President's Pen 5-23-16 (Vision & Purpose)

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,

Thanks for your devotion and faith.  I hope you will always remember that this is the Lord's work and that your efforts are never wasted.  Your personal conversion story continues to unfold as you faithfully serve and strengthen your relationship with the Savior. You also bless countless others that see the light of Christ shine in your countenance.  You are the Lord's representatives and you have been called to teach this people with POWER & AUTHORITY.  Please remember that your calling is inspired and comes from the Lord.  Because you have been called of God, you are also qualified.  Though you may feel inadequate at times, through His grace you are strengthened and given divine help.  Please know of the Lord's great trust in you and the trust I have in you as well.  It is a great blessing to serve with you and we love you!

With a new transfer upon us, I feel the need to continue to draw our attention to our purpose.  Elder Corbridge says it the best, "Many missionaries are not focused on baptism and the gospel, that is, faith in Christ, repentance, baptism, for a remission sins by one having authority, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.  They think they are, because they want to baptize, but most are not focused, not really, truly focused on baptizing.  If they really understood "the Gospel" as the Lord has defined it, they would talk about baptizing all the time.  They would talk to everyone.  They would think about baptizing, they would talk about it, they would dream about it, and most importantly they would teach everyone, and teach and teach, and re-teach, and mention again, and teach some more "remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost" (D&C 19:31) and enduring to the end.  That would be the message woven throughout the entire fabric of everything they teach.  Everything would be directed to that end.  It would find its way into almost every principle they teach because it is the purpose and message.  It is the end objective. It is the reason they walk the streets, whatever the weather.  It is why they leave home, family, and friends behind.  It would surface again and again, again and again in all that they teach.  It would be their message, their theme, their dream, their vision.  Most missionaries don't have that vision.  Not like that. Please help them to get it."

Since Elder Corbridge's visit last fall, I believe we all have a much greater understanding of our vision and purpose.  It is important to me that we continually remind ourselves of why we are here and what we are to do.  I have seen tremendous progress in the way you set goals and plan.  I have seen great efforts in how we are teaching people and not lessons; this is evident in your lesson plans.  I have seen a greater focus on getting the members involved in your lessons, helping people accept a baptismal date, and getting them to church.  I see greater obedience and a desire to do the small and simple things that allow for the great things to come about.  I see you working harder with local leadership and doing all you can to blessand serve them; we are becoming more and more equally yoked.  In short, we are making tremendous progress and I am so grateful to each of you for your efforts.

Our Standards of Excellence, 4-3-2-1 Vision to Baptize, are making a difference for many of you and I know that you are each striving to meet these goals.  While these standards are important, I do want to make sure that they do not become your ultimate goal (at least the 4-3-2 :) .  Our goals are always directed toward the people we teach; we do all we can to help them progress in their journey back to the Father.  Please remember your purpose is to invite them to come unto Christ and to help them along the only path that will allow them to return to God, the Doctrine of Christ is the way!  Your goals should be focused on helping people connect to heaven through spiritual experiences they'll gain as they pray, read, ponder, and pray about the Book of Mormon, attend church, keep the commandments, and repent.  We are here to increase their faith in the Savior so they will act and do His will.  If your day to day activities don’t lead to helping your investigators have these experiences, we need to modify our efforts and align them to what we really desire for them; baptism for a remission of sins, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the blessings of the temple.

Something many missionaries experience is "groundhog day", or the feeling of doing the same thing over and over.  It is true that there is a pattern to our work that may cause you to think that it's just another day, doing the same thing you did the day before.  While there can be a routine to our work, each new day is an opportunity to find, teach, invite, and help people towards salvation.  If you find yourself falling into a rut, may I suggest that you remember your purpose and that there are people the Lord has prepared for you.  There is nothing ordinary about the Lord's work, and if you will review Chapter 1 of PMG regularly, you'll find renewed energy and determination to serve with all your heart, might, mind, and strength.  

If you find that you are discouraged, remember the counsel found in PMG, "You should not, however, become discouraged; discouragement will weaken your faith. If you lower your expectations, your effectiveness will decrease, your desire will weaken, and you will have greater difficulty following the Spirit."  The natural man in us can feel this way at times, but recognize that the Lord's work is not frustrated.  Keep doing your best, keep seeking the Spirit through prayer, study, fasting, and faith.  We know God has already won the war, let's continue to bring more into the fold.  If I can ever help motivate you when you feel discouraged please call me, text me, come visit with me; my mission is to bless you!

As you strive to give your all, this and every transfer, "begin with the end in mind", see God's children in baptism white, temple white, and celestial white.  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.  Have faith and know that the Lord is in the vineyard with us.  Remain steadfast and keep the perfect brightness of hope that only comes from the Savior. Continue in your discipleship as you exercise and practice self discipline, good works, charity, diligence, and obedience.  We can never focus enough on our purpose and message, it is what motivates and directs our work.  We are here to help people receive a remission of their sins through baptism, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end.  This is the only and true doctrine of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 31:21) This is the only way whereby man can be saved.  This is why you and I are here! It is written on my heart; I am fully in and I will continue to invite you to focus on this purpose.  We are on the Lord's errand and what a blessing this is.  Let's all keep our focus on teaching repentance and baptizing converts! #TR&BCLove ya!

Mission Update

Thanks for your efforts as you continue to invite all to come unto Christ.  We've had 30 souls receive a remission of their sins this month and many more still await us.  Plan to find each and every day, the Lord continues to prepare hearts and we can find them as we continue to open our mouths.  On the third Thursday of each month we will take all new converts to the temple.  It will be a great blessing to have these new saints with us as they do work for their ancestors.  We will share more information about the date in June, but help those who haven't been to the temple yet prepare to join us.  Love ya!

President Hall