President's Pen 6-19-17 (Interviews)

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! President Ezra Taft Benson stated, “When you choose to follow Christ, you choose to be changed.”  Thanks for all you do every day to invite and help others come unto Christ so they can experience the miracle of conversion in their lives. What a blessing it is to teach repentance each day so the power of godliness can come into their lives through priesthood ordinances.  There is only one way and it is the doctrine of Christ!

I look forward to being with you in our one-on-one interviews this week.  Have you ever asked why we meet so often?  President Hall interviews me every six weeks and interviews me in emails every Monday :), what more can there be to discuss?  A few thoughts I would share with you on the topic of interviews and why I love meeting with you. 

If I were to break down interviews into two basic categories they would be… First, to build my relationship with you, bless, serve, and help you and second, inspire you to become more consecrated as you serve the Lord’s and do His work.

Before each day of interviews, I pray for the gift of discernment to have eyes to see and ears to hear. The gift of discernment comes as I am worthy and prepare myself for the things the Spirit will bring to my heart and mind.  While I am unable to spend much time with you, I have been blessed to receive impressions before we meet and even during our discussions that help me know what to share and what to ask.  It’s important for me to make sure you feel comfortable so I can know what’s in your heart and mind.   I sincerely want you to know you are loved, appreciated by the Lord, and help you accomplish the Lord’s work.  I pray that if there is anything we need to discuss, you will have the confidence and trust to know that what you share with me is confidential and important to me. 

My interviews with you also help me accomplish several purposes…. They help me see, feel, and learn things that won’t be apparent over the phone or read in an email or text.  They allow me to teach and share principles and doctrines.  They allow me to have you teach and have you express your faith and testimony. They allow me to receive an accounting of your stewardship and efforts.  They allow me to counsel and motivate you to align yourself to what the Lord has called you to do.  They allow me to determine your worthiness and help you confess and forsake sin.  They allow me to spend one-on-one time that I have come to treasure and truly enjoy.  

Before we meet I also pray for the gift of charity so I’ll have my vision opened to not only who you are today, but who you are becoming.  The gift of charity allows me to have greater love for you and that is something I’m so grateful for.  I recognize that we are all weak and that we all have challenges and issues we need to work through.  As I am able to discuss with you an area where you may feel weak, I am blessed with the assurance that the Savior’s grace is sufficient for you as you come unto Him, humble yourself, and exercise your faith in Him.  As we discuss challenges or obstacles you’re facing, I am blessed to help you develop a plan that you will choose to work on and follow; I love seeing your progress.  The miracle of the interviews for me come as I observe how much growth you are experiencing and how the Savior and His gospel is truly changing you.  You may not recognize it, but I get to see you change and become better disciples in small increments of time and it is awe inspiring. 

We see a pattern of one-on-one interviews in the scriptures where a father and a son meet to counsel together.  I love the interaction between Lehi and his boys Nephi, Jacob, and Joseph.  Alma’s one-on-one interactions with Helaman, Shiblon, and Corianton are some of my favorite father and son interactions and each discussion is unique and appropriate for what his sons need to know, feel, and do.  I personally love the one-on-one time I get with my kids.  They may never know they’re getting a father’s interview, but I love the interaction I have with them and for the counsel I am able to offer. 

The Savior’s interviews with the apostles, and especially with Peter are amazing to me.  Peter, lovest thou me?  Peter, whom to me say that I the Son of man am? After each question the Savior listened, taught, and inspired Peter to become the disciple the Lord knew he would be.  The Savior will have a similar interview with each of us.  Do we love him, do we know who He is, and have we come to know Him?  I like to think of our interviews here on the earth as role-play for the future.  In particular, I see the temple recommend interview as the opportunity to visit with the Savior as we strive to be worthy to enter the presence of the Father. 

Elders & Sisters, as we sit down in our interviews together this week, and every time hereafter, I hope you will know and feel of my love for you.  I hope you will feel encouraged and inspired to give all of your heart, might, mind, and strength to the Lord and His work.  I hope you are willing and excited to give an accounting that shows your effort and desires to improve.  I hope you will receive any kindly correction with the understanding that I desire for you to become the best you can be.  I hope you will be willing to cast aside any fears and confess anything that needs to be addressed.  I hope to learn from you and know how I can bless you in your desire to become converted to the Savior and His gospel.  I invite you to pray that we will be able to accomplish what the Lord would have us do as we meet.  I testify and know the Savior has blessed me with the ability to love you beyond what you’ll ever know and what I ever expected.  President Eyring shared with me that we would love you and his promise is true.  Love ya!

President Hall