President's Pen 10-16-17 (Help Wanted!)

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!

Dear Elders & Sisters,

I love ya!  Some motivation for you today from Elder Holland, “You only get one chance to serve a mission; it is your responsibility, your duty, to use it to the fullest; to give every last ounce of energy until you collapse in exhaustion at the end of it.  All the hardships, all the tears, all the hard work will be looked back upon as the best thing you’ve ever done, not because you enjoyed it, not because you baptized everyone, but because you gave everything you had, even when you didn’t think you could, and especially when you didn’t want to. Live your mission to your fullest, work harder than you’ve ever worked before. Let people know that this is the most important thing in the world to you…”

I love the two verbs found in our missionary purpose; invite and help.  We speak often of commitment invitations as we invite men and women, in the Savior’s name, to come unto Him.  We invite clearly, directly, and specifically so those we teach can make a clear choice of whether or not they want to act and receive the blessings we promise.  A missionary who doesn’t extend bold commitment invitations misses the opportunity to help people make the changes in their lives that will lead them to happiness in this life and exaltation in the next.  No Invitation = No Action

While it is clear that we must invite, I want you to think about how much is required to HELP those that we invite to come unto Christ.  If you consider what the verb “help” actually means, especially as we apply it to our effort as missionaries, see if these definitions add more weight to our purpose: to give or provide what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need; contribute strength or means to; render assistance to; cooperate effectively with; aid; assist; to save; rescue; succor; to make easier or less difficult; contribute to; facilitate; to be useful or profitable to; and to relieve (someone) in need, sickness, pain, or distress.  For me, these definitions put the word HELP into a whole new realm of understanding…

As we truly come to understand what it means to fulfill our purpose, we start to recognize that “to help” is not a passive verb, but one that awakens us to a greater sense of responsibility and accountability.  Imagine if our missionary purpose was replaced with a richer definition of what it means to help from some of the terms above…, “Our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by… rescuing…  succoring… relieving… saving… them, by teaching the restored gospel…”  Suddenly, helping isn’t just something we say, but it becomes the very essence of what we’re here to do. 

If we state our purpose, and truly mean it, what lengths will we be willing to go to help people receive the restored gospel?  What mountains will we climb to help increase their faith in the Savior and His Atonement?  What sacrifice will we offer to help them repent and turn towards God?  What valleys will we descend and what rivers will we cross as we help others enter the waters of baptism for a remission of sins?  What kind of mighty prayers will we offer to help someone feel and recognize the Spirit so they can receive the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost?  What kind of friends will we be to help them endure (enjoy) to the end?  If I truly want to invite all to come unto Christ, I also take on the responsibility of doing all I can to make it possible for them to do so.

Because we invite, it is then our obligation, and hopefully our passion, to want to do all we can to succor, aid, assist, make easier, facilitate, and contribute to their progress.  The beautiful thing about our missionary work, is the Lord is His wisdom, provides missionaries the time to plan specific ways to offer help each day.  We get to ponder what they need, who can be at their side, what obstacles might they run into, and what resources we will make available. When we begin this spiritual and daily process with prayer, and plead for the help of the Spirit, we are given truly divine help and support (grace) as we do all we can.  I testify that the Lord will bless us with inspiration as feelings come into our hearts and thoughts come into our minds as we plan to help them.

If you were to go through a mental exercise of helping one of your investigators progress towards baptism with me right now, what are all thing things you would help them do to… pray to know that Joseph Smith is the Prophet of the Restoration, read the Book of Mormon and pray to know it is true, come to church, keep the commandments etc. etc.?  Do you have mental library of helpful ideas for each of these invitations?  Can you quickly identify ways and means that would offer the support they need in their journey?  Do you often find yourself thinking about solutions to their obstacles, doubts, or concerns?  Are you driven, obsessed, and passionate about their progress?  In other words, do you think about, plan for, treasure up, pray for, and seek out how you will HELP them every day?

Elders & Sisters, your commitment invitations are the catalyst for the real work that begins as we help others come unto Christ. A recent convert shared with me that the reason he was drawn to the Church was because the missionaries invited him to do something that demonstrated his faith in God.   No other religion had asked him to do so many uncomfortable and difficult things.  He then said it was because of the missionaries’ help that he was able to keep his commitments and enter the waters of baptism.  They cared for him, planned for him, studied for him, loved him, and helped him every step of the way.  To truly help requires your personal worthiness, obedience, gospel knowledge, missionary skills, and a love for your purpose.  It also requires local leaders, members, and most importantly, the Spirit.  You are their guides, you are their rescuers, you are their helpers. 

I invite you to ponder how you can increase your capacity to boldly invite, but then to be even more anxiously engaged in how you’ll help.   It is my prayer that you will write your purpose on your heart and fulfill it to the best of your abilities.  You make a difference in the lives of God’s children every day; Oh, how great is your calling!  Love ya!

President Hall