chased us. I was a little frustrated, but I told my companion that I wanted to go another way because I didn’t want to see the dog again. We were walking and we saw this guy sitting outside smoking so I told my companion we needed to talk to him. We went up and he gladly excepted the prayer. He said he’s been here from Cuba for 8 years and hasn’t found a good job. So we prayed for him to find a job. He loved the prayer and felt the spirit. When we invited him to be baptized, he said, ‘yes, I’ve been waiting for this.’ It was such a great experience!! We gave him a Book of Mormon and he gladly accepted it as well. We left and were so excited! We forgot to give him our information so we went back, and he was already reading the Book of Mormon. It was cool. We were able to see him again, and he found a job the next day… he still wants the missionaries to help him be baptized. He said he knew God sent us to him! The Lord’s hand is truly in the work.”

I love the “mighty change” that occurs even months (and years) after we contact them and they know we are truly sent from God:

“Two months ago we said a prayer with a teenage girl at her door because the parents weren’t home. She said she didn’t think her parents would be interested. We decided to leave a card with our number on it. This week on Thursday (two months later) we saw how God is always preparing people and how we can receive indirect blessing from hard work. We received a call from a lady and had no idea who she was but she wanted help and wanted us to come over so we went over that night. We arrived and saw the daughter and I was really struck by how familiar she looked but had no idea from where I recognized her. Then it all came back to me, The Door Prayer! So we sat down and talked with the family. The mother was super awesome and she just wanted peace in her life. She had met with the missionaries a few years ago in another area and she couldn’t remember if she had been baptized or not, so we checked her records and it turns out she wasn’t. We then went back and explained how baptism would help her and invited her to be baptized the following day after church. She accepted, she came the next day with her daughter and that day at church another miracle happened. The family that had fellowshipped her all those years ago, (now living in California) were just visiting our ward Sunday. We found out that the daughter had also been to church before and minutes before the baptismal service of the mom we felt inspired to invite her to be baptized with her mom. And she accepted! … They got baptized together and the spirit was so strong and they were so solid with instant fellowship from the former fellow shippers. Yesterday was the most spiritual day of my mission and my life! As they excitedly came to shake our hands beaming after the broadcast that night, I was filled with so much joy! I couldn’t believe the happiness that was just radiating out of them!”

I love “the mighty change” that occurs to those who fall away and find their way back because the Lord directed us to them:

“As we were walking to one of our appointments, through the trees I could see some people sitting on the porch, but could tell they couldn’t see us. Either the automatic response to go talk to them because that is what always occurs when I see anyone or probably more so the subtle prompting of the spirit told me go talk to them. I must admit we first went to see if the appointment was home and then on the way back again I felt that same feeling as before. So we went and talked to them. After we gave this women a harvest blessing on her home and invited her to be baptized she said I was. (I’m thinking ok another person who has been baptized probably as a baby.) She said yes I was baptized into the Mormon Church almost 14 years ago, but with different challenges in my life and now I’m working on Sundays and I’m unable to come to Church. We testified that we knew God sent us to her because he cares about her and is going to provide a way so that she can come on Sundays. She has a 13 year old daughter who she wants to be involved with the church and wants her to get baptized. She came this week and rode with the YW president and is excited to come next week for her baptism.”

Repentance and change is not just for those we teach, but we need this constant change in our lives to always be better instruments in God’s hands. Change is never easy, but it is where we grow the most, where we receive the “most rewarding and profound experiences in life” as Elder Ashton teaches:

“We need not feel that we must forever be what we presently are. There is a tendency to think of change as the enemy. Many of us are suspect of change and will often fight and resist it before we have even discovered what the actual effects will be. When change is thought through carefully, it can produce the most rewarding and profound experiences in life. The changes we make must fit the Lord’s purposes and patterns…Yes, there is pain in change, but there is also great satisfaction in recognizing that progress is being achieved. Life is a series of hills and valleys and often the best growth comes in the valleys. Change is a meaningful part of repentance. Some are unable to repent because they are unwilling to change.” (Marvin J. Ashton, General Conference, October 1979)

God will give us the “power to change” as President Faust teaches:

“If we will turn to the Lord and believe on His name, we can change. He will give us the power to change our lives, the power to put away bad thoughts and feelings from our hearts. We can be taken from “the darkest abyss” to “behold the marvelous light of God” (Mosiah 27:29)). We can be forgiven. We can find peace… Each new day that dawns can be a new day for us to begin to change. We can change our environment. We can change our lives by substituting new habits for old. We can mold our character and future by purer thoughts and nobler actions. As someone once put it, ‘The possibility of change is always there, with its hidden promise of peace, happiness, and a better way of life.’”(President James E. Faust. General Conference, October 2007)