We are going back to Africa…South Africa, Johannesburg Mission. We are to report on February 24…We are excited about being called as Member and Leadership Support missionaries. We hope we will be serve somewhere outside of Joburg or Pretoria…we like to work with the branches. But wherever the president puts us we will love it…
Here is some counsel from the President and the experiences that he shared this week.
“Truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come. …And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth [God’s] commandments. He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things” (D&C 93:24,27-28).
President Monson, who is a wonderful example of obedience, teaches this principle all the time:
“There is no need for you or me in this enlightened age, when the fullness of the gospel has been restored, to sail uncharted seas or travel unmarked roads in search of a ‘fountain of truth… For a living Heavenly Father has plotted our course and provided an unfailing map — obedience” (President Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, July 1996).
As we teach our members by example of being obedient, they will trust us and want to do what we do:
“She was found on Monday when we were running from one appt to the next (we had an investigator waiting for us at the church) and we handed a card to her and invited her to church. Thankfully, our member who was with us stopped and talked to her. As we were hurrying off, we heard him say, ‘You need to come to church and be baptized because God needs you in His church’. Wow…I was impressed by how bold he was; for a missionary, that would be a usual greeting, but for a member? He gave us her address when he caught up to us at the chapel 20 min later and we had the chance to follow up with her on Thursday night… we took the time to harvest the whole building, and found her! She was so excited when she saw it was us! We blessed her and she accepted baptism and is so beyond amazing! She already has at least 5 generations of family history down, read at least to 1 nephi 10 in the first night of having the Book of Mormon, and taught us some really cool stuff about the 12 tribes of Israel, and knows the Bible soooo well! She asked us on Saturday night what she needed to wear for her baptism! God is great and He blesses us through ways we don’t expect!”
God blesses us as we are obedient to opening our mouths:
“We were biking to an appointment with an investigator and we saw a man and a group of people just hanging outside their house. We had passed this house many many times in the past, but this time we went over and opened our mouths. Turns out that he is a member that was baptized 2 years ago northwest of here, moved here and the records were never sent. That ‘group’ of people turned out to be his family..Mother, 19 year old son, 16 year old daughter, 14 year old daughter, 12 year old son, 11 year old daughter, and a 7 year old son…ALL NOT BAPTIZED. We asked if they had gone to church with their dad before and they said that they went EVERY Sunday. We invited them to be baptized and they all said yes and that they didn’t know why they weren’t baptized before. They are preparing to be baptized this weekend.”
Obedience in our responsibility in rescuing our “returning members” and bringing them back home:
“… We were trying to contact some former investigators [from the area book], which we had no success- but then as we were walking back to the car, I got the impression to knock the door across from them. The woman that opened the door looked at us skeptically and said, ‘Oh that’s nice what you’re doing, but I don’t need a building to feel God- bye!’ Just before she was about to shut the door, we testified that Christ sent us to share a special prayer with her because He loves her. She opened the door again and allowed us to share the prayer with her- and right after she opened her eyes- she was beaming! She told us how much she loved the prayer- and as we were about to leave- she told us “I got to tell you something! When I was younger, I was baptized Mormon. You know, I haven’t been to church in about 40 years- but I will definitely see you on Sunday!’ We visited her again Sunday morning to see if she needed anything else. She was wiped out, not feeling very well when we saw her- but as we listened, testified, and read from the Book of Mormon with her, she jumped up, eyes glowing and said ‘Alright- I’m taking a shower and I am coming! I’ll see you there!’ When she came to church, she immediately was welcomed in by members of the relief society- she felt welcome at once! She stayed all three hours and she left the building feeling so elated! We talked with one of the women from church who’d been guiding her around- and she told us that Teresa had said that we had been an answer to her prayers- and that she was so happy to be here!”
We will continue interviews this week Tuesday, September 10th with Hialeah Zone; Wednesday, September 11th with Palm Beach Zone; Thursday, September 12th with Coral Springs and Miami Beach Zones; Friday, September 13th with Miami and Homestead Zones. Your Zone Leaders will coordinate the times and places. Have your area books ready.
What an amazing opportunity we had to be taught at the feet of Elder Ulisses Soares of the Presidency of the Seventy on Saturday. I pray that all of you took good notes and will review them as you embrace the teachings he shared. Some of the things he shared with us:
· The importance of being a part of “hastening the work of Salvation”
· Steps to be called on a Mission starting from the pre-existence to our call from a Prophet of God
· Our acceptance and promise to fulfill our purpose and abide by the standards of a “Representative of Jesus Christ”
· What a “Representative of Jesus Christ” is
· Follow the example of Jesus Christ who was always obedient to his Father
· Missionary Handbook and Mission rules are not a book of suggestions, but a book of commandments
· What we need to do to have the miracles the Brother of Jared had when he saw the finger of the Lord and touched the stones for light
· Faith – Act – Spiritually create – Diligence
· “The successful Missionary” page 10 of “Preach My Gospel”
· Member work is crucial
· Christ invited everyone to follow Him, Open your Mouths, Matthew 4:19
· Don’t leave home with any blank spaces in your planner, Spiritually create for every hour
· And of course the “Apostolic Blessing” he left on us, our mission, our areas and those we find and teach
I was touched when Elder Soares related the story while serving as a Mission President in Portugal, and one of his missionaries asked “President, have you ever seen Jesus Christ?” I loved his answer, “No, I have not personally seen Jesus Christ. But I see Jesus Christ when I look at you.”
This made me think about how each of you have Jesus Christ radiate from your countenance. When you are worthy and obedient to represent Jesus Christ, others will see Him when they look at you and are taught by you:
“And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?… I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?” (Alma 5:14,19)
Because all of you have “spiritually been born of God”, and experienced “this mighty change in your hearts” to represent Christ, His image “engraven upon your countenances”. What a blessing to know that we not only represent Jesus Christ, but others will see Jesus Christ in us as we invite them to come to Him. Elder Wirthlin tells us that this image and countenance will be the light that radiates from us as we share His Gospel and the light that will radiate from those who accept and follow Christ:
“We are the Savior’s disciples who ‘shall go forth.’ All of us are ‘called of him to [be missionaries to] declare his word among his people.’ …We should follow the counsel of President Spencer W. Kimball and ‘do it,’ and he added, ‘Do it right now.’… We all have the sacred obligation and joyful opportunity to throw open the windows of light and truth by proclaiming the blessings of everlasting life to a darkened world… We can experience no greater joy than to see the light of the gospel shine in the eyes and face of a newly baptized brother or sister who has ‘spiritually been born of God,’ who has ‘experienced [a] mighty change in [heart],’ and who has ‘the image of God engraven upon [his or her countenance!]’… If we are to fulfill the Lord’s command to open the windows of heaven to all of our brothers and sisters, we must prepare to teach the gospel. With study of the scriptures, fasting, and prayer, we fortify our testimonies. We cultivate Christlike attributes of ‘faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, [and] diligence’ (D&C 4:6) Through exemplary obedience, we can ‘let [our] light so shine before men, that they may see [our] good works, and glorify [our] Father which is in heaven.’ (Matthew 5:16) By keeping the commandments, we can light our gospel candle and put it ‘on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house’.”(Matthew 5:15) (Joseph B. Wirthlin, General Conference, October 1995)
An evidence that conversion has taken place to those we find and teach, are when we “see the light of the gospel shine in the eyes and face of a newly baptized brother or sister who has ‘spiritually been born of God,’ who has ‘experienced [a] mighty change in [heart],’ and who has ‘the image of God engraven upon [his or her countenance!]’.” How great indeed is our joy!!!
Many will see Christ in your countenance and want you to share it with those they love and care about:
“We got out of the car to look for a less active in this building, and at the foot of the staircase, there was a man who was smoking, had tattoos, and was yelling. We were going to pass him up. ‘Just give him a card’ I thought. We gave him a card, and he opened up. ‘Hey, I’m looking for a church. Where’s your church at?’ We blessed him and he felt so peaceful. He accepted church, but didn’t feel ready for baptism. He then said ‘But my sister, Amy and John need a prayer. She lives up the stairs on the left and so does Chris and he lives…’ and he showed us where they lived without us even asking. We blessed his sister and she accepted baptism and when we left we saw another guy up the same staircase and blessed him and he wanted to come to church and his girlfriend accepted baptism as well. We finally went to the less actives door, and no one lived there. But if we had passed the first guy, knocked on the less actives door and left, nothing would have happened. I am so grateful we listened to the Spirit!”
Many will go to great lengths to feel and see the influence of Christ that you radiate:
“Probably to top the whole week off was what happened on Sunday. Our baptism fell through so we weren’t really expecting to have an incredible Sunday. Then one of the members in our ward came up to us and introduced us to this man who wanted to learn more about the gospel. Now get this; He lives about 10 miles away from the church. He has no car and decided to come to church because of a pass along card given to him from the Elders with the address for the church. He took two buses and walked all the way to the church on the faith of a pass along card! We invited him to be baptized yesterday and he said Yes!!! He is so amazing President! I love being a missionary!”
Many will recognize you as Christ’s representatives and show gratitude to the gift of Christ you deliver:
“She answers the door and we say we are representatives of Jesus Christ. She then starts getting emotional and says ‘I KNOW YOU, I KNOW YOU!!’ She then goes into the story of how she has come across many LDS people in her life but had never been able to meet with missionaries and how she was wondering where we disappeared too. She then told us how she grew up in the Muslim faith and when she was younger she had a dream Where Jesus Christ appeared to her and she was then converted to Christianity. She then told us that before she even met any missionaries or knew about our church she had an odd dream where she met a man in the 1800’s by the name of Joseph Smith who was carrying a book (The Book of Mormon). She then sadly related to us how she was not on talking terms with God and that she had a hard time believing that he existed. She had just barely muttered under her breath ‘God, where are you? I need you…’ And then we showed up and knocked on her door. We conversed with her about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ, and BAPTISM. She accepted baptism and told us ‘ I know how important the words of the scriptures are, but what you just did for me means more to me than anything that you will find in the Scriptures. I did not believe in God but because of what you just did I know he is there’. .. we can inspire the hearts of the Children of God, this really is his work …he truly prepares his people!”
President Faust tells us that the image of Christ increases in us when our relationship with God and His Son Jesus Christ increases:
“Alma asks if we have received His image in our countenances. A sacred light comes to our eyes and countenances when we have a personal bond with our loving Heavenly Father and His Son, our Savior and Redeemer. With this bond our faces will mirror that “sublime assurance”that He lives. (President James E. Faust, Gen. Conf. October 2005)
President Uchtdorf teaches us that that image of Christ increases when our Christ like example increases for others:
“The most effective way to preach the gospel is through example. If we live according to our beliefs, people will notice. If the countenance of Jesus Christ shines in our lives, if we are joyful and at peace with the world, people will want to know why. One of the greatest sermons ever pronounced on missionary work is this simple thought attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi: ‘Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words’.” (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, General Conference, April 2011)
What better time to see the image and countenance of Christ, than in His servants, as we “Prepare for the Prophets”. This preparation and experience will increase the mirror image of Christ and amplify this great work in us.
We will begin interviews this week Monday, September 2nd with Fort Lauderdale Zone, and Wednesday, September 4th with Stuart Zone. Have your area books ready. We will also interview Tuesday, September 10th with Hialeah Zone; Wednesday, September 11th with Palm Beach Zone; Thursday, September 12th with Coral Springs and Miami Beach Zones; Friday, September 13th with Miami and Homestead Zones. Your Zone Leaders will coordinate the times and places.
We will also have the privilege of hearing from Elder Ulisses Soares Of the Presidency of the Seventy in a Mission Conference, Saturday Morning, September 7th, at the Plantation Chapel at 9:00 AM. Please be seated by 8:15 AM preparing for this conference. We should be finished with a Mission Picture by 11:00 AM. This will be a wonderful blessing for us, please prepare to be taught, trained and instructed.
I love the month of September because it is the month before General Conference, the month we “Prepare for the Prophets” and worthily receive God’s direction for us!!! There are wonderful examples in the scriptures when multitudes were taught and commitments were made. King Benjamin’s “General Conference” in the Book of Mosiah was one of those where the multitude was taught, invited to commit, and covenants were entered into. A great example of teaching to numerous people was when the Apostles were teaching a multitude on the “Day of Pentecost” in the book of Acts. The Apostles were instructing a whole host of members and investigators who were made up of different nationalities and cultures, but the people were amazed that they could understand what was being taught even though they didn’t know the language:
“Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilæans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?” (Acts 2:6-8)
They were able to understand by the Spirit and the “Gift of Tongues” what was being taught. During this great conference, Peter spoke to them concerning Jesus Christ and His resurrection; His second coming; how to gain salvation; and the power of the Holy Ghost. The great miracle of this experience was the powerful Spirit they felt and the commitments that were made:
“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (Acts 2:37-38)
After the invitation to come to Christ, thousands were baptized:
“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:41)
I can’t help but think that the wonder of this experience was amplified because those that were there were prepared to initiate and receive this miracle. I believe the greatest miracles are reserved for those that make the greatest efforts in preparation of those blessings. Therefore, the more we “Prepare for the Prophets”, the greater experience we will have as God speaks to us through His servants. Throughout history we have seen how servants of God were prepared before the miracle was received. Enoch was prepared before he and the “City of Enoch” were translated. Moses and his people were prepared before they entered into the promised land of Israel. Nephi was prepared before he received the Brass Plates. The Brother of Jared was prepared before he led his people to the Americas. Joseph Smith was prepared before he received the miracles of the Restoration. And of course Jesus Christ was prepared before he gave us all the miracle of His resurrection and Atonement. I could go on and on but understand that as we prepare this month with our diligence and offerings, God will give us the fullness of the blessings of His Servant’s instructions.
Zone Conference and other trainings will help prepare you personally and to help you find souls also preparing:
“I LOVED zone conference this week. I had a few questions going in and got them all answered. And it really paid off in our area. I think going into the conference, we only had 2 new investigators for the week and we ended up with 10! I think it was really due to applying the things that we learned about How To Begin Teaching. It helped me to really understand it better. It’s been something I’ve struggled with my whole mission.”
Opening your mouths to everyone will magnify your preparation and those that are preparing to receive the invitation:
“Remember the man I told you about last week. We met him at a stop sign. We rolled down our window and yelled across the street and asked him if we could give him a card. He biked over to our car and we asked him if we could go back to his house and leave a prayer with him. We showed up and said a prayer with him, then we just started teaching him a lesson and he started crying during the lesson. We invited him to be baptized, and he said yes. He came to church the next day. It was stake conference. We asked him how he felt and he started crying again, he said really good. We invited him to be baptized again. He said yes! Eight days later he was baptized! It was an amazing Baptism. After his baptism he stood up and bore his testimony and told everyone how we found him. He told us that he ‘had been praying for guidance and God sent me 2 angels that saved my life!’ He quit smoking in 7 days! What an amazing example. I am pretty sure I learn more from my investigators then they learn from me. The lord has people for us, we just need to open our Mouths and act.”
Your preparation in sharing your testimony will change people right before your eyes and create a miracle:
“We were walking down the street Friday evening and saw a lady getting out of her car. We ran to her and asked if we could leave a blessing. She rejected the blessing and began giving excuses. As we testified of the power that prayer has she softened her heart and we were able to leave the blessing. She recognized the Spirit and she said she has family that are Mormons and that she had been to church 4 times in the past. She then eagerly exclaims, ‘I want to be a Mormon!’ We testified and invited her to be baptized on Sunday. She accepted and said she would come to church. We tried seeing her on Saturday for her interview and she wouldn’t answer the phone, Sunday morning , after sacrament, while sitting with our investigators she comes up to us and said, ‘see I came and I loved it, I feel so full!’ It was a miracle.”
Transfer day miracles was a great springboard in preparing us for this month:
“This week truly was a miracle transfer week! We started off strong by following all the commitments given by our leaders and because of that we were able to get 2 people come unto Christ. And the amazing thing was that your promise was fulfilled! Right before our baptisms a member came to me and my companion with another man. He told me ‘this man is ready for baptism and you just need to teach him and in the coming weeks he will be baptized’. So when he left I started talking to him and found out that missionaries had taught him before and he has come to church many times! So we felt Impressed to go get the zone leaders and have him interviewed right then and there and he passed. After he witnessed the 2 baptisms he told everyone ‘ I am getting baptized next week’, so Transfer miracle week Is in fact real!! Well this week was truly the result of Miracle Transfer Day! The Man that said he was going to be baptized the coming week, WAS BAPTIZED!!”
Missionaries, as we “Prepare for the Prophets” God will bless us immeasurably and as Elder Ballard has taught, we will be guided in our work and we will not go astray:
“Now, my dear brothers and sisters, please pay attention to those things that the leaders of the Church have taught during this general conference. Apply the teachings that will help you and your family. Let all of us… bring into our homes the teachings of the prophets and the apostles to strengthen our relationships with each other and with our Father in Heaven and with the Lord Jesus Christ. I promise you in the name of the Lord that if you will listen not just with your ears but also with your heart, the Holy Ghost will manifest the truth unto you of the messages delivered by [The Prophet], his counselors, the Apostles, and other leaders of the Church. The Spirit will prompt you to know what you should do as individuals and as families in order to follow our counsel, that your testimonies might be strengthened and that you might have peace and joy… Are we listening, brothers and sisters? Are we hearing the words of the prophet to us…? Or are we allowing ourselves… to be blinded by pride and stubbornness, which could prevent us from receiving the blessings that come from following the teachings of God’s prophet? Today I make you a promise. It’s a simple one, but it is true. If you will listen to the living prophet and the apostles and heed our counsel, you will not go astray.” (M. Russell Ballard, General Conference, April 2001)
For the last couple of years, we have “done what had not been done” the month before General Conference. We broke 100 baptisms for the first time in March 2012; we broke 140 baptisms in September 2012; we broke 160 baptisms March 2013. We have baptized more in those months than we had ever before up to that time. Now is the time Missionaries to “do what has not been done” and to achieve our vision of “175”.
We just got back from a trip and so I am catching up with President Anderson’s letter of 8/25…enjoy
What an amazing week we had being with all of you in Zone Conferences. We learned so much and I pray that you are implementing the things we trained on: Dealing better with diet and stress, rescuing our less active recent converts, being caught up with our precious referrals (August 31st), renewing our skills with “how to begin teaching”, and understanding our ordinances and covenants better. We will begin interviews on September 2nd with Fort Lauderdale Zone, and September 4th with Stuart Zone. Have your area books ready.
When Jesus Christ teaches the “Beatitudes” in the New Testament, he first addresses his counsel to his disciples and warns them that defending the Gospel will not be easy, but the reward will be “the kingdom of heaven”:
“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying… Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Mathew 5:1-2,10-12)
After his warning and promised blessing, he tells them of their sacred call to be “the light of the world”:
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
The Savior is helping His disciples to know that “for so persecuted the prophets before you” is an honor and privilege to be counted and numbered with those who have defended Christ through hardship, persecution, and adversity. That privilege is to represent Him and to teach of Him to all as we become “the light of the world”.
I recall as a young missionary having a marriage and baptism fall through one Saturday afternoon. We had half of the ward there and it all collapsed with our investigators backing out. We could have licked our wounds and went to our apartment to feel sorry for ourselves, but we decided that is not what the Savior would have us do. We made some impressive plans and goals and went out into the pouring rain to be “the light of the world” to all those who would hear our message of Jesus Christ. We had more doors slammed in our faces and more name calling that afternoon and evening then I can remember my whole mission. Coming home soaking wet, discouraged, and extremely humble, we barely managed to say prayers and go to bed. The next morning is when the miracle of our diligence occurred. The Bishop called us and informed me that he had an extended family member, which we had taught in the past, who he wanted me to baptize. The miracle of compensation and indirect blessings became ours because we did not give in to adversity!
Sometimes the “persecution” and being “reviled” can be extreme some days, perhaps even some weeks, but I also know that so experienced the great prophets and missionaries before us. In contrast, our adversity is only a drop in the bucket compared to what they or the Savior went through.
Sometimes our adversity is not just persecution or being reviled, but it can be personal tribulation or stress that we endure like Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” trials he had to bare; for our “strength is made perfect in weakness:
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
I love how you are all the light of World and your influence spreads beyond those you bless:
“The other day we had prayed to ask the Lord for a place to harvest. We went there and knocked doors and had some success. In one of the houses a man opened the door and we told him we were representatives of Jesus Christ. After some testifying, he let us pray with him. He wouldn’t let us come in because his mother was sleeping on the couch. After we had left we knocked a few more doors and we see a woman standing in front of the house of the man we had just blessed. It was his mother. She told us that she knew we were sent by God because she had been lying on the couch for a few days and couldn’t walk without extreme pain. She told us that she felt no pain now and was super happy that we had come to pray with her and her family. We invited her to be baptized and she cried and said yes.”
I love how you are the light of the world and indirect blessings fall upon you because of your obedience:
“It was Wednesday after transfer meeting and we had 0 blessings. We did not soon forget the 30 minutes or so that was spent talking about all the miracles that come after transfer meeting. So, we decided to put “the doctrine of doing” to the test and see what happened. We prayed where to go, went there, and started harvesting. About 5 blessings in, we received a random text message from a member. She asked if we could come over ‘right now’. I assumed that she had seen us because it just so happened that we were on the very same street as where she lived. We arrived about 5 minutes later to see what she needed. We came in and started talking with her and her boyfriend and they wanted to know if he could be baptized on Sunday! He’s been to church 3 times with her and really wants to follow Jesus Christ by getting baptized. There’s no doubt that transfer day is a miracle day!”
I love how you are the light of the world and are blessed because the gratitude you give God:
“So one day as we were following up with one of our families, we walked outside and gave a prayer of gratitude … Right after we did we looked up and there was this girl out walking her dog. We went right up to her and contacted her. We told her we were representative of Jesus Christ. We said God wants us to say a prayer with you. She didn’t hesitate to accept. During the prayer my companion, who just got here to the mission field 2 days earlier …was doing everything he could to calm the dog so that this lady could feel of the spirit. Well guess what… After the prayer we asked her how she felt. She said ‘I feel amazing, peaceful. I know that you guys were sent from God. Me and my husband have actually been visiting around to churches to find one that we want to join and this last Sunday we actually didn’t have one to go to.’ We then immediately testified of how we were sent from God and how he wanted her to come to church with us on Sunday and prepare to be baptized. She accepted and said ‘we will be at your church’. Well she and her husband and their 20 week old baby all showed up to church. They loved it. And it didn’t stop. One of the speakers in sacrament meeting was actually a guy that she knew from work. WHAT A MIRACLE RIGHT!!!!! It was so amazing to see God perform that miracle. We didn’t hesitate once again to offer up a prayer of gratitude.”
Interviewing Missionaries is a wonderful experience for me as I feel your Spirit and excitement for the work. Your excitement can be contagious and I feed on your enthusiasm. Many times you inspire me when you accomplish the impossible, things that others said you could not do. As I was interviewing one of our young zone leaders a couple of years ago, I observed that as he is reporting about his zone and the excitement for the many goals they are working for, I detected a twinge in his expression and a pain in his voice. I quickly was reminded of his severe painful medical condition that almost caused him to not even be on his mission. I was quickly reminded of the significant amount of medication that he took daily along with shots and physical therapy. I was quickly reminded of the years he waited after the age of 19 before the Doctors could get enough of a handle on his condition before he was allowed to go, years older than most missionaries. I then asked him pointedly, watching the quick surge of pain in his eyes “Tell me Elder, how are you doing?” He looked up at me quickly with watering eyes and a forced smile, “I’m doing great President, I love my Mission”. My eyes begin to water and I cannot speak because I see a young man who obtained the mission standards consistently every week, never complaining, always enduring, and going beyond what his body, mind and Doctors allow. A young man who consistently was amongst the great producers of the mission. I then with a trembling voice ask, “I know it is hard and painful sometimes for you, are you overdoing it?” He then responds with a similar trembling voice “No, there is so much to do, and so little time, God has blessed me”. All I could say was “yes he has Elder, and he has blessed me to know you”. What courage, what diligence, what faith.
God has blessed me to know you Missionaries. I know the trials, tribulation, adversity, reviling, and persecution you go through. I know the “thorns of the flesh” that many of you miraculously endure. I also know of the tremendous experiences, miracles, blessings, and life changes you are witnessing. I know as these blessings amplify, they will diminish the adversary’s efforts to cause us to fall because “behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth.” (Alma 56:46)