Thursday, March 19, 2015

3-16-15 President's Weekly Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters,

As I read your emails last week, many of you shared experiences and comments pertaining to our recent “Power Week.” I enjoyed your thoughts and insights. I am always pleased that missionaries realize how important personal and companion study is in order to “put on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11) and go forth each day to perform the labors to which you have been called. There will be times in your life when things press upon you and make it difficult to find time for scripture study. Remember how you felt last week, as you sacrificed your preparation time in order to be obedient and diligent. We must carefully choose between good, better and best.

Many of you remarked on the difficulty of the challenges and the lessons learned as you tried your best to accomplish the “mission” of the day. Your comments reminded me of a wonderful lesson from Church history that helps us keep things in perspective. During a difficult period of the early days of the Church, the Prophet Joseph had moved from Kirtland, Ohio to Far West, Missouri and had asked the members of the Church to follow him and relocate in Missouri. Many of the saints had homes and property in Ohio that had not been sold and were therefore reluctant to follow the prophet’s entreaty. Some of the brethren that stayed behind in Kirtland were Church leaders and they were caught up in a spirit of worldliness and pride.

There was, however, one man, Oliver Granger, who was a faithful leader and a good businessman. He was entrusted with settling the debts of the First Presidency and maintaining the good name of the Church. Speaking of Oliver Granger, the Lord said, “His name shall be had in sacred remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever…. And when he falls he shall rise again, for his sacrifice shall be more sacred unto me than his increase” (D&C 117:12-13). How would you feel if the Lord said that your name “shall be had in sacred remembrance forever and ever?” It is notable that the Lord did not say, “if he falls, he shall rise again,” He said, “when he falls” The Lord is mindful of our weaknesses and willing to sustain and support us without expecting perfection.

Finally, it is interesting to note that the Lord cares more about our efforts and sacrifices than He does about our actual performance. Everyone who serves with all of their heart, mind and strength will receive the Lord’s appreciation and commendation. How kind and generous is our Savior! We should be as kind and generous to ourselves.

I loved this power week lesson from one of our missionaries, “Something that I was reminded of was the power from our temple covenants. On my first day here in [my new area] I started having a tiny breakdown in my mind. Like, "How am I supposed to get to know this area in only 2 weeks? How will I be able to convey all my feelings to [my new companion]? How is [this all] going to work out? Etc." But then I just said a prayer as we were walking around saying, "Heavenly Father please help me. Give me strength. Help me get a hold of the power that I get from the temple, from the covenants that I've made with Thee." And it worked! I seriously felt so much better, less overwhelmed…. I know Heavenly Father is always there to help us and I have experienced the power of the covenants I have made with Him! It was so cool!”

I am so grateful for the sacrifices that you make and for your best efforts. I appreciate these so much more than your numbers. Your name shall be had in my sacred remembrance for all eternity.

President Blickenstaff
Mentor of Champions

PS. Last week 100% of our week A goals rolled over to baptism! We now have 23 baptisms for March. We have two more weekends and 40 week A and B goals. Let’s pray and exercise our faith to roll over these goals! We can do it!

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