Thursday, July 8, 2010

President's Message July 2010 - Unity

Welcome to the New and Improved Japan Kobe Mission!
Elders and Sisters,

Sister McIntyre and I are so excited to welcome our 32 new missionaries assigned to Kobe from the Japan Hiroshima Mission. Today we celebrate the creation of a new mission, united in purpose and power.

The new Kobe Mission consists of approximately 140 missionaries working in 6 stakes and 3 member districts. We have over 17,000 members and 30 million people living within our boundaries. What a blessing it is to serve here with each of you at this choice time.

This past month was one of our best ever for moving the work forward here in the Japan Kobe Mission. We saw a record number of convert baptisms and significant increases in our mission key indicators. But most importantly, we have witnessed many miracles happening throughout the mission in our finding efforts and in our investigators’ lives. We know this means you are exercising great faith, for we are taught that, “For if there be no faith among the children of men, God can do no miracle among them; therefore he showed not himself until after their faith.” (Ether 12:12) We are confident that in the months and years to come we will continue to see greater miracles and blessings within the bounds of this mission. Faith truly is the Power.

As we come together as fellow missionaries from the Kobe and Hiroshima missions, we are reminded of the importance of being unified in this work. When we, as missionaries and a mission, are united with our Father in Heaven, the Savior and the Holy Spirit in this work, we will be endowed with Power and Authority to bring people unto Christ and further establish the church in this land. This is our purpose as missionaries!

The first step to becoming unified with our Father in Heaven and the Savior is to keep the personal covenants we have made with them. Elder Holland taught,

“The key to the work is the keeping of covenants by individuals…It is then when an entire mission is united by the strength of every missionary’s integrity, every missionary’s covenant keeping –That is when we move mountains. When there is so much unity and power, and endowment from heaven, coming to every individual in the mission, then nothing can stop the work from progressing.”

So the first step to further unifying our mission, is to be sure we are keeping our covenants as individuals, and that means being exactly obedient to the commandments and mission rules. Obedience is the price. Obedience gives us access to the guidance of the Spirit. And the Spirit is the Key to conversion and revelation.

To further understand how we can become more unified with the Godhead and as a mission in this work, allow me to share with you how the Godhead is unified yet remain distinct individuals. (I paraphrase from the Articles of Faith by Talmage)

The Godhead is unified in Attributes, Powers and Purposes. They are one in Love, Knowledge and Mercy. They are united in all things.
- The mind of any member of the Godhead is the mind of the others.
- They see and understand alike.
- Under any given circumstance they would act in the same way.
- They are guided by the same principles of unerring justice and equity.
- Yet they are distinct individuals with unique roles.

The unity of the Godhead is further evident in the following scriptures which represent the purpose or mission of each individual member of the Godhead.

Heavenly Father: (Moses 1:39)
For behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

The Son, The Savior, Jesus Christ: (3 Nephi 27:13-15)
…I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men, even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they by evil. And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore according to the power of the Father, I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.
(We can only obtain immortality and eternal life by coming unto Christ through faith in His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.)

The Holy Ghost: (See D&C 20:27, John 14:26, 2 Nephi 33:1)
The mission of the Holy Ghost is to bear witness (testify, bear record) of the Father and the Son and of truth, to teach all things, to bring man to a remembrance of who he is and his divine potential. The Holy Ghost leads us or teaches us to come unto Christ.

Our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. Our purpose as missionaries is perfectly aligned with the purposes of the Godhead. As we understand and strive to fulfill our purpose as missionaries, we become one with the Savior in this work.

Our Heavenly Father has provided a way for His children to return home to Him. That way is in and through Christ. “…There is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold He is the light of the world. Behold he is the word of truth and righteousness.” (Alma 38:9) Christ is the Reason!

To become more unified in this work, we should focus on Christ and His atonement. We should acquire His attributes. We should focus on the Savior in all that we do.

For we labor diligently to write to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do…and we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophecy of Christ…that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. (2 Nephi 25:23,26)

We should submit our will unto the Savior as He submitted His will unto the Father. When we become one with the Savior, we will be one with the Father. And the Holy Ghost will be our constant companion and one with us. In his great intercessory prayer, the Savior commands us to be one as He is one with the Father, that men may believe that He is the Savior.

That they all may be one as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they may also be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (See John 17)

As we focus on the Savior and His Atonement and strive to be more like Him by developing the Christ like attributes, we will also become more united with our companions, mission leaders and the members.

So, as we move forward as the New Japan Kobe Mission, we can become more unified as a mission by focusing on the following two things. We must first be obedient and true to our covenants as individual missionaries. This will keep us worthy of the Spirit and unite us as individuals with the Savior and give us the guidance of the Spirit.
Second, we must be united as missionaries and as a mission in our purpose, powers and attributes. Our purpose is clear, invite others to come unto Christ! We fulfill our purpose by following the principles taught in the scriptures and Preach My Gospel (Our Doing). We can be united in our attributes by focusing on developing the attributes of Christ (Our Being). As we do these things, we will begin to see and understand alike, we will see how God sees. Our actions and attitudes will be aligned with the Savior’s. And in any given circumstance, we will act as the Savior would act or as He would desire us to act. As we do these things and develop these attributes we will truly be one as a mission and one with the Savior in this work. And with this unity comes power from Heaven, and the work will move forward at a miraculous pace. Of this I can promise and testify in His name, even Jesus Christ, amen.

You are the greatest and this is the greatest mission! We are honored to be one with you in this work!
President and Sister McIntyre

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