Dear Elders and Sisters,
The start of a new year is a great time to briefly pause and consider the progress we have made over the past year and the blessings we have received. It is also a time to take stock of our current location and check the direction in which we are headed. One of my favorite passages in the Book of Mormon is Nephi’s simple statement that “we lived after the manner of happiness” (2Nephi 5:27). This was actually a very difficult time for him: his father had recently passed away, his family had separated into two groups and they were having serious contention with one another. As I have pondered the life of Nephi, and what I can learn from him, one of his greatest qualities is strict obedience. Nephi knew that he would be blessed and prospered in all things if he was obedient to the commandments of the Lord.
As we begin this new year, let us recommit ourselves to being obedient to the commandments, mission rules and the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Each of us have received a letter, signed by the president of the Church, that states, “You have been recommended as one worthy to represent the Lord as a minister of the restored gospel. You will be an official representative of the Church. As such, you will be expected to maintain the highest standards of conduct and appearance by keeping the commandments, living mission rules and following the counsel of your mission president. You will also be expected to devote all of your time and attention to serving the Lord, leaving behind all other personal affairs” (MH, p. 3-4). These things may seem difficult (even impossible) at times, but we can be like Nephi as we say, “ I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1Nephi 3:7).
Exercising our faith and striving to be obedient will allow us to see the hand of the Lord in our lives and in our work. We will be able to receive the Lord’s promised blessings. “As you do these things, the Lord will bless you and you will become an effective advocate and messenger of the truth…. As you obey with a willing heart, you will show the Lord your love for Him, earn the trust of the members, and qualify for the companionship of the Holy Ghost” (MH, p. 4). I can think of no greater blessings for a missionary to receive, blessings that will enable you to be successful in your missionary purpose! I invite each of you to consider what you might do to be more obedient and to more fully “live after the manner of happiness” during your mission experience.
Mentor of Happy Champions