Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hastening the Work

Hastening the work has been on my mind a lot lately. Obviously, it is on the mind of church leadership. It is happening. I have pondered a lot how I can contribute to hastening the work. I am not a full time missionary, and I am very busy. Here are some of the thoughts I've had.

First, I want to share some verses of scripture that our Bishop shared on Sunday in sacrament meeting. Ezekiel 33:2-9...these verses speak about being watchmen on the tower that must raise the warning voice. Verse 7 says, "So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me." Then verse 9 says, "Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul." As our Bishop read these words, I was struck by how critical it is that those of us who have the gospel be willing to set an example and open our mouths and share it with others. In particular, two names popped into my head of people that I need to do a better job of sharing it with.

Some other thoughts about how I can help to hasten the work:

1. Teach my children the gospel and be diligent in having family prayer, scripture study and FHE. It is my responsiblity, each of our responsibilities, to prepare our children to be future missionaries. Our homes should be mini MTC's to prepare our children for missions and temple covenants.
Relief society training about making our homes into mini MTCs:
Mini MTC's
Here is the link to the Worldwide Hastening the Work training:
Hastening the Work
Some resources for FHE lessons about missionary work:
Catch the Wave
missionary work

2. I have felt so strongly that visiting teaching and home teaching is THE KEY to increasing missionary work in our ward. We have, for just over a year now, been part of a brand new mission where a set of elders is assigned to 1 or 2 wards and we have much greater responsibility for helping them find people to teach. In wards the size of ours here in Utah, that is challenging. (By that I mean that geographically our wards are very small.) Do able, but challenging. We have so many sisters that are members but are not currently participating fully in the gospel. I am trying to visit as many of them as I can, but it is impossible for me to visit all of them regularly. However, if every sister did her visiting teaching, if every sister prayed for those she is assigned to visit teach, if every sister showed love and genuine concern for those she visit taught, then every woman in our ward boundaries would feel loved by someone and would have the opportunity to have a positive contact with the church each month. I know that this alone would not bring all of them back. But I also know that many sisters within our ward boundaries have received two or less visits in the past year. If we want to rescue souls, they need to know they are loved. They need to know they are not forgotten. And if every sister were having positive contact monthly with the church, some of them would come back. Not all of them. But some of them would. The missionaries would have people to teach and work with. Our ward would be strengthened. And most importantly, lives would be changed. I am not a perfect visiting teacher, nor a perfect Relief Society President, but I am trying to be better. And I do feel deep in my soul that if we could help each person to catch this vision of what home teaching and visiting teaching are all about then the work would progress.

3. Open my mouth. Talk about church at work. Invite neighbors, those I visit teach and others to ward activities or to Relief Society Activities or even just to dinner at my home.

4. Help the Elders when I can. Feed them meals. Let them know about sisters I have visited that may be open to having the missionaries visit. Find people to teach in my home or attend lessons they are teaching to members of my ward. (I've had the opportunity to participate in a lesson they were teaching once, and it was wonderful! I hope to do this more.)

5. Donate to the ward missionary fund or general church missionary fund.

6. Have faith. Sunday evening there was a regional training about hastening the work. They shared the story in Alma 23:5-6 about Lamanites being converted. These verses say, "And thousands were brought to the knowledge of the Lord, yea, thousands were brought to believe in the traditions of the Nephites; and they were taught the records and prophecies which were handed down even to the present time. And as sure as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them--yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth, as many as the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away."
After reading these verses, they then had audience members point out what they noticed as we heard that story. I was very touched when a friend of mine, Annette, pointed out that this was real history. This really happened. The Lamanites didn't seem likely to join the church by the thousands, and yet because of the faith of Ammon and his brethren and because of the power of their teaching, thousands did join. We, today, need to have faith that the same types of conversion can happen. As President Monson said, people can and do change. We should not see people as they are now, but as they can become. Increase faith. (I'm not sure why, but this one is a bit hard for me. Change seems to usually happen slowly, and I often doubt whether I have the capability of really helping others to change.... Of course, I don't. But the spirit does. But this seems to be a lesson I have to learn and relearn and continue to try to strengthen my faith.)

7. Write letters to and pray for the missionaries serving from our ward. Pray for the missionaries serving in our ward.

8. Listen to and follow promptings about who to visit, what to say, when to share my testimony, etc.

9. Magnify my calling. Live the gospel to the best of my ability, repent, and love the Lord with all my heart, might, mind and strength.

And if possible, try to motivate and encourage others to do these things as well.