President's Pen 1-9-17 (Simple Instructions)

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 that teach repentance and baptize converts and the best missionaries in the world!

Elders & Sisters,

We love ya!  We are now a week into the new missionary schedule and I have heard great feedback on how it has truly helped you become an agent to act.  Continue to focus on your daily accountability to the Lord and He will consecrate your efforts for your good.  What a blessing it is to know our purpose and to work every day to teach repentance and baptize converts!

Perhaps as a child one of your favorite Primary hymns was “Do as I’m Doing”.  You probably learned this song as a Sunbeam and in a very simple way it taught you how to lead and follow directions.  I thought it might be a fun exercise in this President’s Pen to test your ability to follow directions and see how far you’ve come since your Sunbeam days. ;) At this point you need to precisely follow the directions given… Take out a blank piece of paper, and set the stop watch on your phone/watch to 5 minutes.  Don’t continue reading until you have the paper and timer ready.  (some may already be struggling; you can do this!)

Directions: You only have five minutes to complete the assignment below. Carefully read the entire assignment before doing anything. You should not use more than the allotted time of five minutes. You need to do this assignment on your own and you can’t tell your companion or other missionaries how to complete the assignment. Good Luck!

Start the timer -- You may begin now…

1.       Write today's date—month-day-year in the top right hand corner of the paper.

2.       Add the key indicator goals you have for News & MPLs underneath the date.

3.       Write the name of the last prophet in the Book of Mormon in the top left hand corner of the paper.

4.       Add 15 to the answer you got in #2, and write this new total directly underneath your answer for #3.

5.       In the lower left hand corner of the page, write the name of your favorite hymn and Book of Mormon hero.

6.       Just above your answer to #5, write "I love being a missionary."

7.       In the lower right hand corner of the paper write TTIPF and circle the “I”.  

8.       Directly above your answer to #7, draw a row of three small circles.

9.       Write the name of the second prophet of the Church on the back of your paper, anywhere you choose.

10.   Write the name of the people where Alma and his brethren found them praying from the rameumptom and circle it underneath the answer to #9.

11.   Take the number of pages from the Book of Mormon and add it to the number of pages from the Doctrine and Covenants. Divide by 2. Write this total in the approximate center of your paper.

12.   Think of the number of Articles of Faith.  Double that number.  Add 20.  Add 6.  Subtract 17. Subtract 9. Divide by 2.  Write this number on your paper directly underneath your answer to #11.

13.   Now that you have carefully read the assignment, and you have not carried out any of the actual work because you were directed to read the entire assignment before beginning, skip the next 2 questions and go back and only complete #3.

14.   The Book of Mormon begins in approximately 600 B.C.  How many total years pass by the time Moroni hides up the gold plates? 

15.   You should not be reading the end of the assignment before beginning, but now that you are here, you have just wasted some of the time you may need to complete it.  Go back to the top and follow the order of the steps. 

Did you do the assignment or keep reading?  J

Now that you have completed the assignment above, how well did you follow the directions to read the entire assignment before beginning any work?  If you have a paper full of needless answers, other than the name of Moroni in the top left hand corner, begin to consider what you can learn from this exercise and how you might more closely follow the direction you are given as a missionary.  

In the scriptures we find several examples where following simple instructions went unheeded. In the Old Testament, Namaan, a leper and captain of the army of Syria, was instructed by Elisha the prophet to bathe in the river Jordan to cure his leprosy.  Namaan expected Elisha to do a greater miracle and refused the simple instructions until one of his servants pleaded with him to follow the direction given.  Once Namaan finally followed the counsel, as simple as they were,  the blessings came and he was cleansed.

The children of Israel are probably the most notorious for not following simple instructions.  As they collected manna in the wilderness they were told only to take what they could use for the day.  If they took more than was needful it would be wasted. Regardless of this counsel, some still disobeyed and collected more than was necessary, only to find it spoiled the next day.  As they traveled through the wilderness there were fiery serpents that afflicted them as they were nearing their journeys end.  If anyone had been bitten they were asked to look upon the brazen serpent and by doing so they would be healed.  Sadly, because of the simpleness of the way, many perished. 

There are great lessons for us to learn as missionaries by coming to understand that when it comes to the Lord’s purposes, we should always willingly and gratefully follow His direction.  Where do we find the instruction we need as missionaries?  Of course, we have the scriptures, missionary handbook, and as we are worthy and obedient the Spirit will always guide and direct us.  Preach My Gospel is a tool that if followed, will lead us to help many come unto Christ.  We are asked to study from it daily and to remember the simple instructions that help people progress towards saving ordinances.  In its pages, we are simply instructed to learn how our purpose, obedience, planning, study, daily contact with investigators, working with members, asking for referrals, giving a full effort, and trusting in the Lord is the way to do His work (Remember This).  When we follow these instructions, we see the work move forward and we have greater success.  Do you study from it daily and treasure up the instruction that will help you become a Preach My Gospel missionary?

Elders & Sisters, a measure of our growth and development is to see if we will do all things in wisdom and order.  As natural men and women however, we often disregard wise counsel, relying more upon our own strength, we look for shortcuts, the silver bullets, and the path of least resistance.  This approach seldom works and following this path can lead to frustration in the work, diminished faith, declining efforts, and limited success.  As we strive to teach repentance and baptize converts our instructions from the Lord are clear.  The question for each of us is will we do it our way or the Lord’s way.  My invitation to you is to go back to the Primary hymn, “Do as I’m Doing”.  As always, our perfect leader is the Savior, and if we follow what He wants us to do in His vineyard, we cannot fail.  The Lord’s work will never be frustrated, this work is true and I’m grateful that we are blessed to serve together in this great cause.  Love ya!

Mission Update

We have many to get to the temple at our first temple convert night of the year.  Please do all you can to help our newest converts go from font to font.  We all desire to baptize families and the family history work we do for our newest converts is one way we accomplish this.  The field is white, let’s do all we can to sow and reap every day. 

President Hall