Sent Date: Sunday, August 3, 2014
Author: President Hansen
Dear Sisters and Elders,
Again, I loved reading the letters. I am so grateful to our Father in Heaven that I am associated with such wonderful young men and women. I was touched as I read of your committed work and was pleased to see the success that we are having in getting the mission to more acceptable numbers on finding, teaching, baptizing, retaining and reactivating. We are more concerned about the people behind the numbers than the numbers, but what is happening is exciting. The investigators with a baptism date has increased from 13 per week to 19, sacrament meeting attendance by investigators has nearly doubled in the last month, we have 3 & 1/2 times more lessons taught with a member present and 3 & 1/2 times more new investigators than we had four weeks ago.
This just shows me that you are feeling the urgency of the Lord's work and He is blessing us for your faithfulness. We will continue to see these numbers improve as we,
1) pray with faith,
2) rely on the Spirit of the Holy Ghost to direct your thoughts and actions,
3) teach the Preach My Gospel lessons effectively,
4) work with the ward and branch leaders and missionaries,
5) diligently strive to obey the schedule and rules with exactness,
6) show our sincere love to our companions, the ward members and our investigators,
7) use our study and planning time effectively.
Think what would happen in this mission if we all work together with a unity of purpose and showed the Lord that we want to do what he asks us to do. We can't focus on one aspect of the work and think that will build the Church. For the work to move forward we all need to focus on the broader vision, the "Work of Salvation" which includes: finding, teaching, baptizing, activating and reactivating. If we work on less than all five areas of focus the kingdom will not move forward. Finding is not enough, teaching is not enough, etc. Our success is the exaltation of God's children.
I am happy that we now stay involved with our new convert for at least three months. Most investigators and new members commit sin. They need someone to help back them up. They will help us with our finding efforts.
Often those we seek to reactivate have been offended. Elder Holland said we should ask them, "what happened before what happened, happened." In other words they need to be reminded of how they felt when they were taught and baptized, when they felt the spirit that convinced them that the Church was true. When they think of that they will start on the road to reactivation.
That is just a long winded way of saying that we love you, and we want you to keep on improving. Sister Hansen says to tell you that she loves being around each of you and loves you all. I will second that.
Here are some quotes from your letters:
----My companion _____and myself have seen a difference in the amount of work we do lately when we've asked and done what we can to more fully align our wills with our Heavenly Father's will. We have had a little bit better week. An extra lesson or two here and there. An extra investigator here and there. Extra lessons taught. More friends we have made. Even if they weren't interested in hearing the gospel message.
----We were in district meeting and ____ was giving an instruction on feeling successful. And at one point ______ pointed brought up something another missionary said. If you are brave enough to ask the Lord every night in your prayer if you were successful to him, you will never have to wonder if you were or were not successful because he will let you know. Well I did that this week and I have to say every day I have felt the spirit super strong that I was successful...but at the same time thoughts and impressions still came to my head of things to improve on. It was a super cool experience. Hopefully more missionaries can start doing that. It feels good to be told every day by the spirit that my effort was enough.
----We also started a new thing where we are inviting a sister in RS every week to pass out a copy of the Book of Mormon with her testimony in it and then report the next week. We started it off by inviting sisters to share their experiences with passing out copies in the past. The Spirit that filled the room as they told their experiences was so strong! When I first came into these wards they were not very missionary motivated but it is so cool to see how the Work of Salvation is really starting to take hold in these wards and touch the hearts of the members. I love it!!!!
----This week has been absolutely awesome! Yesterday was great! I've been able to hear about a lot of great miracles from all of the missionaries in the district. I think that one of the greatest blessings about serving as a district leader is being able to hear all of the great stories from the other missionaries during call-ins. From the calls last night, it sounds like our whole district is just having a blast being missionaries and they're all doing great things. I'm also really grateful for all of the other missionaries that I'm blessed to be serving around. They are my family and I love them all as if they were my brothers and sisters. One of my favorite parts about being a missionary is being able to serve around such great friends. They make my daily life a whole lot easier to push through and they make it a whole lot more fun too.
I could have included many more equally wonderful thoughts. You are all amazing. Thank you for your faithfulness.
THE VISION OF THE SOUTH
"Make no small plans: This is the vision I have for the South. I believe that one day the South will baptize more people into the church than all other English speaking missions in the world together....We will see the time when we will baptize hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands...In your day you will see a million members of the church in the South. There will be temples plural in the Southern States. What a great call you have to serve with these marvelous people." President Spencer W. Kimball