I am including the complete letter because it contains excellent counsel from a general authority…
Sister Anderson and I have started interviews and apartment inspections this week. We will be At Miami and Homestead Zones on Wednesday, 2-19-14; Friday at Hialeah Zone 2-21-14; Palm Beach Zone, Wellington and Belle Glade on Tuesday, 2-25-14; the rest of Stuart Zone, Boca Raton and Coral Springs on Wednesday 2-26-14; rest of Coral Springs Zone and Miami Beach Zone on 2-28-14. We are excited to meet with you and feel your excitement for the great work we have been called to. Please be prepared to have your Area Books current. We are looking forward to see your spotless apartments and cars.
Elder Kopischke left an incredible mark on our hearts and Spirit this last week. He taught so much concerning our needs, and not so much our concerns. He is a master teacher when it comes to Doctrine, Principle, and Application. Some of the things he taught (and additional what inspired my spirit):
- Help our Investigators get answers to their questions through Church, The Book of Mormon, and Prayer. They will have all their questions answerd, if diligent in their efforts. Joseph Smith asked the greatest question in the world in the Sacred Grove.
- Teach and Testify in plainness and simplicity (2 Nephi 25:4; 7)
- Boldness is not shouting, it is teaching plainly, clearly, in a way that they can learn.
- A major part of our purpose is not to justÂ Ã¢Â€ÂœinviteÃ¢Â€Â,Â but toÂ Ã¢Â€ÂœHelpÃ¢Â€Â.Ã‚Â Aaron invitedÂ and helpedÃ‚Â King LamoniÃ¢Â€Â™s Father come to Christ, Alma 22:16
- Take him that is weak (members, other missionaries) and build and strengthen (D&C 84:106). Pray for them, help them see, bring them up through faith and example (3 Nephi 18:24-25). Bring together the slow wheel (members) and the fast wheel (missionaries). We can work together and bring unity.
- Three CÃ¢Â€Â™sÂ to keep our investigators strong after baptism
- ConversionÃ‚Â -Ã‚Â donÃ¢Â€Â™t teach for Baptism, teach for conversion, Alma 23:4-7; Mathew 25:1-9 Ã¢Â€Âœoils of conversionÃ¢Â€Â, Ã¢Â€Âœlamps of testimonyÃ¢Â€Â
- Circumstances Ã¢Â€Â“Condition Ã¢Â€Â“ Completion Ã¢Â€Â“Ã‚Â Help them not fail in their progress, because you love them, Alma 4:10; Help them follow the example of you and the members, Alma 39:11; Greatest support for your investigator is when the whole family are members, not just one or two (completion).
- Contribution/Service Ã¢Â€Â“Ã‚Â Difference between Ã¢Â€Âœa callingÃ¢Â€Â and Ã¢Â€Âœan assignmentÃ¢Â€Â. Assign them service opportunities; help fellowship your investigators, go teaching with you, reactivate others, serve others.
- Bring and invite investigators to witness the sacred ordinance of Baptism
- Strive to beÂ Ã¢Â€ÂœPureÃ¢Â€ÂÃ‚Â notÃ‚Â Ã¢Â€ÂœSterileÃ¢Â€Â;Ã‚Â Pure is sanctified, worthy, chaste, obedient, and intentions of the heart. Sterile is without the Spirit, without sincerity, and without understanding.
- The greatest missionaries get discouraged, Alma 8:10; God will bless us (compensate) if we continue faithful and obedient, Alma 8:15.
- Ã¢Â€ÂœHow can you help an investigator if you have never failed?Ã¢Â€Â
- Ã¢Â€ÂœYou donÃ¢Â€Â™t take credit for your successes; donÃ¢Â€Â™t take the blame when others donÃ¢Â€Â™t listenÃ¢Â€Â (agency).
- Ã¢Â€ÂœYour success as a missionary is measured primarily by your commitment…Ã¢Â€Â (PMG p.10)
- Follow Spiritual Promptings with obedience and exactness, D&C 82:3; if you donÃ¢Â€Â™t do what you know, following the promptings, the sin will be upon us, D&C 82:4. The promised blessings of being obedient and following GodÃ¢Â€Â™s promptings, D&C 82:10.
- We are here to bring a change in us, D&C 4:4, Ã¢Â€Âœhe that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he parisheth not, butÃ‚Â bring salvation to his soul.Ã¢Â€Â
- Ã¢Â€ÂœWhy should I be baptized again?Ã¢Â€Â When Adam was baptized he Ã¢Â€Âœbecame quickened in the inner manÃ¢Â€Â, Moses 6:65-68. Since we are body and spirit, the inner man must be the spirit and a record was made for heaven and earth (vs 66). Then that Ã¢Â€Âœquickened inner man (spirit)Ã¢Â€Â becomes one with God, Ã¢Â€Âœthou art one in me, a son of God, and thus may all become my sons.Ã¢Â€Â (vs 68)
- We are not asking anyone to deny the good things they have learned in their previous church, but to add upon them, to give them the complete truth.
- Ã¢Â€ÂœHow can we be more motivated?Ã¢Â€Â Another word for motivation isÃ‚Â desire. In LehiÃ¢Â€Â™s vision of the Ã¢Â€ÂœTree of LifeÃ¢Â€Â, Lehi prayed to overcome discouragement (darkness) and to increase his motivation (desire). He prayed sincerely and fervently for mercy and desire and he received it when he saw the tree. When he partook of the fruit, he wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t concerned about himself (his darkness) any more, but his desires were for others, his family (1 Nephi 8:7-16). Not everyone will partake, because of their agency. (1 Nephi 8:17-18)
The list goes on with the things we learned. Now is the time to apply it in our work, and work with the members:
Ã¢Â€ÂœThis week we worked with a 77-year old Cuban man.Ã‚Â We met him through a recent convert who met him running one morning and felt that this man “NECECITA SER BAUTIZADO!”Ã‚Â (needs to be baptized). In a little over two weeks, he gave up coffee, started feasting upon the word, praying, and attending church.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Being a cyclist all his life and promising himself that he would never use a car after he retired, he insisted on riding his bicycle to church for his baptism.Ã‚Â So we chose to ride with him.Ã‚Â Sunday morning weÃ‚Â met him outside his house waiting for us and weÃ‚Â started the 8-mile journey to the chapel.Ã‚Â The whole time, the recent convert riding with us was practicing the baptismal prayer.Ã‚Â What a sight it must have been to the people witnessing this Ã¢Â€Âœbaptismal paradeÃ¢Â€Â!Ã‚Â Hours later, he was baptized by this member friend and then bore a powerful testimony of the spirit he felt and of the truthfulness of this work.Ã¢Â€Â™Ã¢Â€Â
Apply in our work with the Spirit:
Ã¢Â€ÂœWe went to visit an investigator who had a friend over. As soon as we walked in the gate of the home He said excited Ã¢Â€Â˜wow… as soon as you walked through the gate I felt something. I was so mad and was about to stomp out but now I’m calm. What did you do? What is that?Ã¢Â€Â™ We started talking to him and reading from the Book of Mormon about the Holy Ghost, and that was what he was feeling. He listened and talked a lot about how he’d never felt anything like it. Throughout it he said Ã¢Â€Â˜I don’t even want to do…(a certain sin)… anymore. That desire is gone… IÃ¢Â€Â™m a changed person.Ã¢Â€Â™Ã‚Â We invited him to be baptized, at first he said he had been but then when we testified that baptism is a commitment to God to keep his commandments He said Ã¢Â€Â˜I got baptized for my mom, but I want to get baptized in the real church and that’s this oneÃ¢Â€Â™, (we hadn’t even taught him the restoration. He just felt it.) He didn’t want us to leave. He really felt the spirit and it taught him.Ã¢Â€Â
Apply in our work our memberÃ¢Â€Â™s testimony:
Ã¢Â€ÂœHe still wanted to be baptized, but couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t promise to live the law of chastity, only try. This wasn’t good enoughÃ‚Â for God though, and he wasn’t able to be baptized. This week we saw him after many days of him probably avoiding us. He came out and immediately started throwing out these doubts about repentance and how God accepts everybody, and howÃ‚Â our church was unfair. He told us that he didn’t need to be married and that he didn’t want to be married. We talked about Matt. 3:11 about confessing sinsÃ‚Â and then Corinthians where the scripture says itÃ¢Â€Â™s better to marry than to burn. After sharing these scriptures I was feeling like that mightÃ‚Â have been too harsh, and the member jumped right in and simply said, Ã¢Â€Âœif you want to be at peace with God, you need to be married.” Our investigator thought about this and we asked him if he loved his girlfriend. He said yes. We told him about how we can get him married… and make it a special ceremony that God can be proud of. He said hold on, opened the door and called his girl friend to come outside. We met her and then watched as the hand of God and the Spirit pushed him to propose. Looking at her he asked, Ã¢Â€Â˜do you want to get married? With me?”Ã‚Â WOW!!!! We were in shock! She said yes and now we are planning a wedding and then a baptism! How incredible!!!Ã¢Â€Â
President Uchtdorf taught the blessings we will receive as we unite in these principles of God and go forward in spite of adversity:
Ã¢Â€ÂœGuided by the Holy Spirit, we will learn from our mistakes. If we stumble, we will rise. If we falter, we will go on. We will never waver; we will never give up. As a mighty [Mission] of God, we will stand together, shoulder to shoulder, focused on the principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and gratefully serving our God and fellowman with dedication and love… I testify to you this day thatÃ‚Â God the FatherÃ‚Â and His Son, Jesus Christ, live. They are real! They are there! You are not alone. Your Father in Heaven cares about you and desires to bless and uphold you in righteousness. Be assured that God speaks to mankind in our time. He will speak to you!Ã¢Â€Â (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, General Conference, 2012)
We have heard and studied wonderful doctrine and principles this last week. Now is the time to apply it. “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”(Acts 2:37) We must act on that knowledge and learning; we must change our circumstances and not wait to be acted upon. Like our converts, we must fulfill our commitments and change towards Christ, now is the time. We are part of a historic moment in this mission. “Elders and Sisters, what shall we do?”
Ã¢Â€Âœ[Missionaries] shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free.Ã¢Â€Â (D&C 128:22)