Monday, January 18, 2016

1-18-16 President's Weekly Letter

I have greatly enjoyed the interviews I have been able to conduct over the last two weeks. I always learn so much and feel blessed to receive inspiration and direction as I strive to help you find your own answers to the questions and challenges that you face. I have also been blessed to spend some time participating with missionaries in nightly planning, teaching and contacting. I have learned a lot and have had some fun along the way.

I have been pondering about the general sense of urgency with which we go about our work each day. The sons of Mosiah had a very high level of urgency for their work. “They could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble” (Mos. 28:3). We all look to the sons of Mosiah as examples of truly great missionaries. As we strive to be like them, how is our own level of urgency to follow the prophet’s call to hasten the work? Do we feel the same level of urgency while preaching the gospel among the people of Taiwan as the sons of Mosiah did in preaching the gospel to the Lamanites?

Another way of assessing your urgency to hasten the work would be to evaluate the efficiency with which you use prime proselyting time each week, from 6 to 9 pm each day. Excluding English class, there are six days, or 18 hours of prime time every week. Do you make good use of this time? How often do you spend this time eating or chatting with members? If a lesson falls through, do you act on your back up plans right away? How often do you have two or more lessons in a night? Do you often spend more than 45 minutes in a lesson? My observations of missionaries over the last two and a half years has convinced me that those who baptize more often are organized, plan well, work diligently and waste very little time. How can we improve in these areas?

I would like to mention one final suggestion. I often hear missionaries describe adventurous days out to their most distant secondary areas, complete with getting lost, flat tires, not finding anyone and occasional miracles. In our mission president’s seminars, we have been taught that we should implement the concept of “building from centers of strength.” Our chapels are the centers of strength in each of our areas. If we were to take a map and draw concentric circles around our chapels, we should then spend most of our time in the areas closest to the chapel. When we go out to the outermost limits of our areas, exciting things may happen, but it is always more difficult to get people who express interest in our message to come to the chapel than it is for those who live in the vicinity. As you plan your days, resist the temptation to spend an entire day exploring, and just stay closer to the chapel. If you have LAs to visit in far away areas, ask an active member to take you (preferably one who knows where they live). Your days may not seem as adventurous, but you will find yourself working with people who are more likely to attend church and receive fellowship.

We all know that missionary work can be repetitive and exhausting. It requires great mental as well as physical effort, concentration and focus. Preach My Gospel and the Book of Mormon contain the knowledge, skills and converting power that we need in order to do this work. We need to continually study, apply and teach one another what we learn from these inspired resources. We must do all that we can to prepare and strengthen ourselves and our companions as we go forth each day. As you ponder and apply these suggestions, you will be more successful at finding and teaching those who are prepared to come unto Christ. In so doing, your joy will be full.

President Blickenstaff
Mentor of Champions

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