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!
Elders & Sisters,
We love you! We have a big week ahead as we prepare for Elder Corbridge's visit to our mission. You should all have your three, five-minute talks prepared. You should have read and studied, "Epistles of the Lord" by President Nelson, as well as the 4th Missionary, The Way, & The Prophet Joseph Smith, all talks from Elder Corbridge. Please make sure you arrive on time on your assigned day. It's a great blessing to have a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy instruct us; I hope you have prepared your hearts and minds.
In Doctrine and Covenants section 18 we learn about the worth of a soul. In verse 10 we are taught, "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God". Have you ever asked yourself what a soul is worth? The value of your soul? How can you put a price on each soul? The next scripture answers our question... "For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him." The price paid by the Savior for each soul is indeed priceless, yours included. Each one of us has had the ultimate price paid so that we might repent and come back home to the Savior and our Father in Heaven.
The scriptures then teach… "And he hath arisen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance." From this we learn that we will all be resurrected and brought to Him, if we but repent. While the worth of each soul is great, it does require that every soul repents to receive the full blessings of the price paid by the Savior.
For this reason we see why the Lord exclaims, "And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!" Our Father in Heaven rejoices when we repent, when we forsake our sins, and when we take advantage of the infinite price paid by his beloved Son.
So in these scriptures we learn that a worth of a soul is great, because the Father lovingly sent his only Begotten Son, to pay a price that cannot be measured, and through the gift of repentance and ultimately the Saviors grace, we will return to him, and His joy will be full.
We are then given this charge, "Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people." This is part of our sacred call as missionaries. For us to cry repentance unto the people, we know that it begins by teaching faith in the Savior and His Atonement. If we teach Christ's Atonement effectively, the people will then recognize that they must repent, in order to receive a remission of their sins through baptism and through the cleansing fire of the Gift of the Holy Ghost. These souls can then have the power to endure to the end, by receiving the endowment and the sealing blessings that come to families in the temple. This is the Doctrine of Christ and our purpose.
The verses then continue on how we will feel as we do our part, "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" Our Father not only feels joy, but he also wants us to share in it! At the time of our baptism, we made a commitment to the Savior, that for all our days, we would cry repentance not only to ourselves, but to those we are blessed to serve. The first soul we will bring back to God through repentance and the saving ordinances is our own; this is the only way for us to have the joy with the Father in His kingdom.
We then learn there is more joy to be had, "And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" Who are the other souls described in this verse?
In our missionary labors we invite others come unto Christ and help them; who is them? If we are not careful, we can limit our joy if we don't expand our view. Our first thoughts should be that our joy will come from those we baptize. This would be an accurate view and we will have great joy with these souls. Elder Corbridge will ask you, "What do you want/expect from your mission?", I hope that one of your many answers is to baptize God's children. The desire to baptize is important and you should be unashamed in making this a desire of your heart. The priesthood keys that I hold, the keys that we all function under, are the keys of teaching and convert baptism. This is a significant part of your purpose and this is why we set goals and make plans to have our investigators come unto Christ.
In addition to baptizing, you should also find equal joy for all the souls you bring back to Christ. These souls include members and less active members. How many of you celebrate, take pictures, and send letters home about someone you've brought back to church? Are these souls any less important? Of course they're not, and yet when we evaluate the success of our mission, we often exclude these successes from our list. Isn't our assignment to cry repentance unto "this people"? You never know how a lesson you might teach in a members home may cause them to repent and become more consecrated. For every less active, part-member family, and prospective elder you visit and invite to come back unto Christ, you should be filled with joy when they choose to return.
If we include the entire work of salvation to our efforts, imagine the joy you will feel when you help them go to the temple, both the less active and recent convert, and help them with their family names. All of these souls will be part of your joy and will be fruits of your mission. Your reach into the great work of salvation is broad and big picture in scope.
Elders and Sisters, the worth of a soul is great. The Lord does not put a cap on the amount of joy we can receive, and when we think big picture, we realize our missionary success is not limited to convert baptisms alone. When you return home you will add to your joy by working with your family, serving in callings, fulfilling your assignment as home and visiting teachers, and attending the temple with family names. Joy is our ultimate end, sealed as eternal families with all of God's children back in His presence.
In the Texas Houston South Mission we are full purpose missionaries. You will have joy as you find and cry repentance unto "this people", you will have joy as you teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you will have joy as you make bold invitations and follow up, you will have joy as you retain your converts, you will have joy as you activate and bring members back into the fold. There is no room in our mission for feeling unsuccessful if you understand the worth of a soul. Plan for success, see the big picture, never go a day without being full purpose through your finding, teaching, inviting, retaining, and activating. Don't be silo'd in your efforts, use the members so we can bring in the important priesthood keys of finding and fellowshipping held by the bishops and stake presidents. We invite others to come unto Christ and help them, there is no greater blessing to serve the Lord as full time missionaries. We love you!!!
Elders & Sisters, for the month of October we had 23 souls follow the Saviors example, receiving a remission of their sins through baptism. Get them to the temple! Increase your joy and continue to nurture and edify them. We are coming into a season where hearts are softened, gratitude is given, and the Spirit of Christ is more alive in the people. Make a goal to baptize in November and December. Make a goal to bring a family back to the truths of the gospel, make a goal to get a new covert or less active to the temple. Be full purpose. Desire to baptize, desire to bring people back, desire success and joy in the Lord's work. It is His, it is true, and we love Him!
As an FYI – we have a mission website that I've created for family, friends, and newly assigned missionaries. I am posting my weekly letters here if you want to share it with your parents. Have them go to www.texashoustonsouthmission.com
Saludos y abrazos, have a great week!