Elders and Sisters,
Just over a year has past since we arrived in Kobe. We are grateful for this opportunity to serve with you. You are truly wonderful missionaries and we love each of you.
This past year we have witnessed a marvelous work begin to transpire in the Japan Kobe Mission. We have enlarged our vision, increased our faith, lengthened our stride and as a result, through your faith and diligence, we have seen an increase in converts and more excitement regarding missionary work among the members. But this must be just the beginning!
We have worked hard to become “Preach My Gospel” missionaries by following the principles outlined in that guidebook and the scriptures. Preach My Gospel missionaries are good missionaries. They follow the program, are obedient to the rules, and feel the Spirit work through them. They are successful missionaries. (See PMG P. 10-11) As I think back to where we were as a mission a year ago and where we are today, I see great progress and could not be more pleased with what we have accomplished. Nevertheless, as I have pondered what the Lord would have us do to continue to fulfill our purpose as missionaries and move the work forward at a faster pace, I have realized that there is still much we can do to improve. Lately I have felt we have become a “good” mission. But my desire, and I believe the desire of the Lord, is for us to become a “great” mission and each of you “great” missionaries.
The difference between good and great is very subtle. And the world’s definitions of greatness vary. Let me explain some of the attributes of true greatness as I see it by sharing some examples. Think about these two great historical individuals from modern society, Mother Theresa and Ghandi. Both these individuals are considered great by most people who are familiar with their lives. Why? What sets them apart from other people? As I thought about this, I realized they are not considered great for what they did or accomplished per se, but for what they did for others and the examples they set. Neither held positions of formal power or authority nor sought for such recognition. But the legacy they left was the impact they had on millions of people through their service, sacrifice and examples. This kind of greatness is not the same as the greatness that may be achieved by an athlete that scores the most points or wins the most championships. That kind of greatness is based on what they accomplished largely for themselves. In a sense it was for personal glory or satisfaction. That kind of greatness is not lasting and will eventually fade or even be forgotten.
Now think of the Savior, the greatest of all. The great sacrifice for each of us individually and all mankind, the atonement. It is what the Savior did for each of us that defines His greatness. It was in His doing the will of the Father and not himself. It was His great example of a perfect life. Service, Sacrifice and Example!
The difference between being a good missionary and a great missionary may be found in your attitude and motivation. Your desire to serve, your willingness to sacrifice and what kind of example you set will certainly define what kind of missionary you become and how you will be remembered when you complete your mission. That will be your legacy. Are you here to score a lot of points or compete with others? Or are you here to serve the Lord and help others come unto Christ through your service, sacrifice and example. Are you here to do your will or out of obligation to fulfill your duty or someone else’s expectations? Or are you here to do the will of the Father because you love Him and your fellowman? You can follow the program and go through the motions and be a good missionary. Or you can be great missionaries by doing the will of the Father in all things as did the Savior.
Through our service, sacrifice, and example we will help people come unto Christ. Each of you has the potential to influence the lives of hundreds, even thousands, of people through your work here. We help people come unto Christ by inviting them to make and keep commitments. As we teach true doctrine, testify and show a good example, people will begin to have faith in Christ and the courage to keep commitments and obey the commandments. These commitments prepare people to make and keep covenants. The first covenant people need to make to prepare to return to our Father in Heaven is made through the ordinance of baptism. Be bold in your efforts to invite people to change and keep commitments. It is how they repent and come unto Christ. It is how you will play a role in helping them come unto Christ. It is how you will influence the lives of people as a missionary and how you will become a Great (Preach My Gospel) Missionary. Don't settle for good, when you have the potential to be great.
May we strive for Greatness and to be more like the Greatest of all, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
President and Sister McIntyre