President's Pen 10-14-16 (Supermoon)

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!  Thanks for your continued goodness and desire to do the Lord’s work.  Our prayer is that you’ll continue to serve with all your heart, might, mind and strength. 

As you look to the sky tonight, Monday November 14th 2016, you will see a celestial event that only comes a few times each century.  A supermoon, as it is known, will bring the moon closer to Earth than it has been since January 26, 1948. That makes the November 2016 full moon the closest and largest supermoon in a period of 86 years!  What’s more, the moon won’t come this close to Earth again until November 25, 2034. In your lifetime, you may only see a supermoon this like this only a couple of times. 

For those that want to know the science behind a supermoon, here’s what NASA has to say… “The moon only appears full from Earth when our planet is between the sun and the moon. But since the moon’s orbit has an elliptical shape, sometimes it is closer to Earth than other times. Astronomers call the closest-to-the-Earth moment the perigee. What makes November 14 special is that the moon “becomes full within about two hours of perigee—arguably making it an extra-super moon.  In short: a so-called supermoon occurs when a full moon happens as the moon is also closest to Earth.  NASA says that Earth can be bathed in 30 percent more moonlight during a supermoon.”

Why do I share this supermoon event with you?  There are things in our lifetime that only come at certain times and in certain places.   During these times we have the opportunity to be fully engaged and active participants (see the celestial events around us) or the moment can come and go without us realizing how fleeting it can be.  Our mission experience is one of these life moments that has been given to us during this time and you have been called to this place.  You can become fully invested and use every hour and every minute of every day or you can miss the great opportunity that is right in front of you.

You have likely heard the Latin term “Carpe Diem”, or “seize the day”.  In the scriptures I believe the closest expression of this idea was given by Amulek to the Zoramites.  In Alma 34:32 he says, “For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.”  If we relate this to missionary work we can see how this “mission” life is the time for each of us to prepare for the future and that today and every day is the hour to perform our labors.  He then goes on to teach that we shouldn’t procrastinate or waste the days of our probation (time on earth).   This topic was also addressed by Mormon to his son Moroni, “…let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.” (Moroni 9:6)  Mormon teaches very clearly that unless we labor like we should, we can be condemned for our lack of action.  The reward, however, is that we conquer the adversary and have a wonderful place prepared for us.

It would seem the natural and fallen man is always seeking to delay, put off, or even believe the grass is greener elsewhere.  We may not labor like we could as we can easily convince ourselves that we’ll do it tomorrow.  While we look to the future with great hope and faith, our future is only as bright as our faith (action) and what we are willing to sow today.  The Law of the Lord’s Harvest is always about doing something today with the assurance that we will reap and treasure up something better in a day to come.  Missionary work is no different and this singular (supermoon) event will pay great dividends for those we bless here and in our post full-time missionary lives to come.     

Elders & Sisters, why is this important to me…  I see too many of us struggling to overcome the fear of opening our mouths (lack of faith and effort to find), too many of us not taking advantage of the time we have (lack of goal setting and planning), too many of us missing out on the great celestial event that is before us (the supermoon we call a mission!).  For those of you that are fully engaged, fully committed, and doing your best every day, keep up the wonderful work!  For those that can do better, the invitation is to repent, recommit, refocus, and strive to become the missionary we all know you can be.  The Lord is on our side and His grace is sufficient for all of us.  Leave no regrets, delete the anti-responsibility list from your life, and keep pressing forward.  If it is to be, it is up to me! This is true, but when we recognize that the Savior continues to give us divine help and strength, all our efforts matter and all things are possible. 

We love you, we pray for you, for your families, and for your success.  Look at the sky tonight and see a celestial event that doesn’t come around very often.  Liken this to your mission and recognize the blessing you have to serve today!

Mission Update

Zone conferences this week, we look forward to being with you.  Please come prepared to improve your skills and have the Spirit direct your efforts.  New convert temple trip is next Friday, November 18th.  Keep up the great work as you prepare these wonderful new members to enjoy the blessings of the temple! Love ya!