Monday, July 28, 2014

7-28-14 President's Weekly Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters,

As of last night we had 34 baptisms for the month of July. I am constantly thinking and praying about how to reach our goal of 60 baptisms per month. We need more faith and we need more skill. I know that the Lord can show us how to accomplish our work. “For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it (2 Ne. 9:20).

We need to continually strive to invite and encourage investigators to keep meeting with us after the first lesson. Too many investigators, after the initial meeting, do not continue to learn and progress towards baptism. We need to focus on inviting the Spirit and relating what we are teaching to what they are experiencing in their lives. A missionary recently wrote to me, “One thing that I have been learning from [my companion] is how to effectively teach people according to their needs and concerns… we have been evaluating after every lesson a) whether or not they received or learned anything that will give them a drive to continue learning and improving themselves, b) whether or not we learned anything about them that would help us understand what will be best to share with them in the next lesson.”

Another missionary wrote, “We noticed that one thing we really needed to work on in order to bring people closer to baptism is following up. Our follow ups were very poor and we saw that although we were teaching many, there was no way they could improve until we did better follow ups. I think a part of it comes from the incorrect thought, "when we return to the apartment we aren’t missionaries anymore." We have a bed, food at our access and no one watching. However, I found as I [recognize] my accountability to the Lord and the fact that this is a calling from God, not a work assignment, I realize the power I have been set apart with and seek to do my best regardless of the time or place.” For more about the power of following up, see Elder M. Russell Ballard’s talk, “Following Up,” in the most recent general conference.

One last quote from a missionary: “Yesterday as we fasted I pondered constantly over how we may be able to reach the very realistic goal of 60 baptisms and how I can as a missionary baptize monthly. At the end of fasting I felt I had no answer. Then last night while I was praying, I was filled with such hope and such a fire to baptize. Also, before I fell asleep I wrote down about 15 ideas of how to help every person we are meeting with progress. Before we left the door this morning, we did all those things on the list. I realize now that was my answer to fasting, and that according my desires, Heavenly Father will give his servants answers of how to help his children progress to baptism and full activity.”

I believe that as we worthily ask, seek and knock, Heavenly Father can, and will, show us and teach us how to do His work. We must ask with real intent, which means that we, like our investigators, must be willing to go and do the things that He asks of us. As He comes to know that He can trust us, He will allow us to have a greater role in leading His children along the path that leads back to Him.

President Blickenstaff
Mentor of Champions 

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