Elders and Sisters of the Japan Kobe Mission,
Spring is finally here! This is wonderful time of year. The flowers and Sakura are blooming and people are outside enjoying the warmer weather. It is also wonderful because this time of year we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior and have the opportunity to hear the words of the living prophets through general conference. This is a great time of year to be a missionary, out talking with people about the restored gospel. The work is moving forward in this mission and Sister McIntyre and I are very proud of each of you. We have seen several wonderful miracles already this year due to your faith and diligence. Last month we held a mission wide fast for Brother Kishida, and a few weeks ago we were able to witness his baptism and confirmation in the Toyooka Branch. We have seen progress in our work with the members as we implement the ward and branch rescue plans in each unit. We have noted an increase in member referrals in the mission and baptisms among part member families. And I know we will continue to see miracles and the work move forward as we exercise greater faith and are diligent in doing all things that the Lord commands us.
I love the example of Nephi in the Book of Mormon. In 1 Nephi 3:7 we read of his great faith in a scripture you all are very familiar with.
…I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall provide a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.
Nephi had great faith that if the Lord wanted something done and asked him to do it, He would provide a way. This principle also applies to us as missionaries. We have been called to gather the elect. We have been commanded to find, teach, baptize, confirm and establish the church here in this part of Japan. The scriptures and words of our modern day leaders confirm this. I suppose the question we need to ask ourselves is do we have enough faith to go and do what the Lord has commanded us? Faith is a principle of power, but to realize that power we must couple our faith with diligent work.
Remember when Nephi was asked to retrieve the plates of brass, which prompted him to write the above verse, he and his brothers did everything within their power to get the plates. They asked for them, they tried to negotiate with Laban for them and they even tried to purchase them. But all their attempts failed. But that did not stop Nephi. He knew the Lord would help them get the plates. In one of my favorite passages of scripture Nephi teaches us a great lesson about simple faith. In his attempt to get the plates from Laban, after all their previous attempts failed and his brothers gave up on the task, Nephi says in 1 Nephi 4:6-7:
And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do, Nevertheless, I went forth…
There is a pattern, or formula if you will, to seeing miracles and blessings according to our faith. First, as Nephi taught us, you must have the faith, the belief and hope, that the Lord will help you accomplish this work. Second, you must be obedient and also use the knowledge and resources you have to do your best, all within your power, to fulfill the task the Lord has commanded you to do. Third, you must follow the Spirit, and even when you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, you must move forward with the faith that you will succeed. After all, is that not what faith is? “…a hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” (Alma 32:21) It is usually after all we do, after we have shown our faith by our works, and even moved forward not knowing ultimately how it will happen, when the hand of the Lord is revealed and we witness miracles. We read in the 123rd section of D&C:
…let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.
As missionaries, what are the things the Lord has commanded us to do in order to fulfill our purpose of bringing souls unto Christ? While there are many, let me offer a few that are key and encompass many of the others.
1) Obey with Exactness – This means the commandments, the mission rules and the missionary schedule. It also means following the counsel of our leaders, particularly regarding the work here in Japan.
2) Follow the Spirit – This means being worthy of the companionship of the Spirit and following his guidance.
3) Study and Pray – This means studying the scriptures, PMG and the language. It means praying always.
4) Open Your Mouth – This means talking with everyone. It means helping people make and keep commitments that will lead them unto Christ.
5) Be Diligent – This means to work effectively everyday. This includes planning your day and week and setting worthy goals based on the key indicators as outlined in PMG.
6) Be Like HIM – This means to continually developing the Christ like attributes and becoming more like the Savior that we may represent Him and His gospel.
All these things are within our power to do. All we need to do is commit to do them and follow through on our commitment. We know that as each of you individually, and all of us as mission, focus on these things that we have the power to do, exercising our faith, we will see the hand of the Lord revealed in this mission and in our lives.
As we approach summer and will see some of our larger groups of missionaries complete their missions and return home, we have a goal and vision for every area in the mission to see a convert baptism by the end of June. What a wonderful way for our older missionaries to finish their missions and for us to prepare to welcome many new missionaries from the Hiroshima Mission. It is our hope and our prayer that we can see this come to pass. So may the Lord’s will be done, after we show Him our will by our faith and works!
We Love You,
President and Sister McIntyre