Author: President Hansen
This past week was busy, stressful and wonderful. Again, I want to say thank you for being such wonderful servants of our Father in Heaven. I have the utmost respect for each of you. I am grateful to each of you for your faith in accepting and working with the challenges of another transfer. Believe me when I say I know how hard it can be to have a new companion and area and all the stresses that that entails. I am proud of each of you.
One of the missionaries pointed out to me that frequently, when they bring less actives or investigators to church for the first time, they feel uncomfortable because their clothes aren't like everyone else's and they feel out of place. They feel judgement from members or even a lack of acceptance and inclusion. This breaks our hearts as missionaries. She asked me how can we help ameliorate this lack of sensitivity?
When we go to Ward Council we have the chance to explain our concerns to the ward leaders. We don't need to wait until we have that investigator coming to church. We can do it now. Let them know that we are putting love and effort into bringing in the lost sheep and we need the members to accept and love them too. The bishop may be able to help our less active friends and investigators with some clothes but the ward council can definitely help by coming and inviting the new comer to sit with them and making them feel like a part of the "in crowd". If that doesn't happen, of course, we do our best to show them that we love them and are happy to have them there. We should sit by them and introduce them to all the warmest people in the branch or ward. When we speak in Church, we can let everyone know how important it is for members to be kind and charitable to the new visitors.
This isn't a one time message, but it must be hammered into the psyche of the ward over and over. I would also call a member or two the night before and ask them to help you with the people who are coming. You will be surprised how much this advance notice will help. Again, I want you all to know how much love and confidence sister Hansen and I have in each of you. We admire and respect each of you. We have seen your kindness and your competence. I feel like we have the best teaching missionaries that I have seen anywhere.
We are seeing great fruit from our renewed vigor in our work.
Thanks to all.
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