Monday, June 23, 2014

6-23-14 President's Weekly Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters,

We had 10 baptisms in the mission last week. A considerable improvement. Thank you for your faith, prayers and effort.

I enjoyed fasting yesterday. I enjoyed pondering about what we are doing and how we can improve. I thought about my own responsibilities and what I can do to improve. Like each of you, I have established goals for my mission. As I fasted yesterday, I thought of some things that I could do to improve. I am so grateful to a loving Heavenly Father for giving me this opportunity to serve at this time and place. There is nothing that I would rather be doing. I love my calling and wish to give all that I have, every day. I have always admired Enos’s self-assessment of his missionary work: “I have declared [the Gospel] in all my days, and have rejoiced in it above that of the world” (Enos 1:26). I hope to be able to say that about my time in Taiwan.

Many of you responded to my email last week with words of encouragement and expressions of support. Some of you reminded me of things I had said to you previously under similar circumstances. A few of you felt personally chastised by my letter last week. I enjoyed all your responses and thank you for your love and support. My intent was not to criticize anyone, only to promote a sense of introspection and reflection.  I hope that you have been able to see some areas where you could improve or, at least, that you know improvement is needed, even if the exact details are not yet clear.

I have set what I consider to be a modest goal for the mission. I believe that, if we are properly engaged and working diligently, we can baptize 60 people each month. I know that there are yet many people in Taiwan “who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it” (D&C 123:12).  We will find them if we seek them diligently and with faith that “He will lead you to them or He will lead them to you” (PMG, pg. 155). In order to baptize 60 people per month, we need to average 15 baptisms per week. Another way to look at it is, we need each companionship to baptize every move call. I firmly believe that we can do this.

We have been asked by President Monson to Hasten the Work. We are trying to understand what this means for the Taichung Mission and how this is to be accomplished. In order to accomplish things that you have never done before, you will need to do things that you have never done before. I do not think that hastening the work means that missionaries need to get up earlier or take shorter lunch breaks or stay out later at night. I believe we will need to work smarter and with the Spirit to a greater degree. I believe that we need to work with members in ways that we have yet to discover. I believe that, just as Nephi could be shown how to build a ship, we can be shown how to do this work. We need to be sharp and willing instruments in the hands of the Lord.

We need to have faith, diligence and skill. But most of all we need to have faith! We need to have faith in the Savior, in our companionship, in our area, and in ourselves. Faith is a principle of power. “Faith leads to action, including repentance, obedience and dedicated service…. You are able to do miracles according to the Lord’s will” (PMG, pg. 116).

President Blickenstaff
Mentor of Faithful Champions

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