Elder and Sister James B. Martino of the Seventy
Tuesday devotional, September 3, 2019
Tuesday devotional, Elder and Sister James B. Martino of the Seventy, September 3, 2019
- Both my husband and I are converts to the church. Missionaries just like you taught us the gospel.
- We just finished serving three years in Moscow, Russia. The long winters reminded me of the importance of ‘light’.
- Spiritual light is very important to me. I would like to suggest three important things we can do to increase our ‘light’.
- Daily scripture study — 2 Nephi 32:3 tells us to ‘feast’ upon the words of Christ. Study the Book of Mormon every day of your life for the rest of your life. President Nelson has promised us that if we do, we will make better decisions in every aspect of our lives. The Book of Mormon will immunize you against the temptations of the world.
- Converse with Heavenly Father every day — converse with him: don’t just say words. Feel the spirit every day by drawing close to Heavenly Father through prayer.
- Be obedient — show Heavenly Father your love and gratitude by doing His will. Be committed to obedience.
- The three goals listed above will help you become a LIFE-LONG DISCIPLE OF CHRIST, not just a good missionary.
- Elder Oaks has said that the final judgement will not be about what you have DONE, but who you have BECOME!
- Your mission should not be the best two years OF your life, but will be the best two years FOR your life!
- You missionaries are some of the Church’s greatest miracles. Statistically, youth of the world from age 18 to 25 are those who are the farthest removed from religion and religious principles. But look at all of you!
- I testify that each one of you was called to your specific mission by a prophet, seer, and revelator.
- What really matters about each individual missionary is what is inside.
- Consider the date when Doctrine and Covenants section 4 was received. It was February of 1829. That was before the publication of the Book of Mormon, before the restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods, and before the organization of the church. Before all those important events, the Lord sets forth his standards for missionary work!
- Verse 2 – the heart represents emotion, feeling, desire; might represents abilities and gifts; mind represents thinking about how to do better and serve better; strength represents effort and power and especially WORK!
- Verse 4 – a white field represents harvest time, and when the grain is white it is ready to be harvested, WITH LITTLE TIME TO WASTE! A white field indicates urgency! Section 11 of the Doctrine and Covenants tells us to work “…while the day lasts…”. Missionaries, you should feel an urgency in your missionary labors.
- You will not be judged by the number of your converts, with one major exception. That exception is YOU! You must be your greatest convert. Decide now that you will remain a convert during your entire life.
- Verse 5 – having the attributes of Christ qualify you for the work. It is not your work – it is HIS, and it must be done in HIS way.
- I noticed that before my full time mission, my prayers were mainly about ME! On my mission, my prayers were always about OTHERS, those I was teaching.
- Elder Martino asked the missionaries, “Who am I describing?” He then said, “This person left his home behind, along with all his possessions. He returned twice to his home when asked to by his father. He lived 8 years in the wilderness, eating raw meat, and living in austere conditions. He did everything he was asked to do. Who is it?” Of course, the missionaries responded with “Nephi!” Elder Martino responded, “No! I was describing Laman!” Laman did all those things, but HOW did he do them? He complained, he murmured, he resisted. But he did what he was asked. Nephi, however, did everything also, but he did it because he loved his father and his God. Laman did not know the dealings of his God, but Nephi did! Nephi would admonish us not just to try, but to DO!
- Learn to know how to be susceptible to the spirit. Your mission will be hard; missions are hard for all missionaries.
- Distractions for missionaries –
- Homesickness — 100% of missionaries are homesick, but don’t complain and murmur. Go and do.
- Fear — he described a diver who did not win a competition despite getting 9’s and 9.5’s on his dive. But the ‘degree of difficulty’ of his dive was very low. Another diver did not get as high of scores, but his degree of difficulty was very high. Don’t compare yourself to other missionaries. Learn from others but don’t compare yourself to them. Become the best you can be — give your all, your best.
- Doubt — 1 Corinthians 13:9 tells us that there are many things we do not know, with verse 12 reminding us that we see through a glass darkly during mortality. Be aware that God does not answer prayers simply to satisfy curiosity. With every answered prayers comes a major responsibility. Elder Martino told us of a friend who said he had read the Book of Mormon, prayed about it, and received no answer. He had concluded that the book was false. Elder Martino asked this friend the following question – “If the book was true, would you be willing to give up everything to abide by its precepts and follow its commands?” The friend hesitated and back-pedaled. Elder Martino responded, “Now you know why you haven’t received an answer concerning the truthfulness of the book. The problem does not lie with the book, but with YOU!”
- Following are the pillars of testimony: 1) Heavenly Father is indeed our Father 2) Jesus is the Christ 3) The Book of Mormon is the word of God 4) Joseph Smith was a prophet of God 5) The Church of Jesus Christ is true
- Nephi had questions, but he did not have doubts!
- Companions come in one of three flavors: 1) best friends for the rest of your lives 2) you will get along with him or her but won’t follow that companion on Facebook 3) you will begin praying immediately that the mission president is inspired to send you to another area and another companion
- Don’t let your companion dictate who you are or how you react to situations.
- Ten important words: IF IT IS TO BE IT IS UP TO ME!
- Learn to serve your companions — shine his shoes, give him service, be kind. Don’t murmur, don’t complain.
- You must have the spirit to be effective.
- The Lord will open His arms rapidly to you if you repent.
- Repent means to turn to God.
- Repentance is not a negative – it is a positive. I can mean stepping away from sin, but it can also mean moving from good to better or from better to best.
- Act in faith, step into the light.
- None of us has all of the gifts of the spirit – strengthen each other
- Success is measured in your commitment to find receptive souls, not in the number of baptisms.
- Laman and Lemuel didn’t ask or knock. They simply complained.
- You are the only convert you are REQUIRED to gain!