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missionsmb1 (Elder Bowen ** )

Elder and Sister Shayne M. Bowen of the Seventy

Tuesday devotional,  March 24, 2020

Tuesday devotional, Elder and Sister Shayne M. Bowen of the Seventy

Sister Bowen:

  • You should be proud that you are serving in 2020, in the midst of world-wide challenges.  It will be easy for all of you to remember the time that you served as full-time missionaries.
  • We love you.  You have all made wonderful decisions that have brought you to this training center at this time of your lives.
  • Elder Bowen and I are aware of a missionary that served in the Washington, D.C. area.  He was a convert and had only been a member a short time when he decided to serve a full-time mission.  During his first week in the mission field, he and his companion were teaching a family about the First Vision.  As his companion told of the Father and the Son appearing to Joseph, this new missionary exclaimed, “What?  Did that really happen?  God appeared to Joseph??”  He had much to learn but he also had a simple, pure faith.
  • Do we appreciate what we have in our lives because that First Vision occurred?   We have another witness of Jesus, that being the Book of Mormon.  And we have the entire Restoration.
  • I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.
  • During your mission you will meet many who love the Prophet Joseph, but you will also meet many who hate him.  He was told that his name would be had for good AND evil throughout the world.  How true that statement is.  The Adversary has been quite successful in stirring people up to hatred and animosity toward Joseph Smith.
  • How can we know that Joseph was a true prophet?  By his fruits, because a good tree brings forth good fruit.  Consider this list of Joseph’s fruits:
    • The wonderful lives of the members of this church, including each one of YOU!
    • The charity displayed by Joseph’s followers
    • Church leaders who serve without pay or remuneration
    • The pure and true doctrine of Christ he taught
    • The covenant path that he described and followed himself
    • The saving ordinances he introduced
    • The doctrine of the family
    • Living prophets
    • The Book of Mormon, the primary tool we are using in gathering Israel
    • Ongoing revelation
  • I know that Jesus is the Christ.  Because He lives, we can all live also
  • Your missions will be marvelous experiences.  Remember that your mission is not about you, but about Jesus Christ!

Elder Bowen:

  • During my 14 years as a general authority, my wife and I have participated in over 70 ‘mission tours’.  Tonight I will consider this a huge mission conference.
  • I would like to make three suggestions that will help you in finding people to teach, as that is the biggest challenge in this work.
    • Use a family history fan chart.  Print one for yourself and use it as a way to approach people and ask if they have seen anything like it.  When they are captivated by the chart, ask if they would like to make one for themselves.  Invite them to a family history center.
    • As soon as you get someone’s attention (in a restaurant, a store, on the street, etc.) immediately ask them if they are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Most will respond with “No.”  Then immediately ask them “Why not??”  Great conversation will ensue.  Open your mouths!
      • I asked a taxi driver in Brazil if he was a member.  He responded by saying, “No, but I want my daughter to marry a boy from that Church.  I am so impressed by the young people in that Church.  He is now a member of the Church himself.
    • Find with the Spirit.  Listen to promptings.
      • Elder Gifford Nielsen’s son was serving a mission.  He and his companion took a person’s cigarettes, cigarette lighter, and coffee to help an investigator start living the Word of Wisdom.  They threw all of these things in the garbage, but for some reason, Elder Nielsen kept the lighter in his pocket.  As they were walking home, they saw a man on a porch trying to light a cigarette, but his lighter wasn’t functioning well.  Elder Nielsen walked up onto the porch, pulled out his lighter, and lit the man’s cigarette.  When they introduced themselves, the man exclaimed, “I have been looking for you for 38 years.  I was so impressed by your church members when I served in the military.  That man is now a member of the Church.  Elder Bowen then added, “I am not advocating the lighting of cigarettes as a promising way of finding people to teach, but FOLLOW THE SPIRIT!”
    • Finding should become your way of life, not just a ‘missionary activity’.  Miracles will happen as you adopt this way of life
  • Elder Bowen then had his wife join him at the rostrum.  He said, “My wife represents everything that is good and worthy in life, and in my life.  She represents the covenant path, she represents eternity.  She represents everything that truly matters in this life and in eternity.  Please keep this perspective in your lives.
  • Please don’t be pessimistic or fearful due to the current circumstances that exist in the world.  President Nelson is optimistic.
  • Since we can not use the Salt Lake Temple for meetings at this time, President Nelson has personally dedicated the 8th floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building as the meeting place for our monthly meeting with the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve.  In our last meeting, President Nelson said, “Prophets see the future.  I have seen the future and it is glorious.”
  • Don’t let the Adversary discourage you.  Many of you are asking yourselves why you cannot serve in the area where you were originally called to serve.  Elder Bednar has taught us all that your official call states first that you are ‘CALLED’ to serve as a missionary, and next you are ‘ASSIGNED’ to serve in a certain mission or area.  The call always remains; the assignment can and does change.  You are called by God, you are assigned by God.  Wherever you serve, you represent God, Christ, and the Church.  Elder Bowen then reviewed the various ‘assignments’ he and his wife have received during the last 14 years.  They were all glorious.
  • Be aware that there are no surprises in God’s life nor in the Savior’s life.  They know us, they know what is happening.  They are in charge.  In John chapter 14 the Savior promises us that He will not leave us comfortless.
  • I would now like to share some thoughts about the gathering of Israel.
    • Abraham had a son named Isaac, who had a son named Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel.  He had twelve sons, and each of them represents a tribe of Israel.
    • Special promises were made to Abraham, and then incorporate the Abrahamic Covenant
    • We are in the process of gathering again the tribes of Israel from their disbursement.
    • Jacob 5 is a wonderful allegory about the scattering and gathering of Israel, and this chapter alone is ample evidence that Joseph Smith did not write the Book of Mormon.  This allegory is so rich in symbolism and so accurate in its descriptions of the pruning and grafting processes, that there is no way that a New York farm-boy could have written it.
    • This is the only dispensation that will end with the Second Coming of the Lord.
    • Jacob 5:73 tells each of you that you are part of this great gathering effort.
  • I would like to conclude with a story that happened to me as a young missionary.  My companion and I found a family named Schmittner.  They eventually all came into the gospel.  Two of the children in the family subsequently served full time missions and married in the temple.  The husband of one of the young girls in the family is now serving as a stake president in Chile.  We had no idea what great good would come from our meager missionary efforts.
  • The Lord is kind, He is gentle, He will give us every needful thing in these challenging times.

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