Monday, September 21, 2015

9-21-15 President's Weekly Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters,

We began another round of interviews last week with missionaries in the Taichung West, Tainan and Gaoxiong West zones. I love missionary interviews. Although the days are long, I find myself uplifted by your faith and your expectations. I am humbled by the hope and desire that so many of you have to improve and make your mission experience all that you had dreamed it would be. I know you look forward to your interview with anticipation and hope that you prepare yourselves by pondering what you hope to learn or receive from the few minutes that we spend together. If a missionary will open his or her heart to me, I can often discern much about how they are doing and what they might need in order to improve. I am grateful for the Holy Ghost, who helps me to understand and know what to say in many instances. I testify of His reality and availability if we are worthy and willing to seek for inspiration and guidance.

Last night I had the great privilege of being invited to a stake bishopric training meeting. In addition to all of the bishoprics in the stake, the ward mission leaders were also invited. We spent two hours discussing the topics of hastening the work of salvation and members and missionaries working in unity. These dear brethren care about missionaries and missionary work. They understand their responsibilities and desire to do all that they can to carry them out. They had many great questions and suggestions. Based on our discussion, here are a few things I would like to clarify:
  1. Missionaries may split with members in order to visit LA members (see PMG, p. 215). Ordinarily this would not occur more than once per week.
  2.  Companionships should not split up on Sundays during the meeting block in order to accompany investigators to different classes. You should sit next to your companion during Sunday meetings.
  3. You should attend ward/branch council every month. Do not wait to be invited. Come prepared to discuss the needs of your investigators. Find out how much time will be allotted to the discussion of missionary work and do not exceed the time you are given.
  4. If the bishop, or another ward leader, gives you an assignment, do it as soon as possible and report back on what you have done. Such assignments are a sign of trust and are a great opportunity to build more trust if handled appropriately.
  5. You may plan an English party with a Halloween theme in October. Missionaries should not wear masks or dress up like monsters or dead persons, skeletons, etc. This is a fun opportunity to share a part of our American culture that is interesting to our Taiwanese friends.

Learning to work with members is one of the key ways to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your labors. President Thomas S. Monson has said, “There is no substitute for a member-oriented proselyting program. Tracting will not substitute for it…. A member-oriented program is the key to success, and it works wherever we try it” (Mission President’s Seminar, 2008).  I hope that you will strive to understand how to include members in your proselyting efforts. I know that as we do so, we will be blessed with even greater opportunities to help others come unto Christ.

President Blickenstaff
Mentor of Champions

PS. We have 15 baptisms so far this transfer. With three weeks left in the transfer, we have 11 week A, 10 week B, and 29 week C baptismal goals for a total of 65. We have 97 companionships. Let’s exercise our individual and collective faith and strive to help these people, and any others the Lord has prepared, to progress and receive the ordinance of baptism.

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