President’s Pen 1-4-16 (How to Plan - 13 Steps)

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 & Sisters,

Happy New Year!  I'm excited for the great work we'll do in 2016 as we bring more of our brothers and sisters unto Christ.  Make this is a year of faith, a year of consecration and devoted service, a year where you forever internalize our purpose and message, and a year where you have a Vision to Baptize.  I understand why all must come unto Christ, repent, and be baptized to receive a remission of sins; that is what I want for the people we serve and teach.  Please pray, fast, and wax strong just like Alma and the sons of Mosiah as they taught with power and authority.  Make every day count, plan with purpose and with a desire to see people progress towards saving ordinances, study with people and lesson plan with them in mind, find new investigators because you fear and tremble the idea that any soul should perish.  Lose yourself in the work, trust in God that he will strengthen and make your burdens light.  Desire to become converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and become a disciple that follows the will of the Father.  Remember where your sacred call comes from, hold yourself accountable to your commission, and have an attitude of gratitude that the Lord trusts you do do His work.  We love you and desire that this New Year will be one where you look forward in faith and do all you can to invite all to come unto Christ

This past week Sister Hall and I had blast joining a few of our companionships for companionship study and planning.  I have made a personal goal this year to be working with the missionaries in the field at least three days a week when my schedule allows it. The intent of our visits was to continue our focus of helping our investigators progress through nightly planning and lesson planning during companionship study.  I thought I'd share with you today the good things we saw and also share with you what I believe each companionship should be doing each day to help those we teach and invite to come unto Christ progress.


Our nightly planning sessions with the missionaries we visited with were awesome.  Here's what we saw…  Each companionship followed the 13 steps in PMG with their investigators in mind.  In each case, the planning session lasted no longer than 30 minutes and it was powerful, effective, and a spiritual experience.  After a prayer to seek for inspiration and revelation, the companionship set goals and made plans for each step for the next day.  They didn't focus on the whole week, but what they would do the next day to help people progress.  What we found that was most effective is they didn't just simply read the step, but they asked questions on each step that focused on the people and their progress.  Here are a few examples…

Set goals and make plans for investigators to be baptized and confirmed in the coming week.  --  Do we have someone ready this week for baptism or confirmation? If no, they simply asked, is there a baptism in the district this weekend that we can have an investigator attend?  If yes, they talked about what kind of experience they wanted the investigator to have.  Is the program ready, have we invited all the friends and family, is the ward invited and how can we help them attend, are we prepared to teach the Restoration after the baptism while we wait for them to dress?  The goals and plan were not about a number, but about the experience and how they would make it happen.  In their planner they they then put a goal of 1, but it wasn't about a number, but about the person.

Set goals and make plans for investigators with a baptismal date.  Do we have anyone on date? If no, who will we invite to be baptized tomorrow, if no one, let's do all we can tomorrow to find someone new.  If yes, what do we need to do tomorrow to help them keep to this date?  What follow up should we do, what can we teach,  can we have a member call, visit, or text?  Should we teach a lesson on what the baptism program will look like?  Have we scheduled the interview, do we have baptismal clothing?  What do we need to do to make sure that as the date draws closer we are relentless in helping them as we know Satan will be hard at work.  In their planner they wrote down what they would do, made goals for the day, and planned to make them happen.

Set goals and make plans to help investigators attend sacrament meeting. -- Do we have anyone we're teaching right now that hasn't come to church?  Which of our investigators can we invite to come to church tomorrow, who needs a text, should we teach a lesson on keeping the Sabbath day holy?  Can we schedule a church tour, what member should we have attend the tour?  Do we have a member friend that can talk about church attendance in our lesson?  Have we notified the ward mission leader and ward council about them coming to church, are we planning for people to greet them, what kind of experience do we want them to have?  In their planner they they wrote down their goals and plans and updated the daily key indicator in their planner accordingly. 

Set goals and make plans for lessons to be taught to progressing investigators. -- This is where we saw a true revelatory experience!  Tomorrow we will be visiting the following investigators or less actives, what should we teach them to help them progress towards baptism and what commitments will be important to extend towards this end?  Based on our teaching record, we need to teach the following lessons, what one will help them?  What are their needs, what commitments do we need them to keep?  In our personal study tomorrow let's study for these lessons and then when we companionship study let's build our lesson plan for each one based on their needs.  THIS IS POWERFUL!  If your companionship study looks like this you get it!  If you want more to come unto Christ you will teach people to their needs and not lessons.  They then wrote in their planner what members they would call to have come and be with them in the lesson, what lesson they would prepare for, and what they would study for the next morning.  So AWESOME, I hope you are all doing this and if not that you'll start today!  My email next week will help you understand what a great companionship study looks like – be excited!

Set goals and make plans for lessons to be taught to all other investigators.  -- I know we have investigators in our pool that aren't progressing like they should.  What lessons should we teach them, is there a member that could possibly call or visit them?  Is there a text that we could send or a drop by visit or note that might help them progress?  What needs to they have, do they care, if not, what can we do to teach them how important our message is?  Should we drop them and move on?

Set goals and make plans to contact and teach referrals received from members, investigators, nonmembers, and Church headquarters. -- Do we have any referrals in our hands that we need to take care of tomorrow?  Any from A Savior is Born, do we have the supplies we need, should we call and let the member that gave us the referral know we will be visiting the name they gave us?  What will we do when we make contact, leave a pass a long card, leave a message, update the referral system etc. If we don't have anyone, let's set a goal and make a plan to keep asking everyone for referrals.  They then wrote their goal and plan in their planners. 

Set goals and make plans to seek more referrals from members, investigators, and nonmembers. -- Who will we visit tomorrow and what is our goal and plan in each visit to ask "Who else do you know?"  We will be visiting these less actives, these members, these investigators, let's make sure we begin to teach letting them know we want them to think about those that could use the gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives.  Let's ask for referrals when they feel the Spirit, not as we are walking out the door.  Let's set a goal today to ask in every lesson.  They would then write it in their planner.

Set goals and make plans for lessons you will teach to recent converts and less-active members. -- What less actives has the bishop asked us to visit tomorrow?  Are their specific needs for this family that could help them come back, what lesson plan should we make tomorrow as we study that will help them understand the need for church attendance, participating in the sacrament, being fellowshipped etc.?  Have our recent converts been taught the lessons, is the member friend joining us?  Have we helped our recent convert prepare for the temple, do they have a calling, have they received the priesthood, have we set a temple date?  They would then write down their goal and plan for these lessons in their planner.

Set goals and make plans to find new investigators. -- We need to find new investigators everyday, where and how will we do it tomorrow.  We know we are visiting these families (members, less actives, investigators, recent converts) we've already talked about our goal and plan to make this happen in our lessons with them tomorrow, let's make sure we do it.  We also have open time tomorrow between 2-5.  Let's plan to do the following… We'll be in in this part of our area, let's set a goal to contact 10 people each hour and find at least two new today.  They then write in their planner the goal and plan to find new for the next day.  IF YOU ARE NOT DOING THIS START TODAY.  YOU HAVE TIME EVERYDAY TO FIND, HAVE THE FAITH THAT YOU WILL IF YOU OPEN YOUR MOUTH, KNOCK DOORS, SEEK AND FIND. Be creative, study chapter 9 of PMG, pray that the Lord will help yo find families and that they will find you

Plan how to work with the ward council.  -- Who do we need to update from the ward council tomorrow?  Let's send a text at the end of the day to our WML on our lessons that day, let's make sure we reach out the YW President on the YW we are teaching so they can make a visit, let's make sure we have completed the Progress Report tomorrow morning.  Is there something we can do tomorrow to bless a member of our ward or branch council?  Do they see us as involved and engaged or wall flowers?   Did we receive any assignments we need to do tomorrow or do we need to follow up on any we completed? They then write in their planner their goals and plans for the next day.

Conduct companionship inventory. -- Elder/Sister, is there anything I'm doing that isn't helping our companionship, our investigators, our area, or the Lord's work to progress?  Am I being a knucklehead in anyway?  Can I help you with anything you're struggling with?  Is there something I can do to be a better disciple?  I struggle getting up on time or working out, or with companionship study, or staying in members homes too long, or with my desire to do the work, or my family has some challenges, can you help me? Do I think inward all day or do I keep my mind on the work?  Or, man I love this work, let's keep at it!  Do you have these conversations, are you too prideful to be kindly corrected or be vulnerable?

DO YOU NOW SEE WHAT A GREAT NIGHTLY PLANNING SESSION MIGHT LOOK LIKE AND WHY YOU MUST DO IT EVERYDAY OF YOUR MISSION!  It is about the people you love and those that you are helping to progress.  It is not about a number and never will be!  It is about helping people come unto Christ.  It is not about scheduling, it is about filling your day with meaningful activity that focuses on your message, your purpose and the Doctrine of Christ.  These companionships also realize that planning is an all day experience, not a nightly event.  They also follow the same process as they do their weekly plan, it take times, they don't care, all they are concerned with is helping people progress.  They think, eat, dream, pray and plan to help these people they love to receive a remission of sins through baptism.  DO YOU GET IT???  If not, I want you to set up a planning session with me.  For those of you who already understand, please keep doing what you're doing, the Lord will bless your efforts.  HOW AWESOME IS THIS WORK!  I love each one of you, desire your success, and the tools and the way to be successful are at your fingertips.  Lose the natural man or woman within you, pray for the Lord's grace to enable and strengthen you, and do all you can to bring others to Christ

Mission Update

Elders & Sisters, we had 11 souls enter the waters of baptism to receive a remission of their sins this week!  What a great way to start the year and I can only see the momentum of our efforts building from here.  Think about the fact that 11 people will now be on the path to return to our Father in Heaven.  We will help them progress, endure, and do all we can to help them stay faithful.  Desire to help people come unto Christ, set a goal and make a plan to have it happen in your companionship.  Be relentless in your efforts, do your best, and let God do the rest.  We love you!

Saludos y abrazos, have a great week

President Hall