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.
“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.
8 Wherefore, after he was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove.
9 And again, it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by 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.”
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 , 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:
Being led by the Spirit to say what the Lord would have you say at just the right moment (see D&C 84:85).
Receiving guidance about where to go or what to do (see D&C 28:15; 31:11; 75:26–27).
Having your testimony confirmed by the witness of the Spirit (see 2 Nephi 33:1; D&C 100:5–8).
Taking part in ordinances of salvation (see D&C 84:19–20).
Giving priesthood blessings if you are an elder (see James 5:14–15).
Praying with and for the people you work with (see Alma 6:6; 8:18–22; 10:7–11; 31:26–35; D&C 75:19).
Expressing love for the Lord, your family, fellow missionaries, and the people you serve.”
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!!