President's Pen 8-7-17 (Your Purpose & Beyond)

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 se 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!  I am grateful for your fearless desires to open your mouth and share the gospel with all you meet.  I also love the scriptures that tie so well into our effort to teach repentance and baptize converts… “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.  And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance. And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!  Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people. And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!”  Let’s keep the joy coming!!!

A treasure within the Church that can often be left unopened and neglected is known as “Handbook 2: Administering the Church”.  This is the go to resource for leadership in the Church, and in particular, those that are called to serve within the auxiliaries.  All members of the Church can go to its pages to learn their duties, review policies and procedures, review important instructions on how to hold meetings, delegate, counsel, and most other key administration items to govern the Church.  It is a remarkable resource that when followed, helps us all know our WHY and gives direction for the callings we are extended.  While it is not the primary resource for your efforts today, it will be something you all need to become familiar with for the future. (see link at the bottom of the email)

In the opening pages, you will read something that should be very familiar to you… “Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be cleansed and sanctified from sin and prepare to enter again into the presence of our Eternal Father. To receive this blessing, we must follow the principles and ordinances of the gospel (see Articles of Faith 1:3). We must:

1. Exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God.

2. Turn to God through sincere repentance, having a change of heart and confessing and forsaking sins.

3. Receive the saving ordinance of baptism for the remission of sins.

4. Be confirmed a member of the Church and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.

5. Endure to the end by keeping sacred covenants.

Not only are these “must do’s” our missionary purpose, but they are also the “must do’s” for every member, and the purpose for every calling in which we’re blessed to serve.  We know that the doctrine of Christ is the way and the only way for men and women to return to live with God, so it should come as no surprise that this is also what you’ll be assigned to do when you go home.  Get ready to be missionaries forever!

The reality, however, is that for many members of the Church they tend to focus on what they are called to do, versus the reasons behind WHY they do it.  It’s not that they don’t’ serve faithfully and well, but it is easy to get caught up in doing things (teaching a class, going to girls camp, having a ward party, primary activities, scouting, home and visiting teaching etc. etc.,) versus focusing on the real reason the programs and activities exist in the first place.  When we remember our purpose, the activities become tools and resources to help us meet our goal of blessing people and families.  For those wonderful members that catch this vision (this will be you), you see remarkable and loving service.  The same is true for missionaries, and that is one of the reasons why I focus on our purpose as often as I do. 

For this reason, it is critically important for you at this stage of life to become deeply rooted in your purpose of inviting and helping others come unto Christ.  Faithful membership in the Church requires Latter Day Saint men and women to consecrate time and talents towards building the kingdom of God on the earth.   Here’s a brief example… One day you may be called to teach the 12 year old Sunday School class.  If you know your WHY, you won’t simply teach lessons, but you’ll be doing all you can to invite and help your class to increase their faith in the Savior, help them repent, help them make and keep covenants, and endure to the end.  You’ll give thoughtful consideration to the kids in your class; who needs help, who needs a call/text/visit, and who will you bless beyond what you do on Sunday.   I could follow this same pattern and go through every calling in the Church, from primary, to young women, to the elders quorum, and everything in between, all callings have the same purpose! We focus on the individual, invite them to come unto Christ, and help them progress in their journey towards their heavenly home.  

As the most important organization in the Church is the family, you can be assured that your purpose as husbands and wives, fathers and mothers will be the same as well.  A scripture that provides evidence… “And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.” (D&C 68:25)  This same purpose was given to Adam and Eve (Moses 6:57) and this will also be your responsibility one day as well. 

Elders & Sisters, can you imagine what would happen within the Church and certainly within our missionary efforts if we all truly came to know our why… We are developing a pattern of life that allows us to look beyond ourselves and towards the needs of others.  We are developing a way of life that allows for God’s work and glory to become a part of who we are and what we do.  I envision you as a great leader in the Church, who serves with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, because you learned and applied your purpose here on your mission.  I see you as a father or mother that gathers the family for prayer, family home evening, scripture study, and weekly sacrament meeting, not simply because they are things you do, but because you know why you do them.  My invitation is to have you share your purpose with those members you are blessed to serve.  Ask them why they serve, what they love about their callings, and then lovingly teach the doctrine of Christ and help them connect the dots between what they do, and why they do it.  We are all part of the Lord’s work of salvation… to bring God’s children into the fold (baptism), to keep them in the fold (retention), to bring them back to the fold if they go astray (activation), to teach them in the Savior’s way, and to help them all receive the saving ordinances of the temple.  I invite you to come to love your purpose, it will bless you for the rest of your life and richly bless your posterity, and all those you are called to serve! This work is true and I testify in the Savior’s name that this is the way and there is no other way!  Love ya!

President Hall