President's Pen 8-3-15 (Back to Basics - The Restoration)

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!

Elder and Sisters, we love you!  It’s been an amazing and wonderful week.  We loved experiencing the blessing of seeing the Lord’s hand in transfers. We celebrated three birthdays in our family, Zac, Jessie, and Allie, and we held Jessie’s baptism and confirmation on Sunday.  We love our family and feel so blessed to have the gospel of Jesus Christ to be at the center of our home.  You are our family… we love you, pray for you, and want you to feel of God’s love for you.

As we begin the month of August we have much to accomplish.  I have felt inspired that we need to go back to the basics in how we find and how we teach.  To that end our study and focus for the month will be on the Restoration. 

Elder Holland taught us at the mission president’s seminar that the first real sermon an investigator will ever hear is from the missionaries.  He then went on to say that the first impression and first lesson the missionaries give must be full of power and taught by the Spirit.  That is an awesome responsibility and one that all of us can be prepared for.  

Have you ever considered that the Lord needs to feel confident in our teaching before he’ll allow us to find those he has prepared?  In many cases those seeking the truth don’t know where to find it (D&C 123:12).   The simple truth is that the Restoration brings those lessons they once received (D&C 138:56) back to their memories and when they hear the lesson taught by the Spirit they will remember them.  Oh, how important then that we not only open our mouths, but that when we teach the Spirit testifies of the truths they were once taught. 

Think of how many times you have taught Lesson 1 on your mission.  Has it in any way become scripted, memorized, generic or commonplace to you? You may teach it enough that it’s possible that its simplicity and power may have become a routine or something normal.  In the D&C 31:7 we learn that the Lord will open the hearts of the people and that they will receive you.  We then learn in D&C 31:4 that the way the Lord opens the hearts of the people is through the things that have been revealed to the Prophet Joseph.  What has been revealed to the Prophet Joseph are the gospel truths that we teach in Lesson 1!

Lesson 1 – The Restoration should be a personal and meaningful story to you.  When you teach about God and his love for you is it personal?  As you share God’s love for families’ do you think of your own and help them understand why a Christ centered home can bless them? When you teach of prophets do you think of the living prophets and apostles and the one that called you to serve? As you testify of the Savior, his mission, his authority, and how he established his Church do you convey how important this truth is to you?  As you describe the apostasy do you help them understand that all was lost, that perhaps in your own life you’ve felt the darkness when the Spirit has withdrawn?  When you teach about Joseph, his humble prayer, and the miraculous First Vision, can you see it in your mind, feel it in your heart, and describe his words as if they are new?  When you testify of His restored authority can you feel the power of how the priesthood has blessed your life?  As you describe the Book of Mormon and invite them to read it do you realize how important this most precious set of scriptures will be in their conversion? When you teach prayer do you think of how God hears you, listens to you, loves you? As you describe the Spirit working in their lives do you recognize it in yours and how it will bless them? That is an awesome first lesson, when it becomes real to you, you’ll teach it differently. 

What we teach it is more than words, more than simple statements, it is the revealed truth of Gods’ love for us on the earth again! We need to teach it in such a way that it isn’t commonplace, that it is our story, one that we love, cherish and know will bring souls unto Christ.  When we teach this way, the Lord will trust us to find, because He knows we will bring the Spirit and power every time we open our mouths.  Our first impression will be the impression he expects of his servants.

We must be able to look at our investigators in the eyes, share God’s love for them, speak from the heart, and plead with them to follow the Savior.  You are their missionary; the Lord needs to trust that you’ll share his message with joy, love, and power. 

In August we need to go back to Lesson 1 and teach it like we’ve never taught it before.  With new eyes, new hearts, and when we do our efforts to find will change as the Lord will open more hearts, ready to receive us.  Role play it every day with your companion, teach the principles with simplicity, know the scriptures and doctrine behind what you teach, invite without fear.  Can you see what this will do for you as a disciple of Christ!  I testify to you that as we learn to teach more effectively the Lord will trust us more and more souls will come unto Christ.

For this week will you please report to me on the following?

Do you have the Joseph Smith history (First Vision account) memorized to perfection and can you teach it by the Spirit and with power?  If not, will you commit to me that you’ll be ready to teach it that way by zone conference?

What will you do this week to change your companionship study to focus on the principles of Lesson 1?  How will you include role-play, the district videos, PMG, and the scriptures in your study?


Message from Sister Hall

In our fast and testimony meeting today a sweet sister shared in her testimony how each one of us plays an important role or part in Heavenly Father’s plan.  How we all do and can make a difference in His plan, each in our own way.  This was a wonderful reminder to me personally, but also for our mission.  Each of one of our missionaries are important in His work….in His plan, and are an integral part of our mission in Texas Houston South.  We need all of you to do your part, to be prepared through planning, to study and role play, so you can personally testify with power of our Heavenly Father, His son Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith’s role in the restoration.  As you do so YOU will bless the lives of those that will come unto Christ.  Oh how we LOVE you! Big (air) Hugs!

Weekly Mission Update

Elders & Sisters, we have five weeks in August to invite and help our brothers and sisters come unto Christ.  I would like all of you to consider how you’ll bring at least one person per companionship (if not more) to the waters of baptism.  We know in our mission that for every 18 new investigators we find, one will be baptized.  What does this mean?  If you find 4-5 new investigators per week, per companionship, you’ll have a baptism every month.  Find every where, ask everyone who could benefit from our message, set a goal, make a plan, act in faith, and the Lord will take care of the rest.  Are you in? Can you do this? We will talk more about this in zone conference, but don’t wait to get started. I’m excited to see how the Lord will bless us. 

We love you, make it a great week!

President Hall