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,
Thanks for your goodness, we love you and continually pray for your success, safety and happiness. We are grateful to each of you for your desire to do the best you can to become the type of disciple of Christ you were born to be. I believe in the words of President Russell M. Nelson as he taught us about who you are. You were not only valiant, but hid up from the world to come at a time when men's hearts are failing them. Your good works will help the lost and seeking find the only way to happiness. The Doctrine of Christ is our message and reason for your service and you are the only missionaries that can bring this light to the areas in which you serve. Love these good brothers and sisters here in the great THSM and do all you can to invite them to come unto Christ.
Following our zone conferences this past week I was on a conference call with President Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy along with 21 other mission presidents from the North America Southwest Area. We talked about the worldwide missionary broadcast and how it was a blessing to our missionary efforts. We all discussed how it should be a lasting reminder of our need to be in Preach My Gospel daily and the importance of following the counsel of living prophets and apostles. We also discussed how we as missionaries have a great responsibility to help and support our local leadership in the Work of Salvation and how members and missionaries must work together. Elder Robbins asked us to thank you for your wonderful service and requested that we continue to teach and help you focus on the need to work with our members.
In our November zone conferences we discussed a plan (see attached) that is focused on "Ministering the Ordinances of Exaltation to Individuals and Families". This plan is a joint effort between members and missionaries in helping all come unto Christ, regardless of whether or not they are investigators or members of the Church. My email today will be to review with you the role we have as missionaries in supporting this plan and request that you familiarize yourself with it so you can bless your ward/branch mission leader, bishops/branch presidents, and associated council. We have much to do together and we are well qualified to help as the Lord hastens the work of salvation.
As a reminder, the plan is about individuals and families and how we can best help them receive the next ordinance, whether it's baptism, partaking of the sacrament, or making covenants in the temple.
1) THE PLAN: The ward council prepares a conversion, retention and activation plan to watch over and strengthen individuals and families. -- What does this mean for missionaries? You should be working with the ward council to understand how missionaries are part of this plan. In most cases, this plan will be the ward mission plan. A good ward mission plan involves missionary work (finding, teaching, baptizing), activation, and retention. It can be short and simple, but it should be something all members of the council can work towards. What if your ward/branch doesn't have this plan? Help your WML or Bishop put it together, make recommendations, help them see how you can be an active part of the plan. What if there is no WML, volunteer to help the bishop put this plan together. I can help you with this, don't simply give up because no plan is in place. We are agents!
2) IMPLEMENTATION: The ward mission leader coordinates this plan, under the bishop’s direction. -- The day to day execution of this plan should be overseen by the WML. How can you help? Encourage your WML to follow the 8 steps of the plan. Offer your help, be a member servant. What if this isn't happening? Offer support to the WML and the bishop, help them see that you care and are willing to do whatever is needed. If there is no WML, tell the bishop you are there to help get the ball rolling. We are agents!
3) SELECTING: The ward council reviews a list and selects those with whom to work in the near term: -- What does this mean? The ward council will review a list of investigators, prospective elders, part-member families, less active families, unbaptized youth (9+), new members and other identified by the bishop. As the ward council reviews this list, the ward council will seek for inspiration on whom from this list should be targeted first. What is your role in this? You should come prepared every week with a completed investigator progress report. It should be complete with details so the ward council can review it with you. What if you don't have this list or you've never seen one? Offer your help to the WML or bishop, help them review it and prepare and even recommend people to work with in the near term if your council isn't fully functioning. You are agents!
4) MATCHING PEOPLE: The ward council assigns the best members, who should be accompanied by the missionaries to: -- This step takes the list of people identified in step three and creates a visit plan with the "best member" and you as their missionaries. Together with the assigned member you might go and teach the missionary lessons, help and minister to them so you can bring them to ordinances, covenants and church activity. Together with the member you invite and continue to support the individual or family as they progress. This step includes the idea of a member that comes and works with you as you teach investigators. You support the member as you help less active and part-member families come back to the Church and participate in the sacrament. What should you do as missionaries? In every ward council, volunteer to go with the "best member" on their visits. Help the member in their responsibility for this visit. Take notes, be helpful. What if this isn't functioning in your area? Offer support to the bishop, let him know you are there to help people progress towards ordinances, have him give you assignments where you can return and report each week. We are agents!
5) TRACKING: The ward clerk keeps a spreadsheetfor all those on the selected list of those identified under No. 3 and updates their progress from week to week. --- This is our reporting step and fairly straight forward. What can we do as missionaries? Be ready to report on our progress each week. Follow through on your assignments given by the bishop and WML. What if this doesn't exist in your area? Create the spreadsheet, let the bishop know you are ready to help and report each week on your progress. We are agents!
6) OTHER HELP: Priesthood and auxiliary leaders, and the ward mission leader enlist others to help with conversion, retention and activation efforts. -- This step is about having all ward members involved that can help individuals and families progress. We should consider all ward members that might be the friend, fellowshipper, or person that will make a difference in someone's progress. This is beyond an assignment, but a genuine concern to help people move along the path of the Doctrine of Christ. How can you help? You know and work with many of the ward members. Recommend people you know and have worked with to be involved in missionary work, retention, and activation. You can offer to the bishop your help when needed. We are agents!
7) MISSIONARY COORDINATING COUNCIL: The ward mission leader, full-time and ward missionaries discuss assignments and progress. -- Another important step is the regular coordination between you and the WML. You should plan every night when you will reach out and provide updates. Over communicate to the WML, let them know what's happening, where you need help, and ask for help where you need it. This is a "make it happen" committee and you are a big part of it. Suggest to the WML a regular schedule of when you will communicate. These meetings can be brief, but they must happen regularly. What if you don't have this in your area? Work with the bishop, perhaps he'll have you communicate updates to him. Find a way to work around the obstacles. We are agents!
8) PRESIDENCY MEETING: Priesthood and auxiliary presidencies discuss, home teachers and visiting teachers, members’ assignments, and report progress to ward council. -- This step encourages auxiliary presidencies to coordinate the efforts across their various responsibilities. You might give them updates on your progress with individuals or families that are assigned to their auxiliary. Help them see how they can use your teaching skills to bless those families assigned to them. The idea is to get everyone in leadership talking about how we can help individuals and families progress, not just the auxiliary presidents. This is a collaborative effort and includes not only the ward/branch council, and the missionaries, but all in leadership.
9) RECYCLE & REPEAT: This is ongoing process with the intent to invite all to come unto Christ. -- As progress is made the list is continually updated and new assignments are made as we help all come unto Christ.
Why is this important and why should you be involved? Areas in North America that are following this plan are seeing amazing results in convert baptisms, retention, and activation efforts. In some areas it is in the magnitude of a 10x increase in convert baptisms. Why? We are working with the goldmines as discussed at the worldwide missionary conference. I have seen the results of wards and missionaries that are working together on this effort and the blessing it is for the many that are coming back to the Church, receiving the next ordinance, and working towards greater blessings.
We need your help and involvement in this plan. I need you to prayerfully consider how you and your companion will offer your assistance to your local leadership to be part of this good work. It already includes all the good things we're doing, and as such, I am hoping that you will see it as something that will strengthen what you are already striving to do. Are you on board, can you follow the steps, be an agent, and help move this work forward? Please let me know if you would like more training. Feel free to kindly share it with your WML or bishop if you aren't doing it in your ward or branch and offer assistance. If it's not happening where you work, be patient, using kindly persuasion and love to see what you might do together.
I look forward to following up with you on this. If you are in a ward with more than one companionship, coordinate your efforts and have one companionship take the lead in the discussion.
For the month of February we have had 15 souls receive a remission of their sins through baptism, 55 year to date! Many more are schedule for the month and we continue to help God's children come unto him. Remember the need to go from "font to font". We must keep them and the temple awaits them. Keep up the great work and keep your desire to baptize each transfer. Set a goal, make a plan, and do all you can within your control to have this great blessing come to pass. We love you!
Abrazos y saludos,