President's Pen 10-17-16 (Leave Something Behind)

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!

 Dear Elders & Sisters,

We love you!  Thanks for your great work each day and for all you’re doing each day to fulfill your missionary purpose.  I see more of you focused like never before on your finding efforts.  Finding is not an event, but an attitude, and I see many of you opening your mouth wherever you go.  If you want to share the JOY missionaries bring, as taught by Elder Nelson at general conference, you have to keep talking to everyone.  The JOY he spoke of only comes as they have the Doctrine of Christ brought into their lives as they receive a remission of their sins through baptism and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  JOY comes as they endure and enter the temple.  We bring glad tidings of great JOY!   

This week I was blessed to teach a Restoration lesson with Elder Palacios.  We taught a man who is a former evangelical pastor and missionary, a good man who knows the Bible inside and out.  He had a lot of great questions and we were blessed to open the scriptures with him and share our witness of the truths we teach.  He accepted our invitation to read and pray and within minutes of leaving his apartment I sent him the following text…

Nelson, fue un placer a conocerle hoy y hablar del evangelio de JesuCristo en su casa.  Gracias por su compromiso a leer y orar y vamos a llamarle a saber como le fue! Ptde Hall

Unos sitios para visitar a conocernos mejor... - El sitio principal de la Iglesia - Un lugar para hacer preguntas y ver quienes somos. - Buenas videos de las enseñanzas de la Biblia - Un breve vídeo de la historia de José Smith y como fue llamado a ser un profeta.

For our non-Spanish speakers here’s the quick overview...  I thanked him for the visit, for his commitments to read and pray, and let him know that we’d be calling him to follow up on his experience.  I then sent him four links to the LDS Spanish websites so he could learn more about us and watch the Restoration video.  Elder Palacios had given him the Restoration pamphlet from a prior visit as well as the Plan of Salvation pamphlet to review in advance (he had read it and had questions for us).  Since then Elder Palacios has reached out to follow up on his commitments and I have sent him follow up texts as well.  I could have included other important points in this text such as date and time of the next lesson or other spiritual impressions, but this is just an idea for you. 

In PMG (pg. 190) there is a short teaching skill titled “Leave Something Behind”.  The instruction we are given is to leave something for the investigator to read and ponder in preparation for the next meeting.  We are then given several possible tools and encouraged to make this a point of our follow up with them.  One of my favorite tools is the back of the pamphlet where we can write down and highlight what they need to do.

Why is this such an important step?  Several reasons to consider… As missionaries we want to do all we can to help investigators find answers for themselves following our visits, something we leave behind can help them do this.  We can’t convince our investigators what we teach is true, this can only come by Spirt and their willingness to act in faith as they read, ponder and pray.  These faith based experiences almost always come when we’re not there and what we leave behind can encourage the outcomes we desire.  Some people learn visually, others by what they hear, others by what they read, and for most all of the above; consider then how you can leave something behind that hits on all three of these learning styles (pamphlet, BOM app, video link).  We need them to go to the correct source for answers;,, and other links you might send them to help guide them as questions arise.   We need to teach them to fish by establishing a pattern of how they can come to answers on their own. 

Leaving something behind builds upon our bold commitment invitations and gives you a natural opportunity to follow up.  “What did you learn as you read the pamphlet/BOM, what did you like about the video we sent, did you get a chance to listen to the BOM app you installed?” When we leave something behind we can’t simply drop it off like a piece of mail, we need to let them know what it is you want them to do, how it will bless them, and how you will then follow up with them.  Don’t just give them something, but something that will help them act and do!

In each of your lesson plans consider three categories you should include… (1) What doctrine you will teach, what baptismal questions you will teach (through the lesson), what commitments you will extend.  (2) How you will personalize the lesson by including scriptures you will share, questions you will ask, and examples/experiences you will use.  (3) What you will leave behind and how you will follow up after the lesson.  Step three puts something tangible in their hands that will keep the lesson going long after you have left.

If we understand our purpose to invite and help, leaving something behind will be a key part of our desire to help them learn and progress.  Be bold in promising the blessings that will come as they act on the invitation to read, listen, or watch what you’ve left behind.  Be specific as you promise the blessings that will come their way and have faith that the Lord will answer the prayers as they do so with real intent. 

Elders and Sisters, teaching is a skill and I invite you evaluate how well you include the step of “leaving something behind” in your journey to become master teachers.  The Spirit will prompt you what to leave with them; have the tools ready before the lesson so you can share what you feel will best help them progress.   Keep up the great work, love ya!

Mission Update

New convert temple night is this coming Friday from 6-8pm.  Please contact Sister Burke no later than Wednesday morning to let her know if you’ll be joining us.  Help them find a family name if at all possible.  Remind them that their baptism has opened the door for their ancestors to now receive the ordinances of salvation through them.  Help them feel the blessing and significance of this responsibility. 

President Hall