February 15, 2016
Sooooooo.....this week was very successful. It was very cold throughout the week, but we didn't hesitate to go and and work to bring people to repentance. That is our purpose after all. We bring people the message of the Restoration and attempt to build their faith through the Spirit, they act upon it by keeping our commitments (them repenting) and then as they continue to make changes in their lives to be more like Christ, they are prepared to make and keep the covenant of baptism.
I gave an instruction this week at our zone training meeting in Fayetteville. The rest of the leaders in the zone insisted that I speak about our purpose as missionaries and what our priorities should be. I spent the whole week praying and pondering about how I would go about presenting things and everything finally came together just the Tuesday before the meeting. I really learned a lot as I studied about our purpose. I think Preach My Gospel says it best:
"President Ezra Taft Benson taught: “We are commanded by God to take this gospel to all the world. That is the cause that must unite us today. Only the gospel will save the world from the calamity of its own self-destruction. Only the gospel will unite men of all races and nationalities in peace. Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvation to the human family” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson , 167).
You are called to represent Jesus Christ in helping people become clean from their sins. You do this by inviting them to come unto Jesus Christ and become converted to His restored gospel. To come to the Savior they must have faith in Him unto repentance—making the necessary changes to bring their life into agreement with His teachings. You can help people develop such faith by teaching them the restored gospel by the Spirit and inviting them to commit to live according to its teachings. Keeping this commitment prepares them for the covenant of baptism and confirmation and the precious gift of the Holy Ghost. They are to put off the “natural man” and become a Saint “through the atonement of Christ the Lord” (Mosiah 3:19).
So that's pretty much it right there. Our main purpose is to help people become clean from their sins so that they'll be prepared to receive the Savior's mercy at the Day of Judgement. It's always interesting to me that the Lord would trust us with so great a task. But one thing I've learned is that He really is in charge of the work. It's His work. We're just instruments in His hands and we have the marvelous privilege of helping people find peace in their lives. It's quite amazing. So going back to my instruction, one thing I really focused on with the missionaries is our priorities as missionaries. Over the course of a few months, we've been able to see a decline in lessons taught to investigators and therefore a decline in the number of baptisms. So I basically told the missionaries that we can't be wasting our precious time with less active that won't progress. As a mission, we spend too much time teaching less actives and recent converts because it's "easy" and because it fills the time when we have nothing to do. But that's really not what we're called to do. That's what the home teachers are ultimately for. Our job is to go out and call people to repentance by teaching doctrine by the Spirit and asking them to act upon it. These are things that I've always understood to an extent, but after studying for this instruction, it all just makes perfect sense. I wish I had received this insight months ago, but hey, the Lord gives unto us "line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little." So I hope I was able to motivate someone to work a little harder and to take this calling with a little more seriousness. As I've seen throughout my mission, this time to serve the Lord is extremely short. We have to take advantage of every opportunity that's given us to call people to repentance.
Some updates on investigators. A finally came to church! We spent the whole week making arrangements so he could get there and he did it! That means he is one step closer to baptism! I'm really proud of him and the progress he's made. All he needs to do now is go to church next week, be taught a few more lessons, be reading and praying consistently, and have an interview and he'll be ready! Please continue to pray for him. He's going through a hard time right now and I feel that having the support of the church and especially having the Gift of the Holy Ghost will give him some needed consolation.
Well I guess I'd better wrap this thing up. As I come to the end of my mission, things are starting to come into perspective. I continue to learn more about the Gospel and particularly about the Atonement and it's allowed me to see a different side of life. I have great goals and desires for who I want to be when I get home. But right now I just have to continue focusing on what's important, that is, the progress of my investigators and the progress and well-being of my missionaries.
A guy threw a gallon of milk at me the other day. How dairy! (How dare he)
Have a great week!
-Elder Landon Carroll