Dear Elders and Sisters,
A few weeks ago you received a laminated card in your zone training meeting that contained some reminders of things that will help you to be a “more effective advocate and messenger of the truth” (Missionary Handbook, p. 4). On the white side of the card is a list of characteristics of missions that have increasing numbers of convert baptisms. This list was provided by the Missionary Department and was developed by studying missions throughout the world. I believe the entire list is worthy of our careful consideration, however this week I would like to focus on just two of the bullet points. Missions with increasing numbers of convert baptisms:
1) Set realistic and challenging standards of excellence and mission and companionship goals for baptism. As you know, we recently adjusted our mission standards in an effort to inspire more companionships to use the standards to set goals and then to work diligently to hit their goals. I felt that the addition of weekly active member lessons required time resources that made it difficult to achieve other teaching standards. Only about 35-40% of our companionships were hitting standards regularly. Now that Active Member Lessons count towards Peike’s and Total Lessons, which have been reduced to 18/week, I am hoping that everyone can exercise their faith that they can hit standards. Do you use mission standards when setting your weekly goals? Our mission vision, goals and plans includes a goal for baptisms. We can hit our mission goal for baptisms if every companionship baptizes once every move call. Recently, a missionary shared with Sis. Blickenstaff that they had a baptism planned for January, a solid investigator with a February baptismal goal, and they were praying to find an investigator to be baptized in March. They had a companionship goal to baptize each month and had set plans to accomplish that. Do you set a companionship goal to baptize each transfer?
2) Are united in their vision and goals and talk frequently about them. Last month, we had a remarkable month of baptisms. As a mission, we were excited about our goal and it was a constant focus. We prayed for, encouraged and helped one another in many ways as we worked toward our goal. We need to maintain the excitement and focus to achieve our goals each and every month. This begins with each companionship and district. Do we talk about our goals? Do we pray for and help one another? How can we improve in doing these things?
I believe that our mission exemplifies many of the characteristics of missions with increasing numbers of baptisms. There are, however, some important areas in which we need to improve. I believe that we will see improvement as we give attention these details and as we more fully consecrate and dedicate ourselves to the work to which we have been called. I love and appreciate each of you for the effort and sacrifice that you put forth in order to serve the Lord. I know that He is aware of who you are, what you are doing and what you need. He will bless you accordingly.
Mentor of Champions
P.S. Sister Blickenstaff and I have really enjoyed reading the Christmas book that you so lovingly prepared for us, and presented in such a surprising manner. Thank you for your expressions of love and support.