Today I am thankful for missionary work. I am thankful for all I am learning about how to do missionary work as I serve. I taught Relief Society today. Two weeks ago, our lesson in RS was on missionary work. When I realized that, I began praying about what to teach because I had been planning to teach about missionary work and some of the things I have been learning and pondering. I prayed about a few other ideas, but just didn't feel right about any of them. I felt like I needed to teach about missionary work. When I walked into RS today, I saw that the Gospel Doctrine teacher was erasing the board and it said Missionary Work at the top. I chuckled and groaned. What could I possibly add that others hadn't already heard? Realistically, I, Jenny Panameno, couldn't add anything. But I do have a testimony and I have listened carefully to what was said in conference, and I just finished reading The Power of Everyday Missionaries by Clayton Christensen. So, with the Lord's help, hopefully, I was able to inspire and bear testimony of the blessings that come from missionary work and some of the ways we can better participate in hastening the work of salvation.
I am thankful for the role of missionary work in my life. My husband is a convert, and I am thankful for the missionaries who taught him and thankful for friends who fellowshipped him and many who continue to do so, in ways both small and big. My stepdad is also a convert to the church, and my life has been blessed immensely by his example and testimony. I LOVE this gospel with all my heart, and I know that the Lord loves missionary work. I want to love what the Lord loves. I want to do what the Lord would do.
As I mentioned, I read The Power of Everyday Missionaries. It is a wonderful book, and I am thankful I read it. We bought four copies as a Relief Society that we will be passing around and encouraging families/sisters to read and then pass on to someone else. I learned a great deal from this book. Here are the things that stuck out to me most.
First, he lists a long list of scriptures dealing with the blessings that come from missionary work. Blessings like having the Lord with you, having the spirit, having your sins forgiven, becoming holy, having joy, being comforted. Tremendous blessings that I want for myself and for my family and for all those I love.
Another thing that stood out to me is that he says we succeed when we invite. In other words, we can't control who will accept our invitations to come to church or to listen to the missionaries, but if we are inviting then the Lord is pleased. He also said that we can't predict who will and who won't accept the gospel, so we should just invite everyone.
Another quote that really hit me was, "You can't be a successful ward mission leader if you cannot speak of sharing the gospel using present tense verbs and first-person pronouns." As I read that, I realized that this applies to us as member missionaries as well. I can't rest on my laurels knowing that I shared the gospel a lot as a teenager or think, "Well, I have a profile on Mormon.org and I often share things of a spiritual nature on Facebook and my blog, so I'm doing enough." Those are good things, but there is a lot more I can and should do.
I also found the chapter on setting goals and deadlines to be so helpful and inspiring...and a bit of a call to repent/change. I shared 4 quotes from that chapter in Relief Society today.
I think perhaps the part I loved the most was when he discussed three wards that have seen present day miracles in missionary work because of the efforts of the ward members. That is my vision for our ward. It can happen. It is happening in some wards in our mission. I want to do my part (and encourage others to do their part) to help it happen here too.
I am so thankful for the wonderful Elders serving in our ward and particularly for their influence on my next door neighbors. I am so thankful for the wonderful young men and young women from my ward that are sharing the gospel throughout the world on full time missions.
I am thankful for the many teachings about missionary work that were given throughout General Conference. I filled a posterboard with ideas on how to do more missionary work. I especially loved three talks given at conference that related to missionary work. (I loved many other talks as well, but these three seemed specifically aimed at missionary work and spoke to me.) President Uchtdorf gave a talk aimed to increase faith and invite all to come back, to join in, to be part of this great work. It was entitledCome Join With Us. I absolutely loved Elder Gifford's talkHastening the Lord's Game Plan! about how much the Lord loves missionary work based upon the use of exclamation points. I also loved Elder Ballard's talk Put Your Trust in the Lord. This quote especially stuck out to me and related to what Clayton Christensen said in his chapter about setting goals and deadlines. Elder Ballard said, "We are not asking everyone to do everything. We are simply asking all members to pray, knowing that if every member, young and old, will reach out to just "one" between now and Christmas, millions will feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. And what a wonderful gift to the Savior." That will be my gift to the Savior this Christmas season. I will reach out to at least one and invite them to church, invite them to our Relief Society Christmas dinner and invite at least one person to meet with the missionaries. I know that I can do this, with the Lord's help.