Let's Start at the Beginning
Out of the Mouth of Prophets - Part 1
In thinking about all of the great talks that were in General Conference, it is hard to choose where to begin. So for today, let's start at the beginning.
Our prophet, Thomas S. Monson opened up the Conference with a talk titled "As We Meet Together Again". I had technical difficulties and so missed his initial words. Husband had the idea to listen to it on the radio while watching a silent video stream. When we tuned in the first words we heard were:
"Now, before we hear from our speakers this morning, may I mention a matter close to my heart and which deserves our serious attention. I speak of missionary work."
After going back and re-reading what I have missed, though 5 new temples are exciting, I too am still thinking about missionary work.
Pres. Monson addressed different groups of people. These included, young men preparing for missions, young sisters being welcomed to serve missions, mature brothers and sisters, and me.
"To those of you who are not yet to the season of life when you might serve a couples mission, I urge you to prepare now for the day when you and your spouse might do so. As your circumstances allow, as you are eligible for retirement, and as your health permits, make yourselves available to leave home and give full-time missionary service. There are few times in your lives when you will enjoy the sweet spirit and satisfaction that come from giving full-time service together in the work of the Master."
Husband and I have already been discussing our mission for awhile. Doesn't that sound so awesome? I look forward to the companion study time (something that is elusive to us now, more than I would like it to be). I told Husband that if we have any more kids then it will delay when we can go. :) I asked him if we could make a countdown chain until we could go, but he didn't like that idea either. I explained that I was just thinking by the month, or year, but still a no-go. Alas, I will just have to settle for my personal preparation.
In addition to my daily scripture study and prayer, I am going to start studying from Preach My Gospel. Preach My Gospel is the manual that missionaries study out of to prepare for their missionary service and they use it to teach their lessons. Everyone is also encouraged to study it in addition to the missionaries.
Missionary work (share this with a friend) has been a subject of conversation in our house over the past few weeks. I invited my friend to attend church with me. There was an article in the Ensign that Husband and I discussed to great length. Husband attended a training meeting with Elder Zwick of the Seventy this past week and came home and shared some things with me. Because this was a local meeting there will be no printed documentation or recording for me to link you too. I am very sorry.
When Elder Zwick was called into the Seventy, it was the same conference when President Hinckley was called to be the prophet (April, 1995). He also was in the first meeting in the Salt Lake Temple where Pres. Hinckley presided as the prophet. At that meeting, Pres. Hinckley stood up and said that there was one matter that weighed on him than anything else. "What more can we do for our missionaries?" Then Pres. Hinckley talked about people getting baptized and entering the Church through the front door, but then leaving out the back door. Next, he read Mormon 6:17-20 (click here to read) describing his sorrow over those leaving the Church.
Starting from this meeting/ declaration, changes to the missionary program began. Elder Ballard has repeatedly spoken on Councils and missionary work, "the bar" was raised (2002), the first ever World Wide Leadership Training (2003) was about missionary work (no link, as it must be ordered from Salt Lake, this was broadcast to missionaries), and finally Preach My Gospel was published (2004).
Elder Zwick also pointed out that all of the Apostles gave major contributions to the manual. Each one of them had different personal strengths that helped to shape the manual into its final product. Another point that Elder Zwick made was that all of the Apostles' lives were extended to allow this to happen. The Apostles that were present when President Hinckley first asked for more to be done for the missionaries were alive when Preach My Gospel was published. This was in June 2004 and Elder Maxwell and Elder Haight died just a few weeks later.
Hearing this information that Husband shared with me was so neat. I had never heard this before and I am guessing a lot of others haven't either (which is why I wanted to share it with you)!!! Is this not completely amazing?!?!?! No apostles died from 1995-2004 even though Elder Maxwell was diagnosed with cancer and Elder Haight was in his 90's.
Putting 2+2 together, this is what I am getting.
1. Pres. Hinckley (a prophet, the mouthpiece for God) thought that missionary work was so important that in his first meeting as the prophet, called for change.
2. Pres. Monson (the next prophet, and NOW the mouthpiece for God) just called missionary work "a matter close to my heart and which deserves our serious attention" in his very first chance to address his worldwide audience in this conference.
3. A prophet is the mouthpiece for God to the people on the Earth. If a prophet says something then it is the same as if God spoke down from the heavens.
4. The Lord wanted Preach My Gospel to happen just right that he extended the lives of several men.
5. I, Lindsay, better think that missionary work is important and start doing a lot more of it!!!
6. I, Lindsay, better start utilizing Preach My Gospel much more than I am now.
7. Anyone reading this better substitute their name on #5 and #6.
Fear, fear, and more fear. That is how I used to always think of missionary work. Missionary work and fear were always in the same sentence for me. They went together like peanut butter and jelly.
Missionary work is just befriending someone and then extending an invitation to them. I do this all the time. I can make friends and I invite people to try out different stores, brands, foods, music, why not church? Sometimes I have to practice and that's okay. It sometimes makes me nervous to invite someone to read this blog. I think I have invited less than 15 people to read my blog. It is easier to just let 80% of my readers come from other invitations besides mine. It should be easy though. "Hey, I have a blog where I talk about things that are important to me. I think you might like it." or if it was you, "Hi. Sometimes I read this girl's blog. It makes me think about what I believe and I kind of like that. Let me share the address with you." See, it shouldn't hard, but sometimes it just is.
I will have to do better. I have been doing better, I just need to keep it up.
I am grateful for the prophet. I am grateful for missionary work. I am grateful that Husband was where he needed to be so that I could learn these things from Elder Zwick.
If you wish to watch this conference address by President Monson, click here. Just find this talk, and watch, download, whatever you want.
Yay for conference. Yay for this new series. Sorry it is kind of late tonight, but I had some family stuff happen today that needed to be addressed. AND it takes a little bit of time to make sure my references are correct! I do take my links very seriously and you should too. I am getting the vibe that most of you are not clicking on them, which is fine, your choice, they're here for your benefit. It's your loss, not mine. Get my point? Don't cheat yourself out of the best stuff.
Does anyone have any great missionary tips or stories to share? What did you enjoy from this talk? My email is lettersfromlindsay at gmail dot com.