Wednesday, May 15, 2013

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

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