President's Pen 11-2-15 (Be Bold!)

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,
 
What a wonderful week to be a missionary in the great Texas Houston South Mission.  It was a great blessing to have Elder Corbridge with us and he had nothing but positive to say about you.  He was impressed by your knowledge, participation, and eagerness to do the Lord’s will.  His powerful teaching on the need for all to receive a remission of their sins and to have the Spirit and God’s power in our lives was something that will always stay with me.  I hope you wrote down what you heard and felt; experiences such as this don’t come often.

I was pleased to hear Elder Corbridge reinforce many of the topics we have been teaching over the last several months.  In particular, I about jumped out of my chair for joy when he role-played the experience he had with the investigator, Nick, in his home.  How cool was that!!!  If a general authority can role-play, it would seem to me that the most intelligent thing for us to do would be to increase our role-playing as well!

I thought I’d go back to what he taught, as he role-played what had taken place with Nick, and hit on some of the highlights.  If I miss a few critical points, feel free to add to what I may have left out.

If I recall, the missionaries had invited Nick to be baptized several times and they were at an impasse. Both Nick and the missionaries were frustrated at that point and then Elder Corbridge, the ward mission leader at the time, asked if could share some thoughts with Nick.

He said something to the effect of, “Nick, I don’t think you understand what the missionaries are offering you, that if you did understand, you would crawl through broken glass to get to it.”  He then said that the missionaries had just spoken about “men are created to have joy” (could be any subject in the lessons though).   He asked Nick if he wanted to have joy, and he of course responded with a “yes”.  He then took Nick to Galatians 5:22 and had him read about the fruits of the Spirit.  Elder Corbridge then shared with Nick that he too could have the feelings of peace, joy, love, and goodness, but that there was a problem.

The problem he explained was that sin separates us from God, and that there is no way to have peace in this life or the next without receiving a remission of our sins.  Nick, he said, “no unclean thing can dwell with God, and that includes you and me without divine intervention”.  He then went on to explain to Nick that God lovingly knew that we would make mistakes, but that He sent His only begotten Son to atone for our sins.  He helped Nick understand that only through the Savior and His infinite Atonement could we come back to God, but that it would be on the conditions that we repent.

He then explained to Nick that baptism, by someone holding God’s authority, is required to have our sins removed; a remission of our sins by which we are made clean.  He explained to Nick that he could be clean from his past, clean from his wrong doings, that he could have the peace, joy, and love in his life that God wanted him to have, he would be clean again.

He then explained that only through baptism could he receive the greatest gift God can give us in this life, the POWER and SPIRIT of God.  He then asked Nick why he wouldn’t want this in his life, and then asked again, “Nick, will you be baptized?”  Nick, as he described, now understood why he needed to be baptized, to receive a remission of his sins.

Elders and Sisters, we need to make sure the people we teach clearly understand that they desperately need a remission of their sins, that they can have the Spirit and Power of God in their lives.  The Savior taught this very thing to Nicodemus, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

Elder Corbridge asked us all a question, “When is the best time to extend the baptismal invitation?”  His response, “when they understand.”  If we don’t help them understand the “Why”, then they won’t understand the NEED.  When they understand, the invitation can come in the first lesson, it can come as we teach about the Restoration, about the priesthood, it can come when we’ve taught them that precious truths were lost because of the Great Apostasy, it can come as we help them understand that they can be clean and have the Spirit and Power of God in their lives.

Elder Corbridge helped us understand that if we teach them the destination; have eternal life and live with God as families again, show them the route; faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, they will come to the conclusion; I should be baptized, so I can receive a remission of my sins and have God’s Spirit and Power in my life.  Can it really be this simple? The answer is an affirmative yes!

He asked you all, “what is the most important thing?”  While there are many things that are important in the gospel, the one thing of most importance (Alma 7:7) is faith in the Savior, and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  This is our purpose, this is our message, this is what we need to teach simply and clearly, so that the people understand and never fall away. (Alma 23:6)

The feeling that has sunk deep into my heart is that we have to help those we teach understand why our message is the most important thing they will ever hear.  We need to be on the edge of our seats, look them in they eye, and proclaim it as if we had the voice of an angel.  We have to teach in such a way that those who hear the message can make the only intelligent choice, to be baptized for a remission of their sins and to have God’s power in their lives. There is no other way, nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved.  This is the Doctrine of Christ and the only true Doctrine!

Elders and Sisters, let’s be bold as we proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, let’s help them see why they need it in their lives, let’s testify and invite with power and faith.  You are Disciples of Christ, called to declare his word among the people of Texas Houston South, so they too might have everlasting life!  We love you!

Mission Update

November is here and we have new month to set a goal and make a plan to bring souls unto Christ.  November is a month of thanksgiving, leading to a season of peace, hope, and joy.  Plan to baptize this month, plan to baptize in December, plan to bring souls back to the gospel this month, plan to take souls to the temple this month.  Be grateful, be thankful, be the Disciples of Christ that you are.  Be obedient, faithful, and diligent, and the Lord will bless you!

Saludos y abrazos, have a great week!

President Hall