Wednesday, May 15, 2013

President's Weekly Letter #33

(1 Nephi 18:1)

Belgium/Netherlands Mission


People have always sought to be happy.  They argue politically over what will bring happiness; wars have been fought over people’s search for happiness.  Before the feast of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour was come.  He introduced the ordinance of washing of the feet and with it the key to happiness.  The washing is symbolic of the affects of the atonement on all of God’s children.  Also, the washing is the simple key to that happiness for which man has searched.

4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5 After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to awash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded…
10 Jesus saith… He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean
12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.  (John 13)

This event is rich in symbolism.  There are a multitude of sermons taught here by the Savior, but the principle of service to others and the happiness that comes there from is unavoidable.  As missionaries, we have the privilege to spend every waking hour in the service of people we contact, investigators and members.  Service can be physical acts of service or simply offering support and instruction which is much more effective after connecting with people.

On 9 April 2013, President Hulleman trained the Apeldoorn Zone missionaries how to best assist him and his members in the Apeldoorn Stake to achieve their missionary assignments.  It was a remarkable message.  The central theme to his plan for missionaries is to lift members from where they are now by visiting a member daily, encourage members to spiritual growth, to follow Christ and to encourage them to find the one in missionary work.  His counsel would be beneficial to every missionary in the mission:

“Connecting with people is the key to success on missions and in life.  The old adage, ‘Seek to understand, then seek to be understood’, still applies.  But, be sensitive and do not push in where you are not welcome.  Develop people skills and teaching skills. 

I guarantee every member in the stake has a wayward kid, not enough money, troubled marriage, poor health, not enough time, etc., etc.  Understand them, help them with their problems, teach a message, etc.  It will endear you to them.  Then they will feed you referrals as a friend.

Connect with people.  Before asking for referrals, find out what is going on in their life, their worries and what makes them tick.  Ask people questions and learn about their make-up; then try to help them with their problems.

Set aside “what’s in it for me” (your need for gain) and just serve the members in their needs.  It doesn’t take hours.  This is an attitude shift.  Love them.  Encourage their youth.

Ask, “How would you like us to help you with your missionary work?”  If they trust you and feel you are in there for them, you will see miracles. 

Indirect missionary work is more effective in this country than direct missionary work.  Don’t hit them so hard and direct to give referrals.  Just do it with faith and trust the Lord will provide you with referrals.

Elder Holland said, “Trust Heavenly Father.  Let go of being in control and trust him.  It is about faith in Jesus Christ.  Trust with your heart, disconnect your head.”

Be happy with small and simple successes.  Celebrate the small and simple things.  The secret to life and a mission is dealing with differences and connecting with people.” (President Hulleman, 9 April 2013)

Human relations are a fascinating thing.  I am always impressed with the guy who has the magnetic personality, who seems to get along with everyone and appears endearing to everyone.  It is easy to see some of his outward attributes that make him that way.  Luckily, you and I do not have to be him to be successful on a mission or in life.  Someone once said that if two of us are exactly alike, then one of us would not be necessary.  Our diversity is our strength.  While you work to improve your skills to connect with people and to be the best you that you can be; be who you are, not someone you are not.

Relationships are not built on mechanics but sincere human interaction. It is the human connection that counts, both with investigators and members.  The principles taught by the Savior and reinforced by President Hulleman and ‘Being Real’ in Zone Conference are intended to assist you to connect with people with a few simple mechanics, but it is important to open your heart, love them and extend yourself to them.  President Robinson

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