President's Pen 7-13-15 (Joy in the Work)

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, Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.   We do 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 and the best missionaries in the world! 

Elders and Sisters, how we love you!  As I have had the opportunity to visit with you in our interviews, I’m humbled by your goodness, devotion, and desire to invite all to come unto Christ.  You are all a great blessing to us. 

A common theme that has come up in my discussions with you is how can I find more joy in the work.  As I’ve pondered this question I thought it might be helpful to describe not only what joy is, but how we can obtain it.  For your personal study, you might review how often the scriptures reference joy, you’ll find it at least 215 times in the standard works. 

Elder Oaks, stated that “Joy is more than happiness. Joy is the ultimate sensation of well-being. It comes from being complete and in harmony with our Creator and his eternal laws.”  When we understand this definition, we can begin to identify how we might consider our day-to-day purpose as missionaries and ask ourselves if we are in harmony with our Creator and His eternal laws. 

We live in a “fast food” world where instant gratification is the norm.  If we desire something it seems to be readily available to us.  We have grown accustomed to instant information, on-demand programming, and quick fixes.  Due to these ready made solutions we can become desensitized to the way the Lord works with us, line upon line, precept upon precept.  In some ways we become frustrated when we don’t see our efforts or desires materialize as fast as we want them to.   A missionary translation might be: my area is hard, the members don’t help, our investigators don’t follow through, my companion is difficult… you get the point.   We get in the “fast food” line and wonder why our bag of joy isn’t coming out fast enough.

When these feelings arise I would ask us all to consider where real joy comes from.  King Benjamin invited his people to consider, “the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold,” he said, “they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven … [to] dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness.” That is JOY!

Real joy can only be found in and through our Savior Jesus Christ and His infinite atonement.  We all know the story of Alma as he shared his spiritual rebirth to his son Helaman.  He cried out, “O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me.” (Alma 36:18.) He then saw the miracle of forgiveness come flowing into his life as the bitter pains of sin were replaced by the sweet joy of redemption. In his words, “Oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy…!  The Savior is the author and finisher of joy; to Him we owe all our happiness in this life and the life to come.

We are the messengers of this JOY!  If you are struggling to find joy in your work, go right back to your purpose.  As a disciple of Christ you are here to invite all to come unto Him, to help all find faith in the Savior and His loving atonement, to bless their lives with the doctrine of repentance, to help them receive a remission of their sins through baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and to set them on a path of eternal joy as they endure. 

·      Find JOY as you find: be creative, be bold, talk to everyone. OYM because it is the beginning of joy for others, don’t rob them of this!

·      Find JOY as you teach: there is no greater message, greater hope, greater knowledge they can come by.  We teach JOY every day!

·      Find JOY as you invite: testify with power, be bold, they can’t find joy until you ask them to make commitments and keep them!

·      Find JOY as you retain: these are your brother and sisters, they need to taste more joy as they go to the temple, serve in callings, receive the priesthood, and receive fellowship!

·      Find JOY as you activate: many have forgotten the joy they once felt, bring it back to them with testimony, love and hope!

Don’t let this work become a burden to you, it will not be instant or “fast food” in nature.  Yes, it can be hard, yes, it takes patience, yes, it’s hot, humid, and difficult at times, but you have been set apart and have the authority to bring joy into the lives of all you come in contact with.   If you seek JOY you will find IT!

1.     Will you share with me how you will find JOY in your work this week.

2.     Will you share with me how your goal setting and planning has blessed you this past week or what you will do this week to become better at it.

3.     Will you share with me your plan and goal forOYM’ing (finding) activities this week.

4.     Will you share with me who will be baptized for a remission of their sins this week.

Thoughts from Sister Hall   

Elders and Sisters – I had the blessing of going on splits this past week with the Sisters in our area to find some media referrals.  I loved it!  I was blessed to give a Book of Mormon and invite a brother to read the 2nd and last to paragraphs of the introduction page as well as 1 Nephi 1.  We also committed him to a lesson this week!  I had JOY in finding!  We will see what comes of our invitation, but I know that when we look for the JOY President Hall speaks of we truly find it.  We love you, Sister Hall

Mission Weekly Update

Elders and Sisters – I won’t be sharing a numerical weekly update this week as I feel I need to understand what the Lord is asking me to do to further push the work forward with you.  Will you pray for me and you to become more full purpose in our efforts?  What I will say is we must and can do better finding, teaching, and inviting.

We love you, the Lord loves you, and we are his disciples.  Let’s give Him all of our heart, might, mind, and strength. 

President Hall