Dear Kobe Missionaries,
How wonderful it is to start out this New Year with all of you here in Japan serving the Lord. We have just had a wonderful end of the year celebrating the birth of our Savior and seeing the most convert baptisms in a single month since the mission reopened over a year and a half ago. What a blessing it was to see so many people come unto Christ this wonderful time of year. And several were actually baptized on Christmas day. It truly was a white and wet Christmas in the Kobe Mission.
Many missionaries experienced the first baptisms of their mission this past month. How I desire each missionary in the mission to have the opportunity to be a part of that wonderful conversion process culminating with one of God’s beloved children entering the waters of baptism. Our purpose is to find, teach, baptize, confirm and establish the church in Japan. We have made great progress in fulfilling this purpose in the past several months. But we can and will gradually learn to do even better. We have emphasized the importance of baptism to all of you. This is how people repent and come unto Christ. Mormon taught the “first fruits of repentance is baptism.” (Moroni 8:25) Baptism is central to our purpose as missionaries. We must continue to emphasize its importance and help all those we teach understand that it is the gate that all must enter.
However, “your success as a missionary is measured primarily by your commitment to find, teach, baptize, and confirm people and to help them become faithful members of the church who enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost.” (See PMG p. 10) I think all missionaries want to baptize. I certainly hope you all do! But you must remember that the number of baptisms you have does not make you a successful missionary. A successful missionary is fully committed to being a "Preach My Gospel Missionary." According to Preach My Gospel, a successful missionary will:
- Feel the Spirit testify to people through him
- Love people, including his companion and desire their salvation
- Obey with Exactness (all the commandments and mission rules)
- Live to have the Spirit and know how to follow the Spirit.
- Develop Christlike Attributes.
- Work effectively everyday.
- Help build the church wherever they are assigned to serve.
- Warn others of the consequences of sin.
- Teach and serve other missionaries.
- Go about doing good and serving others.
So as we begin a New Year here in the mission, I ask all of you: Are you a successful missionary? Do you obey with exactness? Does this list of characteristics above describe you? When we truly become Preach My Gospel Missionaries and are fully committed to our purpose, we will feel the Spirit, love our missions, love our companions and the Japanese people, and be successful missionaries. And in many cases, baptisms will follow as a natural result.
Let us continue to have faith and hope, two of the attributes of Christ, to see an increase in the harvest. But in doing so, we must remember that people have the agency to choose whether to accept our message.
As we begin a New Year, it is my prayer that each of you will recommit to be a Successful Missionary. Success is a choice. When we choose to be a Preach My Gospel Missionary we start to choose success.
I testify to each of you that the Lord has given us the tools and a plan to follow. When we use the tools and follow the plan, we will be successful. As a mission we will continue to focus on fulfilling our purpose and inviting people to repent through baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost. And I know that as we do this, the harvest will increase and each of you will be not only happier, but wonderfully successful!
President and Sister McIntyre