To the Missionaries of the Great Texas Houston Mission,
One of the great messages we read in Isaiah 55 is the Lord's statement:
8 ¶For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
In the Book of Mormon, King Benjamin teaches his people a similar principle first by teaching them to "trust in the Lord" (Mos 4:6) and then to: "believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend." (v.9)
Elders and Sisters, why is this being taught? Often the Lord commands us to do things that are contrary to our natural tendencies and desires, but commands us to do them for our eternal benefit. Until we have "eyes to see," we will continue to struggle with submitting our will to the Lord's, but once we do, we will find joy in our journeys.
No where is this more evident in missionary work than in the challenge to find. We don't know where the "prepared" live and we don't know how many live in our area. The Lord simply asks us to seek them out. It is a difficult task. One that requires a recognition of our nothingness and an acknowledgment of our need to turn to Him for aid. It also requires great discipline/discipleship.
Paul learned this important lesson in his missionary journeys. In a moment of weakness, in 2 Cor 12, Paul asked the Lord three times to ease the burdens that He suffered. Strangely, the Lord said no and explained to Paul His wisdom in allowing Paul to struggle when He says:
9 ...My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
Understanding that this part of the way to experience God's power work through him, Paul's perspective on his burdens changes and he says:
"Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
Paul came to understand the blessings and wisdom of being permitted to struggle and it changed the way he viewed the difficulty of his circumstances allowing to take "pleasure" in them instead of resenting them.
In summary, Elders and Sisters, there is a statement found in ch 6 of PMG under the Christ-like attribute of Diligence that says: "When you are diligent, you find joy and satisfaction in your work." One of the great ironies of this work is that the harder we work and the more obedient we become (attributes very contrary to our natural desires), we find greater joy and fulfillment in the work.
We hope each "thrust in your sickle with all your souls" that your sins might be forgiven (D&C 31:5) and that you will lay "up in store" and perisheth not, but bring "salvation" to your souls (D&C 4:4). We could wish for no greater blessing for each of you.
We love you and are so grateful for this time to serve together!
President and Sister Mortensen
Mark Owen Vickers
3:55 PM (5 hours ago)
Such a blessing to be here at this time helping the Lord with His work.
Emosi and Leni had a great wedding and baptism! (Not in that order haha)