So this week they pulled one of those "Can you give a talk next week? Just kidding" combos on me. It was cool to get a special topic to study and think of how to support and build up the members of the Branch, even though I probably won't ever get to share it with them. The Branch President and Mission President bumped me on the schedule...I guess that's ok. Well I thought that I would share some of the thoughts that I had as I thought about member Missionary work this week, just in case it turns out to be helpful to anyone who reads this, even if it's just to help someone who is not a member of our Church understand a little better why there are 50,000 guys in white shirts and ties walking around the world with name tags on their chests.
After his Resurrection and ascension Jesus Christ instructed his Apostles and other disciples to teach the gospel to every creature, baptizing them unto repentance. This is so that everyone can understand the things which Christ did, and the plan which was created by our Heavenly Father, before the world was even created. It isn't really fair to go through life not knowing why we're here and how to reach the goals that we've set before we came to this Earth. Everyone deserves a fair chance to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ and learn to live by its teachings. Christ set the example, and he gave the command; both 2000 years ago, and in our day.
On another side, we are only doing what is natural by sharing the things which bring us joy, hope, comfort, understanding, and perspective in life. The restored Church of Jesus Christ does all those things, in an unparalleled way. When we begin to live by the teachings of Jesus Christ, and keep the commandments of God, then we can clearly see how they make our life better, and they make us better. Being baptized isn't enough for eternal salvation, you have to keep the promises you make, and when you are baptized you promise to follow Christ, you even take His name upon you. To understand a little better what that means take a look at Mosiah chapter 5 in the Book of Mormon. When we keep the commandments we find true joy, and as we learn how to have joy, it's only natural to have a desire to share that joy with those who you care about. That's why President McKay said that "Every member is a missionary."
I have three really simple suggestions for members of the Church to begin doing their part as member-missionaries. Try them out and let me know how they work. Really it's absolutely nothing new, its just focusing the principles of the Gospel that we already understand. Prayer, faith, and action.
1. Pray for opportunities to share the Gospel, and for the Lord to prepare someone for you to help find the joy that you have. Be diligent in asking the Lord to help you do His work, and have faith that He will strengthen your testimony, give you courage, and bless you with opportunities.
2. Live the Gospel. Keep all the commandments, even the small things. Your live will become an example to those around you and will open more doors than you know. It's often through seeing the patient, diligent example that others become interested and begin to develop faith in Christ and in His restored Gospel. Pray and study the scriptures each day. Serve others unselfishly. Do what the Savior would have you do. As you live the teachings of Christ, they will become more dear to you, and your testimony of them will continue to grow.
3. Seek opportunities to share the Gospel, and take the opportunities that you find to share the truths which are dear to you. The Lord will put people into your path, into your life, and you will be the one with the opportunity to share the Gospel with them and help them find the joy of living a life in accordance with the commandments and blessings of our loving Heavenly Father. He gives you more chances than you know. Those with eyes to see, will see.
Well those are a few of my thoughts about why and how we can share the gospel with those who are seeking truth. President McKay said a lot of really great things about it too, they can be found in "Teachings of David O. McKay" from the series the Church released for Sunday School use. It's really good. I know that the work of the Lord will go forth as we develop faith in Him and become more willing and prepared to play our role in doing this great work. I am so thankful that I am able to represent Him every day here in Russia and help people change their lives and learn to be happy. If it's true joy that you want, then this is the Church for you!
Well this week we continued to slowly do the work that has been prepared for us. We have met some really cool people, and are trying to help them start on the path of change that will lead them to the fountain of happiness. This week I'll spend a lot of time in a Mission Leadership Training with President Pratt. It's going to be just like the MTC, only 8 months later! Ok...not JUST like the MTC...but I'm really excited. All of those in our mission who are serving in leadership positions in the mission are coming in for the training, and I got invited because I am training right now. Lucked that one out. This is the first time we've ever done a training like this before in our Mission. We recently received some new direction from Salt Lake to start doing these, and I lucked out to be able to come to the first one. I'm still trying really hard to learn the things I need to know, do what I should do, and be who I need to be, in order to serve the Lord the way that He wants me to. If we are ever going to reach our potential, we have to keep striving forward all the time.
I'm sure I'll have some good stories to tell sometime...but I really can't think of any for this week. Time has just been flying by. Hope everyone is having fun getting back to school soon, or already...should be sweet! Have a spectacular week,
Elder Sam Fife