President's Pen 12-7-15 (A Successful Day?)

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!

Beloved Elders and Sisters,

What a great time of year!  I love Christmas hymns, I love Christmas ward parties, I love the symbols of the season, I love the Christmas Devotional (how cool was it to see President Ashton give the opening prayer!), I love being a missionary for my Savior.  What is there not to love about teaching the sweetest and best message, A Savior Is Born! I hope you wake up each morning with a smile on your face with the determination to do all that you can to bring others unto Christ.  He lives, He loves you, and we are His disciples.

In my email to you last week I referenced Preach My Gospel Chapter 1 and how you can determine whether or not you are on the path of becoming successful missionary. My thoughts this week are turned to what is required on a day-to-day basis to have that goal become a reality.  I am always asking myself if the Lord is pleased with my efforts, and at the end of each day I want to be able to look myself in the mirror and feel like I've done my best to do His will.  It is in the day-to-day efforts that we put ourselves on the path of discipleship by inviting others and helping them come unto Christ.

A successful day for me begins the night before in companionship planning. Nightly planning is the mark of a successful missionary and it is the critical time afforded us to put together our goals and plans for the coming day. This short, but important half an hour, can make all of the difference in our labors for the day ahead, and when done correctly, can guide our efforts and all that we do.  A day that is planned, despite the changes that will come, will always yield greater results than a day that is left to chance.  When you have a goal in mind each day and then make a plan to accomplish it you're more likely to see progress.  Is nightly planning a part of your successful day?

With a plan in mind, we rise for the day at 6:30 and head for exercise.  Exercise is a way to jump start your body and mind and prepare you mentally and physically for your daily labors.  When you get your heartbeat up and break a sweat (not just humidity :), natural endorphins kick in and give us natural energy like nothing else can.  A day without exercise can lead you to feeling tired, both in mind and spirit.  For some it is difficult to rise and workout, but once you begin it satisfies physical and spiritual laws; the white handbook is inspired on this point and I wouldn't go a day (with the exception of Sunday) without it.  Is exercise a part of your successful day?

Do you eat well?  A part of a successful day is not only eating, but eating things that build and strengthen us.  Begin by eating a healthy breakfast and lunch.  If you eat foods with too much sugar, have a few too many sodas, and eat junk food regularly (whether from the store or restaurant), you will feel sluggish and tired.  Your body becomes accustomed to sugars and when you don't have them you will feel more drowsy.   Eight hours is plenty of sleep to survive, in most cases it's your diet that is causing you problems.  Sister Hall will tell you at least 5 fruits or vegetables in your diet each day will do you wonders.  For those that eat with members often, you can't necessarily choose the meal, but you can control your portions.  Is your diet a part of your successful day?

Studying, what a blessing!  For those that have caught the vision of personal and companionship study, as many of you have, you wish you had more time.  The first hour of personal study is your opportunity to fuel yourself spiritually.  A good dose of 20/20/20 each morning is what you need to be spiritually ready to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  You should be studying at least 20 minutes in the Book of Mormon each day.  You should be studying 20 minutes in Preach My Gospel each day.  You should use the remaining 20 minutes of personal study time on topics that will bless your efforts with those you teach.  The second hour of study should be with your companion as you review the needs of those you teach.  This is the only intelligent thing to do if you expect to teach in harmony with your companion.  Some have taken the 20/20/20 and applied it to their companionship study; 20 minutes of personal study review (including 3 pages of white handbook), 20 minutes of PMG (including District game film), and 20 minutes of role-play.  For those that study a language, I have provided a guide to help your efforts.  Your daily study is no different than the food you eat, without it we are weakened and unable to serve as we should.  Is personal and companionship study part of your successful day?

Service = success.  Each week you have up to 10-12 hours of service available.  Blessing the lives of others for two hours a day should be part of your planning and can do your soul so much good.  You can find service on JustServe.org, by working with the ward council, and by finding spontaneous opportunities throughout your day.  I am often surprised by companionships that have very little or aren't doing service each week; this should never be the case.  Yes, you have to look for it, yes it is generally best when it is planned, but you never know what opportunities you'll find when you actively seek it out.  The Savior himself went about serving, it was part of his successful day, is it part of yours?

The real fun or payoff in every successful day is the opportunity to find, teach, invite, retain, and activate.  These activities of course happen when we've set goals and made plans to make them happen.  Every successful day should include time for finding (OYM'ing with members, less active, investigators, recent converts, and street contacting), teaching (with members, less active, investigators, recent converts, and street contacting), inviting (with members, less active, investigators, recent converts, and street contacting), retaining (with less actives and recent converts), and activating (with members and less actives).  As part of this time you will likely be following up on commitments, working with your ward leadership, and preparing members for member "friend" lessons.  Because you've planned well you'll know exactly where you're going to go and what you're going to do when the day's plan falls apart.  Is your successful day spent in full-purpose missionary activities?

A successful day can't be fully accomplished without recognizing the need for the Lord's help in your work.  Your successful day should begin with faith in Jesus Christ and the assurance that He is in the vineyard.  You'll likely find yourself on your knees praying and then going throughout the day with a prayer in your heart.  You'll be striving to give your heart, might, mind, and strength with an eye single to His glory and work.  You'll be obedient to the mission rules and expect the blessings that are associated with being worthy.   You'll be seeking the Spirit to guide and tell you where to go, what to do, and what to say; in other words, you'll seek inspiration each day.  You'll love the people and desire their salvation.  Is faith, prayer, effort, obedience, worthiness, love, and inspiration a part of your successful day?

A successful day won't necessarily include a baptism, a new investigator,  or a less active that returns.  Most successful days will be made up of the things you can control and doing each to the best of your ability.  At the end of each day you should be able to look yourself in the mirror and state that today, "I invited others to come unto Christ, I helped 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."  You can feel success everyday if you're doing what you've been called to do, using tour time wisely, and using the resources the Lord has given you.  It really is a simple formula for success, but does require your effort and diligence.

Every day you have a choice to make it successful or not.  The more days you make successful, the more successful you become as a missionary, and in turn your mission will be a great success.  You are agents to act, not be acted upon.  Choose success, choose daily to make it a part of who you are and who you will become.  The Lord will bless your efforts and you will have more joy in the work.  Don't short change your success, do all that you can to serve in such a way that "well done thou good and faithful servant" will be the feeling of your heart.  We love you!

Mission Update

Elders & Sisters, we were blessed to have four souls enter the waters of baptism to receive a remission of their sins this week.  How are you doing on your goal to bring someone unto Christ this month?  Have faith, be bold, teach with power,  use the authority you've been blessed with.  We love you!

Saludos y un abrazo grande,

President Hall