Our Beloved Kobe Missionaries,
The year is nearing an end and what a wonderful year it has been! I hope we all appreciate the wonderful blessings we have enjoyed this past year as a mission. We have seen many marvelous miracles this year throughout the mission. I want to thank each of you for your faith and diligence in fulfilling your sacred calls as missionaries and representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The past several weeks we have focused on the theme “The Spirit is the Key” as we have worked to better recognize and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. While the Spirit is the Key to this work, we must never forget that CHIRST is the REASON. This time of year, perhaps more than any other, we should be bold in opening our mouths and sharing the message of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. During Christmastime many people here in Japan become very curious as to why we have this holiday. You might be surprised at how many Japanese really do not know the meaning of Christmas. Christmas is not only about the birth of the Savior, but also His life and His role as Savior of the world. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ was born, taught us how to live, and atoned for our sins. The good news is that He prepared a way for all of God’s children to return home to their Father in Heaven and partake of eternal life and exaltation. This good news is central to the message we share. Without the Savior and his infinite sacrifice, there would be no gospel to share. He is the Reason for this wonderful season. Further, Christ returned to the earth and restored His Gospel through the boy prophet, Joseph Smith. He gave us another testament of His divinity and plan of salvation, the Book of Mormon.
This is the Good News we missionaries must share. God loves all His children and we must declare that message to everyone we can. We must continue to pray that the Spirit will guide us to the elect, those who will hear the voice of the Lord and harden not their hearts. To me, that is what Christmas is all about.
Remember – THE SPIRIT IS THE KEY and CHRIST IS THE REASON!
As we close out this year and begin a new one, I hope we can remember the importance of gaining the trust of the members and working in unity with them to share the wonderful Gospel message. Wards and Branches will soon be creating and finalizing their mission plans. We can help them in this process. President Eyring has taught us that there will again be a great harvest of souls here in this land of Japan. He says it will be miraculous and this miracle will occur when there is a change of heart among the members in Japan and we as missionaries, exercise greater faith. We must show love towards and encourage the members and leaders we work with to share the gospel with their friends and relatives. We must show them our faith by our diligence. We must always be an example unto them and do all we can to gain their respect and trust. To be trusted by the members we must become trustworthy. You become worthy of someone’s trust when you keep your promises and when you show them love and consideration. May I suggest a few simple things you can do as missionaries to better gain members’trust:
1. Remember members’names. When you greet them use their name.
2. Always be on time to meetings and appointments.
3. Never criticize or speak ill of any leader or member.
4. Always work diligently and show the members you are serious about your call as a missionary.
5. Keep all the rules and always behave as a servant of the Lord should.
There are many more things you can and should do. But start by focusing on these. We will see an increase in our baptisms next year if we can become more united in this great work with the members. We look forward to studying with you how we can effectively do this in our district meetings and zone conferences this transfer period.
Sister McIntyre and I love each of you are very proud of the work you are doing. We pray everyone can experience a white Christmas and always remember the reason for this wonderful season. Christ is the Reason!
May the Lord Bless Each of You!
President and Sister McIntyre