President's Pen 7-11-16 (And Thus We See)

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 the great work and as always, we love and appreciate you!  Thanks for working in the heat, humidity, and rain and doing it with a smile on your face.  Thanks for riding your bikes and talking to everyone.  Thanks for your attitude to find and seek out those the Lord has prepared.  Thanks for continuously working on Christlike attributes and striving to become the best you can be.  Thanks for removing the anti-responsbility list from your lives.  Thanks for improving 1% everyday.  Thanks for being covenant keepers and for your service here in the Great Texas Houston South mission!

A phrase I love from the Book of Mormon, and one often used by Mormon as he was abridging the many records is, "and thus we see".  Mormon uses the phrase at least 25 times and perhaps he learned to use it as he was reading Nephi's words (1 Ne 16 & 17).  It's a significant statement as it has the benefit of looking back in time, giving us an understanding of the outcome (consequences) and what choices/decisions lead to them.  Mormon had the benefit of nearly 1000 years of history to see how choices for people and their families either blessed them or lead them to destruction and misery.  The scriptures that contain this statement are found below and l invite you to take some time and study them…

  • Alma 24:19 -- And thus we see that, when these Lamanites were brought to believe and to know the truth, they were firm, and would suffer even unto death rather than commit sin; and thus we see that they buried their weapons of peace, or they buried the weapons of war, for peace.
  • Alma 30:60 -- And thus we see the end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell.
  • Alma 28:14 -- And thus we see the great call of diligence of men to labor in the vineyards of the Lord; and thus we see the great reason of sorrow, and also of rejoicing—sorrow because of death and destruction among men, and joy because of the light of Christ unto life.
  • Helaman 6:35 -- And thus we see that the Spirit of the Lord began to withdraw from the Nephites, because of the wickedness and the hardness of their hearts.
  • Helaman 6:40 --  thus we see that they were in an awful state, and ripening for an everlasting destruction.
  •  Alma 42:4 -- And thus we see, that there was a time granted unto man to repent, yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God.
  • Alma 46:8 -- Thus we see how quick the children of men do forget the Lord their God, yea, how quick to do iniquity, and to be led away by the evil one.
  • Helaman 3:27 -- Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name.
  • Alma 19:36 -- And thus the work of the Lord did commence among the Lamanites; thus the Lord did begin to pour out his Spirit upon them; and we see that his arm is extended to all people who will repent and believe on his name.
  • Helaman 12:1 — And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.
  • Alma 50:19 -- And thus we see how merciful and just are all the dealings of the Lord, to the fulfilling of all his words unto the children of men; yea, we can behold that his words are verified, even at this time, which he spake unto Lehi…
  • Alma 42:7 -- And now, ye see by this that our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord; and thus we see they became subjects to follow after their own will.
  • Ether 14:25 -- And thus we see that the Lord did visit them in the fulness of his wrath, and their wickedness and abominations had prepared a way for their everlasting destruction.
  • Alma 24:27 -- And there was not a wicked man slain among them; but there were more than a thousand brought to the knowledge of the truth; thus we see that the Lord worketh in many ways to the salvation of his people.
  • Helaman 6:36 -- And thus we see that the Lord began to pour out his Spirit upon the Lamanites, because of their easiness and willingness to believe in his words.
  • Alma 28:13 -- And thus we see how great the inequality of man is because of sin and transgression, and the power of the devil, which comes by the cunning plans which he hath devised to ensnare the hearts of men.
  • Alma 42:14 -- And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence.
  • Helaman 12:3 -- And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him. 
  • Alma 12:22 --  Now Alma said unto him: This is the thing which I was about to explain. Now we see that Adam did fall by the partaking of the forbidden fruit, according to the word of God; and thus we see, that by his fall, all mankind became a lost and fallen people.
  • 1 Nephi 16:29 -- And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.
  • 1 Nephi 17:3 -- And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.
  • Alma 12:21 -- What does the scripture mean, which saith that God placed cherubim and a flaming sword on the east of the garden of Eden, lest our first parents should enter and partake of the fruit of the tree of life, and live forever? And thus we see that there was no possible chance that they should live forever.
  •  Helaman 6:34 -- And thus we see that the Nephites did begin to dwindle in unbelief, and grow in wickedness and abominations, while the Lamanites began to grow exceedingly in the knowledge of their God; yea, they did begin to keep his statutes and commandments, and to walk in truth and uprightness before him.

Some great verses above and powerful to see how choices shape our destiny.  I share these with you as a pattern we can consider and apply in our missionary work.  What would you add to these "and thus we see" statements below…

  • And thus we see that as missionaries truly come to understand their purpose and message, the Doctrine of Christ, they find consistently, teach repentance, and baptize converts.
  • And thus we see that as missionaries set goals and make plans, they use time wisely, invite boldly, follow up daily, and see many more of their brothers and sisters come unto Christ.
  • And thus we see that as missionaries always open their mouth, the Lord prepares people for them to teach, invite, and help.  
  • And thus we can see that as missionaries treasure up the word of God through personal and companionship study, create effective lesson plans, and use the pamphlets, they become an instrument for the Spirit to be the teacher and see the miracle of conversion in their investigators. 
  • And thus we see that as missionaries are obedient and worthy the Lord blesses them with the Spirit and they teach with power and authority.  
  • And thus we see that missionaries who are tenacious in their efforts, avoid the anti-responsibility list, and give their heart, might, mind, and strength, become agents to act, take control of their lives, and feel the blessing of their call. 
  • And thus we see that missionaries who effectively work with members and local leadership see far more success than those who go it alone. 
  • And thus we see that as missionaries lose themselves in the work, come to trust in the Lord, and submit their will to God, are happy, bear with patience their afflictions, love their companions, and find great joy in the work.
  • And thus we see — choose any topic from PMG, the Missionary Handbook, Adjusting to Missionary Life and write your own statement…

Mormon in his wisdom wanted us to understand that not only do good/bad choices bring good/bad consequences, but in my view, to also help us see that the story has already been written.  In other words, you can learn from the experiences of those in the Book of Mormon and come to the logical conclusion that choosing the harder right is always better than choosing the easier wrong.  If you desire happiness, there is but one path.  This path is the Doctrine of Christ; and thus we see that those who are steadfast and press forward on this path will have everlasting life.  Not only is this path the only way, but clearly the most intelligent choice.  

Elders and Sisters, I invite you to consider the path you are taking as missionaries and write the "and thus we see" outcome for your missions and beyond.  Each day you are working on Christlike attributes, each day you are choosing to keep covenants, each day you are put in the path of someone that is either searching for the way or doesn't even know they should be on it.  Will your "and thus we see" finding, planning, inviting, following up, obedience, study and diligence lead to the outcomes you desire?   The blessing is your "and thus we see" story can be improved as you submit your will to God, repent, and just do what He asks of you.  Resolve today to hold fast to the path you're already on, improve by 1% in the small and simple things each day, trust in the Lord, and then tenaciously go to work.  I love you, I love to see the great progress you're making, I know your Heavenly Father is well pleased with your efforts, and I couldn't be prouder to serve with you.  Love ya!

Mission Update

We have had 14 souls receive a remission of their sins through baptism this month.  We love them all and I pray you are focused on getting them to the temple as quickly as possible.  Do all you can to help them stay faithful and true.  Your "and thus we can see" statement should go something like… And thus we see that as missionaries begin with the end in mind, they support their new converts through member friends, callings, continued learning and teaching, and help them to the next saving ordinances at the temple.  Continue to love and bless these new saints, they need your help long after their baptismal date.  Love ya!

President Hall