President's Pen 7-6-15 (Accountable to the Lord)

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! 

Dear Elders and Sisters, words can’t express how much we love you and how grateful we are to be working with you.  We loved meeting you this past Wednesday and can’t wait to spend more time with you.  Our family loves the Houston area and we already feel like we’re home.

We know the Lord has prepared us to see miracles in Texas Houston South.  As we demonstrate our faith, obedience, and diligence, the windows of heaven will be opened and we won’t be able to count all the blessings.  Consider the painting I shared with you; do you see beyond the egg and what the Lord has in store for the future of your investigators, recent converts, less active members and you?  My hope as you read my emails each week is that you are uplifted, inspired, challenged, and ready to serve the Lord with all your heart, might, mind, and strength.

Last week we counseled together as leadership at MLC and we all felt that the Lord will bless us as we become more accountable for our individual areas.  With that in mind, we will be making a small modification to the way we set our monthly mission goals.  We believe that each companionship is entitled to receive revelation for their area.  To that end, as a mission we will be better served if our monthly mission goal is a collection of the efforts of each area.  What does this mean?  Each companionship will be asked to prayerfully consider how many people they will invite to come unto Christ through the ordinance of baptism.  We will ask each companionship to review who the Lord will prepare and then set their monthly goal with effective planning.  Each companionship will then provide their District and Zone Leaders their goal and the plans that will be required to accomplish that goal.  We will then total each companionship goal and this will become our mission goal.  I may make some changes to the total based on the inspiration I receive, but you will help me get there. Over time we will include the wards and stakes in this process, but for now it begins with us.  I hope you will be excited by this new process as each companionship will truly make a difference in the success we enjoy as a mission.

To prepare your hearts and minds for this change, we will come together on Tuesday as zones to discuss the principles of goal setting and planning.  In Preach My Gospel (pages 146-151) we learn the Lord’s way of how to set goals and plan in missionary work.  If we hope to achieve what the Lord expects of us we can’t randomly go about our work, we have to have specific plans in mind.  Your Zone Leaders will share with you an important invitation to be more consecrated in your planning, both weekly and daily.  The Lord has prepared 13 steps (PMG pg. 147-150) for you to consider as you accomplish your full purpose in finding, teaching, inviting, retaining, and activating.  I promise that if you are faithful in your planning, the Lord will extend his hand to you as you show him that you are prepared and ready to bring more unto Christ.   

You might ask the questions… “What if we don’t have any active or progressing investigators?”, “I don’t have enough in my investigator pool and I don’t want my goal to be zero, what should I do?”  May I suggest that what the Lord requires of you is not only your faith, but also your works.  If you don’t have anyone prepared it will not be enough just to have faith that you’ll find one investigator to be baptized for the month.  I need you to exercise your faith, but you’ll also have to demonstrate your works (planning to find, teach, invite, retain, and activate).   The principle we will learn is that by the trial of our faith (goal setting and planning) the Lord will bless us with success.  I don’t expect us to make up a goal that we haven’t planned for, but I do expect us to have enough faith, with our works, that the Lord will be pleased with our efforts. 

We recognize that agency is a large part of our work and that our best laid plans can be frustrated at times by factors outside our control.  This may be true with investigators who no longer choose to be baptized or that won’t follow through on their commitments.  What we can control, however, is our effort in finding, how we teach, how we invite, how we retain, and how we activate. You can have peace in your heart at the end of each day if you know you have done all you can do, and in turn, the Lord will be pleased with your efforts.  Over time your planning will become so effective that you won’t have enough time in the day to rest and you will be the happiest missionaries on earth!

Following the zone meetings this week see if you can answer the following questions…  Why do we set goals and plans, what will we do, and how will we do it?  If you feel like you can answer each of these questions you’re on your way to reaping the harvest the Lord describes in D&C 4.  

When you return and report today, please share with me the following… (Brief responses are appreciated, but please be thoughtful as you consider answering each question.) If possible, print your responses out and hang them in your apartment so you can hold yourself accountable.

1.     What will you do as a companionship to be more consecrated in your goal setting and planning?

2.     What will you study in Preach My Gospel this week and how will you apply what you’ve learned?

3.     What is a Christlike attribute you will focus on this week and how will you measure your progress?

4.     Who are the investigators in your area that have accepted the baptismal invitation and what will you do to help them accomplish this goal?

As this is my first letter to you, I’d love any feedback you have for me.  How can I bless you? How can I inspire you to focus on our purpose? 

A note from Sister Hall…

First, I add my sentiments to President Hall’s of our love for you and how blessed we feel to be working with each of you.  We love to call Houston Texas South, HOME. 

Second, I want to share some cheerful thoughts in regards to finding joy in our missionary journey together.  Here are some wise words from our Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, “My sincere prayer is that we may adapt to the changes in our lives, that we may realize what is most important, that we may express our gratitude always and thus find joy in the journey.”  Find the sunshine through the clouds, see the joy in your service, have an attitude of gratitude, and find happiness because you’re on the Lord’s errand.   Life is good!!!  We love you, Sister Hall

Mission Update

We had five of God’s children enter the waters of baptism this week.  Thanks for your hard work.  More souls are waiting for you as you become full-purpose missionaries.  Find everywhere, teach everyone, invite constantly, retain caringly, and activate lovingly.  You’re the best and our best is yet to come!