My heart has been full as of late with missionaries leaving our ward, and missionaries coming home. One of the first 19 young women is about to leave our ward. I’m so excited for her. She is wonderful and will do a wonderful job as a missionary. Here is a great video you can share with young women in your ward thinking about serving a mission to help them prepare.
There were several things I learned or was reminded of with this and similar interviews:
- I learned that many less-active members have loved ones on their knees daily petitioning the Lord for help in rescuing their loved one.
- I learned that it is not all that easy or comfortable for a less-active member to just walk back into the Church. They need help. They need support. They need fellowship.
- I learned we have less-active members who are trying and willing to find the path back to activity.
- I learned that many less-active members will hold callings if asked.
- I learned that a less-active member deserves to be treated as an equal and be viewed as a son or daughter of a loving God.
Over the years I have wondered how this interview might have gone had I approached her as a less-active Church member. I leave you to be the judge.
Reactivation has always been an important part of the work of the Lord. While the rescue is a responsibility of every member, holders of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood have the responsibility to lead out in this work. After all, that is what priesthood service is all about--bringing all people to the exalting covenants; bringing peace, happiness, and self-worth.
From the Book of Mormon you will recall when Alma the Younger discovered that the Zoramites had fallen away from the Church, he organized a reactivation team to rescue these people. As they approached their assignment, Alma pleaded with the Lord with these words:
"O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ.
"Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee" (Alma 31:34-35; emphasis added).
The charge to rescue is based on one of the most fundamental doctrines of the Church.
"Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
"For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. ...
"And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" (D&C 18:10-11, 15; emphasis added).
I have had the privilege of rescuing a few less-active members over my lifetime. Now when I help bring one back to Church activity, I don't visualize a single soul; I see six, seven, or more generations--thousands of souls. And then I think of the scripture: "Bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy" (D&C 18:15).
- Richard C. Edgley, “The Rescue for Real Growth“, April 2012 General Conference
It is time to raise our sights, to get a vision of the magnitude of this great work. The Lord expects it of us. It is not enough just to be members of the Church and go to sacrament meeting. That is good--but that is not enough. The Lord expects us to be missionaries, to live the gospel--yes, wholly, and to help to build up His kingdom. - Ezra Taft Benson, “Of the Most Worth,” New Era, July 2002
You live in a time of wars and revolutions. And yet, as President Brigham Young said, the world will be revolutionized by the preaching of the gospel and the power of the priesthood. And this work we are called to do. Women and men, our keeping the commandments is the most revolutionary development in the world, though it is often less noticed and less glamorous. Do not be discouraged, in the midst of the sweep of events of our time, if your life sometimes seems so small. Phillips Brooks observed, "Greatness, after all, in spite of its name, appears to be not so much a certain size as a certain quality in human lives." -Spencer W. Kimball, “The Savior: The Center of Our Lives,” New Era, April 1980
Can human hearts be changed? Why, of course! It happens every day in the great missionary work of the Church. It is one of the most widespread of Christ's modern miracles. If it hasn't happened to you--it should. - Ezra Taft Benson, “Born of God,” Ensign (CR) October 1985
The following was submitted by Sister Roberta Blain. Thanks Roberta!
The spiritual thought posted today is perfectly motivating and marvelous, hopefully opening more doors for everyone to realize how the gospel truly can cover the earth in marvelous ways. As a recently returned senior missionary (our second full-time mission), I am excited to continue to share my testimony and help others discover the gospel through various media. That is why I am officially today a new Church-service missionary and a member of the LDS.org Response Team! I am also a volunteer photographer to supply the Church with gospel oriented subjects. These opportunities were found on https://vineyard.lds.org/
signin/registerand there are many other ways to consecrate your talents to the Church.When the call to post profiles on mormon.org first went out, I was on it like water on a hot skillet ( http://mormon.org/me/1CSD/ ) . I also started using Twitter and Face Book to post everything good related to the gospel. I maintained a blog while we served our mission in England http://blainmission. blogspot.com/and have now started a new blog http://happiness-faith- hope.blogspot.com/that, hopefully, will be a missionary tool. There are lots of photos on these blogs, because sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. I’d like to remind readers that a simple blog is easy, tweeting Church You Tubes and talks is easy as well as posting on Facebook and your blogs. It is just a matter of getting into that frame of mind to share. Anyone can be a missionary!!
Trials and Blessing – Sabbath Reflection
This is part of an email a friend sent this week: ”I had an interesting insight today into Paul’s statement in Hebrews 12:1, Wherefore brethren, seeing we are encompassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
This insightful friend sends many inspired reflections through emails. Most of the discussions are about specific challenges and trials of an extremely difficult nature. It is cause for celebration when my friend succeeds, even to a small degree, to conquer elements of ”the race” that requires so much inner strength, faith, energy, perseverance, and diligence. Failures to “run” as well as desired are acknowledged, but there is no giving up or giving in. That is why I pray so hard for my friend’s ultimate success in that personal race. That is why we pray for one another, isn’t it? We are cheering each other on. What a blessing to have others in our lives who will root for us as we strive and nudge us to get up when we fall.
Our lesson in Relief Society today was also about the difficulties we often face in our lives and there was a lively discussion amongst the sisters about how they face their trials, where they receive strength, and the different ways people cope. It is clear that we don’t run the “race that is set before us” very well alone. We need to let people in when we suffer. “Thee lift me, and I’ll lift thee, and we’ll ascend together” (Quaker proverb), is a beautifully condensed version of Christ’s great commandment to love our neighbor.
Yes, each of us CAN take one step in our personal race and be patient as we struggle up the hill of life, reaching for a hand when we need it. Remember to always seek the help from God each day through prayer, then be watchful for who he puts in our path to answer our prayers.
Ours is the responsibility to help fulfill the Abrahamic covenant. Ours is the seed foreordained and prepared to bless all people of the world. That is why priesthood duty includes missionary work. After some 4,000 years of anticipation and preparation, this is the appointed day when the gospel is to be taken to the kindreds of the earth. This is the time of the promised gathering of Israel. And we get to participate! Isn't that exciting? The Lord is counting on us and our sons--and He is profoundly grateful for our daughters--who worthily serve as missionaries in this great time of the gathering of Israel. -Russell M. Nelson, “Covenants,” Ensign (CR) October 2011
Yesterday I watched the latest Mormon Message entitled: “Opportunities to Do Good”
As I watched this video I was pleased to see how all the different parts of the ward came together to do good for this family in need. The church organization really is amazing when it is firing on all cylinders. I often see this same thing occur in our ward. Families and individuals reach out to help others in need.
This is really related to something else I have been thinking about a lot. I believe that we all need a purpose and goal, individually, as well as a ward collectively.
Last year our Stake President challenged the stake to read the Book of Mormon. It was amazing to see how this goal just took of in the hearts of the ward. I had just moved into the ward a few months before the deadline, but I heard about it numerous time. Everyone was talking about it each week at church and it had a unifying effect on us.
I am reminded of the promise by Elder Marion G. Romney given in a General Conference Address in April of 1980:
“I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will ready from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity – the pure love of Christ – will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness.”
This promise was applied to our entire ward last year as we faithfully read from the Book of Mormon.
I am a huge believer in goals. I know how they have helped me and stretched me to be a better man. I feel strongly this week that we need to have a goals as families (and ward families). Last week I talked about Elder Holland’s challenge for tens of thousands of more missionaries in General Conference. This is what I feel our goal in our family (and ward family) to be.
- To help EVERY able man, woman, and couple to prepare for and honorably serve a mission.
- To help EVERY man and woman get sealed in, and faithfully attend the temple.
These are the two thoughts I would like to focus our family on. I think that we probably all have these as goals for our kids, but do we tell them that? Do they know this is a goal for them? I believe that all of the little things we need to be doing (scripture study, prayer, church attendance, tithing, service) all will happen if we keep the goal in mind. Something for which we can work. Something we can see the results from as we progress. There will certainly be ups and downs, but at the end of the day it is the goal we are working toward and we can let that be our guide.
- Take some time to ponder what your personal and family goals are.
- Find someone in your ward that needs your help, even if they don’t know it, and reach out to them today to help them.
- Plan a FHE when you can set goals together as a family.
This morning as I thought about what I could share with you I was thinking about this great conference we just had. There were so many things that really impressed me. I was probably most impressed by Elder Holland’s “We Are All Enlisted” talk in Priesthood Session. I am the bishop in my ward and have a special responsibility to help our wonderful young men and women get on missions and married in the temple. These words keep echoing in my mind:
“My young friends, we need tens of thousands of more missionaries in the months and years that lie ahead. They must come from an increased percentage of the Aaronic Priesthood who will be ordained, active, clean, and worthy to serve.”
That is so exciting to me to think about the future and these awesome young men and women going out there and serving and as I listened I wanted to do my part to help them get there!
Application for today:
- Find a youth in your ward that might be wavering about going on a mission and testify to them of THEIR importance in this work.
- Get out your missionary journal and recommit yourself to finding those the father has prepared. Remember, we may be the ones the Lord needs to convert some of those future missionaries.
- Talk to your young men (and women) about preparing financially to go on a mission (It’s $400/month and $9800 for the whole mission).
- How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that publisheth salvation, Isa. 52:7
- Preach the gospel to every creature, Mark 16:15 (Morm. 9:22).
- The Lord grants unto all nations to teach his word, Alma 29:8
- If you labor all your days and bring one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy, D&C 18:15
This work of the Lord is indeed great and marvelous, but it moves forward essentially unnoticed by many of mankind's political, cultural, and academic leaders. It progresses one heart and one family at a time, silently and unobtrusively, its sacred message blessing people everywhere. - L. Whitney Clayton, “The Time Shall Come,” Ensign (CR) October 2011