Monday, July 20, 2015

Mission Newsletter

What We do Makes Little Difference...What God Does Makes All the Difference
President Packer
Ukraine Kyiv Mission
20 July 2015

Elders and Sisters,
  When we drove over the Dnipro from the airport, there was an overwhelming feeling that we had come home. This feeling has grown with every phone call,interview,and grocery shopping trip. We love the Ukraine and all of you here! We love serving the Lord in this calling! We love the gospel and the peace and direction it brings in our lives. We are so proud of all of you who serve here in this mission. Each of you showed the Lord and yourselves who you really are. There has been much success while we have been away. You are a seasoned group of missionaries and the Lord is working through you (New and Old Missionaries).
Becoming like the Savior is the quest of our lives. This is not an easy task and sometimes can be discouraging. Why can it be discouraging? Because the Savior is perfect and He asks us to be, “А потому Я хотел бы, чтобы вы были совершенны, даже как Я, или как совершенен Отец ваш Небесный.” Because our commission is so great to carry the gospel to every creature and this takes hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. The beautiful part of this process is that we have help from One who has gone below any of the struggles or mistakes in life we have made or will ever make. The plan of Our Heavenly Father included a way to overcome our failures. Perfectionism often over reaches the bounds of the Savior’s commission to become perfect by robbing the time from it. Failure to reach our own or others expectations for us becomes a stumbling block in accessing the atonement. Discouragement replaces hope and perfectionism becomes a goal to be perfect without the patience required to attain it, a hollow dream to be achieved without failure. For the perfectionist repentance becomes something to be avoided or to castigate one’s self, rather than the daily access to the Balm of Gilad it was prepared for. When we begin to understand that what we do makes very little difference in the work and what God does or can do makes all of the difference, we begin to find joy in the work. He begins to work through us and to use us to build his kingdom.
While in Utah, we had the opportunity to share the gospel with so many amazing people. A thought to stop in a store, or heavy traffic that alters the course of traffic and put us in the right place at the right time to be an instrument in bringing someone closer to Christ. All that was required of us was to follow the promptings and to open our mouths and be bold where ever we found ourselves. While there we needed local cell service and I stopped in to a cell phone store. We greeted the sales team and discussed our need. We asked about them and they asked about us. They didn’t have the service we needed but pointed us in the direction of another store. As we sat in the parking lot of a few minutes talking about what we needed to do, one of the employees came out to the car and knocked on my window. He asked if I were from the LDS Church and if I could help him find answers to a few questions he had. He said that he had met with the young missionaries but they were always following a script and he wanted someone with experience to address his questions. He was sincere. I contacted the Provo mission and found a senior couple in his neighborhood to come over and teach him. Another experience happened while our neighbors took us to dinner at a local restaurant. As I walked to the bathroom, I noticed a man looking at my tag. I walked up to him and he asked me what language it was in. I told him Ukrainian and we started talking. 20 minutes later his food was cold, but I had learned that he was a former member of the church on a business trip up from Brazil. He told me his story and asked me a very tough question. My answer was to bear my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and the reality of the Savior. The Spirit was strong. We exchanged information and took a selfie together. These stories repeated themselves the whole time we were home in various settings. All we needed was a desire to participate in the work even though we found ourselves in a different situation than we had imaged ourselves in on our mission. We went where the Lord took us and opened our mouths and were bold in our testimony.
My hope is that as missionaries we believe and apply the atonement in our own lives. I hope that we are excited to improve and seek constantly to be better but that we don’t beat ourselves up when we fail. We need to learn from our mistakes and use the precious gift of the atonement in our lives.
President and Sister Packer 

Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted. Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea, neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place, that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them. But behold, they are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, and they are his; and he will raise them up at the last day.(Alma 26:5-7) 

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