Tag Archive for: faith

The Road to 200…

“Can it be done?” asked the missionary.
“That’s a stretch” was the reply.
Nevertheless, the goal was set.

Finding

Every week, finding new people with which to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is a challenge.

Missionary work is finding people, teaching them and helping them to come unto Christ.

Since 2017 in Belgium and the Netherlands non-religious people have been in the majority.

Indeed, recent censuses show that those following no religious belief is increasing.

Its tough out there!
And yet we try.
Our previous best, 10% shy of the new goal, was achieved with a seasoned group of experienced missionaries.
Things change, our mission is now made up of youthful inexperience, yet aflame with a fire of faith.

Impossible?

The scriptures are replete with examples where the Lord employs the unlikely to achieve the impossible.
Could it happen again?
“And he said, the things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” – Luke 18:27
Faith is a principle of action and power.
I know that struggles yield learning and growth.

Momentum

And so, with obedience, prayer, inner belief and frankly, a lot of effort, the missionaries went to work, with all their heart, might, mind and strength.
Momentum started to build.
Hour by hour, day by day, miracles happened.
One by one, clutching a Book of Mormon, missionaries spoke with everyone they met.
Here’s just one example.
By mid-week, I received a message from Kate, Emily, Anna and Grace.
They’d been working their socks off all day in Amsterdam and online.
The result, that day, they found 32 people themselves.
By Friday afternoon the mission goal was done.
By this morning, it was completely smashed.
A remarkable week! How could that happen?
President Russell M. Nelson taught that as we increase our faith in Jesus Christ, focus on eternity and build our strength and courage in Him, miracles happen as we acknowledge the Hand of the Lord.
And they did!
How have you seen the hand of the Lord in your life?

Hope

Recently I was asked “How do you build hope?”
There are many compelling reasons to lose hope at the moment.
We may lose hope because the future for the world in general or for ourselves personally – looks increasingly bleak.
We can lose hope because it seems there are no solutions, there is no way out, or perhaps no escape from the challenges ahead.
Is that your reality?
I believe there is great hope for everyone…
Hope is “the anticipated fulfilment of a desire, to expect with confidence.”
For me, hope is the antidote for despair.
Working with missionaries every day I find that when we have hope, we trust in God’s promises.
Dieter F Uchtdorf said: “Hope is one leg of a 3-legged stool, together with faith and charity. These three stabilize our lives regardless of the rough or uneven surfaces we might encounter at the time. The scriptures are clear and certain about the importance of hope. The Apostle Paul taught that the scriptures were written to the end that we “might have hope.”
In a recent Zone Conference I used a 3-legged stool to reinforce this principle even further.
See Moroni 7:33, 40-43, 47-48 in the Book of Mormon.
Hope will always lighten our load and it strengthens our resolve to succeed.
Here are some ideas to build hope…
– Work on your self-discipline
– Focus on the positive
– Identify and challenge any negative beliefs
– Take care of yourself -physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually
– Surround yourself with hopeful people and environments
– Celebrate even the smallest of victories.
How are faith, hope and charity like a 3-legged stool?
What do you need to do to develop them?

Fires and Flames of Faith

A few days ago, 12 new missionaries arrived at Schiphol Airport.

Their flame of faith aglow, spiritually they were on fire!

Each of them with a burning desire to share their knowledge, eager to communicate gospel truths by talking to everyone.

Years of preparation and several weeks in the Missionary Training Centre (MTC) fanned their flame of faith.

‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,’ (Mark 16:15) ‘for ye shall … [witness of] me … unto the uttermost part of the earth,’ (Acts 1:8).”

Fire

“For a piece of wood to catch fire, it must first be heated to a temperature at which it ignites, then burns by itself. The initial heating requires energy from outside. When it is ignited, it becomes self-sustaining and gives beneficial light and heat.” – Richard G. Scott

Having been around the new missionaries for a few days this week, their flame has certainly been ignited.  Just like their other missionary colleagues, they’re now providing “beneficial light and heat” to many people throughout Belgium and the Netherlands.

Your own fire of faith may be small, but I know that making principled choices, brings greater confidence in God, and then your faith will grow.

Flames of Faith

Never let your fire of faith be quenched.

How we choose to live our lives, can either increase or diminish our faith.

If its diminishing, don’t despair.

A flame of faith can grow from a tiny spark.

Missionaries come to ignite the flame of faith in some and rekindle the flickering flame of faith in others.

“First and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe.”—Jeffrey R. Holland

Missionaries can help you fan the flame of your flickering faith, and catch fire, even if you feel lonely, like an isolated ember.

My experience is that embers burn much brighter and glow stronger when they are closer together.

Come and join us.

Keep your spiritual flame burning brightly.

Why not reach out to one of our new missionaries today and let them rekindle your flame of faith and ignite your fire.

Connections

You are not Alone.
Despite having a companion, sometimes I am confronted by the fact that missionaries can feel alone.
Serving in a foreign land, far from home, with a different language and culture can create feelings of homesickness.
It is not easy for some as they wrestle with loneliness and discouragement.
Being homesick isn’t at all bad.
It is natural after all to miss those you love most.
Similarly, it is natural to miss the familiar places you know best, where you feel safe and secure.
Being disconnected can and does bring feelings of loneliness.

Connections

And in my experience, connection is something we all strive for in our lives.
Missionaries, however, always have many people for them to connect with.
Knowing that people love and care, is so important.
Parents, siblings, other family and friends are only a call away via technology or regular mail.
More especially, mission leaders, companions and many other missionaries are always on hand to connect with.
And most of all, there are two people always willing to connect with us, at all times and in all places, no matter what we may be going through, namely Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Each of us, can always turn to Them.
They know us, personally.
Jesus Christ has said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18).

Overcoming Loneliness

Gordon B. Hinckley said, “I believe that for most of us the best medicine for loneliness is work, service in behalf of others”.
We read in Proverbs, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7).
Listening ears and an understanding heart comes for missionaries and for you and me), as they take time, to serve, to slow down, to study, to talk and to pray together.
Recently, I have enjoyed doing just that with many missionaries.
Making time for those special connections, really does make a difference.
Who can you connect with today?

Step by Step

The dictionary says that to walk means to move along on foot or advance by steps.
In life, people take many kinds of walks.
As we walk, we advance 𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒑 𝒃𝒚 𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒑.
The greatest of life’s rewards coming from walking along the right paths.
Jesus Christ recommended the strait and narrow way that leads to eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14).
We are encouraged to become like Him, “to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:6).
Becoming like Jesus Christ will not happen in an instant, it happens gradually, 𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒑 𝒃𝒚 𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒑.
He will guide us in our walk, at the right speed, in the right direction.
As we walk, we learn to control our thoughts and behaviour.
It takes time, maybe even an entire lifetime and beyond.
It requires daily work and daily effort.
Small steps in the right direction can sometimes turn out to be the biggest steps in our life.
All it takes, is one small step.
Becoming like Him is a slow, steady, and sure process.
The Apostle Paul taught, “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Having faith in Jesus Christ will help us move forward, even if we’re unsure of the next step.
Step by step, inspiration will come.
Step 1, say to yourself, “I can follow Him.”
Step 2, speak to a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It is a process you can start today, one step at a time.
Answers are only one step away.

People May Wonder

– Who is Jesus Christ? How can He help me and my family?
– What does it mean to have faith in Jesus Christ?
– How can having faith in Him bless my life?
– What does it mean to repent?
– How can I feel God’s peace and forgiveness after I’ve made bad choices?
– What is the purpose of baptism?
– What is the gift of the Holy Ghost?
– What does it mean to endure to the end?
𝑯𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒘𝒐𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒆𝒅?
All of these questions and more are answered in the third lesson taught by our missionaries in “The Gospel of Jesus Christ”
Why not speak to one of the many missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, today.
Answers are only a conversation away.

People May Wonder

– What is the purpose of life?
– Where did I come from?
– Is there a God who cares about me?
– How can I feel that He cares?
– How can I believe in God when so many bad things happen?
– Why is life so hard sometimes?
– How can I find strength during these times?
– How can I become a better person?
– What happens after I die?
𝑯𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒘𝒐𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒆𝒅?
All of these questions and more are answered in the second lesson taught by our missionaries in “Heavenly Father’s Plan of Salvation”
Why not speak to one of the many missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, today.
Answers are only a conversation away.

Nuts and Bolts

The phrase “nuts and bolts” means all the basic components, the fundamentals, no matter how big or small, that are part of the essentials to complete a task or activity.
In essence – nuts and bolts hold everything together.
The phrase has been running through my head for a while.
The nuts and bolts of missionary work are the basic components, the fundamentals, the essentials to complete our tasks.
A couple of weeks ago, at Zone Conferences (when upwards of 50 – 60 missionaries come together once a transfer for instruction) I spoke specifically on four of the fundamental principles of missionary work – the core nuts and bolts, if you will.
Each missionary was issued with a bolt and 4 nuts, to make the analogy feel real.
The bolt – represented themselves.
Each nut represented a core principle.

Core Principles

1 – 𝑷𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒄𝒉 𝑴𝒚 𝑮𝒐𝒔𝒑𝒆𝒍 – 𝑺𝒆𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒅 𝑬𝒅𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏. Since its publication, like many of the missionaries I have enjoyed my daily study in Preach My Gospel. President Russell M. Nelson said ““Our charge is much more than just inviting people to join the Church. We want each one to become a fully truly converted disciple of Jesus Christ and to follow Him, now and forever”.
2 – 𝑼𝒔𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒄𝒓𝒊𝒑𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒆𝒔, 𝒆𝒔𝒑𝒆𝒄𝒊𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒚 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑩𝒐𝒐𝒌 𝒐𝒇 𝑴𝒐𝒓𝒎𝒐𝒏. Marcus B. Nash said “The mandate for each missionary to search the scriptures is clear and unequivocal, for searching the scriptures brings to them the power of God. It does the same for anyone regardless of their age and experience.”
3 – 𝑭𝒐𝒍𝒍𝒐𝒘 𝑳𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝑷𝒓𝒐𝒑𝒉𝒆𝒕𝒔. It’s important that we follow the right voice in a world full of wrong voices. That right voice is God’s voice, and He speaks to us through His living prophets and apostles.
4 – 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑮𝒊𝒇𝒕 𝒐𝒇 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑯𝒐𝒍𝒚 𝑮𝒉𝒐𝒔𝒕. The gift of the Holy Ghost is the privilege – given to people who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, been baptized, and been confirmed as members of the Church. He will guide, teach and comfort us.

Actions

After explaining each principle and the ensuing discussion, each missionary tightly fastened their nuts and bolt together.
As the nuts tightened, thread by thread, symbolically each missionary was strengthening and securing themselves to Jesus Christ, as each core principle was riveted into their mind through their actions.
I know that true joy comes through our daily actions of study, pondering, reflection and prayer, as we fasten ourselves, thread by thread to Jesus Christ.
The world is changing whether you like it or not.  Are you?
How can you fasten yourself to Jesus Christ?

Letters to President

Are you excited when you receive a letter?
Every week, I receive letters from many of the missionaries serving throughout Belgium and the Netherlands.
In my time as a young missionary 40 years ago, serving in London, they arrived by post. Now, they arrive by email every P-Day (Preparation Day) – a Tuesday.
I am always excited to read their letters and hear about all that is going on in the mission field.
They share personal stories, challenges, spiritual insights and respond to several questions such as the following:

Questions

• Please share a few successes and/or challenges from your efforts to fulfil your missionary purpose this past week.
• During the past week, did you feel joy and satisfaction in your work?
• How united did you feel with your companion(s) this past week?
• What is one area you can focus on this coming week to more closely follow the principles in Missionary Standards for Disciples of Jesus Christ?
• Did you participate in any companion exchanges this past week?
• Are there any physical or emotional health, safety, or security challenges that you would like to share?
• Is there anything happening at home or with your family that you would like to share?
• Is there anything else you would like to share?
• During the past month, how have you seen the hand of the Lord in your work?

Responding

Yesterday, I spent most of my day, reading and responding to many letters.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time understanding all that is happening throughout the mission.
After 2 years of reading letters, I am constantly thrilled to learn about the many divine experiences that happen week in, week out through the ministering efforts of these young missionaries.
Their sincerity, their faith in Jesus Christ, their spiritual insights, their drive and determination is real.
The Lords’ hand is in the details of their work, every single day.
If you haven’t spoken with one of our young missionaries, then now is the time to reach out and listen.
Many of the messages in their letters to me are filled with miraculous experiences and wonders galore.
Yes – miracles happen in our day, every day.
If you allow them to, missionaries can help you slow down and see His hand in your life too.
You may not receive a weekly letter from them as I do, but the message they’ll share with you is equally as potent and powerful.
Go on, reach out to a missionary today and ask them to share a message with you… I know you won’t regret it! 🙂

Faith precedes the Miracle

𝐏𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐇𝐚𝐫𝐯𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠
Over the course of the last 2 years, we have made many friends in Belgium and the Netherlands.
One of my new dear friends, is Melina. With her husband Michiel, they run a farm where they grow sugarbeets, wheat, Belgian endives and onions.
I love reading their posts on Facebook and Instagram.
In my personal study this morning, I got to thinking about planting and harvesting.
There is if you will, in planting and harvesting a design, a method, a sequence, a system, an order, a pattern.
It’s a simple one.
𝐖𝐞 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐭, 𝒃𝒆𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝐰𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐯𝐞𝐬𝐭.
Mingled with lots and lots of hard work in between.
And so, it is with 𝐟𝐚𝐢𝐭𝐡.

Faith precedes the Miracle

In his book Faith Precedes the Miracle, Spencer W. Kimball taught; “In faith we plant the seed, and soon we see the miracles of the blossoming. Men have often misunderstood and have reversed the process. They would have the harvest 𝒃𝒆𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒆 the planting, the reward 𝒃𝒆𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒆 the service, the miracle 𝒃𝒆𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒆 the faith. Even the most demanding labour unions would hardly ask the wages before the labour. But many of us would have the vigour without observing the health laws, prosperity through the opened windows of heaven without the payment of our tithes. We would have the close communion with our Father without fasting and praying; we would have the rain in due season and peace in the land without observing the Sabbath and keeping the other commandments of the Lord. We would pluck the rose before planting the roots; we would harvest the grain before sowing and cultivating.”
Melina and Michiel are amongst some of the hardest working people I know.
They understand that faith is a principle of action and power.
Although faith is a gift, it must be cultured and sought after until it grows from one tiny seed into a marvellous harvest.
Remember the order, through exercising our faith, first we plant, we work hard, 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒏 comes the harvest.
What harvests have you seen as you have exercised your faith and gone to work?