President's Pen 4-30-18 (Invested)

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! Behold, YOU are a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. YOU have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life! I Iove that this is who you are and the sacred nature of your call.  Thanks for your continued effort to teach repentance and to baptize converts!

Prior to the mission, I spent part of my career in a private equity firm.  The goal of our firm was to evaluate companies that were ready to scale their businesses and reach the next level of growth.  As investors, we would carefully analyze each company, consider their products and services, the market, the management team, the potential upside and risks.  To understand more about them, we would ask a lot of questions, visit their clients, evaluate their competitors, and get to know their business inside and out. Before we made an investment, we might look at 100 companies before one met our criteria.  In some cases, we wouldn’t choose them, and in other cases, they wouldn’t choose us.  Our ultimate objective was to put investment dollars into the best company, help them grow and succeed, and then sell or exit the business to maximize our return. 

Investing can be described in several ways…  You can invest your money to make a profit, like the example above.  You might make an investment with your time or talents to achieve something greater than what you have today.  You can also invest (give or endow) someone with power or control to accomplish a goal or objective. There are also different levels of investing… I might go all the way in and buy the entire company, or perhaps only a small percentage.  I might invest all my time in the pursuit of something, or I may only give a portion of my time.  I might give someone all the power to control the outcomes, or again, a small portion or somewhere in between.  In all cases, the person investing has something to give with the hope that it will turn into something greater than what they have today.  Generally speaking, the more you are willing to invest, the greater the return. 

In the scriptures, we learn about the principle of investing in the parable of the talents.  The Lord gives one servant five talents, one two talents, and another one talent.  The first servant invests his talents wisely and doubles his return to ten talents.  The second servant invests his talents well and doubles his return to four talents.  The Lord is pleased with the first two servants and says, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matt 25:21) Then we come to the last servant… He/She buries their talent in the ground, fears and refuses to invest, is called wicked, slothful and unprofitable by the Lord, and has taken away what they had.  There are few more condemning words found in the scriptures than those who don’t invest their talents and time wisely. 

What I find interesting about fallen men and women, myself included, is that we often struggle to invest in the things that will give us the reward we want.  Can we too be like the servant given one talent?  We might invest a portion of what we could give, expecting a greater return, but become disappointed when the payout doesn’t measure up.  Too many want the quick fix schemes (get rich, lose weight, build muscle, etc. etc.), where little time is spent, only a small portion is invested, and the easiest route is taken.  This is the adversary’s plan for happiness, it’s not the kind of investment that endures.  Don’t fall into the trap of those who entice with claims of short term effort and long term rewards.  Anything of value comes with hard work, time, and a personal commitment to see it through.   

A few missionary examples… A missionary that invests their time in obedience, personal worthiness, mighty prayer, daily scripture study, and faithful covenant keeping is rewarded with an abundance of the Spirit, testimony, peace of mind, and conversion.  A missionary that invests their time in effective study, receives a return of greater knowledge (gospel, language etc.).  A missionary that invests their time in opening their mouth, using all finding sources, and who never gives up, receives a greater return of people to teach and invite.  A missionary that invests their time in improving their skills, receives a greater return of confidence and know how.   We could likewise look at the return gained for a companionship that invests their time in effective planning, study, working through members, and becoming equally yoked.  We reap what we sow, we are rewarded for what we invest.  Are you a wise investor?

Let’s look at an INVESTigator… Someone who is seeking truth will be willing to invest time, even if small at the beginning, to learn, study, inquire, seek, and examine.  When missionaries invest their time in those they teach (plan, study, help etc.), they are hoping to bless them with something greater than what they have today.  The return the missionary seeks isn’t for themselves, but for those who want to invest their time in drawing nearer to the Savior.  Occasionally, missionaries will invest time in individuals who simply don’t want to invest-igate.  If the missionary has sought to understand their needs, invited them boldly, and lovingly followed up, but still see no return on their investment, does it make sense to continue? If an investigator isn’t returning calls/texts, only wants to meet every couple of weeks, are they really investing in what we have to teach?  Each situation is unique, but at times a missionary may lack the faith to invest in others who may be more prepared.  Do you hold on to investigators too long who aren’t willing to invest?

Elders & Sisters, you have made an investment of time to serve the Lord and to build His kingdom; it is a wonderful investment that can and will pay great dividends .  Are you getting the return you hope for? Are you taking the talents you’ve been given and doubling and tripling the possible return?  Is the Lord’s investment in you paying the dividends He would hope for?  The Savior has fully invested in you! As Nephi and Isaiah taught, “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” He has given all and put everything on the line to help you receive an infinite amount of return.  Immortality has been paid for, eternal life, through the Savior’s help, is what awaits.  Will you invest, will you be a profitable servant? I testify in the Savior’s name that the investment you make today will pay off in the future.  I invite you today to evaluate where you are invested… Keep doing what will be enduring and divest of those things that will bring no reward.  You are an investment of infinite worth! I love ya!

President Hall