Monday, August 17, 2015

Mission Newsletter

Consecrate all of Your Might, Mind and Strength
Ukraine Kyiv Mission
17 Aug 2015
Quote: And go ye out from among the wicked. Save yourselves. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. Even so. Amen.” D&C 38:42
Elders and Sisters,
End of Transfer Challenge
One Baptism. I want to challenge all you to have at least one solid baptism set in your area before the end of this transfer. I have thought a lot about this challenge and have felt the confirmation from the Spirit that it is possible. As missionaries, we don’t stop at baptismal dates set; our ultimate goal is the salvation of every one of the Lord’s children. Each soul is precious to the Lord. He knows each and every one of the people you meet. He desperately desires each one of them to return to Him, not only at the end of this life and in the eternities, but here and now as they have been separated from Him. We reconnect people with Him as we share the truth He has restored, invite them to read the scriptures, attend church, and learn to pray. As they come to know Him, their faith in Him grows. They begin to understand how He is working in the their lives and the lives of others, and they will desire to change their lives to please Him by living the commandments. They then desire to repent. Their faith and repentance help prepare and qualify for covenants that they desperately desire to make so they can secure His promised blessings. The first covenant and the first great blessing are tied together in baptism. The baptism of water and fire place people on the path to additional covenants and the promised blessing of eternal life. This path is wonderful. It is filled with direction, peace, forgiveness, harmony in the home, heavenly help, and joy. I am convinced that you can help the Father prepare one person in your area to enter the waters of baptism this transfer. This will happen if you live the first two great commandments. You must love the Lord and you must love your neighbor enough to obey with exactness, seek direction from heaven, and repent continually.
Reasons We May Doubt. You may not believe, because
of your past experience, that every area can have a
baptismal date this transfer. You must cast out these
doubts and believe “...the Lord is preparing people to
receive you and the restored gospel. He will lead you to
them or He will lead them to you.
Preach My Gospel.
You may feel like,
you are too “old” in the mission to
change how you have been doing things. This is not
true. While waiting, I sat down this week, next to a man
and had an interesting conversation with him. He told
me that he was too old to learn to believe in God and that
speaking to him about God would not be worthwhile. I
testified to him that God does exist and even in his old
age he could come to know and benefit from a
relationship with God. I told him about a recent convert
who was baptized in Odessa who was 90 years old when
he came to know God. This 90-year old man, like the
eleventh-hour laborer in the Saviors parable, receives the
same wage as those who labored all day. Each one of us,
no matter how old,
can change. We don’t have to and
really can’t go through this change alone. We need the
help of the Lord’s atonement. You may feel like you are
too youngin the mission field and don’t know enough
langauge. There is nothing further from the truth. This
is not your work! I will tell you why. Last week, there
was a tender mercy in my life, as a young man at youth
conference approached me and ask me if he could take a
picture with me. I asked him why and he said that I had
baptized his mother. He said that her name was Nataliya
Berezovskaya. I was overwhelmed with gratitude
because I hadn’t seen this beautiful family since the day of their baptism almost 20 years go. I had never known him, because he was living with his dad in a different city. Just after her baptism, Sister Berezovskaya moved to Nicholaev. She helped missionaries register legally for the first time to proselyte in that city. She helped to build the branch up. Her son was baptized there. She went less active 10 years ago. I spoke to her on the phone that day and I have great hopes for helping her back into activity. She first gained a testimony at a district conference where I bore a short testimony. I had only been in the country for a few months when I was asked to speak at this district conference. I had an older missionary write my talk for me. I had tried to no avail to learn the new words and pronunciation for this talk. I was slotted to speak right after a missionary who had been out one month longer than I. He spoke with great authority and power about member missionary work using words I had never heard. As I approached the stand, I left my talk in my seat and bore a simple two-minute testimony of the Savior and the Book of Mormon. I sat down in my seat believing that it would have been better had my time been given to the Elder who spoke before me. I was very surprised when our district leader called me and said that a Sister Berezovskaya wanted me to baptize her. I knew that there must have been some mistake because we were not meeting with a Sister Berezovskaya. He related that the Sisters in the district were teaching this woman and that she had been praying and the answer came as I bore my simple testimony. I have a testimony that the Lord will work through you if you will do your very best and testify of those things that you know even at the beginning of your missionary service. You can do as much good now as you will when you have been out 17 months.

How Do We Do It? So, how do we go about finding this baptism in your area? The answer is simple but requires are whole might, mind, and strength. You must be exactly obedient and you must repent daily. You must be able to find thosetheLordhaspreparednowtobuildhiskingdomamongtheseaofotherswhoarenotreadyyet. Howdowedothis? Serving as a High Priest Group Leader, I had been assigned by the bishop to clean out the mobile home of a single woman who had boxes and garbage from floor to ceiling. We arrived with 8 men and ordered a 40-yard dumpster in which to put the garbage. The woman was very worried because she had family history in some of the boxes, so for the first hour, eight men watched as she carefully looked through only three boxes. I knew we needed a better way of sorting and finding the precious family history amid the mountain in front of us. We prayed and ask the Lord to prompt us when a box had a piece of family history in it. With faith, we began our work. As boxes came, and they came quickly, we held them and if we had a prompting, we put them in a pile to be sorted through. As we first started, we tested out feelings and opened a few boxes, and confirmed that if there was a feeling, there was indeed a piece of family history. If we didn’t have a prompting there was always nothing in the box. Gaining courage, we went to work with confidence. About every tenth box had an important document or photograph and the rest were thrown in the dumpster. With the help of the Lord the mobile home was cleaned and the family history was recovered. Without The Lord’s help, we would have never finished the job. I believe finding in missionary work is much the same. You can, with faith, pray that the Lord will lead you to those who are ready. You must have the Spirit. You must be diligent.
This last month, since being home, I have conducted four interviews for four first-time endowments, one interview for a sealing, and one baptismal interview. These people all had one thing in common. All of them were found and taught, in part, by one Sister missionary who has returned home. It was remarkable to me that one Sister, already home, could still be having such lasting impact on people. What qualified her for this? How could so many elect people have found her or she them? Another returned missionary gave us the answer. This Sister did what other missionaries wouldn’t. For example, instead of talking with other missionaries after district meeting or church services, she pulled out a list of contacts and made phone calls. She truly consecrated all of her might, mind, and strength to the service of the Lord and the people.
You Decide. All of you come with difference personalities, different talents and different abilities. The Lord doesn’t nor do we expect you to all be the same. What the Lord does expect is that you give your very best effort, that you are obedient, and that you are repenting each day. It doesn’t matter what any of us have been in the past we can make the decision of who we will become, and with the Lord’s help we can accomplish His work.
We love you. We recommit to the Lord and to you to help build His kingdom! Thanks for your efforts. Love,
President and Sister Packer 

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