…VAN EEN VERNUFTIGE MAKELIJ…
(1 Nephi 18:1)
OPERATION – BUILD A STAKE
Elder Kearon, a member of the first Quorum of Seventy visited our mission 2 weeks ago. It was an inspiring few days during which each of you had the opportunity to speak with him and hear his insight and council. Among other things, he counseled us to build the 40 stakes that have been prophesied to be in the mission. The Stake Presidents of the current 4 Stakes are counting on this. He left us with the haunting questions, “If not me, who?” and, “If not now, when?”
Elder Kearon loved our use of “The Rock” to remind us of our commitment to develop in ourselves attributes of Jesus Christ (See: van een vernuftige makelij n. 4). He knows this will be a lifetime project for us. He now has his own Rock. He was impressed how we are working with the Stakes and Wards to become one with them and help implement their local mission plans. He was pleased for the success this is beginning to realize. We should have more success as we follow direction by the Bishop or Branch President who has the keys to missionary work in the various areas. (See: van een vernuftige makelij n. 3). Elder Kearon told us how the faith of Elder Greer brought miracles of new families and new members when he was Branch President in England. He facilitated our planning to make something better happen after his visit than a few days of feeling good. He challenged us to raise our vision and increase our faith to rise above average. This week we kicked off the mission wide effort to do just that in Operation – Build a Stake.
The first step to grow from 4 to 40 Stakes is to grow Stake number 5. Stake number 5 will not be created independent from the existing 4; it will be divided off from the existing 4. After the division, all 5 Stakes must have at least 5 healthy wards plus Branches. After doing a little math and visiting with Elder Boom our Area Seventy, I determined we need to baptize or reactivate and retain 3 Wards, assuming 150 active members each, to make it statistically possible to create Stake number 5. If every companionship baptizes or reactivates 1 person each month for the next 12 months, we can realize the blessing for the Saints in the Belgium and Netherlands of Stake number 5.
Under the council and guidance of Elder Kearon, we have implemented a simple 3 step plan. Step 1 – Things I Do. (A mighty change of heart). This centers in things each of us will do to qualify for the blessing of increased success, including increase our consecration and faith, unite yourselves in fasting and prayer on 30 September 2012, focus on passion for the work and love for the people and finally working hard to achieve the success for which we are praying. Step 2 – Things We Do. (Strengthen thy Brethren). This includes through heartfelt service and assistance to Ward and Branch leaders and members we become one with them. They should begin to feel we are here to help them achieve their missionary aspirations and thereby receive a spirit of cooperation and friendship. Step 3 – Things We All Do. This Step will evolve as we do Steps 1 and 2. It will look different in each Unit, unique to the Unit’s own missionary plan and needs. It will involve working closely with members, training, follow-up, support and service.
Please re-read Luke 5:1-7. Simon had toiled all night fishing with no success, but at the Savior’s request they let down their nets again in the same area and enclosed a great multitude of fishes, so many their nets broke. Their partners came with another ship. Both ships were filled so full with fishes that they both began to sink. The metaphor here is obvious.
Elders and Sisters it is time for us to raise our sights. The Lord can improve our results when we have faith to expect more than mediocrity. We already average 150 baptisms per year. Why can’t we do 450? It is better to shoot for the moon and hit the stars than to shoot at a mud puddle and hit it. We are already working hard enough and are diligent enough. We need to know that with the Lord’s help we can do this and do it now. I refuse to think that we need a new Mission President before such success is possible or we need to wait for Salt Lake to send us better talent in missionaries. We are going to win the game with the players we have. We will do it by increasing our faith in Jesus Christ to deliver the success we desire for him. We will do it by being good at what we do; working as a team with the Savior and each other and putting forth consecrated effort. We will win the game if we win each possession. This requires focused and faithful attention to each opportunity we run across. Finally, let’s put a smile on our faces, look people in the eye and have fun doing this important work.