As missionaries in the Texas Houston South Mission, we know our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. We do I this through our constant efforts to find, teach, invite, retain, and activate God’s children; we love it, we live it, and we do it! “We begin with the End in Mind”, and see God’s children as he does. We are Disciples of Jesus Christ that teach repentance and baptize converts and the best missionaries in the world!
Dear Elders & Sisters,
I love ya! For three years I have lead out each of my President’s Pens with the text above. I love our purpose and as you read my final Pen to you today, consider if what is stated above is written on your heart. I love the blessing of teaching repentance and baptizing converts. It will be my purpose forevermore!
It’s hard to express all I’d like to say and share with you in this final President’s Pen. I’m simply grateful! As an individual, as a couple, and as a family, the Lord has blessed in more ways than I can possibly count. When we stand and sing, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”, I know and recognize where all my blessing flow from. Our service with you has filled our souls and our experience as fellow missionaries is one that will bless us into the eternities.
As we return home, our purpose continues to be the same… I will have faith in the Savior and in His Atonement; I believe, I trust, and He is my foundation. I know all things are centered in Christ and He is my rock and my hope. I have gained an even more firm realization that through Christ all things are possible, and as I act in accordance with His will, I am richly blessed. I have seen the faith of countless missionaries grow and blossom as they have learned to trust and rely on the Lord. You are counted among them! My favorite thing to hear in exit interviews is how missionaries have come to know the Savior in a real and personal way. I know the fruit of the Savior’s Atonement is available to all and our charge is to lift the faith of all we teach. I know that my Redeemer lives; He is the way, the truth, and the light.
Acting in faith has changed me in ways that are both subtle and profound. I am so grateful for the gift of repentance and for the opportunity the Lord has given me to improve, to turn to Him, and to abandon the natural man. One of the greatest blessings of our mission experience is seeing the change of those we teach, but it’s been equally as sweet watching all of you experience the process of conversion. Repentance is the plan for us, it is what allows us to become as the Savior is. I will continue to repent daily and embrace the Savior’s merciful plan that enables me to become as He is.
I am so grateful for ordinances and the covenant path. I have seen the power of the Savior’s Atonement manifest in my life, in yours, and in those who are baptized by water and by fire. I gladly accept the terms of each covenant and they are a constant reminder of what the Lord expects of me. I look forward to the blessing of participating in the sacrament each week. I am renewed, I retain a remission of my sins, and I am promised to always have the companionship of the Holy Ghost. I will keep my covenants and I will continue to invite and help others receive the blessings the Savior offers to all.
I have learned and experienced that what I desire most is to have the Holy Ghost with me. The Holy Ghost not only testifies and teaches of the Father and the Son, but purifies me, sanctifies me, and makes it possible for me to feel connected to heaven. I know that the spirit of revelation is real. I have often received light to my mind and feelings to my heart as I’ve prayed for you, sought direction, and stood in need of comfort and peace. The Spirit’s voice is subtle, but when I have listened and acted, the Lord has blessed me with more promptings, more light, and more truth. I know that without the Spirit I am left to my own wisdom, and I’m not nearly smart enough to make it through life on my own. I know that the gift of the Holy Ghost is the greatest gift anyone can receive in mortality.
I love the covenant path that allows me to endure to the end. My faith in the Savior keeps me from straying too far; I will forever stay by the tree. I want to be with Him and I trust in the blessings that will come, even as I experience the trials of life. The temple ordinances, including the washing and anointing, endowment, and sealing blessings give me strength to walk the path, to hold to the iron rod, and to press forward with hope and faith in Christ. God’s commandments are a blessing, they teach me His will, help me understand His ways, and I want to keep them and show my love to Him. I’ll never leave the path! I’ll do the small and simple things that keep my faith strong, my testimony growing, and I will joyfully endure until the Savior comes again.
I love the doctrine of Christ and I know it is the way. Nothing changes for me when I return home, nor will it for you. It is the way and there is no other way nor name under heaven for us to be saved in the kingdom of God. Each day I can apply His doctrine in my life as I review my faith in Him, continuously improve and change, keep my covenants, receive heavenly direction by the Spirit, and walk the covenant path home. It is has become a part of who I am and it is all centered on the Savior and the Father’s merciful plan for me. The plan is simple, following it is never easy, the great and spacious building will always call, but I know the way! My purpose will never change, regardless of what calling I receive next, I know what I need to do.
In addition to my purpose, I wanted to share a few things with you that I have loved about our experience. I have loved having Sister Hall as my companion. There is no other calling in the Church, that I’m aware of, where a husband and wife can work more closely together. (we will be senior missionaries in about 7 years) I’ve seen my sweetheart overcome fear, increase her faith in the Savior, and become a powerful missionary. I love my sweet girl and this experience has only made us stronger; we’ve had a blast together. I have loved serving with our kids. They have sacrificed much, they’ve not seen me as much as they should, they have been patient, and our family will be forever blessed.
What's more? I have loved my interviews with you… I estimate that I’ve done almost 5000 during our mission. They are brief, but to connect with you one on one, knee to knee, and to hear your concerns and struggles, see your growth, and feel your joys is a huge blessing to me. I have loved zone conferences with you… To see the aha moments, to watch you in action, to see you apply what you’ve learned is amazing. I have loved being in your district councils… I am always amazed by your preparation, your discussions, the leadership, and what you are able to go and do. I have loved your return and report emails… Almost 30k read in the last three years and I have learned so much about you. Some are short and sweet and others are full of description, stories, and desires to improve, but I love them all. I love answering the phone and asking how I can bless you, receiving your texts, and trying to lift and inspire you. I have loved being with you, watching you grow, stretch, struggle, and although it’s bittersweet, seeing you return home changed, consecrated, and ready to take on the next chapter of your mission. I could go on and on about what I love, but most of all I love you. I have some small understanding of how love is truly exponential because of you!
I take home with me the same three things you do… My relationships, my knowledge, and who I’ve become. I’ve worked hard, I’ve tried my best, I’ve prayed for spiritual gifts and I’ve been incredibly blessed. I’ve been far from perfect, the Lord has chastised me from time to time, but I leave with no regrets. I pray that the Lord has accepted our offering and that in some small way we have blessed you. My hope is that you’ll always see me as your best friend. I hope you’ll share with us the great things that happen in your life. We want to know about your wedding day, your schooling, when your first little person is born, where you work and live, how you’re serving in the Church, and when your children and grandchildren are called on missions. We know you’ll make mistakes, have trials, have your faith tested, but I assure you we will always be there to counsel with you, bless you, remind you of the doctrine of Christ, and help you in any way that we can. I will always bring you back to the Waters of Mormon, the Great THSM, where you came to sing the song of redeeming love. You know our expectations for you are high, and they always will be, but we also recognize that we all need help, love, and a listening ear. Please always consider us as friends you can come to. We mean it!
Elders & Sisters, I know God lives, He’s my father, He knows me, and He hears my prayers. I have had so many witnesses that He is real, that He is there, and I can never deny it. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. He enables me with His grace, He loves me, and I will be perfected in Him. When He comes again, I will stand in line and wait to see and feel the palms of his hands, the wounds on his feet, and confess that He is the Christ. I know that the Prophet Joseph is a witness of the reality of the Father and the Son. He is a man, with flaws and imperfections, and he was called to be the Lord’s chosen prophet and I honor him. I believe in his witness and by his fruits I know he is good. I testify that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, it is my handbook of instructions, it is what brings me nearer to God, and I will read it every day, and never miss a day the rest of my life. I know that we have living prophets and apostles on the earth. As I follow their counsel I am blessed. I witness that all of these things are true and that the Holy Ghost has made them known to my heart and mind again and again.
I have loved our mission, I feel so blessed to have been called to preside over the Texas Houston South mission for these last three years. We were called to you and you were called to us. It has changed me for the eternities. It was not hard to drop our nets and accept the Savior’s invitation to come and serve. It is far harder now to pick our nets back up, but I have complete faith that the Lord will allow us to always be involved in building His kingdom. I invite you today my dear Elders & Sisters to work your tails off, to give your heart to the Lord, to love your mission, to serve honorably, to leave with no regrets, and to always remain true and faithful. I love this work, it is true, I love you, and I will pray for you every day for the rest of our lives. I love ya my dear friends, God be with us until we meet again!