"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

Saturday, August 9, 2014

FROM PH: Testimony Grows

Sent Date: Saturday, August 9, 2014
Author: President Hansen
Dear Elders and Sisters,

When I read the letters each week my testimony grows of this great work. I know that the Lord is in it, and that you have been magnified to be able to accomplish everything you are needed to do. We also finished the first round of interviews this week and that was such a wonderful experience to know you all better and see the desire you have to serve the Lord with all your hearts, might, minds and strength. Sister Hansen and I love you all more than you can imagine.

Great things are happening in the mission. I was thrilled to read letter after letter about how your attendance in your wards and branches had grown over the last week. with many less active members and many investigators attending for the first time. Here is one example:

------- It is true that being immersed in the Work of Salvation brings more joy to one's soul than anything else! I was overwhelmed with joy yesterday at church! Our work focusing on the Less Actives and Part member families is paying off. We had 107 people attend church yesterday when it is usually around 85. Granted that was the work of 10 missionaries, but it still made me so happy even though a lot of the people at church weren't from my area. We hold Priesthood in the chapel overflow and during opening exercises there was not enough seats to fit everyone! I was blown away with the progress that we are seeing with our ward. During Sacrament Meeting as I looked around and seeing all the families I was filled with joy! I was grinning from ear to ear! That was one of the moments that I wish I could have slowed down time so I could have enjoyed it for longer!

This week several missionaries expressed concern that the members were not willing to help
fellowship new investigators. Here are some Ideas for getting members involved:
1) Make sure that we teach every lesson with a member present. (active or less active)
2) Go to the ward council and tell them about the people and ask them what they could do to help.
3) Talk to individual ward members and invite them to do specific things like ask your investigator to sit by them in church.
4) Give a talk in the ward and give examples of people who had changed after baptism and how great they were, how the Lord loves them, that in His church there is room for everyone, etc.
5) Go visit active members when you don't have a teaching appointment or for FHE and preach the scriptures to them.
6) Pray for the ward members so you can love them and they can love and fellowship the investigators.
You will think of many other ways to help them but don't be discouraged. Don't be angry. Don't doubt the outcome. You will succeed. It may take all of these ways, and many more many times, but remember "the worth of souls is great in the sight of God”.

Here are some excerpts from other great missionary letters:
-----Recently I have been working on The teaching skill of asking questions from PMG 10. As I have begun working on asking questions I have realized how horrible I am at doing it! If anything this past week I have noticed how much I need to improve with asking questions! Questions are so crucial because they cause the investigator or Less Active to think and it gets them talking. When they start talking we are able to see what they are understanding and what they are not!

-----"They talked about rescuing lost sheep and how that painting of the Savior with a sheep over his neck is all clean and pretty and beautiful. But in reality, the lost sheep are in a van down by the river, stuck in the mud and barbed wire, their coat full of burrs and ticks and fleas. So when we go to rescue them it requires us to get down in the mud and bleed a little as we get a little cut up on the barbed wire, etc. It is sometimes sort of messy work working with messy lost people. But when you can help get them unstuck and hosed off, etc. it is very rewarding."
--Sister Chausow's dad

----She's looking to give up smoking and when she saw us one Sunday, she felt like we were God's messengers and told us of her struggles with drugs. Sitting down and listening to her, she has a strong love for Jesus Christ and she's coming to repent of a lot problems she's had in the past. Lucky for us, there is a Stop Smoking Workshop that can really help her out with overcoming her smoking habit! This coming Tuesday is going to pretty amazing with what Elder _________ and I are looking to help her out with! "If ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren (and sisters) ye have done it unto me."

----Elder____________ and I also have a baptism lined up. A man by the name of Jerry bore his testimony at church this past Sunday. He's taken the discussions from missionaries in the past, but never felt that he needed to join the church, until now. After sacrament meeting, he asked us to come over to his house this week to set a date for baptism. I'm excited! I've been praying long and hard that we could have a baptism (it's been over 2 years since Elders have had a baptism in ______). For a lot of branches, a baptism represents more than new membership, it also represents hope. Perhaps this'll generate a new excitement for missionary work in _______. Regardless, I'm excited for all of the possibilities.

----Of course missionary work is hard, but it is simple if you know the secret
if you want people to change call them to repentance
if you want people to teach talk to everyone
if you want investigators to be baptized teach with the Spirit, care for them, and be bold when you invite them
you want the Spirit don't read the scriptures, but study them, write down the impressions you receive and apply them in every day.
I didn't come here on a vacation, or to have fun, I came here to change, to become, to grow, to work, work, work not just work but to work hard not just work hard but to be a great examples for others.

----We had quite a few negative experiences this past week but I promised myself that I would not dwell on them. I think I have gotten used to people that are not very big fans of LDS missionaries though. We had quite a few less than friendly words thrown at us as we biked the streets of____, but it happens so much that I just do not care anymore. It kind of bothers me at first, but then I always just end up laughing. I am not sure why, it just makes me laugh now. I have found that if you just always conduct yourself in a righteous way, and be polite to people, it can go a long way, and it makes people notice something different about "Those boys in the white shirts and ties," that they find good.

----Connie came! She's a new investigator that we have that is really trying to find her way back on the right path. She LOVED church and she fit right in! A member of the ward came up and asked her when she was going to be baptized and I was terrified that she was going to freak out, but she said she was thinking a lot about it! WHAT?!??! Since when!? It was so amazing!

I hope you had time to read all of these I thought they were all amazing but this one will blow you away:
---- I decided I am going to take this kid tracting and show him all the skills I have acquired thus far in my mission because if you know me I love talking to people so I wanted to show this new missionary how its done haha but this elder has been tracting a ton lately with his trainer and he pretty much told me elder ____________ I don't want to tract we never see success when we do it, haha so after he told me that I just glared at him haha I was like you haven't had success because you don't have FAITH that it will work!!! haha So then I looked at him right in the eyes and I said we are getting into someone house and teaching TODAY!! MARK MY WORDS! haha he probably thought I was crazy but he was like alright whatever so anyways we bike like 5 miles to the area we are planning on tracting and before we started we said a prayer and asked Heavenly Father to soften someone's heart enough to listen to us, tracting is all about your attitude even though it sucks sometimes but if you have a good attitude about it miracles happens so we tract this entire street and we are just getting doors slammed in our face right and left I could tell this elder i was with was getting a little discouraged I was to, too be honest but as we got to the end of the street we had about 4 houses left and we knocked on this door and this lady cracked the door open just barely so I
just start talking I think I complimented her yard and here house just so she at least had a reason to say thank you, I just wanted to get a conversation started so anyways I just keep asking her questions and the more questions i asked the more she started talking but keep in mind the door is just barely cracked open she was really stand offish at first she said "im Baptist I don't want your religion" but as I just kept talking with her it was kinda going nowhere I was about to just end it but I felt the spirit like I have never felt it before in my life and I was prompted to just ask this lady if she was happy in life, it was so random but I was prompted to say it so I said "Ma'am are you happy with the way your life is going right now?" the next thing we know she opened up the door completely and with tears rolling down her eyes she said my son passed away a couple months ago and tomorrow is his birthday and I have been praying that someone would come help me out during this hard time" Me and this elder were almost in tears after she said this Heavenly Father literally sent us to this lady's house to help her during this incredibly hard time. My testimony grew 10 fold that day I know without a doubt that Heavenly Father is mindful of everyone!! He sent us to that lady that day to help her out, so me and this brand new elder bore our testimonies about the plan of salvation and I promised her that her son is ok and that she will see him again she was just crying and crying I have never felt the spirit that strong before she was so grateful! Heavenly Father answered her prayer and
used us as missionaries as instruments in his hands to help her its amazing to see how Heavenly Father works! We set up a return appointment and me and elder _____ are going back to her house tomorrow to teach her the full plan of salvation lesson. Such a miracle!!!!

And it gets even better so we still had 2 more houses to knock on before we were done for the night and the very last house we knock on a lady in her 30's answered with 2 little kids and she instantly invited us in to her house so we went into her house and taught here the Restoration SHE LOVED IT she even started crying as we bore our testimonies she told us she has been praying to see what she should do in life and what would be best for here kids and she told us she loved what we taught and she wants to learn everything!! She told us she wants us to start coming over 2-3 times a week to teach her!! The names of these people is Shelia and Scharelle please keep them in your prayers.
my mission is changing my life this church is true I know it is with every fiber of my being I know its true the Plan of Salvation is real!

I could have put many more of your letters in this collection but i just wanted to give you the flavor. We love you all and thank you for being the kind of wonderful missionaries you are.
Love Sister and President Hansen

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