One of the great blessings of serving a mission is the opportunity, even in your youth, to “devote all of your time and attention to serving the Lord, leaving behind all other personal affairs” (Miss. Handbook, pg. 4). This may not be an easy thing to do and does not happen automatically as one arrives at the MTC to begin serving. It requires great effort, mental discipline, and the enabling power of the Atonement in order to fully consecrate oneself to this work. As a mission president, it is one of my greatest blessings to witness the growth of each missionary as they progress along the pathway of personal conversion.
An essential aspect of personal conversion is increasing our gospel knowledge. The Lord told Hyrum Smith, “Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, unto the convincing of men” (D&C 11:21). We cannot share with others that which we do not know and understand for ourselves. Gospel study is much more than simply knowing facts and concepts. Effective personal study “prepares you for service, offers solace, resolves problems, and gives you strength to endure to the end” (PMG, pg. 18). In addition, our gospel study will often increase our desire to repent and improve.
Have you ever heard the voice of the Lord? In the eighteenth section of the Doctrine and Covenants, we are admonished to “rely upon the things that are written” (ver. 3). In other words, trust in the scriptures. Later in that same section we are told, “These words are not of men nor of man, but of me…For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you, and by my power you can read them one to another…Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words” (verses 34-36). As we search the scriptures, we not only come to an understanding of the gospel, we come to know the “author and finisher of [our] faith” (Moro. 6:4).
As you know, I spend a lot of time each week reading your emails. I greatly appreciate those of you who share with me something that you learned in your personal study during the week. Doing so is an important way of accounting to me and it is one of the ways that I can know that you are growing and maturing as a missionary and as a disciple of Christ. Your insights from the scriptures also strengthen me and lift my spirits. They make reading your emails a pleasure and a blessing. If you are not currently reporting to me in your email what you have “learned during the weak as you studied the gospel, pondered, and/or prayed” (Rules & Clarifications, p. 15), please start to do so today, and continue every week in your emails.
I love you and appreciate all that you are doing to serve others and become what the Lord would have you become in the process.
Mentor of Champions
PS. We were expecting 34 new missionaries to come with this move call. As of now, we have only received confirmation that 2 are coming. I believe that we will have a large group, possibly 20-30 new missionaries within the week after our upcoming transfer day. Therefore, the move call next Monday will likely be very small, perhaps only involving those companionships that have missionaries departing for home. We will have a full move call when we receive our large group of new missionaries.