President's Pen 9-21-15 (Psalm of Nephi)

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!  On Friday night Sister Hall and I went on our weekly date and had a chance to review the good things happening in our lives.  We generally talk about our kids and the many things they are involved in.  Our family has expanded dramatically and now our discussions very much involve all of you.  We talk about your goodness, the joy we have working with you, the growth we see, the challenges you face, and the successes you celebrate.  In short, we very much feel like you’ve become ours and we love and appreciate all you do!

One of my favorite passages of scripture comes from the 2nd Book of Nephi, Chapter 4:15-35, also known as the Psalm of Nephi.  I love the Prophet Nephi as he is one of my Book of Mormon heroes and favorite prophets.  Consider the greatness of the Prophet Nehpi and yet as good as he was, he still struggled with the idea that he might be good enough, worthy enough, capable enough etc. etc..  Have you ever felt similar?  I know we all have and yet we can learn so much from Nephi on how to overcome these feelings.

I’d like you to study Nephi’s psalm this week and record in your study journal the feelings that come to your mind regarding the statements Nephi makes.  Do you agree with how Nephi feels?  Are there areas where you could follow his example better? 

As an example, start with verse 15 and ask yourself the question, do I feel the same as Nephi? “For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children.”  Write down how you feel about the scriptures, do you love them?  Do you ponder them?  Do you learn and profit from them?  Get the idea???

Another example, verse 31,  “O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?” You teach that the Lord will redeem our souls, do you believe it and can you describe how this make you feel? How has the Lord delivered you from your enemies, both spiritually and physically? Are there sins that you have shaken off that you forever want to avoid? 

Final example, verse 34, “O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh…” Have you learned to trust God over men?  How have you felt as you have submitted your will to God vs. the things of the world?

Take each of the 20 verses and put yourself in Nephi’s shoes.  Is this how you feel, is this what you understand, are these the desires of your heart?

I use the example of Nephi’s Psalm as verses of scripture where you can immerse yourself and study them with new eyes.  In my interview with you I will ask about your study of the Book of Mormon.  If it has truly been written for our day, the question you should ask yourself is are you feasting upon its words?  Are you simply reading or are you doing what Nephi taught, “for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.”

My desire is that the Book of Mormon becomes so written upon your heart that you will truly feel that it brings you closer to God than any other book you could possibly read or study.  As a missionary and Disciple of Christ, you must come to love it, understand it, and apply its teachings.  You should be devastated when your investigators choose not to read it.  You should read it with them, testify of its truths, and make sure they know how important it is to you.  When you introduce it to them, they need to know that its not just a book that you want them to read, but that it will change their life forever as it has changed yours.

I testify that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ.  It has taught me that the Savior is my Redeemer, it is evidence that Joseph Smith was God’s prophet of the Restoration, and it does establish that this is God’s Church here on the earth again.  I know it is true, I love it, and know that it is the keystone of our faith.  Let’s introduce it with power, with testimony, and with the desire that they read, ponder and pray and come to a knowledge of its truth for themselves.  Study, feast, and apply what you learn, and you will then be able to testify of it as if you had the voice of an angel. 

Consider texting this link to your investigators…  - Watch for yourselves how simply and clearly Elder Holland introduces the Book of Mormon…

Accountability Meetings

Beginning this Tuesday we will be implementing a new accountability meeting with your companionship and District Leader.  These meetings will be 10-15 minutes long and take place before your weekly district meeting.  The intent of this meeting is to strengthen, uplift, motivate, and help you in your weekly missionary effots.   Your district leader willreview with you your previous weeks goals and key indicator results.  We are following the counsel of President Monson, “Where performance is measured, performance improves. Where performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.” 

This meeting is not about numbers!  The intent is to help us in our efforts and be accountable for our labors as described in D&C 72:3 “…For it is required of the Lord, at the hand of every steward, to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity.”  You should be prepared to give an accounting of your week, how you did against your goals, and plans, where you’re seeing success, where you need help and or advice.  This should be a meeting you look forward to as it will give you an opportunity to see all the good you’re doing and where you can continue to lengthen your stride.    Your leaders will also check in with you on Friday night and then have a call with you Sunday night as they collect your key indicators for the end of the week. I look forward to your feedback and my hope is that our rate of improvement will indeed accelerate. 

Weekly Mission Update

Elders & Sisters, we have had 25 souls enter the waters of baptism this month for a remission of their sins. There are many others waiting to come unto Christ, FEAR NO MAN!  Do you have enough faith for the Lord to help you find, teach, and invite others to come unto Him?  Doubt not, fear not.  We love you!

Interview Schedule

Please make sure you get with your Zone or District leader on the time of your interview.  Have your area book, planner, and associated records updated and ready to share

Saludos y abrazos, have a great week!

President Hall