Miracles, “a successful missionary” as defined by PMG and delighting in plainness

Hello everyone! This week was pretty good. My planner, through which I usually write my weekly letters is not fully updated, so it may not be specific to each day, but there were some amazing miracles that happened.

Angela was picked up by Elders Tilly and Clements when they were Zone Leaders here. We have met with her on and off, and she has had a lot of struggles lately. Brother O’Bryant and I were able to go over this last Thursday and see her.
A few days before, we were prompted to send her a scripture, not knowing why, but we sent her 2 Nephi 31. It didn’t seem to fit with what we were trying to teach her, but we sent it in faith. She sent back that she was having difficulty reading it since it was repetitive and there were lots of difficult words. As you can imagine, it is hard to understand the Book of Mormon if you haven’t grown up with it. When we went over on Thursday, we talked about how to make it easier for her. She expressed her concerns with the stress that comes with it, as well as the stress that comes from her daily life and how it just snowballs. We wanted to help make it so that scripture reading was joyful and full of the spirit instead of stressful. We decided to read through the chapter and go verse by verse and break it down. We cycled through a verse a person and hit some very important points.
Nephi delights in plainness. How important is that? Knowing that God loves the basics is profound! On splits yesterday with Brother Weber, we started talking about astronomy and the gospel and deeper things in the gospel, but God doesn’t necessarily want us to focus on those. We need to know about faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Save those and everything inclusive to enduring to the end, we don’t really need to know anything about the gospel. Increasing our knowledge and understanding is vital, but it really just comes down to the basics. As we master the fundamentals, our testimony increases, and we can teach the fundamentals in plainness.
Why was Christ baptized? Yes, to fulfill all righteousness, but how was that done? Well Nephi explains it.

“Know ye not that he was holy?  But notwithstanding he being  holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to  the flesh he humbleth himself  before the Father, and witnes seth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in k eeping his commandments.

 Wherefore, after he was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of dove.

 And again, it showeth unto  the children of men the straitness of the pathand the narrowness of the gateby which t hey should enter, he having set the example before them.

 10 And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we sh all be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?

 11 And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.”

That puts it pretty plainly. Amazing truths and principles are found when we break down the scriptures. In verse 13, it puts forth the qualifications to be baptized, and then it says that after this comes the baptism of fire, and then can you speak with the tongue of angels. From 2 Nephi 32:3, we learn,”Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost”, so as we receive the Holy Ghost, we can speak as the angels do, by the power of the Holy Ghost. We are also purified and sanctified by the Holy Ghost in what is called the baptism of fire. The Holy Ghost purifies us, like the refiners fire, and through following the promptings of the Holy Ghost and the power of the Atonement, we can truly be cleansed from our sins.
Later, he says that we have to endure to the end. Baptism and Repenting are great and all, but unless we endure, none of it matters. As we keep going, we grow spiritually and are able to see the blessings from keeping our covenants and the commandments.
In verse 19, it asks, paraphrased,”Now that you are in the gate, are you all done?” And the answer is nope. Ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
That’s the way, and it is laid out pretty straight. Going through this chapter slowly with Angela was good to help her understand how she can break apart the scriptures more, but it was also a great chapter to share. We reset her baptismal date for March 18th and Brother O’Bryant said he could give her a ride to church on Sunday. She came and even though church was filled with subjects that were a little tough with her current situation, she had a great experience and was able to meet a lot of people in the ward.
We also had Zone Meeting this week! After last week with all of our New Investigators, it was focused on getting investigators to Sacrament Meeting. Getting them to sacrament meeting brings SO many blessings! Member relations, questions answered, feeling the spirit, understanding doctrine, partaking of the sacrament, showing their faith to keep the commandment to keep the Sabbath Day holy, and receiving blessings from keeping the Sabbath Day holy. It is amazing!! Members are vital in the success of investigators coming to church. They sit by them, talk to them, give them a ride, share insights with them. They make it all work! As we prepare them by using the pamphlet, and involve members, it works together really well! The Zone Leaders shared an object lesson with us. They had a punch bowl full of water. They opened a ziplock bag and filled it with water, and then cut a hole in it with a knife. Over the course of a few seconds, the water slowly drained out. It was like our week! As we go throughout the week, our spiritual battery is drained, and Sunday is a recharging battery for us! We can partake of the sacrament and be cleansed every week! Isn’t that a joy? It was super inspirational for us, especially since we have about 20 investigators…as we get them to church and let the Book of Mormon do the sorting, we find who is ready.


We were also able to have a lesson with Gigi Van Ryn. She is getting close to baptism, and we were able to teach her about Tithing and Fast Offerings. We scheduled her baptismal interview for this Wednesday at 5 and we are excited for her! She has been taught for a while, and Sister Van Ryn is really coming back to the church strong! She has questions as well, but that is what facilitates learning. We’ll finish the lessons over the next two weeks and then she’ll be baptized on March 4th. One or both of us will probably be gone by then, but we’ll do our best while we are here.

I’ve really realized that counting your success by baptisms is pretty dumb. Most baptisms are facilitated over a period of time in which you are not there for the whole time. There aren’t a ton of people out here that are found and baptized by the same set of missionaries. I think you can really count your success by how many lives you have affected and to what extent. I didn’t baptize Barbara in Cape Cod, but we definitely talked about a lot and I love her a lot, so I would say that that is a success! We haven’t baptized a lot of the part members here in Hartford, but we definitely strengthened the relationship they have with missionaries, so I would count that as a success. We found a lot of investigators, and we’ve dropped some too, but we were part of their process, so that should count as success as well. Success as a missionary is defined in Preach My Gospel on page 4. There is a list, and I would encourage you to read it…..(see the section below)

“The Power and Authority of Your Calling

Missionaries are to go “in the power of the ordination wherewith [they have] been ordained, proclaiming glad tidings of great joy, even the everlasting gospel” (D&C 79:1). You have authority to preach the gospel. If you hold the priesthood, you have the authority to administer the ordinances thereof. As you prayerfully and worthily exercise that authority, you will receive spiritual power, which is evidence of the reality of your call. Do not be afraid or shy about fulfilling this commission. Just as the sons of Mosiah, you are to teach with the power and authority of God (see Alma 17:2–3).

When you were set apart by priesthood authority, you received the right and privilege to represent the Lord. You received a ministerial certificate that verifies that authority to the world. President Spencer W. Kimball said: “The setting apart may be taken literally; it is a setting apart from sin, apart from the carnal; apart from everything which is crude, low, vicious, cheap, or vulgar; set apart from the world to a higher plane of thought and activity. The blessing is conditional upon faithful performance” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 478).

Along with your authority comes a responsibility to live worthy of your calling. As the Lord’s representative, you are to be “an example of the believers” (1 Timothy 4:12). Strive to live according to God’s commandments and keep the covenants you made in the temple; know the scriptures; be courteous, on time, and dependable; follow missionary standards of conduct, dress, and grooming; love the people with whom you serve and work. Honor Christ’s name by your actions.

In addition to authority, you are also to exercise power in your work. The authority that you have received can lead to power. Indeed, spiritual power is one evidence that your authority is real. Spiritual power is a gift that makes it possible for you to do your work more effectively.

Your power and authority should be evident as you work and teach. Power may be manifest in many things you do, such as:

You can measure your success as a member missionary through this list. It isn’t numerical, it is all about your success as a person in being an example of Christ. A lot of people we have met haven’t gotten baptized, but we have spoken with the spirit and have spoken the truth. Our success isn’t determined by their agency, it’s determined by our effort.

The thing that President Mangum said to me when I was a youth that has stuck with me to this day, besides the fact that we should assign prayers and not ask for volunteers, is that success is in the invitation. That’s where it’s found and that’s where you are successful, by inviting. As you seek to always have your line in the water (like fishing) and to stand as witnesses at all times, and in all things, and in all places, you will feel that the Lord is proud of you. Jeffrey R. Holland told a young boy who was searching for a testimony to keep going with what he had! The boy didn’t know, but he wanted to know. That is how it starts, just like our faith. Start it and don’t let it waver. The Lord is watching over and we nourish ourselves by reading the scriptures and obeying his word through following living prophets. I love you all! Here is a quote from Elder Holland to pump you all up!!

-Elder Davis



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