President's Pen 11-27-17 (Vision)

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!  How grateful I am that we all will have the blessing of #LightingTheWorld this Christmas season.  December can be one of the most memorable months of your mission as you consecrate and give your all to the Lord and His work.  Enjoy every minute you have to serve during this wonderful time of year. 

In Proverbs 29:18 we read, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Vision from this scripture can be interpreted in a number of ways, but I would have you focus on the context of what it means to have a lack of direction, purpose, or a view of the future.  If you don’t know where you’re going, as the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland says, any road will get you there.  

The adversary is mentioned often in the scriptures as one who obscures vision, works in darkness, or blinds our eyes and minds.  Amulek exclaimed to Zeezrom before his conversion, “…why hath Satan got such great hold upon your hearts? Why will ye yield yourselves unto him that he may have power over you, to blind your eyes...” (Alma 10:25) The prophet Jacob warned, “Wo unto the blind that will not see; for they shall perish also.” (2 Ne 9:32)  The adversary is an expert at hardening hearts and causing men and women to lose the vision of who they are, their divine destiny, and the path home.  His constant message is short term, instant gratification oriented, “eat, drink, and be merry… for tomorrow we die.” When we are robbed of our vision, our thinking becomes distorted, distracted, and darkened.  When we lack direction, purpose, or a view of the future, we are as good as blind. 

In great contrast, we find the Savior going about bringing light and healing the blind that they might see.  As we study the accounts of the Savior’s miracles, keep in mind that it’s not just physical sight He restores, but spiritual vision.  This is evident with King Benjamin’s people as they came to learn about the “infinite goodness of God”, and by the manifestations of His Spirit, were given “great views of that which is to come… “ (Mosiah 5:3)  The well know hymn “Amazing Grace” pays tribute to spiritual vision, “I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.”  The Savior is He that enlightens our minds and gives us greater views, perspective, and vision of who we are, who we can become, and lights the path home.  For this reason, we are invited come unto Him and to “look and live”.  

As missionaries, we are asked to increase our vision of the Lord’s work and specifically for those we have come to invite and help.  As we develop the Christlike attribute of charity, as taught in Preach My Gospel, it states, “You will see them as children of God with the potential of becoming like our Heavenly Father…” How you see people will inevitably effect the way you treat them, invite them, and help them progress.  If you have no vision for them, you will lack the needed direction, purpose, and view for who they will become.  The effect of this shortsightedness will be a lack of goals and plans to help them progress and reach their heavenly potential.  When we lack vision, others can perish from darkness and unbelief.

Our vision is strengthened through our faithful discipleship, obedience, covenant keeping, and personal worthiness.  Our vision is improved as we treasure up in daily study, companionship study, and as we ponder what our investigators need.  Our vision is magnified as we pray for eyes to see what our Father in Heaven needs us to see and as the Holy Ghost enlightens our minds and fills our hearts.  Our vision becomes clearer as we remove the beam from our eyes, instead of focusing on the shortcomings (the mote) of our companions or others (repentance).  Our vision is increased as we follow the direction from the new PMG chapter eight, “How Do I Fulfill My Purpose?”, by looking ahead two to three months with our goals and plans instead of only a day or week at a time.  In short, vision improves as we live the gospel and have direction, purpose, and a view of who and what we want to become.   

Our vision has been made perfectly clear to us… we are to invite and help others come unto Christ.  We do this by teaching them the restored gospel.  As I think about teaching the Restoration, I love that we refer to Joseph Smith’s experience as the First Vision… On that day, direction was given to mankind again, we began to see our eternal purpose, and we were given views of who we are and who we will become.  Our vision is to increase the faith of men and women in the Savior and His Atonement.  Blindness leaves their eyes as they repent and receive a remission of sins through baptism.  Eyesight is restored as they receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  More sight comes as they endure to the end (endowment and sealing blessings) and continue on the straight and narrow path.  This vision is our north star and always points us in the direction we are to go. 

Elders & Sisters, one of my greatest desires during your missionary experience is that you will learn to have a vision for what you can accomplish and who you can become. When we lack vision, we wander, become distracted, lose our way, and fall short of our divine potential.  The adversary has designs on all of us to blind our eyes and cloud our views.  The Savior, however, opens our eyes and gives us perfect hope and a view of all we can do and become.  The proverb of old is true, without vision, we perish.  This is true as missionaries, as a companionship, and especially true for individuals and families that harden their hearts and choose not to see.  The Father’s vision for all of us is crystal clear; He wants to bring us home so we can enjoy immortality and eternal life with Him.  My invitation for you today is to have a vision for what you want to accomplish and who you want to become.  This will require you to set personal goals and plans you’re willing to follow through on.  There is no time like the present to build upon your desires, prioritize and focus, choose to act, and become who you are destined to become.  I also invite you to pray to increase your vision and faith in the Lord’s work and His children (charity).  I promise you that you’ll have a better sense of direction, purpose, and views for things to come.  I am grateful and know that we live in a day where we have been given eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to discern the things of God.  Let us all lift our vision to see things that a loving Father in Heaven would have us see.  Love ya!

President Hall