Monday, April 13, 2015

4-13-15 President's Weekly Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters,

What a marvelous blessing we all enjoyed this past weekend as we gathered to holy places to receive the teachings of those whom we sustain as prophets, seers, revelators and other general authorities. Over the years, we have tried to make general conference a time of family traditions that include fun, good food and active participation in the conference sessions. I love general conference. I never fail to hear and feel things that leave me refreshed, encouraged and strengthened. This past weekend, as always, it seemed like so many of the talks had deep and personal significance to me. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who has provided a means of constantly making sure I am prepared to face the challenges of such a fast-paced and complex world with so many temptations and distractions. However, in order to be prepared, we must not only hearken to conference, but heed the inspiration we receive in order to change and progress. Which talk was your favorite? Why? How have you been inspired to improve? How will this help you be a more successful missionary?

Each night Sister Blickenstaff and I kneel in prayer together. We always pray for our missionaries. If we know of some particular challenge that a missionary is experiencing, we pray for you by name. Sometimes our list is very long. Over the last few weeks, I have gratefully noted that some of those who have been on our “prayer list” for a long time have been blessed with significant improvement in their circumstances. In many instances it has been the influence of a companion that has made the difference. I am grateful to each of you who are striving to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands to minister to one another. President Spencer W. Kimball once said, “God does notice us, and He watches over us. But it is usually through another person that He meets our needs.”

We currently have 13 baptisms for the month of April. We had some week A dropouts last week, presumably because of the general conference broadcast. We have two weeks left in the month. We have 31 week B goals and 5 week A’s. We are continuing to struggle with our rollover percentages. Let’s pray for miracles, do all that we can, and trust in the Lord.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts from your recent emails:

“This week I was able to feel through prayer that Jesus Christ really understands what we are going through. As I prayed and shared with my Heavenly Father some disappointments we had even though we felt like we were working hard, I felt an overwhelming source of comfort as the spirit testified that my Savior has experienced these feelings too.”

“This past week I read 2 Nephi 8:12 which starts ‘I am he, yea I am he that comforteth you. Behold, who art thou?’ I think this scripture is the ultimate self-assessment scripture. We know who the Lord is, and His role in our lives, but who are we? What do we do each day that would make the Lord proud? Are we growing closer to Him each day? In what area's could we improve, so that when we do get to the judgment day the Lord will know us, and welcome us home. I try to ask myself this question everyday, so I don't forget who I am, a son of God.”

And finally, “This week we baptized Brother Liu.... He is one of my best friends I have met here in Taiwan. He wrote me a letter expressing these thoughts, ‘I thank you for teaching me the gospel, but more than that, for being my friend and bringing happiness into my life.’ The reason he accepted the gospel so quickly was because we showed our love for him, and we were happy every time we met with him. He felt that in each lesson. He responded to it. He remembered how he felt after each time meeting with us. These people really are not statistics or numbers. They are your spirit children you are nurturing and taking tender, painstaking care in raising up. Never has this been made so clear to me before.”

President Blickenstaff

Mentor of Champions

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