President's Pen 9-14-15 (Filled with the Spirit)

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 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,

We love you and appreciate you!  I had the most distinct impression today of God’s love for you.  The feeling was so powerful that I literally wanted to pick up the phone and call each of you individually to make sure you knew how much He loves you and desires your happiness.  What a blessing it is for me to serve with you!

Yesterday we had the opportunity to rest from our labors and delight in the Sabbath day.  Sunday is a great blessing to me and I look forward to partaking of the sacrament and renewing my covenants each week.  The sacrament is the only ordinance where we personally have the opportunity to repeat it for ourselves, and what a blessing it is.  I love the promise of always having His Spirit to be with me as I remember the Savior.

As I prepared to partake of the sacrament this week I was studying in 3 Nephi 18.  You will all recognize this as the chapter where the Savior instituted the sacrament among the Nephites.  As I studied, I was drawn to a statement that is mentioned in both verse 4 and 9 that says, after they were commanded to eat and drink they were “filled”. 

As I thought about what it means to be “filled”, I went to the scriptures to understand what this means for me.  In a literal sense, I might be filled if I consume enough bread and water where I am satisfied, or can’t eat any more.   Of course this type of filling will only last a short period of time until I need to be filled again. 

As I pondered how I might be spiritually filled, I looked for the scriptural references of how we can be “filled” by partaking of the sacrament.  The most common reference, although not common in terms of benefit, is to be filled with the Holy Ghost, Spirit, or Spirit of the Lord.  What an amazing blessing!  Isn’t this what we all hope for when we partake of the sacrament each week.  To be filled with the Spirit allows me to feel God’s love and have Him guide and direct the details of my life.   The constant companionship of the Spirit can bless me more than anything else that I can receive each day; I long to be filled with it.

In my study I then started to look for other ways I might be “filled” when the Spirit is with me.  Here are a few ways we can be filled as written in the scriptures that I love: filled with joy, filled with the power of God, filled with His love, filled with the spirit of prophecy, filled with love towards God, filled with wonder and amazement, filled with exceedingly great joy, filled with mercy, filled with gladness, filled with charity, filled with light, filled with compassion, filled with songs of everlasting joy, filled with wisdom, filled with comfort, filled with knowledge, filled with the fruits of righteousness, filled with rejoicings, filled with vision, filled with good, filled with glory.

I then began to ponder other ways in which I might be filled after partaking of the sacrament.  Filled with gratitude, filled with peace, filled with forgiveness, filled with faith, filled with patience, filled with kindness, filled with humility, filled with hope… The list could go on and on and who among us doesn’t want to be “filled” with these blessings?

Recognizing opposition in all things, I then considered what we might be filled with when the Spirit isn’t with us.  Again from the scriptures I found: filled with sorrow, filled with guilt and remorse, filled with anger, filled with fear, filled with all manner of lyings and deceit, filled with wrath, filled with madness, filled with confusion, filled with all unrighteousness, filled with violence. 

Isn’t it interesting what can creep in and fill us when there is an absence of the Spirit.  Can you imagine a life where you were filled with the feelings, thoughts, and or actions above?  Is there any wonder why there are so many in the world that are thirsting and hungering after righteousness?  Sadly, many are deceived and lie in wait and fill their lives with temporary happiness, quick fixes, and remedies that won’t endure.   These unfortunate brothers and sisters of ours are, “kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.” D&C 123:12

This is where we, Disciples of Jesus Christ, and God’s messengers come in.  We can help fill them with light, joy, peace, knowledge, goodness, comfort, hope, and love.  We can lead them to the waters of baptism to receive a remission of their sins, replacing feelings of guilt, remorse, confusion, fear, and hopelessness with the cleansing fire and sanctification as they receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  Can you see why you are so important in God’s work?

Think about the power and influence you can have for goodness as you “fill” hearts, minds, and lives with the peace only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bring. 

Let me now take this thought to an incredibly important invitation you make at each lesson.  Will you come to church…? Think about how your invitation to have them come to church each week can fill them beyond any alternative the world can provide. Do we recognize how important it is to not only get them to church for a few weeks before baptism, but each week for the rest of their lives?  Do they know how they can be filled so they can taste the fruits of the Spirit?  Can you see why the Prophet and Apostles have a renewed focus on making the Sabbath day a delight?

Think about how you are “filled” each week when you partake of the sacrament.  Think about how your personal witness of keeping the Sabbath Day holy and participating in the sacrament has changed you.  Is your invitation to attend church heartfelt and personal or do you invite them to come because it’s what they need to do to get baptized?  If your investigators aren’t coming to church, is it because they don’t understand?  Would it make a difference if they knew what it means to you or how anxious you are to have them feel like you do? 

The Lord has promised that those who hunger or thirst after righteousness will be fed spiritually until they are completely “filled” or satisfied.  Like the Nephites, we can be filled as we remember the Savior, take upon his name, and keep his commandments.   

Share this great message with joy and power.  Let your own soul be filled with Spirit so those you teach will desire to have the Spirit fill their lives as well.  We love you and know that you are making a great difference in the lives of those you teach.  Remember that this is the Lord’s work, it will roll forward despite difficulties and challenges.  Remember your purpose is to invite and help.  Do all that you can and the Lord will willingly and gratefully accept your sacrifice.

Weekly Mission Update

Elders & Sisters, we have had 19 souls enter the waters of baptism this month for a remission of their sins. What a blessing it is for us to invite and help others come unto Christ.  Let’s not lose a single one, our Standard of Excellence is to retain all and help them to the temple.   Each of you can have the blessing of having a baptism monthly as you set a goal, make a plan, and do all you can to invite and help others come unto Christ.  We love you!

Interview Schedule

Elders and Sisters, I will begin quarterly interviews this coming Friday and we will hold them at the Mission Offices.  I will be doing things a bit differently this go around…  Plan on 10 minutes with me and 10 minutes together with your companion.  If you need additional time I will have you schedule it with me separately so I can be fair to everyone that is waiting for their turn on the assigned day.  As a companionship I will be asking you questions on the following: share with me how you set goals and make plans, what are you doing for companionship study, how well are you working through members and local leadership. I will look for evidence of these activities so please plan on brining your area book, daily planners, progress records etc.  Bring your green sheet with you and we'll review your progress.  

For your individual interviews I would like to understand the following: what is your focus for individual study and how does it tie into your investigators needs, where are you currently reading in the Book of Mormon and how much time are you studying it each day/week, tell me about your personal prayers.  We'll cover additional topics as time allows.  If you have doctrinal questions please send them to me in an email in advance.  

Sister Hall will also be meeting with you separately where she is able, she is looking forward to spending time with you as well.  

I look forward to our interviews and feeling of your strength and spirit.  My mission is to bless you so please let me use my priesthood keys to do so.  

Saludos y abrazos, have a great week!

President Hall