Monday, April 1, 2013

Goodbye to Elder and Sister Pankratz

After completing the second of two missions here in the Belgium Netherlands Mission as a Senior Couple, Elder and Sister Pankratz returned to their family and home in Utah on Thursday, March 28, 2013.  The Pankratz were the Mission Office couple and there are few, if any, finer missionaries than the Pankratz.  They fulfilled their responsibility with integrity, love and missionary enthusiasm.  We love them and will  miss them greatly.  All missionaries, all senior couples and President and Sister Robinson send our love and deepest thanks and gratitude for all you have done for us individually and the Mission collectively.

President, Sister Robinson, Elder Pankratz, Sister Pankratz

On a personal note:  We love the Pankratz more than words can express and are indebted to the Pankratz eternally. They have done something for us that we could not do ourselves.  As Bishop, Elder Pankratz was instrumental in the reactivation of our daughter and her husband.  As their Bishop, he helped them with the Temple Prep classes and were with us when our daughter and her husband were sealed in the Jordan River Temple. What a blessing to watch our little grandson be sealed to his parents.  Both Elder and Sister Pankratz were an answer to our prayers and have done so much to help our family be a
Forever Family.  It has been our honor and privilege to serve side by side with them in the Belgium Netherlands Mission. They are 'salt of the earth' Saints!  We desire for you and your family great joy, love and eternal blessings for your service.

President's Weekly Letter #29

(1 Nephi 18:1)

Belgium/Netherlands Mission


Mission Vision

Formation of a 5th Stake.  The new 5th Stake in our Mission will consist of 6 strong Wards plus Branches.  It will provide new leadership opportunities to the members and become a base that accelerates member support of other members, temple work and it will be a center of strength from which missionaries can operate.  It will have sufficient numbers of Melchizedek Priesthood holders, tithe payers and active members to function properly and offer all necessary church programs.  Resulting from growth in the existing 4 Stakes, the 5th Stake will be formed from splitting units out of the existing 4 Stakes, yet leaving the existing 4 Stakes, likewise, healthy and functioning.

Each missionary, in the missionary force supporting the 5 Stakes, will be an effective and highly skilled missionary, who has repeatedly practiced, studied, exercised and re-trained to have internalized his or her skills.  Each will excel from his or her thorough knowledge and use of Preach My Gospel.  Each will understand and master the basic techniques to effectively work with people.  Each will be personable, diligent, obedient, hard working and humble servants who are in tune with the spirit.  Each will teach clearly and testify convincingly to motivate all with whom they come in contact.  The missionaries will:

Be Personally Converted.  They will study, serve and strive to move forward in becoming like the Savior and attaining excellence in missionary work.  Through experiencing and witnessing effects of the atonement, they will grow into stalwart saints, great leaders and future loving parents.

Gather in the elect of God. Using Preach My Gospel, they will reap a great harvest as they Plan by the Spirit, Find by the Spirit and Teach by the Spirit those honest seekers of truth – inviting them to accept the gospel, be baptized and to enjoy its blessings.  Each companionship will average one baptism per month.

Establish Zion in Belgium and the Netherlands.  They will coordinate their efforts together with members and work in unity with focus and power.  Under the presiding authority and direction of the Stake Presidents, Bishops or Branch Presidents, they will teach new members and invite less active members to return to feel the spirit and the love of the Lord again and gain the blessings of Eternal Life.  They will assist members to accomplish the member’s objectives in the Stake, Ward or Branch mission plans and, with care and member support, they will contact and teach member referrals.

Mission Purpose

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. (Preach My Gospel, p. 1)

Mission Values

·      Faith in Jesus Christ
·      Hope
·      Charity and Love
·      Virtue
·      Knowledge
·      Patience
·      Humility
·      Diligence and Obedience motivated by Love of God and Fellowmen
(Preach My Gospel, chapter 6)

Mission Plans

The overall  Mission Plan is – Support the Stake, Ward and District mission plans. (Preach My Gospel, chapter 13)  These Plans were prepared by the local leaders who have the keys for missionary work in their areas.  In this simple, one point Plan, missionaries perform what the local leaders ask as they support and help the members achieve the members’ missionary objectives. The Mission President has the keys to the work of the missionaries.  So, in addition, Zone and District Conferences and Trainings regularly provide Plans made up of ideas, instruction, roll plays and actions to improve effectiveness or other aspects of missionary work.  Companionship weekly and daily planning should be carried out in accordance with these Plans and Chapter 8 of Preach My Gospel.  Plans to create personal or group progress should be followed in your daily activities.  Plans should be specific and focused on people and their progress and be tied to goals and assessment of progress. Plans must always move you toward the personal or group vision and the common Mission Vision. 

Mission Goals

Goal 1:  Maintain 3-5 progressing investigator groups each week in the teaching pool of every companionship, thus increasing the likelihood of 1 baptism per month per companionship.

Goal 2:  Study and identify improvement to internalize One Christ-like Attribute each week (Preach My Gospel, chapter 6) by every missionary thus increasing personal conversion.

These 2 mission goals should be accepted as a personal goal by every missionary.  Other possible goals set by missionaries are unlimited in number but should help achieve the 2 Mission goals.  You should set inspired goals to fit your specific needs such as personal progress or companionship performance based on Plans presented in Zone and District Conferences and Trainings.  Always set and pursue goals for finding, teaching, language, learning, worthiness personal and companionship improvement, etc.  Set weekly and daily proselyting goals in your companionship following Chapter 8 of Preach My Gospel.  Use the daily planner to record and track goals.  Goal-setting ideally involves establishing specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-targeted (S.M.A.R.T.) objectives.  Goal are frequently small manageable steps.  Goals should always be in alignment with and take you toward the personal or group vision and the common Mission Vision.


Individual Accountability is fundamental in God’s eternal plan.  Approach your goal setting and planning with the idea that you will account for your efforts to your mission leaders and the Lord through prayer.  Accept full responsibility for your efforts.  Never blame others for difficult circumstances or lack of progress.  Individual accountability brings power and is the crowning action to the whole process.

President's Weekly Letter #30

(1 Nephi 18:1)

Belgium/Netherlands Mission

(Part 1)

On March 14 & 15, 2013 we held Zone Conferences in the Mission.  The theme of the conference was “Make It Real” meaning; learning and using some basic people relations skills to personally connect with others and assist them to connect with you.  Although it is the spirit that converts, your ability to work with and interact with people will improve their chances to feel and be motivated to follow the spirit’s promptings. Becoming real with people will enhance your ability to meet the following mandate:

 “Missionaries must teach clearly and testify convincingly to motivate all with whom we come in contact”   Elder Russell M. Nelson

You are working every day as set-apart, commissioned ambassadors of Jesus Christ and the Church.  People see the Church when they interact with you.  It is essential to learn and develop the ability to be: clean-cut, likable, interesting, friendly, vulnerable, humble, fun and enthusiastic and to have humor.  If you are these things, people will be much more likely to want to spend time with you.  Members will be much more likely to trust you with their referrals.  Mastering these attributes is a learned behavior.  Those who interact with people this way were not simply born that way; they have learned and developed these skills.  These skills are not only successful in missionary work but also are life skills for success.

Stuffing the Funnel.  Out of the 18-20 million people in our mission, you start people in the funnel or the teaching pool when they agree to listen to our message.  The width of the funnel indicates the number of people in the funnel.  As you teach and help people in the funnel progress toward baptism, the funnel narrows because, sadly, some people do not continue to baptism at the end of the funnel.  It follows that the more people you start in the funnel, the higher the chances of baptism.  If each companionship were to contact on average only about 4 people per hour during actual proselyting time, they would contact 1,000 people each transfer.  Through this goal of street contacting plus referrals you will maintain 3-5 progressing investigator groups in the teaching pool.

Member Referrals.  New converts have family, friends, associates and neighbors who become a great resource for new contacts.  The mission averages about 60 progressing investigators per week.  We would have 120 to 200 progressing investigators per week if each  companionship maintained 3-5 progressing groups.  A large percentage of the 60 come from member referrals.  Therefore, you are more likely to increase the teaching pool by working with members and new members.

Memorize Lessons.  You have repeatedly been admonished to know frontwards and backwards the lessons in PMG.  In order to teach clearly and testify convincingly you simply must know the doctrinal points and scriptures in the lessons.  Our Mission Vision includes:   

“Each missionary will be an effective and highly skilled missionary, who has repeatedly practiced, studied, exercised and re-trained to have internalized his or her skills.  Each will excel from his or her thorough knowledge and use of Preach My Gospel.”

PMG states, regarding your method of teaching people:

Teach according to “…the needs of the investigator and the direction of the Spirit.  Do not memorize the entire lesson. (p. vii)

“…the lessons do not tell you everything to say - or how to say it.  Instead, you are responsible to thoroughly understand the lessons and teach by the Spirit in your own words.” (p. 19)

“It is essential to learn the missionary lessons but these should not be taught by rote presentation.  The missionary should feel free to use his own words as prompted by the Spirit.” (p. 175)

Since it is “essential to learn and thoroughly understand the missionary lessons”, I am asking that you memorize parts of the lessons so that you know the doctrinal points and efficient, simple ways to express them.  I am not asking you to teach with memorized presentations.  Memorization takes more work and effort than simply reading parts of PMG before teaching, but your teaching effectiveness will dramatically increase when you memorize the material.  Elders and Sisters doing this have reported immediate:  better Dutch, more unity in teaching, more focus on lesson concepts while teaching, better coverage of the doctrinal points in lessons and better confidence and capacity to participate by young missionaries.

If you want to become very good at what you do, you must master teaching PMG lessons.  Remember, this is a marathon not a sprint.  It is not a panic and you should not chase fads but stay steady and consistent in your study habits, while you work on this to get it done.
President Robinson