Wednesday, October 6, 2010

First Chapter Wednesday--Uplifting Thoughts for Missionaries

Today's first chapter comes from

Uplifting Thoughts for Missionaries is a collection of inspiring and motivational thoughts for Latter-day Saint missionaries. Filled with scriptures, quotes from prophets and other Church leaders, and inspirational stories, this book contains some of the best thoughts on successful missionary service.

In this practical little book, missionaries will find encouragement and reminders of the importance of their sacred calling. They will also learn of the spiritual requirements and techniques the Lord has given for missionary work.

Introduction

In the meridian of time, the Savior told His Apostles, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father” (Matt. 28:19). And in our day, the Lord has declared, “The voice of warning shall be unto all people by the mouths of my disciples” (D&C 1:4).
As you undertake the sacred duty of serving as a full-time missionary, know that no amount of skills, knowledge, or personality alone will make you successful. On the other hand, there is no barrier you cannot overcome if you find and teach with the Spirit.

The Lord has promised His faithful missionaries: “And any man that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry, neither athirst. . . . And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:80, 88).

When you serve Him humbly and obediently, the Lord will support and sustain you. After all, as the Prophet Joseph Smith stated, “The greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel” (Joseph Smith and B. H. Roberts, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1904], 2:478).

Uplifting Thoughts for Missionaries contains motivational thoughts, scriptures, and stories, as well as quotes from prophets and other Church leaders. I hope that these messages will help and inspire you in your missionary service.

Your Testimony Is Your Key Missionary Tool

Testimony is an absolute necessity for a successful missionary. When you sincerely bear testimony, the Holy Ghost testifies to others that what you are saying is true. The Lord Himself declared, “But a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall declare whatsoever thing ye declare in my name, in solemnity of heart, in the spirit of meekness, in all things. And I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say” (D&C 100:7–8). You are not perfect, but the Lord is, and His Spirit actually does the converting—as you teach and testify of true principles. As you strive to spread the gospel, you must learn to trust the power of your testimony and the power of the Holy Ghost.


Baptism Is the Gate

Baptism is the gate to the celestial kingdom. Of its significance, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “Baptism is a sign to God, to angels, and to heaven that we do the will of God, and there is no other way beneath the heavens whereby God hath ordained for man to come to Him to be saved, and enter into the kingdom of God, except faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins” (Smith and Roberts, History, 4:555).

Through Joseph Smith, the Lord said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, they who believe not on your words, and are not baptized in water in my name, for the remission of their sins, that they may receive the Holy Ghost, shall be damned, and shall not come into my Father’s kingdom where my Father and I am” (D&C 84:74).

If our Heavenly Father’s children wish to return to the place where God and Jesus Christ dwell, they must be baptized into Christ’s true Church.


You Are Called of God

You are called of God to your area of labor. The Lord has sent you where He knows you can do the most good. The following story by Allan Lee, one of my missionaries in Hong Kong, demonstrates the Lord’s involvement in a mission call:

“As a four-year-old child, I had a dream that my mother took me to China. In my dream, I saw a lovely two-story house with white walls and a nice hedge around it centered in the bottom of a small valley. I went into the house and met the people there and remember how Chinese the house looked to me at that time. There are many other small details about this dream that I could write, but I will just say that it was all very vivid to me, even to the extent that after the dream was over, I went into the kitchen and asked my mother to take me back. She, not knowing what I was talking about, said that someday I would go back.

“Well, the years went by, and as my family became familiar with the dream, they teased me that I would go to China on my mission. It seemed that every time the family got together the subject of ‘Allan’s dream’ would come up. . . .

“About fourteen years later, as our family was all together at Thanksgiving, the subject of my dream came up again. I took all their joking with a smile as usual, but then, out of the blue, my father said, ‘He’s not going to China, he’s going to Hong Kong!’

“I took that with a smile also, until the next day when my father suggested that I find out if the college that I was then attending offered a course in Chinese. Of course, I followed his advice, but unfortunately, my college offered no such class. In the back of my mind, I always thought that he was just teasing me about trying to learn Chinese. . . .

“Finally, the day of my mission call came. My mother, father, and I were together in a small room at the school my father teaches in as I anxiously opened the letter from the prophet. I quickly glanced over the letter until I saw the words ‘Hong Kong.’ Before I opened my mouth to tell them where I would be serving, I glanced up and saw my father crying. That was the first time I had ever seen my father show such emotions. Finally, the words came out, ‘I’m going to Hong Kong!’ This seemed like no surprise to them, but to me it was quite a shock, especially since I had been praying that I would be able to serve an English-speaking mission!

“You might wonder where my dream fits into this story—well, the first time I saw the outside of the mission home, I thought that it really did look familiar, but it wasn’t until about two weeks ago that my seventeen-year-old dream finally made sense. As I was sitting on your sofa with the other elders and sisters who would shortly be returning home, and as I was listening to you speak, I happened to glance over at one of the walls in your home. At first it startled me, because I have seen that wall dozens of times before, but this time I realized that it was the same wall that I had seen in that ‘dream house’ seventeen years ago. At that time, all the years of not understanding that dream finally came together like a jigsaw puzzle. That house that I had seen as a four-year-old boy was indeed the Hong Kong mission home.”

We are called of God, and the assignments we have been given come from God.

You Have Been Set Apart from All Worldly Things

When you were set apart as a missionary, you were set apart from the things of the world so that you could participate full time in the work of the Lord. In order to be an effective tool in the Lord’s hands, you must continually strive to forego the things of the world.

Speaking to missionaries, President Howard W. Hunter declared, “Some of you will be greatly successful and I will tell you why. You have been set apart as a personal representative of the Lord to teach his children in the mission field. I don’t know of a higher calling that could come to any person. You are set apart from all worldly things, worldly influences and thoughts, to a higher plateau—a spiritual plateau where you can live, think, act, and portray the gospel to others. When you can do this and leave all worldly influences behind and live on the new higher plateau, you will be successful” (Howard W. Hunter, “Apostasy and Restoration,” lecture to the missionary class, 17 Apr. 1973, in Howard W. Hunter, The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 250).

President Hunter also advised missionaries, “You can’t be a part of worldly things and also carry out your role as a representative of the Lord. The two are not compatible. Your objective has been clearly defined for you. From the day you were set apart, you were charged to not be of the world, meaning that you were transferred then from worldly things into a spiritual climate for the duration of your mission. . . . Satan is always present and will do everything he can to hinder and block and defeat. We encourage you as companionships to help each other in this matter. Two persons dedicated, living in faith, and being prayerful can be an awesome force in the work of the Lord” (Howard W. Hunter, “The Standard of Truth,” Missionary Training Center Satellite Broadcast, Provo, Utah, 13 Sept. 1994; in Hunter, 250).


Get Acquainted with the Spirit

As a missionary, you need to be acquainted with the Spirit. President Wilford Woodruff said, “I have endeavored to get acquainted with that Spirit, and to learn its operations. I have many times had that Spirit manifested to me, and if I had not followed its whisperings to me, I should have been in my grave long ago, with many of my companions” (Wilford Woodruff, in Millennial Star, 53:642 [1891]).

Have you truly acquainted yourself with the operations of the Spirit? Do you listen for the Spirit’s promptings, and do you have sufficient faith to follow the promptings you receive? If you listen carefully and follow the Spirit, you will be guided, protected, and led to people who will accept the gospel.

“Open Thy Mouth, and It Shall Be Filled” (Moses 6:32)

A successful missionary is a missionary of power, and the power source is the Holy Ghost. Nothing can compensate for the absence of the Spirit in the life of a missionary. On the other hand, there is no barrier to one who has the Spirit. If you have the Spirit, you can succeed in spite of weaknesses; as the Spirit compensates, your limitations will become insignificant.
Remember Enoch? Called by the Lord to be a prophet, he said of himself: “I . . . am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech” (Moses 6:31). The Lord answered Enoch, “Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance . . . Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me” (Moses 6:32, 34). So Enoch “cried [to the people] with a loud voice, testifying against their works; and all men were offended because of him” (Moses 6:37). Enoch became so powerful a representative of the Lord that “no man laid hands on him; for fear came on all them that heard him; for he walked with God” (Moses 6:39). In spite of his weaknesses, Enoch was obedient to the call, and the Lord made of him a mighty prophet.

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