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 missionary conference this past week and that prayers were answered, direction was received, and that you'll act on the promptings given. We were blessed to see and hear living Prophets and Apostles teach and focus on what we have already been taught in Preach My Gospel. Consider for a moment the order and significance of the talks given… The Doctrine of Christ, How to Feel and Recognize the Spirit, We Invite, They Commit, We Follow Up, Teaching People, Not Lessons, Finding People, and The Doctrine of Christ (teaching repentance and baptizing converts). To summarize the conference from my view it would be… We need to understand our purpose and focus on the doctrines that lead God's children back to Him, we need to be vessels that the Spirit can work through so that our investigators can act in faith, that our bold invitations are critical to their progress and that as they make commitments we do all we can to ensure they follow through, that our teaching needs to meet the needs of the people so they can act on their new understanding, that we are always finding and that the most successful route is to work through the members, and that our purpose will continue to be the focus of our efforts (teach repentance and baptize). We were again taught the basic fundamentals found in Preach My Gospel and the principles that guide and direct our missionary efforts. I hope you recognize how important it is for each of us to become Preach My Gospel missionaries and the need to follow the wise counsel of Elder Dallin H. Oaks and to study it every day.
I wanted to emphasize the key points I learned during the conference and invite you to ponder and act on these teachings so we can be in alignment with the instruction given.
Elder Neil L. Anderson – The Doctrine of Christ – Elder Anderson emphasized the need to have the Savior's name on our lips. The Savior and His Atonement is the most important thing and that if we can't think of anything to teach, we teach the Savior and His Atonement. We are to teach and testify of the Doctrine of Christ, stressing faith in the Savior and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. As such, our first responsibility is to lift the faith of all to a greater faith in the Savior and His Atonement. To do this we are to boldly introduce the Book of Mormon, learn to love the spiritual nourishment of this great book, and testify of it so they will come to know it is true. Repentance is critical to true conversion, our teaching and our words, help people begin the real intent to change. Help people get on their knees and learn to pray with real intent, so they can change. Never be afraid to teach baptism, set goals for baptism, and work and learn with others that are baptizing so you can do the same. The Doctrine of Christ comes to us through revelation and the Holy Ghost will testify of it's truths to you.
His challenge to us was this… As our understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase (pg. 2 PMG). Ask yourself, what do I really believe about the Savior's Atonement, am I personally experiencing the Atonement every day? Elder Anderson promised that you will become more effective as a missionary as you come to understand the Atonement. Study and review Moroni 8: 25-26, our message and our purpose in two great verses of scripture. What else were you prompted to do from Elder Anderson's teaching?
Elder David A. Bednar – The Role of the Holy Ghost in Conversion – We must be vessels, instruments, and conduits that are worthy, obedient, and prepared so that the Holy Ghost can work through us to take our message "unto the hearts" of the people so they can decide if they will act in faith and take it "into their hearts". We must get out of the way and let the Spirit do the work, set the stage, the Holy Ghost is the TEACHER. We need to help the investigator recognize the Spirit for themselves, not because we tell them. We need to help them act in faith so the power of the Holy Ghost can confirm the truthfulness of what has been heard and what has been done. Our responsibility is to invite and entice so the Spirit can teach, testify, and cause the investigator to act, all our preparation leads to this end. Teaching is not talking, it is eyes to see, ears to hear, and discerning the needs of those we teach. The missionary not teaching needs to be dialed in so inspiration can come. All that we do, our study, our planning, our lesson planning and our preparation allows the Holy Ghost to bring all things to our remembrance so we can say what the Holy Ghost needs us to say. Revelation is thoughts to the mind and feelings to the heart. Be good, be worthy, be prepared, have the faith to press forward and go. The role of the Holy Ghost in conversion is the influence to help the heart change, our role is to create an environment where an investigator can pull the teachings into into their heart so they can act. Without the power of the Holy Ghost we are utterly incapable of doing what we are called to do.
Elder Bednar's question and challenge to you… What will you do differently? What will you do to enable the Holy Ghost to be the teacher? What else were you prompted to do from Elder Bednar's teachings?
Bishop W. Christopher Waddell – We Invite, They Committ, We Follow Up — Faith is a principle of ACTION and POWER – Conversion is a miracle and begins with faith in Jesus Christ. We invite all to act, to become agents, rather than objects to be acted upon. An invitation to act must be extended in every lesson. Specific, direct, and clear invitations will leave no doubt of what you are asking them to do. Boldness in your invitations shows your faith that obedience to the commandments brings blessings. Invitations alone are not sufficient to motivate or inspire others to act, they must know why, understand the blessings, hear your testimony, and then have your help as you follow up on the invitation to act.
The invitation – Study chapter 11 and ask yourself if you're following the inspired pattern of invitations, commitments, and follow up. Can you pattern your invitations after the Prophet Elijah and the widow of Zarephathfound in 1 Kings 17? What else were you prompted to do from Bishop Waddell's teachings?
Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson — Teaching People, Not Lessons — Lift up your voices to this people… and you will be given in the very hour what you should say, if… you treasure things up, and seek first to obtain His word. The Spirit can't draw from an empty treasure chest, your study and preparation are required in order for the Spirit to bring utterance to your teachings. Your personal and companionship study are essential in your ability to fill the treasure chest of knowledge. We best understand the needs of our investigators by listening to what they have to say and by asking inspired questions.
The invitation – Study chapter 10 and focus on how you can improve your ability to understand the needs of your investigators. Your nightly planning and morning study will allow you to treasure up the words that the Spirit will have you speak. What else were you prompted to do from Sister Oscarson's teachings?
Elder Whitney Clayton & Elder Brent H. Nielson – Faith to Find — We need to develop the faith to find, we find when we teach, we teach when we find, a good missionary will always open their mouth with everyone. In the United States, 70% of convert baptisms come as we find with members. Best way to work with members is to first be a great missionary yourself. MEMBERS HAVE TO TRUST YOU! Ask who else do you know using questions that reflect life changes; babies, death, moves, job changes, etc. Ask in a multitude of ways. Rekindle the faith of the less active – mine this wonderful goldmine! Treat the less active like an investigator and help them walk the path of faith and repentance. Teach them a lesson, share with them the First Vision, allow them to feel the Spirit, reconnect them with Heaven, leave them with an invitation. Make sure to ask the less active who they know, bring them back and baptize their family members and friends. Missionaries work with new converts 3-4 months after baptism and up through the first year, missionaries take the lead to teach all 5 lessons after baptism. The work is all encompassing, we can find, activate, and retain at the same time! No matter what you're doing or where you are, our purpose is to teach repentance and baptize converts.
The invitation — Develop the ATTITUDE to FIND – Study chapter 9, make a goal to find a least three new investigators each week. What else were you prompted to do from Elder Clayton's and Nielsen's teachings?
Elder Dallin H. Oaks — Teach Repentance & Baptize Converts — Keep the testimony of the Savior and His gospel as the most important part of your work. The purpose of missionary work is to teach repentance and baptize converts. The Doctrine of Christ needs to be written on our hearts, it is the only way to be saved in the kingdom of God. You are sons and daughters of God; you are royalty. You are called to testify of Jesus Christ, and invite people to do what He has required to reach exhalation in the celestial kingdom. You are in the most important work anyone can do in mortality, you will come to realize how important this time of full-time missionary work is to the Lord and for your personal lives. Pray, with the help of the Savior, that you will look back on your missionary service as someone who has been faithful and true. To be returned to the Father/s presence, we must be changed from a morally weak person to a person that is changed. Only a man a woman teaching the fullness of the gospel with priesthood authority can teach this (the Doctrine of Christ). Change (repentance) must take place before baptism. We are also called to establish the Church, grow the ward. Never lose sight of your paramount responsibility to teach repentance and baptize converts.
The invitation – Study the principle of repentance and make sure you teach it clearly. Have the Vision to Baptize, do all you can to invite and help your brothers and sisters receive a remission of sins. What else were you prompted to do from Elder Oak's teachings?
Please take the opportunity to ponder and review what you learned from this great conference. The very fact that a world wide conference would be held to remind us of our purpose and how to best accomplish it cannot be overlooked. Let's all follow the counsel given and continue to do all we can to invite all to come unto Christ. Thanks for your goodness, hard work, and devotion, we love you!
We have had 33 souls come unto Christ and receive a remission of their sins through baptism this month! We are making great strides towards baptizing a ward this year as a mission. Thanks for setting a goal a making a plan to bring someone to the waters of baptism this transfer. Your hard work and efforts are paying off and I am grateful for your efforts to plan effectively, teach to your investigators needs, and for your attitude to find! Let's stay with these converts, bless them, and help them receive more saving ordinances at the temple.
Saludos y abrazos, have a great week!