President's Pen 11-9-15 (Using Time Wisely)

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!  I hope you all enjoyed the conference today with Elder Oaks, Robbins, Corbridge and Sister Reeves, great messages for all of us.  We are excited to be with you this week for our zone conferences.  You all should have the agenda and materials to study/review prior to our meeting.  You should also have your three, five-minute talks prepared, as we will be calling on someone from each conference to speak. Please prepare in such a way that the Spirit can prompt and guide you to take away the knowledge and skills necessary to help us bring more unto Christ.  What you put into your zone conference preparation will largely determine what you take from it.

I want you to consider today the “time” you are given on your mission to bring souls unto Christ.  In the big picture, two years or eighteen months is so small that it will barely register in the expanse of the eternities.  The impact, however, of the time you will devote and consecrate to God is of infinite worth in your own life and the people you serve.

It is no wonder then that the Lord will require, “…at the hand of every steward, to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity.” (D&C 72:3)  How we choose to use and prioritize our time largely determines not only what type of missionary we will be, but also who we are and who we will become.

The Lord is serious about how we use our time as his servants, “Behold, they have been sent to preach my gospel among the congregations of the wicked; wherefore, I give unto them a commandment, thus: Thou shalt not idle away thy time, neither shalt thou bury thy talent that it may not be known.” (D&C 60:13)  Strong words from the Lord and it is abundantly clear that we are not to waste our time.

Consider the time then that is allotted to us on our mission to go about doing much good and inviting all to come unto Christ.  The following is a graphic of how your time is spent during the mission.


Assuming we use the time as defined in the Missionary Handbook, over the course of two years or eighteen months we will spend 33% percent of our time sleeping (8 hours day), 25% teaching/finding (6 hours day), 12% eating (3 hours day), 10% studying (2-3 hours day), 6% in service (10 hours week ), 5% on Pday (8 hours week), 4% planning (6.5 hours week), 3% in meetings (5 hours week), and 2% exercising (.5 hour day).

I know some of you feel like sleep is only 2%, but it is the single largest activity we do during our time on the mission. J  That is then followed by a few precious hours each day to teach and find, only 25% of a given day.  We have a generous amount of time to eat (12%) and study (10%), both important activities to fuel our body and minds.

My point in sharing this data with you is to help you recognize how valuable your time is and how important it is to make a difference during your missionary service each day.  The question for each of us is, "Will we use our time wisely and take advantage of the time given us to be consecrated Disciples of Christ?"

Take a moment to reflect on your covenants and why you are asked to consecrate your time.  The word consecrate means that we declare sacred, set apart, or dedicate ourselves to the service of deity.  Of the many things we can set apart or give to our Father in Heaven, our time is one that shows our love and devotion to Him.  If we aren’t willing to give of our time, we put other priorities first, and in turn, struggle to live the first and great commandment, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him.” (D&C 59:5)

Sadly, many use their time unwisely and either idle it away or spend it on activities that produce little to no results.  Think about the time you may have spent watching TV, playing video games, sleeping away the day, on social media, mobile phone, or other unproductive activities before your mission.  Many wish they could take this time back, but as Benjamin Franklin stated, “Lost time can never be found”.  We all stand in need of repentance on how we’ve managed time in the past, but the good news is you have all given up your time to serve the Lord now.

I’d ask each you to take a moment to review in your mind how wisely you are using your sacred time as a missionary.  A few things to consider…  Do you wake up on time and discipline yourself to exercise each morning?  Do you begin your studies on time and is it time well spent (20/20/20)?  Do you use your companionship study time to improve your ability to teach and prepare, or do you idle it away with less important activities?  Do you leave the apartment on time, ready to find, teach, invite, retain, and activate?  Do you plan to use your time wisely working with members, less actives, investigators, and filling your day full of productive activities?  Do you arrive to your appointments on time, spend the right amount of time in the homes you visit, and value the time of others?  How do you fill your time when things fall through, is it productive or unproductive?  Do you return to your apartment on time, begin nightly planning, and retire to bed on time?  If you need to make changes on any of these time management topics, NOW IS THE TIME!

In my own life I have found that I will spend my time on things that are important to me.  I have learned that managing my time requires not only self-discipline, but also an understanding of where my priorities lie.  My relationship with my Father in Heaven is important to me so I don’t question the time I spend serving Him.  My sweetheart is important to me so we take the time for date night each week.   As a family we take the time to be together and strengthen each other (I need to do better with individual time for my kids though).  You are all important to me so I’m glad to spend my time with you as we serve together.  You too will prioritize your time for things in life that are important to you, what will they be?

Please consider today how you can more effectively use your time as you serve the Lord in His work.  We can be assured of the ultimate blessing as we use our time wisely, “For he who is faithful and wise in time is accounted worthy to inherit the mansions prepared for him of my Father.” (D&C 72:4)  To use the missionary cliché, don’t count your time, make your time count.  We love you and know that you will use your time wisely to serve the Lord.

Mission Update
We have had 11 souls enter the waters of baptism this month to receive a remission of their sins.  Many more await you as you use your time to seek them out.  Your time cannot be better spent than teaching the Doctrine of Christ and inviting all to come unto Him.
Saludos y abrazos, have a great week!
President Hall