Jan 26, 2014

Put Your Trust in the Lord

Put Your Trust in the Lord
by Elder M. Russell Ballard

Small and Simple Things
by Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela

These two messages are on missionary work. I felt that Elder Ballard's focus was on sharing the gospel with non-members, and Elder Valenzuela's focus was on reactivating the less active.
 Let's start with Elder Ballard's talk.  He says,

"The Lord is hastening His work.  In our day this can be done ONLY when every member of the Church reaches out with love to share the truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ."

"There is an urgency for each one of us to be engaged in sharing the gospel."

Missionary work is not just the duty of the full-time missionaries.  It is also ours, yours and my.
So, how do we go about being missionaries?  Elder Ballard offers three suggestions.
1.  Pray, personally and in your family, for missionary opportunities.  
2.  Talk with as many people as you can each day.  
3.  Be inspired of God, that you ask Him for direction and then go and do as the Spirit prompts you.

Let me share with you a story, a true story, that happened to my Gram.
In a recent Stake Conference, President Vaughn Peterson (currently serving as 2nd Counselor in my parents and Gram's Stake Presidency) told of a story that happened several years ago while he was serving as a Bishop.  He had gone to visit one of his ward members in a rehab center, when he learned that there was another person who lived in his Ward also at the rehab center.  This person was not a member of the Church, but he decided he would visit her anyway.  As they talked, he came to realize that he knew this lady.  They had met when he was in high school.  She had been the librarian.  They visited for awhile, reminiscing about the past.  As he was leaving, he thought to himself, "How sad is it that this person will never have the Gospel in her life?"  Almost as soon as he thought that, another thought came into his mind, almost like a voice, telling him "No, she will have the Gospel in her life!"  Immediately, he felt that he should return to the rehab center and share this impression with this woman, but he felt the Spirit tell him that now was not the time, he was to be patient and wait.

Almost 18 months would pass before President Peterson would be impressed that "now was the time".  One day he was driving home when he felt prompted to go visit this lady at her home.  He had no idea what he was going to say to her, but he obeyed.  She was home and graciously invited him in.  During their visit, he felt impressed to relate to her the thought/impression he had received nearly 18 months prior as he visited with her in the rehab center.  She then related to him a dream she had had a few nights prior.  In her dream she was frantically looking for her Baptism certificate, but couldn't find it.  She believed this dream was a sign from the God that it was time for her to be baptized, and President Peterson's visit only confirmed it. 

She began meeting with the Sister Missionaries, and on November 3, 2013 (my birthday), my Gram, Dorothy Keele Larsen, was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Read more here.

President Vaughn wasn't a full-time missionary.  He was just an ordinary member, like me and you, who prayed, took the time to talk with others, and listened to the promptings of the Spirit.  

 ". . .Fear will be replaced with faith and confidence when members . . .kneel in prayer and ask the Lord to bless them with missionary opportunities.  Then, we must demonstrate our faith and watch for opportunities to introduce the gospel of Jesus Christ to our Heavenly Father's children, and surely those opportunities will come.  These opportunities will never require a forced or contrived response.  They will flow as a natural result of our love for our brothers and sisters.  Just be positive, and those whom you speak with will feel your love.  They will never forget that feeling, though the timing may not be right for them to embrace the gospel.  That too may change in the future when their circumstances change."

"Become engaged in doing what you can in sharing the great message of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ"

Elder Valenzuela also gave a beautiful talk on reaching out to the less active.  He said,

"As members of the Church, we are able, through our own small and simple things, to '[convince] many of the error of their ways' and help bring 'them to the knowledge of their God unto the salvation of their souls" (Alma 37:8).

"Our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, had invited us all to go forth and rescue our brothers and sisters.  He said, 'The world is in need of your help.  There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save.  The blessings of eternity await you'. . .Many of those who need our help are there waiting for us.  They are ready for their valiant brothers and sisters to reach out to them and rescue them through small and simple means.  . . .When we reach out and invite them (the less active), they will return to the Church without hesitation."

For some of us, sharing the gospel and reaching out to our less-active ward members and friends is hard.  It takes us out of our comfort zones.  But we have been commanded by a prophet of God.  So, as I work to be obedient to this commandment, I will gain courage from these words:
"It is impossible for us to fail when we do our best when we are on the Lord's errand."

Next Week's Talk:
Come, Join With Us
by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf