Monday, February 16, 2015

2-16-15 President's Weekly Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters,

Chinese New Year is upon us! This rich cultural tradition is a special time when families gather together. As you enjoy this season with members and investigators, I hope that you can appreciate and learn about the significance of this event and seek the guidance of the Spirit to know how to use your time wisely and continue to be an “effective advocate and messenger of the truth.” (Miss. Handbook, pg. 4)

Over the next two weeks, you will likely be invited to attend many lunch and dinner appointments. I encourage you to demonstrate sincere gratitude to each of your generous hosts by bringing a small gift (i.e., of fruit). Such gifts need not be a financial burden to missionaries, as you will be spending less of your budget on food. Also, a thank-you card that personally expresses gratitude for generous holiday celebrations will greatly help you establish relationships with members.

Another concern is the length of lunch and dinner appointments during guonian. Even though the Missionary Handbook states that “Meal appointments should be an hour or less” (pg. 36), it may be very inconsiderate to leave after one hour. Please be wise in your decisions and courteous to your hosts. You are allowed to stay at guonian celebrations for up to two hours, if necessary, in order to be polite.

Remember that you are representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ. Look for opportunities to bless and strengthen all with whom you associate. Leave an appropriate spiritual message at each of your appointments and testify of the truthfulness of the restored gospel and the blessings that are available to those who make and keep sacred covenants and participate in priesthood ordinances. Be dignified and courteous in your behavior at all times.

Last week, we spent several days in Taipei attending the semi-annual Mission Presidents’ Seminar under the direction of our Asia Area Presidency. It was an amazing spiritual boost that expanded our vision and helped us in setting goals for our mission. We have returned inspired and focused on being full-purpose missionaries. We are excited for our upcoming MLC and zone conferences, to see you all and to share with you what we have learned!

We wish each of you a wonderful and prosperous Year of the Sheep!

President Blickenstaff
Mentor of Champions

PS. Thank you for your faith and prayers!! We received visas for 12 missionaries who will be coming February 25! Please continue to pray for the remaining seven so that they can also come on that date. Many of you have been serving in a particular area or with the same companion for a bit longer than usual and are expecting changes. Transfer day will be on March 2. Please continue to work with faith, energy and focus until then.

FLASH UPDATE: The next day, we received notification that the remaining young missionaries from our November and December transfers received their visas! We are still waiting for my mother's, as well as January transfer missionaries. Please continue to pray for them!

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