As your mission president, I am continually trying to understand how we can better understand our missionary purpose, what we can do to more effectively achieve our goals, and who we are becoming in the process. Like you, I was greatly inspired by general conference. I came away with greater desire to love and serve others, to be more obedient, and to keep the covenants that I have made.
This week I have especially pondered the phrase “real intent.” These two words appear together only five times in the scriptures, four of them in Moroni’s writings and once by Nephi. Moroni implores us to repent, give of ourselves and seek truth with real intent. Nephi teaches us to follow the Savior, “with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent” (2Ne. 31: 13).
In the gospel of Jesus Christ, the results we desire and the methods with we use are equally important. We continually fill our days with tasks that help us accomplish our missionary purpose AND we must carry them out for the right reasons. We need to have real intent in all that we do. We must constantly examine the why of what we are doing. Moroni explained it this way, “For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing” (Mor. 7:6).
Each day of our mission is an offering unto our Heavenly Father, putting our time, talents, and all that we are on the alter of sacrifice. At times our zeal to do what we have been asked to do may distract us from our true missionary purpose. This can easily happen in striving to accomplish mission standards. Last month in MLC, I shared a story about a companionship who was one lesson short of hitting mission standards that week. It was 8pm Sunday night and they had their last lesson scheduled. As the lesson began, it was quickly apparent to the senior companion that the person whom they were teaching had no real interest. At 8:15pm, he was faced with a decision: should I stay and finish this lesson so that we can achieve mission standards, or should I spend the last 45 minutes of my proselyting week striving to find someone who is searching for truth? This missionary quickly ended the lesson and proceeded to leave. What would you have done in this circumstance?
Our mission standards are one way of measuring our diligence and are designed to increase our faith. As we go about our work with real intent, we will often be led to do things that cannot be measured or reported, but will result in great good being accomplished. On the other hand, we may be tempted to “suan” things count towards mission standards but do little to bring about conversion to Christ. Teaching a quick principle and having a roadside prayer with someone can be a means of spreading truth, or can simply be a way to report more lessons. One of our ZLs suggested reporting only “progressing“ investigators attending church (those with whom we are working) so as to more accurately project those who have the potential of being baptized.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf has taught, “My dear friends and fellow priesthood holders, if Jesus Christ were to sit down with us and ask for an accounting of our stewardship, I am not sure He would focus much on programs and statistics. What the Savior would want to know is the condition of our heart. He would want to know how we love and minister to those in our care, how we show our love to our [companion]” (On Being Genuine, Apr. 2015 gen. conf.). Let us strive to do all that we do because we love God and we love our fellow man. May we have real intent.
Mentor of Champions