President's Pen 4-18-16 (Vessels for the Spirit)

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,

I love the Doctrine of Christ and I never tire of teaching it.  I love the simplicity of our message, that if we will only demonstrate our faith in the Savior and His Atonement, by repenting and changing, by being baptized, our sins are washed clean, and then we are sanctified and purified by the Holy Ghost, who then becomes our constant companion, so we can retain a remission of our sins, who also helps us endure to the end, so we can receive more blessings in the temple, so we can qualify to return to live with God again.  This is the WAY, and there is no other WAY nor name under heaven by which we can be saved!  I am so grateful to know these truths and love our Savior for making it possible.  What a great work we are involved in!  

I have taken the opportunity over the past few weeks to go back and review the training we received at the Missionary Broadcast in January.  We were well instructed on our purpose to teach repentance and baptize converts and it is important that we go back from time to time to learn how we can continue to improve our efforts.   I have found that when living prophets and apostles take the time to speak to us on particular topics, it is because they are following the will and mind of the Lord.  With this in mind, I have felt impressed to share with you again the discussion lead by Elder Bednar on "The Role of the Holy Ghost in Conversion" (attached).  As I have gone back and studied what Elder Bednar taught, I have felt the need to make sure we recognize how important it is for us to be vessels the Spirit can work through.  

Before you study the talk, I want you to think about how you would respond to the following questions.  After responding in your mind, read Elder Bednar's talk and then highlight the areas that answer these questions.  As you study the talk, ask yourself what will you do differently.  What do you need to change in the way you plan, prepare, study, teach, and invite that will allow the Holy Ghost to convert the hearts and minds of those we teach?

  • What is the role of the Holy Ghost in the conversion process?
  • What does it mean to be a vessel of the Lord?
  • How do we bring the message unto the hearts of those we teach?
  • What is the difference of taking the message unto the heart vs into the heart?
  • Why is your faith and testimony not enough in the conversion process of those we teach?
  • What is the difference between the Light of Christ, the Power of the Holy Ghost, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost? (PMG 90-91)
  • Why is it so important to be clean, obedient, and worthy vessels?
  • How can you help those we teach identify the Holy Ghost for themselves? (What is the approach Elder Bednar discussed?)
  • What inspired questions can we ask to identify if they have felt the power of the Holy Ghost?
  • What experiences are you trying to help them have so they can feel the power of the Holy Ghost?
  • What must we do to help them feel the Holy Ghost?
  • As we teach, what brings the power of the Holy Ghost?
  • Beyond our own talking, what teaching skills must be part of every lesson we teach?
  • Why is it important for us to have eyes to see and ears to hear as we discern the needs of our investigators?
  • Who ultimately is the teacher and why must you get out of the way?
  • How must you personally prepare and as a companionship for the Holy Ghost to be present?
  • We become vessels or instruments by doing what?
  • Everything we do in missionary work leads to what?
  • How does revelation come to you and to your investigators (consider how this actually happens)?

This week I would like you to take the time to do a thorough study of PMG chapter four, "Recognizing the Spirit".  In particular, pay attention to what President Boyd K. Packer teaches related to the doctrine of conversion and the experience of conversion. (Pg. 92-93)  I would also ask you to focus on the direction given on pages. 97-98, "Relying on the Spirit". Take the time to do the scripture study on page 98.  What lessons can we learn from this section on how the Holy Ghost can direct our weekly and nightly planning sessions?  I would also like you as a companionship to do the companion study on page 101, (bottom bullet point) and the top bullet point on page 102. How does this study tie into what Elder Bednar taught?  

Thanks to each of you for being worthy vessels as you invite all to come unto Christ.  The Spirit is the teacher, the testator, the comforter, and the purifier that helps lead us back to the Father.  If there is anything in your life that isn't allowing the Spirit to work through you like it should, we are best friends, I plead with you to come visit me.  Don't allow a pebble in your shoe to become a barrier between you and the Spirit as you teach.  We love you, pray for you, and desire your happiness.  We also pray for our stakes, wards, ward councils, and members to support and work with you.  We pray that your investigators will choose to act on your invitations.  We also pray that you will be blessed, kept safe, and watched over as you faithfully serve the Lord.  Keep up the great work and do all you can this week to find families to teach, invite them with boldness and love, follow up with perseverance and determination, and do all you can each and every day to serve as the Lord with all your heart, might, mind, and strength.

Mission Update

Another good week in our effort to invite all to come unto Christ.  Thanks for your ongoing efforts to find, work with members, invite boldly, and follow up on commitments made.  Continue to let our purpose and the Doctrine of Christ motivate and inspire your efforts.  We love you!

President Hall