Friday, January 23, 2015

1-19-15 President's Weekly Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters,

This past week we had only two baptisms in the entire mission. I’m sure that many of you were disappointed as things you hoped and planned for did not materialize. I know that many of you are working with people that you feel could be baptized this month. Recently a missionary wrote to me, “At the beginning of this week we were really struggling to hit some of our weekly goals. I remember on Friday we were far from hitting any of them. We had no new investigators, only one goal, and no one really scheduled for church. I remember praying long on Saturday morning that the Lord would bless us.”

Actually, I receive letters similar to this each week. As I think about how to respond to these letters, I am reminded of two of my favorite quotes from people that I love and trust. The first is from Elder Jeffery R. Holland, "The test of a missionary is what he or she will DO after being weighed down with sorrow, rejection, or tribulation." I am always inspired by Alma, after the people of Ammonihah “reviled him, and spit upon him, and cast him out of their city” (Alma 8:13),. He was walking, evidently alone, and experiencing sorrow and  “anguish of soul” when an angel appeared unto him and said “Blessed art thou… lift up thy head and rejoice… thou has great cause to rejoice; for thou hast been faithful…”(Alma 8:14-15). The angel then commanded him to return to the city of Ammonihah and preach to the people again. How do you think he felt when he heard this? The scriptures do not say how he felt, but they do record what he did. “He returned speedily to the land of Ammonihah” (Alma 8:18).

The second of my favorite quotes is from President Gordon B. Hinckley, “It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. Put your trust in God and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. If we put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers.” We can see a great example of this from Nephi, “O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God” (2Ne. 4: 34-35).

Consider what we can accomplish  as we focus on talking with everyone – individually, as a companionship, and as a mission. Last week a missionary wrote to me, “[We] are remaining busy and continuing to bear testimony to everyone we come in contact with. Right now we just need to get some more baptismal invites out. So we will hopefully be inviting lots of people to baptism this week. We found a family that lives in our apartment complex. We bore testimony to them while we were in the elevator ready to end our day, and the next day as we walked out the door, our Guanli said, "Here's a number for a lady that is interested in your message, she left me this paper this morning." So we got to meet with her and her daughter. Hopefully we can invite them to be baptized this week. We seeing great miracles right now, and I am grateful for God and his awareness. I have learned that there are hundreds of prepared souls around us; we just need to not fear, open our mouth, and bare testimony.” Many of the miracles that we see each week are a result of talking with everyone.

What happened to the missionary who prayed so long on Saturday morning? “[My companion] and I both prayed for miracles and an ability to hit our goals. Over the following two days we saw so many miracles. We found 6 new investigators found 3 more goals and found someone for church. Simply said, the Lord answered our prayers.” We have 2 more weekends in the month. Let’s redouble our efforts to pray harder and longer than ever before, talk to everyone with faith, and trust that our God is a god of miracles!

Lastly, please keep our visa waiters in your prayers. We need them to come this month and replenish our mission! Our last mission fast in their behalf brought miracles to help resolve concerns with the government. We need another miracle to get them here speedily! Please join us in fasting as a mission this Sunday, January 25.

President Blickenstaff
Mentor of Champions

We hope that all our missionaries' friends and family will join us in our mission fast this Sunday!

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