President's Pen 5-22-17 (Do YOU Believe in Miracles!)

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,

We love ya!  I express my love and gratitude to you for your desires to do the Lord’s work.  With those wonderful desires, you have been called to give your heart, might, mind, and strength as you invite all to come unto Christ.  Your desire to do the work is all the Lord needs to turn you into the instrument that can put His children on the path home.  Your calling is significant, keep giving your best!

“Do you believe in miracles!?!” Just before my ninth birthday, the United States hockey team beat the Russians in dramatic fashion with a final score of 4-3.  This 1980 Olympic Hockey Team was full of misfits and underdogs and had no business beating the more powerful and skilled Russians.  The sportscaster, Al Michaels, shouted out with seconds left in the game, “Do you believe in miracles!?!”  After all these years, I still remember the game, the now infamous quote is widely known, and yes, a miracle in sports took place that day.

I would ask you today, do you believe in miracles?  Mormon asks us this same question as he is finalizing the marvelous abridgement of the gold plates.  First, he reminds us all that, “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever… (Mor 9:9) and then he asks, “And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? (Mor 9:19) Mormon is a brilliant teacher! He teaches the nature of God as being unchangeable, and then concludes… He has performed miracles before, is performing miracles now, and will perform miracles in the future. 

Mormon then draws us in to why some may not see miracles, “And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.” (Mor 9:20)   We then learn that miracles were a topic of conversation at the dinner table as Moroni teaches something very similar in the book of Ether, “For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them.” (Ether 12:12)  Moroni then goes on to recount miracle after miracle performed by the faith of righteous servants.  Simple formula we learn from this teaching, Faith in Jesus Christ = Miracles

I believe we can see miracles everyday if we look for them.  On Friday night, we had 20 recent converts performing baptisms for the dead at the temple for their ancestors.  That seemingly simple event is a miracle and we see the Plan of Salvation in action!  Never discount what God did to prepare these people for baptism nor how he created a path to have them bless their ancestors in the temple. We see the miracle of conversion as the Holy Ghost changes the hearts of minds of those we teach.  We see miracles as the Lord places people in our path as we have the faith to plan and then go to work.  We are engaged in a work of miracles, truly a marvelous work and a wonder.

This past week I received an email from a sister here in Houston about a small miracle in our mission…  “I wanted to share a little experience that happened with two elders a few weeks ago.  My dad was a mission president and I know sometimes people tend to tell you all the negative goings on with the missionaries, but this was quite the contrary, the elders were in the right place, at the right time, and truly a miracle.

I live with my husband and kids in Spring, not far from the Temple.  We are in the Wimbledon Ward in the Klein Stake.  A few weeks ago our ward was assigned a refugee family.  They had three little girls are were arriving from Myanmar.  Our ward gathered furniture and other items to furnish their apartment and then my husband and I were asked to go pick them up from the airport.  We have four small kids so we had a van and car seats already set to go!  We were told that an interpreter would be there to meet us, and off we went, so excited to welcome this family. 

When we got the airport, we called the interpreter who was supposed to meet us, and she said she was not coming.  Her English wasn't great and so communication with her proved difficult as well.  We stood there holding name signs as people were coming through the doors at customs.  Finally, I saw a family with three little girls and I knew it must be them.  Well, they sort of glazed past us and walked on, and I thought to myself, this has to be them!  We followed them and checked their suitcases and sure enough it was them, but they couldn't read the American alphabet to see their names... needless to say, we were going to have a little challenge on our hands trying to get this family to the car, safely into their apartment and explain details like the apartment key, the mail key, etc.

As we drove the hour to their apartment I tried to communicate with these sweet people, but all that we could understand of each other was a genuine smile.  It was a very helpless feeling.  As we pulled into the apartment complex I saw a set of elders talking to someone in the parking lot.  They were speaking a different language.  I rolled down my window as we drove by them and asked, "Elders, what language do you speak?"  They looked at me and said, "Burmese"  almost like, you've probably never heard of this language before, but believe it or not, we are assigned to speak it here...  I nearly jumped for joy!  I said, "Elders, we need you!  This family just arrived from Myanmar and we can't communicate with them!"  They helped us take their stuff up to the apartment and spent the next hour or so helping explain everything from the light switches to how to use a microwave.  It truly was a miracle!  Had these elders decided to take an early dinner or choose not to speak to someone in the parking lot we could have missed them by minutes.  We are so grateful for Elder Noles and Elder Ferrero.

As we reflect on this experience we just keep feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude that the Lord is in the details and when you are doing your best to be where you need to be, He will guide your path and put you where you need to be to be an instrument in His work. I just wanted to share with you this simple experience that made a profound impact on us and surely this little Burmese speaking family.”

I loved this sweet and simple miracle and it again reassures me that God is involved in the details of our lives and that He knows His children.  It’s a miracle that He cares enough to bless His children individually in small and simple ways. 

The Lord works miracles through those that have the faith to be in the right place at the right time.  He works miracles for those that believe, stay the course, and continue to trust.  He works miracles for those that patiently endure trials of faith and then gives them a witness that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  He works miracles through missionaries that are exactly obedient and doing their best. He works miracles as you teach repentance and baptize converts! He is a God of miracles!    

In the Spring of 1820, a young man walked into a grove of trees and prayed to know what church to join.  A miracle occurred that day and the miracles haven’t stopped since.  When you share the account of the First Vision, you are sharing a miracle no less amazing than Moses parting the Red Sea or Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  Before you teach Joseph Smith’s miraculous account, you might ask an investigator, do you believe God is a God of miracles?  If yes, ask, do you believe He is the same yesterday, today, and forever? If yes, tell them that you’re about to share a miracle that will change the course of their life forever!

Elders & Sisters, believe that God will work miracles in your life as you demonstrate your faith in His Son Jesus Christ.  Every day you walk out of your apartment expect to see a miracle as you act in faith (obedience, planning, study, etc.)  Big or small, miracles can and will be seen by those who believe!  I invite you this week to look for miracles in the work.  Pray to have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to discern what the Lord is doing all around you.  Share with each other at the end of the day any miracles you may have seen and record them in your journal.  I’d love to hear about the miracles you’re seeing each week.  They are there to be found!  I testify in the Savior’s name that we live during a time of miracles and I can easily answer “YES” to the question, “Do you believe in miracles!?!”  Love ya!

President Hall