President's Pen 5-16-16 (Disciples of Christ)

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!  It was great to be with you for our zone conferences this past week and we hope you left feeling inspired as you continue in your effort and vision to baptize.  Following the conference I took a few moments to write down the impressions that came to my mind on what I hoped you took to heart.  

You are disciples of Jesus Christ, His representatives, ordained to preach the gospel by the Spirit.  Your discipleship is a personal journey that began as you heeded the Savior's call to come follow Him.  Your discipleship will continue to be enhanced as your ways become His ways and your desires become His desires.  Your discipleship has put you on a path of continuous improvement as you obey, discipline yourself, develop charity, and become agents who desire to do good.  Your discipleship will be visible to others as you emulate the Savior, develop His attributes, and serve Him with all you heart, might, mind, and strength.  

As His disciple and representative you should invite those you teach to follow Him as He would.  As you make these bold invitations you come to realize that you aren't asking people to do these things for you, but for Him.  Invite them as He would to connect them to the Father through prayer, to fill with the Spirit as they read the Book of Mormon, to feel of His love as they come to church, to experience the blessings of obedience by keeping His commandments, and to receive of His forgiveness, peace, and cleansing as they repent.  When you invite in His name, you do so as if He were in the room.  Be bold in your invitations, don't hesitate to let them know who you are representing and what you need them to do.  Be worthy and prepared to invite in His name.  

Awake those you teach and do so with power and authority!  Follow the Savior's example as he taught Nicodemus and establish your purpose from the get go.  You are here to awaken people unto God so they might see the kingdom of heaven.  Teach them simply and preach the gospel by the Spirit so they can have their eyes opened and come to understand.  Consider how your personal conversion can give you the tongue of an angel so that when you testify of the Doctrine of Christ they too will be astonished and awoken.  This is best done as you are worthy, obtain the word through your study, lesson plan, teach personally, become a vessel for the Spirit, and use your personal voice of thunder.  Your ordination came with power and authority, like Nephi and Lehi of old, you too can help awaken those that are still caught up in the tradition of their fathers. Focus on how you begin teaching; do they know why you're there and do you help them understand why our message is so important?

Use the Book of Mormon to awaken and fill men and women with the Spirit.  The way you introduce the Book of Mormon can't be done casually.  You have to help them come to know how it will bless them.  Too many don't understand what the first 14 pages will help them come to know.  Our Father in Heaven does know them, will help them, will guide them with His Spirit, and will answer their prayers. Can you help them come to know that if they can get through the first few pages that they'll come to know how to return to live with God?  As in all things we teach, if they don't know the "why", we can't expect them to act.  As companionships you need to role play this, lesson plan for it, invite them to read and pray, and then follow up daily.  The Book of Mormon is the singular sign of the Savior's second coming.  Make this invitation so compelling that they'll want to start reading the moment you leave.   

Become yoked as companions and then with your local leadership.  Begin by making sure you and your companion are yoked together, equals, partners, and teaching in unity.  Get rid of your pride if needed and remember whose errand you're on.  If needed, read the talk from President Uchtdorf, In Praise of Those Who Save, if your companionship needs work.  Remember that the success of our missionary work with in the wards/branches begins as we are yoked to the bishop/branch president.  Bless him, help him, pray for him, and do all you can to establish a great relationship.  The best practices we discussed were communicate with him often (text is probably best), ask for assignments, and return and report quickly.  Take the progress record and leave it as his home each Saturday morning (even if he isn't home).  Write a brief note on it, include your key indicators (up through Friday night is fine) let him know where you might need help, and let him use his priesthood keys.  Love, bless, help, and pray for the ward mission leaders.  Communicate with him daily, a brief text is all he needs.  Let him know the successes of your day, who you are teaching, where you might need help, and update him on your progress.  Be active in ward council and never leave the meeting without an assignment.  When given an assigment, always remember to ask if there is a member that would be blessed if they could join you. Be quick to volunteer and offer help, it's just what we do. :) If you're not holding correlation meetings, hold one over the phone by calling each auxiliary president during the week.  Avoid the anti-responsibility list and be an agent!  We can do our part, we're full time and what better work is there to do!

I hope you are loving your mission and that you are feeling God's love as he refines, strengthens, and even chastises you (he does this for those he loves).  As I shared with you at zone conference, the hardest day of your mission will be the day your stake president asks you to remove your badge.  Don't waste a day, sow seeds of faith, hard work, and reap the blessings your Heavenly Father has prepared for you.  I am so grateful for your service and I can see great progress in you.  We are teaching more personally, we are more obedient, we have the vision to baptize and I see the effort behind it.  As is the case when we teach investigators, I asked myself whether at the conclusion of our conferences if we increased your faith to act and strive to become better.  I pray that this is the case for all of you.  You are in my prayers always and we love you beyond compare.  Keep up the great work and continue as disciples that teach the gospel with power and authority, astonishing and awakening all through the Spirit, invite them with boldness to come unto Christ and help them see the kingdom of God!  Love ya!

Mission Update

We have had 22 souls enter the waters of baptism so far this month to receive a remission of their sins!  Keep up the great work as you make an effort to find those the Lord has prepared.  Talk to everyone and plan to find everyday.  Continue to strengthen and nourish these new converts with friends, responsibilities and the new convert lessons.  Do all you can to help them get to the temple; there are many waiting on the other side of the veil for their work to be done.  Keep up the great work, love ya!

President Hall