Dear Elders and Sisters,
I wish each of you could have been in the office last night as we received the faxes from each zone and tallied up the results of our great harvest of souls for this month. There was a feeling of pure joy as we realized that our missionaries had helped 62 people come unto Christ and be baptized so far in the month of December, with several more investigators being baptized tonight! I know that a lot of prayers, work, sacrifice, love and faith were involved in achieving that goal. Sister Blickenstaff and I were able to attend some of the baptisms and even be involved in teaching some of those who were baptized. We feel, as did Alma and his fellow missionaries, that “their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren” (Alma 31:35). I hope that perhaps each of us can understand what Alma felt when he said, “I do not glory of myself… this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy” (Alma 29:9).
I think it is important to pause and reflect on what you were inspired to do differently, individually and collectively, to enable us to exceed our mission goal. We need to understand how we can improve so that we can achieve this goal regularly and not just occasionally. As a mission, we have focused for the past two months on increasing our faith and diligence. We also asked each companionship, in early November, to specifically identify people who could be baptized in December. Specific goals will lead to specific prayers and result in specific answers that help us do specific things. As we learn to bring “faith, energy and focus” to our work, we will accomplish all that the Lord has asked of us.
For those who did not baptize in December, do not be discouraged. Your faith and diligence were also an important part of achieving our goal. In order to have 60 baptisms per month in the mission, each companionship must baptize every transfer period. We can continue to set goals and exercise faith and diligence. Last week a missionary wrote to me, “I have learned that happiness comes from working hard and having confidence and trust in the Lord. I've noticed (as simple as it sounds) that when I work hard, even though it is tough a lot of the times, that is when I am truly happy. Like it says in PMG and encourages missionaries to just get lost in the work and do our very best.”
Each new year is a great time to look back and then focus forward. I hope that each of you find great joy and satisfaction in where you are and what you are doing. There is nothing you could be doing that is of greater worth to you or to your fellow man than fully consecrating yourself to the service of the Master. When we humbly approach Him, he will enable us to see clearly the areas in which we need to improve (Ether 12:27). We cannot do this work without His help. As we strive to be worthy, obedient and diligent servants, He will be in our midst. He will send angels round about us. We will continue to experience the great joy of accomplishing our missionary purpose of helping others come unto Christ.