President's Pen 1-23-17 (Open Your Mouth)

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,

In our recent interviews and at our zone conferences I asked you if you would be viewed or known as “finders”.  Many of you stated that you are working towards this goal, but that you fall short in your efforts to constantly find those the Lord has prepared.  For some it may be fear, others diligence, others a lack of goals and specific plans, or even getting stuck in the same finding approach.  Whatever the reason, it is interesting to me that our greatest joy and feeling of success comes as we see people come unto Christ, but that our effort to have this joy may be found wanting at times.  What can we do to build this desire and make it a part of our everyday efforts? First thing I would do, go back to Chapter 9 of PMG and the Spirit will guide you on what to do…

I love the attitude of Ammon and the Sons of Mosiah as they talked about their efforts and desire to find. 

“And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them…”

We learn that as finding missionaries they went everywhere and anywhere to seek out those the Lord had prepared.  For us that might be in member homes, less-actives, on the street, with formers, with referrals, potentials, and everyone and anyone we can talk to.  They didn’t fall into doing the same thing over and over, they were problem solvers and tenacious in their finding.  As you consider your effort to become finders, how many people are you inviting to be taught and come unto Christ each day? (not just contacts, but real invitations) – Some finding sisters in the mission this week found 9 new investigators and they came from every source; the youth, referrals, part members, members, and their own effort!  People are prepared, we have to seek them out!

Now the Sons of Mosiah didn’t say it was easy as the scripture continues…

“and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again. And we have suffered all manner of afflictions,”

Now we might run into some trials, some rejection, some hot/rainy/cold weather, but I don’t think we will ever have it as rough as these faithful missionaries.  We all have our own afflictions, but do we press forward even though challenges will continually arise?

Now ask yourself, why was their attitude to find and their willingness to go through all of this so strong?  The scripture continues…

“and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.” (Alma 26:29-30)

When I read this last sentence, I can feel and know that not only did they have purpose in their efforts, but th e Lord’s work is what truly brought them happiness.  As Ammon went on to say, “but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.” (Alma 26:11)  They hoped to just help a few and yet they brought thousands! The were ridiculed and mocked before going to serve by their own people, and yet they paid not attention.  There love was in sharing the gospel and seeing others change their lives and come unto Christ.  Is this the way you feel, that your joy would be full if you were the means of saving some?.  

Now you might say that Sons of Mosiah were not your everyday missionaries and that it was different for them.  It was certainly a different vineyard and a different time, but remember who they went to teach…  The Lamanites of all people!  They went to the people that hated them the most, who wanted to do nothing but kill, plunder, and destroy them.  Hard hearted, non-Christian, and non-believing would be an understatement.  It is easy to understand why they were cast out, spit upon, stoned, bound, and cast into prison, and yet they kept going. #FEARNOMAN

We all know they often felt discouraged on those days where they didn’t see success… “Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.”  (Alma 26:27) They faced depression, homesickness, afflictions, a lack of patience, and all we face, but they trusted in the Lord knowing that sooner or later success would come.  #4thfloorlastdoor

Now they just didn’t stumble into success, they did everything they could do on their end to have the Lord bless them… “and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.  But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.” (Alma 17:2-3)   God trusted them to find because they were prepared.  He won’t waste his children on us if we simply go through the motions.  There is too much at stake and our preparation is critical.

Not only were they Preach My Gospel missionaries, but they truly became instruments in the Lord’s hands, “And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work.” (Alma 26:3) Worthy, obedient, diligent, faithful, hopeful, charitable, knowledgeable, humble, and purpose driven missionaries. 

Elders and Sisters, we need to continue to change our mission culture and become faith driven and relentless finders.  We can simply do more and we always need to have an attitude to find.  Every missionary that I challenge to find during the course of a week has always come through.  Each of you can find three new investigators this week if you use all the tools and make it your focus!  Will you accept this challenge this week and every week until we raise the bar higher? We are here to teach repentance and baptize converts and it all begins as you OPEN YOUR MOUTH!

At the worldwide missionary broadcast this Wednesday you will be invited to elevate your efforts and serve like the Sons of Mosiah.  You will be invited to become more obedient, more consecrated, and more focused on your purpose.  You will be invited to increase your level of accountability and to hasten your efforts.  You will be invited to become finders that want to teach repentance and baptize converts.   You will be invited to become more Christlike and serve with all your hearts.  I am looking forward to these invitations and know that we too can experience the joy the Sons of Mosiah felt.  I invite you to prayerfully prepare and have eyes to see and ears to hear what the living apostles and prophets will share with us.    The Lord needs our best and now is the time to become who He needs us to become.  Love ya!

President Hall