President's Pen 10-24-16 (OYM)

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 ya!  We are blessed beyond measure.  Will you please count your many blessings today?  The Lord loves you and you are His disciples, keep up your tenacious efforts and keep sharing the JOY that the gospel brings!

As a family we go for a walk together around our neighborhood most Sunday’s.  It’s a great way for us to keep the Sabbath Day holy and spend time together as a family.  On our walks we talk about what the kids learned in church that day, we talk about upcoming events, we counsel together, but most importantly we’re together.  Our walks have different seasons… In the Winter months we’re just happy to be outside and not having to worry about trudging through the cold and the snow.  In the Spring we love to see everything coming back to life and the weekly progress of the leaves growing on the tress. In the Summer months we melt as we walk, but we go in the early evening and look for the fireflies.  Now in our second Fall in Houston, we have to come find that the pecan trees in our area are abundant and that we can simply pick up as many pecans off the ground as we want. 

Today as we walked, Sister Hall and Jessie were picking up the pecans and my suit pant pockets were filling quickly.  We somehow missed the pecans last year (every other year is an off year we’ve since learned) and if you look closely they are all over the ground under the trees.  We weren’t the only families out walking (at least today) and I thought it would be an awesome opportunity to OYM as families passed by (always missionaries right! ;)  As a mom and her daughter passed by I said hello and asked if they could tell me about the pecan trees and if there are nuts like this on the ground every year.   She responded in a thick Irish accent and said she thought so and we started chatting.  As we had once lived in the UK several years ago, we were able to talk about our time in Oxford and our love for the British Isles.  She wanted to know about our experience in her homeland and Sister Hall was happy to tell her she’d kissed the blarney stone in Cork, Ireland (blesses the kisser with the gift of the gab, great eloquence or skill at flattery).  As a side note, I am having you all kiss the blarney stone in the office so you’ll be blessed with the gift of OYM’ing!

Our conversation lead to our move to Houston and our assignment to bless and serve our missionaries.  I asked her if she’d ever met the Mormon missionaries and a huge smile came to her face…  She (Caroline) told me that where she lived in Ireland had a chapel right across the street!  She had met with the missionaries many times before, heard the lessons, and even did her family history work at the chapel! She shared with us how kind the members of the Church are, how well behaved the kids are, and that we are a lovely people. ;)  What she loved most was our focus on families.  I showed her the picture of our family and then I invited her to our ward trunk or treat activity. 

This was the third OYM experience I had in our neighborhood this week.  On Friday Elder Huaraca and I OYM’d Maria and served her as she was loading clay pots into her truck (we gave her a pass a long card).  On Wednesday the assistants and I OYM’d Verena, Yamilka, and Alex as they were walking down our street.  I invited them inside the mission home and we gave them a Restoration pamphlet and Book of Mormon.  Sister Hall then invited them to our trunk or treat activity at the ward.  Sister Hall then decided to text all of the mom’s from Jessie’s school and invite them to the Halloween activity as well.  We have no idea where our invitations will lead, but the joy of sharing the gospel, even when we’re rejected is soooo awesome!

I am always praying that the Lord will put people in my path where I can share the gospel.  As I look at my little family and recognize the JOY they have brought into my life, I don’t hesitate to talk about what I love.  I think about our Sunday afternoon walks and think that there are families all over Houston that want what we have.  They need hope, they desire to be together, they need the Savior in their lives, and this is what we offer. 

I am not blessed to have these OYM experiences everyday like you are and so when they come I don’t hesitate to talk with people.  I don’t storm up and immediately start to share the gospel, but I use what’s around them and what they’re doing to share with them our message.  I look for ways to serve, ask them questions about them or their day, and then have the Spirit direct me on what to say.  I’ve had plenty of people turn me down, but I want to bring the gospel into someone’s life and I know that it will only be a matter of time before I meet someone the Lord has prepared.  I’ll keep talking, regardless of the number of no’s I get, I don’t take offense, I’m not harmed, I’ll keep smiling, and keep going. 

Elders & Sisters, have you developed the love of talking to everyone and anyone about the gospel?  Are you unashamed of the message you have to share and do you have the attitude to find those the Lord has prepared?  Are you willing to overcome your fear and see them as God does, His precious sons and daughters? You have been called and set apart to act for the Savior as if he were here, do you recognize the power and authority of your calling?   Why waste a precious moment when we have millions of people here in the Great THSM to talk to?  Go where the people go, please, please, please work with the members, the less active, the part-member families, the ward/branch council (even if it’s dysfunctional) and talk to absolutely everyone and anyone.  If you have a Vision to Baptize, and I know you do, you’ll keep going until I have to physically carry you and put you on the plane!  Build your faith in the Savior and in His timing, avoid the 6 destructive D’s (doubt, discouragement, distraction, lack of diligence, disobedience, and disbelief—all erode and destroy our faith).   Be the disciples you were called and set apart to be! I love you, we pray for your success, the Lord is with you in the vineyard, your future is as bright as your faith! OPEN YOUR MOUTH! ;)

Mission Update

Please check out the “My Mission” section on the missionary portal for the pics from the most recent convert temple night.  Next recent convert night at the temple will be Friday, November 18th from 6-8pm.  Have you watch the training videos I’ve posted yet?  You can take the time to watch them during your hour to come up to speed on updates at LDS.org.  Now is the time to find, today is the day to sow for a White Christmas!  Love ya!

President Hall