What a great time to be serving in the Japan Kobe Mission! Sister McIntyre and I are so proud of each of you. Through your faith and diligence we have been able to achieve many of our goals as a mission and witnessed many miracles as we see people come unto Christ and change their lives. This past week I had the wonderful opportunity of confirming a member of the church and giving the Holy Ghost to our 100th convert of this calendar year. A year ago, the thought of seeing that happen seemed nearly impossible. I hope we have learned that nothing is impossible with the Lord.
We try to attend as many baptisms as we can. These are very special meetings and the Spirit can be felt as the power of the atonement is realized through the sacred ordinance of baptism. We are continually impressed by the strong testimonies born by these new converts. We are finding the elect, those that are humble and prepared to hear the voice of the Lord and harden not their hearts. I testify to each of you that you ARE CALLED to gather the elect. There are many here in Japan. You will know who they are because they will listen to you and not harden their hearts. (D&C 29:7) We must continue to exercise faith, and diligently do all within our power to seek out these elect while we serve here.
Your time as a missionary is very short. As you begin your mission, you may feel like you have a long time, but it passes ever so quickly. Let us be careful not to waste time and effort on teaching those who are not ready to accept the gospel or on activities that do not directly relate to finding, teaching and baptizing. Remember we are to “find them that will receive you” (D&C 42:8). You must continually evaluate your investigators and focus your time and effort on those who will make and keep commitments. Often we become involved in teaching or meeting people who seem to have potential but never seem to progress. Our desire for them to receive the gospel prompts us to keep hoping they will change. We love all God’s children and hope they will all ultimately accept the message of the restored gospel. We should be kind and patient. However, we need to find those who will hear now. Sometimes I feel the adversary would love for us to be preoccupied with people who seem to be interested, but never progress towards baptism. If he can keep us busy with these people, we will never find the ones who are prepared. Your time is short. Boldly invite and teach. But if they are not ready to accept the message, plant a seed and move on. You have been called to gather the elect. Do not be afraid to move on. We must continually fill the funnel with investigators. Many will drop off and fade away. Some will take with them a seed that may later grow. Some may simply reject the truth. Your duty and calling is to boldly declare the message of the restoration and the gospel of Jesus Christ. As you do this with as many people as you can in the short time you are here, you will find the elect.
How do we find the elect and determine who we should focus on and who we should let go?
President Benson taught that “The Spirit is the most important single element in this work. With the Spirit magnifying your call, you can do miracles for the Lord in the mission field. Without the Spirit, you will never succeed regardless your talent and ability.” (See PMG p. 176)
You will succeed in this work when you learn to receive and follow personal revelation. The SPIRIT is the Key! We can receive the Spirit and personal revelation through the prayer of faith. (D&C 42: 14)
This transfer I want us to focus our study on receiving and recognizing the Spirit. We will do this by studying pertinent passages of scripture and Chapter 4 in Peach My Gospel. It is my belief that as a mission, if we can increase our sensitivity to the Spirit and follow His guidance, we will qualify ourselves to see even greater miracles and progress here in the mission.
To receive the guidance of the Spirit we must be worthy. We must obey with exactness the commandments and the mission guidelines and rules. Obedience is the Price we pay to qualify for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. We must also pray for the Spirit. We must pray always. We must pray to find the elect. We must pray for the members. We must pray for ourselves and our companions. We must be united with the members and our companions in this work. But most importantly, we must be one with the Lord.
I pray the Lord’s greatest blessings upon each of you. May we seek for the guidance of the Spirit and be worthy of it!
President and Sister McIntyre