Dear Elders and Sisters,
Like many of you, I found Elder Larry R. Lawrence’s talk from October general conference very inspiring. Elder Lawrence invited us to ask Heavenly Father in sincere prayer to show us areas where we can improve. He gave some great examples of very specific inspiration that came as a result of such prayers. To name a few: stop complaining, don’t interrupt people, use clean language, and clean up your room were all things people were invited to do by the Holy Ghost in order to improve. We must offer such prayers with real intent, meaning we intend to do whatever our Father in Heaven asks. If we don't do what He asks, we can hardly expect to receive further direction.
A recent email related an example of specific inspiration that came to a missionary. He wrote, “Lately I have been reflecting a lot on who I can become and how much potential I have to do better. I opened my journal and realized that I had not written in it for almost 4 months. I continued reading it. And then I found out I actually did not write a whole lot about what my past companions had done good when I was with them. After reading a big portion from my journal, I came to a realization that I have to do better, not only at keeping my journal, but also at looking for good in my companions. Though I have a firm believe that I will have a super healthy and clear mind when I am old, I don't think I am going to remember all the good and wonderful things that had happened when I was on my mission. I do not wish to be reminded of the weaknesses and shortcomings of the people I met on my mission but to always look at the bright side. With that said, I am gonna start writing down some of the awesome qualities that my past, current and future companions have and let them know I am grateful for having them in my life.”
I was impressed that this missionary began by reflecting on “who [he could ]become” and the “potential [he has] to do better.” I think doing the attribute activity on page 126 of Preach My Gospel is a great way to consider our progress and ask for specific guidance on how to improve. We might also ask ourselves, “During my time as a missionary, have I become more humble? Am I more kind and patient? Am I less selfish and judgmental? Must I always be right or get my way?” Alma asked members of the Church in Zarahemla, “Have ye received his image in your countenances?” (Alma 5:14). The word countenance comes from a French word that denotes behavior, demeanor, or conduct. When we receive the image of the Savior in our countenance, we will begin to act more like Him. Well might we ask ourselves, “As a result of my mission, have I begun to act more like Him?”
I testify that as we strive to fulfill our missionary purpose, He will bless and strengthen us and help us in very specific ways, even to be able to have His image in our countenances. The Savior has said, “Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27). He has given you this very mission experience to learn, through serving others with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, to become more like Him, and to be perfected in Him. He will bless you with the power to do so, as you follow the Spirit as it prompts you with personalized direction.