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missionnzhmapril2014 ( ** )

New Zealand Hamilton Mission, April 2014 — Insights, wisdom, and truths learned

Truths and thoughts from April 2014

  • April 4, 2014 — Zone Meeting, New Plymouth chapel
    • Introductions, approaches:
      • The Gospel of Jesus Christ will help you improve the quality of your life and help you deal with problems.
      • Our message is centered in Christ and will help you come unto Him!
      • Mistakes and sins lead to guilt and shame, but these can be relieved by repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost and the Atonement of Jesus.
      • You probably won’t know all at once because this is a process that must include prayer and study; first you DO, and then you KNOW!  It involves the ‘…as if…’ principle
      • We are weak, we don’t know everything, but we are called of God and our message is true.
      • We will be your guides or partners or family to help you along this path.
      • Challenges come into all of our lives, but God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ will help us overcome.
      • Making covenants or promises with God will help you make important changes in your life, as it has in ours.  You will want to walk the path of faith in Jesus, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.
    • R espect   O bedience   D iscipline = the R O D
    • Strength is not in numbers, it is in families.
    • Make the ‘gap’ time at baptismal services edifying, testimony-strengthening, spiritual, and motivating.
    • Any non-members at baptismal services should be contacted by missionaries within 3  days.
    • Things that make me happy are work, effort, and morning prayer.  The three keys to happiness are something to do, something to look forward to, and someone to love.
    • Moroni 7:33 teaches us that if we have faith in Christ, we will have POWER!
    • Hebrews 11:1 teaches us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
    • Ether 12:6 teaches us that our faith is in things hoped for but not seen, and that we should dispute because we do not see.  We receive no witness until after the trial of our faith.
    • Doctrine and Covenants 18:19 tells us that without faith, hope, and charity we can do nothing.
  • April 15, 2014 — General Women’s Conference
    • The women of the Church comprise the most glorious sisterhood in the world.
    • We can’t truly be Christian if we continue to judge one anther.
    • Mary and Elizabeth had a remarkable relationship.  Imagine their conversations about their sons.
    • The women of the Church are given the “errands of angels”.
    • Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “All the easy things required of the Church have been done.  From now on, it will be all high adventure, with followership becoming very demanding.”
    • Elder Henry B. Eyring said, “We are given ‘trials that are perfectly chosen’ for each of us.  Only a few of God’s daughters are given an opportunity to know of the covenants”.
    • Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught that there is one thing we can do to make things better – BE GRATEFUL.  Always be in a state of thanksgiving, continually giving thanks.  Commandments give us the opportunity to CHOOSE and then to be BLESSED.  We should not be grateful ‘for’, but grateful ‘in’.  No matter what our circumstances, we should be grateful in every regard.  Challenges, trials, blessings, hurdles, etc. all give us an opportunity to be grateful.  Nephi gave thanks even when he was tied up by his brothers on the boat.  Job said that he was naked when he came to earth, and that he would return naked.  He was grateful for both circumstances and everything in between.  The pioneers sang and dances their way across the plains, despite miserable circumstances.  The Lord counseled Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail to cheerfully do all within his power, and to stand still to see the salvation of the Lord.  Be grateful no matter what.  Be grateful in all circumstances.
  • April 16, 2014 — General Conference, Saturday morning session
    • Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:  he spoke on persecution.  He related a story of sister missionaries being spit upon.  Jesus’ type of love is ‘tough’ love.  He said that he was more certain of the priesthood keys being restored than he was that he was standing before us.
    • Elder Ronald A. Rasband:  We are literally surrounded by those who need our help.
    • Elder Neil L. Anderson spoke on the Book of Mormon, chastity, and the temple.
    • Elder Russell M. Nelson was severely castigated by a medical colleague for combining medicine and religion.  This colleague demanded that he separate the two.  Elder Nelson responded, “How could I do it?  Truth is truth, rather it emanates from scientific research or revelation.  THEY ARE NOT DIVISIBLE.”
  • April 16, 2014 — General Conference, Priesthood session
    • Elder Dallin H. Oaks: There is no up or down in our callings, only forward and backward.  Priesthood keys direct, control, and administer all priesthood functions.  The keys of creation and resurrection are not on the earth at this time.  We need to focus less on rights and more on responsibilities.
    • Elder Hallstrom:  We need to act and to change.  “That’s just the way I am!” is an unacceptable comment or attitude.  The suggestions:  1) Desire to be a priesthood man  2) desire to serve  3) desire to be worthy.
    • President Uchtdorf:  he counseled us to do away with selfishness, addictions, competing priorities, negative trains of thought, lying, self-denunciation.  He said that we can go through the motions of priesthood service without tapping into the ‘heart’ and ‘power’ of the priesthood
  • April 28, 2014 — Multi-zone Zone Meeting, presided over by Elder _____ __ _______, a General Authority Seventy, held in Hamilton
    • Sister Rudd:
      • Owning a copy of Preach My Gospel does not make on a missionary.  You must USE principles to be a missionary.
      • Be where you are when you’re there!
      • Focus on the job at hand.
      • Always begin scripture and missionary studies with a prayer.  Dedicate that time to the Lord.  Invite the Holy Ghost to teach you.
      • Learn the doctrine of Christ thoroughly.  Define the terms of Christ’s doctrine ‘simply’ to investigators.
    • President Rudd:
      • The following items are of great importance to me:
        • Our most important concern as missionaries should be what happens when we are ‘eye-to-eye’ with investigators.
        • We lose one-half of our ‘baptismal sets’ every month.  Why?  Weak teaching skills?  Flimsy commitments?  Not using the ‘conversion calendar’?  Less than effective teaching?
      • Where does effective teaching start? In your personal study!  Investigators are making commitments to God, not to you.  Help them to understand that important point.
      • Make your investigators accountable and make yourselves accountable.
    • Sister _______  (wife of the visiting general authority)
      • We received a letter from President Thomas S. Monson, reminding us that we represent Jesus Christ.
      • ‘Becoming’ versus ‘acting like’ — become the missionary your mother thinks you are.  Honor the badge that you wear.
      • Be confident in your calling.  Take your setting-apart blessing literally.
      • Be obedient every day — exactly obedient
      • Pay honest, sincere compliments to your companion every day, at least three times per day.
      • You will determine the success of your mission by what you do every day between 6:30 am and 10 am.
      • What is the difference between ordinary and extraordinary?  Going the extra mile!
      • Read the Joseph Smith History in the Pearl of Great Price for one month and ask yourself, “What does this mean to me?”
        • What is to be done?
        • Read the scriptures and ponder.
        • Reflect on things again and again.
        • Seek more wisdom from God.
        • DO what the scriptures say!
        • Pray out loud!
        • Prepare!  …where I had previously designed to go.
      • The ‘never, never’ rules:
        • Never leave anyone’s presence without asking if they know someone who would be interested in our message.
        • Never leave anyone’s presence without leaving something in their hand with the Church’s logo on it
      • Think daily — planning is disciplined thinking.  Give three positive compliments to your companion every day.
      • Thoughts from President Uchtdorf: 1) Don’t be grateful only after a problem is solved; be grateful during the process of problem-solving.  2) Don’t be grateful only for the rainbow at the end of a storm; be grateful for the rain also.
      • Thoughts from Elder Ballard: 1) Only refer to the Church by its full name.  2) Pray for missionary opportunities daily.  3) The gospel is not a buren or load to bear — it is the wings that lift us.
    • Elder _____ __ _______(visiting general authority)
      • I was speaking in Canberra, Australia.  A little girl on the second row kept looking at me through a home-made miniature telescope.  My question to all of you now is this — “What lens are you looking through as you look at me?”  1) “Okay, Mr. General Authority, show me what you’ve got!  Impress me!  You don’t look so high and mighty!”  2) “I will listen to you, but it is the lunch that is really important to me today.  I am going to get a free, all-you-can-eat lunch today!”  3) I am aware that some of you couldn’t care less about what I am going to say today.  You have stony, hardened hearts with no desire to change nor any intention of changing.  4) Some of you have soft, accepting hearts, and you are ready to learn.  5) Some of you are struggling, discouraged, homesick, and overwhelmed.  5)  Some of you are expecting a “magic bullet” that will turn you into an Alma or Amulek, and that this will be a ‘miracle’ day in your life.
      • Elder _______ at this point asked all those who were in Category Three listed above to stand up and move to the rear of the chapel.  He said, “Do you have the courage to stand?  I would like to see who you are.”  When no one moved or stood up, he said, “Missionaries, I am very serious.  I want you to ‘get it’!”  You could have heard a pin drop in the chapel.  After a significant period of time, two missionaries stood up and moved to the back of the chapel.  No one turned to look, no one spoke.  Elder _______ expressed gratitude for the two missionaries who had the courage to stand, but expressed grave disappointment in the 8 or 10 others who didn’t have the courage to stand and go to the back of the chapel.  He expressed a deep hope that something would happen today to touch their stony hearts.
      • As pointed out in 2 Nephi 31, true doctrine changes lives.  Take notes today not just on what you hear, but on what you FEEL!
      • We are teaching on three levels:  1) WHAT — principles  2) HOW — practice  3) WHY — doctrine, the reasons to do things.
      • An incredible story related by Elder _______: While serving as a mission president, he always had missionaries pray in his presence.  He did this because he could tell so much about an elder or sister by the way they prayed.  One elder prayed thusly:  “God, you’ve got to help my investigators, you’ve got to convert them to the gospel, you’ve got to make my companion work harder”, etc.  The elder’s ‘prayer’ was nothing more than a long list of demands.  Elder _____ couldn’t believe what he was hearing.  He quietly stood up during this so-called prayer and sat in his chair.  The praying elder continued with his demands to God.  At the conclusion of the prayer, the elder was surprised to see his mission president sitting in his chair.  He said, “President, why are you in your chair?  I thought we were going to pray.”  “So did I”, said Elder _____, “but what you were offering was certainly not a prayer.  That is why I got up and sat in my chair.”  “What do you mean?” stated the shocked missionary.  “What you just offered was not a prayer.  If you had any concept of who our Heavenly Father is, you wouldn’t even hint at speaking to Him in that manner.  Prayer is not a negotiation!  It’s not done at a bargaining table!  Prayer is where we align our will with the Father’s will.”  See page 752 of the Bible Dictionary.  We need to ask more questions when we pray.
      • Here is the missionary vision:  How does conversion work?  What = immortality;  Why = love;  How = baptism, priesthood, endowments, marriage.
      • Make a decision and then make it your best decision by working for it!  Save yourself first!
      • Why do missionaries struggle?  They are caught between who they were and who they know they should be.
      • Elder _____ stated that 3 Nephi 5:13 literally changed his life on his mission. For two or three months he was a baseball player masquerading as a missionary.  After prayerful contemplation of this verse, he became a disciple of Jesus Christ doing missionary work for Jesus.
      • Alma 13:2-5 should transform every aspect our lives.  We are extraordinary.  We live so far below our station and potential.
      • He has never met a missionary who didn’t want to change, but but he has met only a few who have actually changed.  Why?
      • Missionaries, write the two following statements in your notes and then fill in the blanks:  #1) Because I am a disciple of Christ, I am no longer _______.  #2) Because I am a disciple of Christ, I am now ________.
      • One can always recognize a struggling, discontented missionary by one thing — it is all about ME!  MY!  I!  MYSELF!  Likewise, you can always recognize a successful, happy, productive missionary by one thing — it is all about OTHERS!  THEY!  HIM (with a capital H)!
      • I don’t know exactly how you came into this meeting, but I do know exactly how you need to go out of this meeting!
      • By the office and authority of my calling, I tell you missionaries that if you have fully repented of past sin, YOU ARE CLEAN AND YOU ARE FORGIVEN.  MOVE ON!
      • Facts!
        1. Everyone already knows that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true.
        2. Everyone already has a testimony of Jesus Christ and His divinity.
        3. Everyone has ‘mortal amnesia’ about premortality, and we now have to ‘choose’ to believe in Christ
        4. Everyone has the ‘light of Christ’.
        5. Only the power of the Holy Ghost can ‘unlock’ that which we have known before.
        6. Your testimony and the scriptures bring the Holy Ghost into others’ lives.
        7. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ.
      • Missionaries, when did you get your testimonies?  In the premortal life!  I have always known, you have always known.  Certain ‘flash points’ occur when the Holy Ghost opens up our ‘insight’ again.
      • Building faith in Jesus Christ
        1. How can a missionary help an investigator build faith in Jesus?  TEACH, TESTIFY, INVITE, PROMISE
        2. How can in investigator build faith in Jesus?  PRAYER, READ THE BOOK OF MORMON, LIVE THE COMMANDMENTS, ATTEND CHURCH
        3. Increasing faith in Jesus is manifest in increasing desire, hope, belief, and assurance
        4. Increasing faith in Jesus leads to increased faith in God the Father
      • Divine truths regarding faith in Jesus
        1. If you don’t have much faith and want to increase your faith, BE MORE OBEDIENT!
        2. Faith is the opposite of fear.
        3. Things that erode faith:
        .     • Doubt (fear)
        .     • Discouragement
        .     • Distraction (lack of diligence)
        .     • Disobedience
           • Disbelief
        .     • Denial
      • The purpose of faith (a gift!) is repentance; the purpose of repentance is to get us to covenants: the purpose of covenants is to BECOME!
      • The age at which young men and young women can now serve missions was lowered not to increase baptisms.  It was not done to hasten the work.  It was not done simply to increase the number of missionaries.  It was done to save our youth!  It now picks up a group of young men (about 5%) who would otherwise not serve (due to drifting away from the gospel).  And how about the young women?  How many future mothers could we save?  You young people are the seed bed of future generations of leaders in this Gospel.
      • Your faith is going to be tried like never before.  About 80% of all temple marriages include at least one returned missionary.  Interesting facts:  1) For returned missionaries, on the average, 50 to 60% of their posterity in the next three generations are in the Church.  2) For those who do not serve missions, on the average, less than 1% of their posterity in the next three generations are in the Church.   There are unborn children in the premortal sphere praying for you missionaries to be true!
      • There will be no ‘average’ people in the Celestial Kingdom.  Average people choose to be average.
      • Hard work reveals capacity.  You cannot point the way to a place that you personally have never been before.
      • Forget about ‘TWE’ (talking with everyone).  Just talking for the sake of talking does nothing.  Think about EWE –  engage with everyone!
      • How do you know if you are teaching by the Spirit?  Read Alma 32 and Doctrine and Covenants 50!  What evidence should you see in those you teach by the Spirit?  Look for understanding, notice their body language, are they being lifted and edified?  Do they have a swelling in their breast?  Do we as missionaries feel better about them?  If you are, stop and testify.
      • Miracles happen when a missionary combines effort, diligence, and work with a positive attitude and Christ-like attributes.  The general authority stated than less than 20% of all missionaries reach this level of achievement.
      • On average, a nonmember will have 7 experiences with the Church or its members before finally listening to missionaries.  If you move someone from a 1 to a 2, or a 3 to a 4, that is a success!  You will rarely find a 7.  Be happy if you engage a 3 or a 4 in conversation.
      • When you teach by the Spirit, you are simultaneously learning about the investigators and about the topic you are teaching.
      • If investigators don’t ‘act’ based on your testimony, nothing will change.
      • Do you know what the promised blessings are for 1) prayer 2) Book of Mormon study 3) Church attendance 4) keeping the commandments?  They are found in Galatians chapter 5, and are called the fruits of the Spirit.  If you feel them, then the learner is feeling them also.
      • If you feel anger, discontentment, contention, discouragement, etc., then by definition you do not have the spirit.

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