Monday, April 10, 2017

Mission Leadership April 2017


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Love Expressed in the Lord's Way

To the Missionaries of the Great Texas Houston Mission,

We loved Elder Palmer's talk in the recent General Conference. He spoke of a the interaction between the Savior and the young rich ruler. He mentioned that after the young ruler had approached the Savior, Jesus beheld him and loved him. Ironically, it was as a consequence of this feeling of love that He felt for the young ruler that the Savior asks more of him by saying:

"One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” (Mark 10:17-21)

It is interesting to consider that one of the great manifestations of the Savior's love is that as we draw nearer to Him,  He asks MORE of us rather than less. Elder Holland reaffirms this in his talk when he indicated that the Savior's invitation is to "come as you are, but don't expect to stay as you are." In PMG, ch 11, we read that we too can show "love for the people and your faith in God's promises by following up to help them repent and keep their commitments." (p. 196)

Upon reflecting on the process of building our faith and the faith in those we love, I have been reminded of my first experience going to the gym after my mission. I quickly realized how much strength I had lost and began the process of building strength back up. For muscle to grow, two things have have to happen:

1. Muscles need to experience stress/tension
2. This stress needs to damage the muscle so that it can be built back up or repaired

If you want this process to happen faster, you have to lift more weight. There is one critical requirement that has to be present to protect you from injury if you are going to lift heavier weight: you need to have a "spotter". A spotter is a person who is there only to help you be successful. They don't necessarily touch the weight if they don't need to, but they are there to make sure you succeed. A good spotter will push you beyond what you think you can do because they know what your objective is and they want to help you achieve it. He will hold you accountable

The process of building muscle is very similar to the process of building faith. In Ether we read that "you receive no witness until after the trial ("stress") of your faith" (Ether 12:6). Similarly we read Lehi's council to Jacob who suffered some "stresses" of his faith when Lehi says of Jacob's afflictions that God will, "consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain." (2 Ne 2:3)

None of us come into this work with faith that is sufficient to do God's work. Consequently, He sees the need to stress our faith in hopes of helping it grow. The first step of this is to "damage" the faith that we have which is usually faith in ourselves so He can build our faith back up; a faith that is in Him rather than in us. This sometimes a painful process. Sometimes the natural man in each of us resents the process. Mercifully the Lord has given us "spotters" in our mission to help us succeed in building our faith. These spotters are trainers, district leaders, STLs, ZLs and Sister Mortensen and me. The Savior Himself is the ultimate spotter. All of these missionaries are here to help you build faith; the kind of faith necessary that Joseph Smith taught was necessary unto life and salvation. This happens as Invitations, in the forms of commitments, are extended and followed up on. For our faith to grow however, it requires the sacrifice of all things (Lectures on Faith 6:5).

If we understand that the Lord wants to build within us the kind of faith that endures, are we going to resent the process? Will we resent the spotters who are in place to help us succeed? In Paul's words, "God forbid". We ought to embrace the process, embrace the accountability and give all that we have to accept and keep commitments so our faith can endure well beyond the mission field.

We love the great faith we see in you collectively and individually. We all need to allow the Lord to help our faith grow and continue to draw even nearer to Him as more is asked of us!

We love you and are honored to serve with you in this great mission!

President and Sister Mortensen

The following pictures were taken at Mission Leadership Council last Tuesday.

Monday, April 3, 2017

General Conference is the Best!

To the Missionaries of the Great Texas Houston Mission,

What a wonderful time of year it is to have the opportunity to hear from prophets and apostles as well as other church leaders. We hope you were inspired by the messages of this weekend. We also hope you took great notes. We would like you to be prepared to share the messages that made the greatest impact on you at zone meetings this upcoming week.

March has been another great month in our mission. It is a tribute to your sustained efforts that is related to your growing faith and commitment to the Lord. We thought of you when we listened to Sister Joy D. Jones speak. She spoke of "spiritual integrity." She defined this as living consistent with your vision. We can't think of any group with whom we have ever been associated that has had greater spiritual integrity than the missionaries in this mission. You know the vision and the goals, but more importantly, you are living your lives in ways that allows the Lord to bless you consistent with that vision.

We love you and are honored to be serving with you!


President and Sister Mortensen

Elder Vickers is an awesome District Leader

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