Thanks to all who sent me a note or email wishing me a Merry Christmas, I loved them all! They make a missionary's day a little bit brighter. I hope that everybody had a merry Christmas, full of the light of Christ and the remembrance of His birth.
We had another packed week this week as we start up another transfer, sending missionaries home as they finish their missions, recieving new missionaries, and participating in the mission leadership council. I tell you what, I am excited for this coming year. As a mission, we are continually progressing, increasing slowly but steadily the number baptisms and the retention rate each month. As we head into the new year, we have set new goals to reach even higher heights, and I can feel great things coming. The Lord is hastening His work, and His hand is in each and every part, He being the head and guide. This is the work of the Lord, His work of salvation, and I feel so privileged to be a part of that work. We are all a part of this great work! Recently, we have been talking a lot about the importance of members in missionary work. MEMBERS ARE CRUCIAL. In a worldwide missionary training that we had last year, the apostles and prophets showed us the statistics: When it comes to finding new investigators, the large majority of new investigators are found by missionaries working alone (contacting, knocking doors, etc.). But when it comes to baptism, the large majority of investigators that are baptized happen when the missionaries and the members work together. The missionaries can find lots of investigators on their own, but the truth is that most of them will not get baptized if a member is not involved. When members give referrals, and help befriend the investigators, accompanying the missionaries and helping the investigators feel comfortable in church, the investigator begins to feel like they belong. Then, when they are baptized, they are much more likely to remain active, as well! As President Hinckley said, "With the ever-increasing number of converts, we must make an increasingly substantial effort to assist them as they find their way. Every one of them needs three things: a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing with ‘the good word of God’" Missionary work is not just for missionaries, because every member is a missionary. When the members are involved in the work of salvation, MIRACLES HAPPEN. I can testify of that. When we have members in our lessons, when we teach referrals from members, when members greet investigators in church and help them to feel comfortable, amazing things happen. I would invite all of you to see what you can do to help the missionaries, because they will be so grateful for your help, I promise. :)
The work is going great here in the Rural ward. We have a new ward mission leader who is amazing. He is a returned missionary of about 4 years, and he is excited to work. In our missionary correlation meetings, we are setting goals and making plans to increase the missionary work in this ward in the coming year. It's going to be great!
I know that this is the work of the Lord, and that He leads and guides us. He is at the head, and we only need to follow Him. May He lead us, guide us, and walk beside us in every moment in this coming year.
|Greeting new missionaries at the mission office|
|New missionaries (Elder Dillon and I in the background)|
|Lunch with the new missionaries, office elders, and AP's|
|Eating my big Hershey kiss from Christmas|
|Giving my financial presentation to the new missionaries|
|New missionaries in the mission office|
|Training new missionaries|