Monday, July 23, 2012

Missionary letters (2) July 22,2012


Missionary Letter the week of July 22nd
Dear Elders, Sisters and amazing couples!

This past week has brought us together in Zone Conferences across the mission.  And what a week it has been.  Each zone brings its own special spirit, different faces, different places, and different challenges and yet what really stood out to me is that we are ‘One’.   We are of ‘one heart’ in so many ways.  Let me list just a few of them.  We are all true followers of Jesus Christ.  We are all His disciples.  We are all witnesses of Christ.  We all teach the same doctrine… the doctrine of Christ.  We all testify of Christ.  We are all fulfilling prophecy in this our mission…  The prophecy given to Abraham that his seed would take the gospel to the world.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that Heavenly Father is aware of each and every one of us.  He knows us all and oversees His work… right here in the Santa Rosa mission.  President Alba and I have already received many sweet impressions from Him directly about you and for you. You are dear to His heart.  You are His… and His light shines upon you.  When we as a mission serve Him, then we are ‘One’ with Him.  What a glorious time.  Can you feel it?  It is there for the taking.

In our Zone Conferences ‘The Doctrine of Christ’ was central while focusing on, obedience, sacrifice, repentance, listening through power of the Holy Ghost and our divine commission. 

We challenge each of you to go back and take a look at your notes and to accept the challenges that were issued to you.  Please remember that they came under the direction of our Heavenly Father.

President Alba and I want each of you to understand what the Santa Rosa mission upholds and stands for and we want each of you to know it, express it and live it in all that you do

1.    We are a ‘DOCTRINE OF CHRIST’ mission… know it…express it, live it

2.   We are an ‘OF ONE HEART’ mission

3.   We are a ‘BOOK OF MORMON’ mission

4.   We are a ‘PREACH MY GOSPLE’ mission

5.   We are a ‘RETURN AND REPORT’ mission

6.    We are a ‘PRAY FOR THE HOLY GHOST’ mission…in all things and in every situation

7.    We are a ‘FINDING’ mission

8.    We are a ‘BAPTIZING’ mission

9.    We are a ‘RESCUEING’ mission

10.   We are a ‘SERVICE’ mission

11.      We are an ‘OBEDIENT’ mission...We will obey

12.      We are a ‘TEACHING AND A TRAINING’ mission. 
              Ours is a mission of patterns.  Ours is a mission of goals. 
              Ours is a mission of treating one another as equals and with respect.  Ours is a mission of lifting one another to greater heights.    
13.     We are a ‘LOVE ONE ANOTHER’ mission

After just 3 weeks we have grown to love you so much.  I can see that each one of you has much to offer.  You have divine potential. There is a divine spark in everyone…  Everyone can do marvelous and great things.  Let us do them together. 

With great love, Sister Alba

Missionary letters (2) week of July 22, 2012


Dear Elders and Sisters,

I’m so grateful to be serving with you.  Thank you for your preparation for Zone Conference.  I learned so much that I need to apply – I need to be more obedient and to sacrifice more.  I loved what our assistants taught – to know my commission and really believe it will help me to truly be penitent and to listen more intently with love.  This gospel is true and you are making my mission to be an incredibly amazing experience.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I have been receiving emails of what carrying the Book of Mormon in our hands can do.  Here is an exerpt from one of our missionaries.

“My companion and I have been making a big effort to carry a Book of Mormon IN our hands at all times.  Doing this has already had a huge impact.  I've noticed that with the Book of Mormon in my hand, I more readily speak of it, share verses from it, show the pictures inside of it, and bear testimony of it.  Before I would speak of it, but I find myself doing it far more.  I find myself feeling the conviction of it more.  I have been brought to tears many times in lessons this week by simply holding it and showing it to people and telling them I know it is true.  I know it was inspired.

“One such lesson was with another less-active family:  We were talking to them about the story of Enos and their 17 year old son told us he didn't know the story of the Book of Mormon well.  We were able to use the pictures in the front to talk about Jesus Christ and how the Book of Mormon contains His gospel and evidence of His divinity.  We were also able to show him the picture of Moroni with the records.  And, finally, we showed him the picture of Joseph Smith which led us into the first vision.  It was powerful and life changing.”

I did take the liberty of changing or omitting names. 

Elders and Sisters, I encourage you to always carry a copy of the Book of Mormon and you will find so many more opportunities to teach from this wonderful book and to testify of it’s truthfulness.  It will change your life and the lives of those you teach.  This will assist in your finding more people to teach and our investigator pool will increase – I promise you that.

The message of the Book of Mormon will ring true to those who are Elect and it will be an opportunity for the Spirit to bear witness of this great work of the Restoration.  It will allow us to speak of Joseph Smith and the great work he did.

I have seen that when we hold this book in our hand, it will provide a Spiritual visual experience and ffect that cannot be denied and will allow the Spirit to bear witness to those we share this message with.

Sister Alba and I hope that you will also put up the Great Seal of the California Santa Rosa Mission that will hopefully remind us of what this work is all about.  It will help us keep our focus and not to let our guard down as we go out to find, teach and convert the Elect of God.

I love you and know that you are ever in my prayers.

Love to all,

President Alba

Monday, July 16, 2012

Missionary Letter the week of June 15th

Our dear missionaries,

What a joy it is to serve hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder with you – a royal army of God’s sons and daughters.   Today as we were driving to the Sonoma Ward, I told my dear wife that I felt sorry for her cousin Wesley and his wife Lori who have been called to serve in Mexico Guadalajara.  She asked why and I told her that they were probably struck in traffic, with tons of smog and here we were driving on the Sonoma Highway in the middle of this beautiful land.

This letter is more of an invitation.  This week we’ll be holding Zone Conferences across the mission and we ask for your prayers and preparation that as we attend, listen, participate in, that we’ll have a great pouring of the Spirit that we may all be edified and return to our areas with a greater desire to serve with our batteries charged and that we may be instructed by the Holy Spirit.

The theme of our conference is “Service through Obedience and Sacrifice”.  We will discuss these two of five pillars that support all the covenants we make in the temple.  Many of you have returned from the temple over the last couple of weeks and this should be fresh on your minds and hearts.  The three other pillars in addition to obedience and sacrifice are – the Law of the Gospel (or law of conduct), the Laws of Chastity and Consecration. 

These two laws – obedience and sacrifice – are of great importance as we dedicate our lives to sharing the Gospel as full-time missionaries.  Through obedience we give our will to the Lord and through sacrifice, we perform our labors to show Him that we are obedient.  By being obedient we begin to sacrifice and through out sacrifice we  show our obedience to God.

Elder Perry stated:  “The discipline contained in daily obedience and clean living and whole lives builds an armor of protection and safety from the temptations that beset you as you proceed through mortality.”  Preach My Gospel, p 122.  If our desires are to be true disciples – note that the word disciples and discipline have the exact same root – then we must exercise exact obedience in all we do – thus qualifying for the safety from temptations and sins that may beset us.

Partnered with obedience is the twin pillar of sacrifice.  Elder Ballard said:  “The law of sacrifice provides an opportunity for us to prove to the Lord that we love Him more than any other thing.  As a result, the course sometimes becomes difficult since this is the process of perfection that prepares us for the celestial kingdom.”

Are we ready to be completely obedient and to lay all we have before the Lord to show Him our love and devotion?  It is our charge to know God and Christ.  In St. John, He declared:  “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.”  St. John 17:3.  If we want to be obedient and to sacrifice all that we have for His cause, then we must know Them who sent us.  As we get to know the character of God, it will be much easier to show our devotion to them and thus we will be more desirous to obey and sacrifice.  It is my prayer that we may know whom we serve and how. 

We will also be instructed by the Assistants in three different workshops throughout the day of each Zone Conference.  We all need your prayers and love as we prepare and deliver the messages that we have been inspired to prepare and give – all by the Holy Ghost. 

Again, let’s prepare for our Zone Conference by pondering and praying these things that we may be prepared to be instructed by the Spirit and our souls will be filled as we, together, feast upon the word of God.

We love you and are so grateful to serve along side with each of you.  You are the greatest missionaries in the world serving in the greatest mission on the earth.  The best of the best!


President Alba

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Letter to Missionaries Week of July 8th

Dear dear Elders and Sisters...(and that includes our incredible couples of course)!

What a treat is was to meet you and to see you up close and to feel of your spirits. The past week has been a feast and a joy with all of you as the main dish. Thank you for your welcome.  Thank you for your love.  Thank you for your hard work.  And thank you for your devotion to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as you stand as a witness for Him.  We see that you stand firm and tall.

Now, let us go forward together in this great work.  This is our time and our season.  This is the Lord's time, we have given it to Him already.  Let us be  'Of One Heart'.  There is much we can do in unity.  "Thou hast come into the kingdom for such a time as this".  And what a time it is.

The church is under the focus of the world, and we are at a hinge point. You are all a big part of this.  What part will you play?  It is only up to each one of you. Will you fulfill the promises you made long ago? Will you work until your ears ring?  Will you face disappointment squarely and then go forward with shoulders back and head held high?  Will you preach of Christ, talk of Christ and teach of Christ in all you do?  Will you love as Christ and sacrifice as Christ did for all of us?  Will you give everything you have to give during your time here?  Will you pray each night, "What more can I do Lord...what more can I do?"  and then do it?  Can you imagine the impact this mission will have around the world  with 182 missionaries united, devoted, determined and faithful?  I can.  I can see it now.  It is a beautiful sight to behold.  This is the greatest mission on the earth and we have the greatest missionaries.  The world steps aside for those who know where they are going.  We know where we are going and we wll go together. As 'one'.

We love you all, we really do.  We stand on your strong shoulders, but will reach down to lift you up whenever you need us.

Love Sister Alba

Missionary Letter Week of July 1st

July 1, 2012

Dear Stripling Warriors,
We are so grateful to be with you.  You can imagine the anticipation we experienced as we prepared to join you (you had similar feelings when you were called to be here).  We are thrilled to be here serving among the greatest missionaries in the world.  This is the “greatest mission on the earth” and you are “the greatest missionaries upon the earth.”  We truly believe that and count on you to also believe as well.
We have been so impressed with those of you we have met and wait with great anticipation to meet the rest of you over the next few days.  Your leaders are so well prepared and I can see the light of the Gospel shinning in their eyes as they are eager to help each one of us succeed in this great work.  You are truly sons and daughter of God and there is a divine spark in each of you.  Our charge is to help you kindle that spark to a roaring fire with a burning testimony as you share the Doctrine of Christ with all those you teach and prepare for baptism.

Last week we had the distinct honor of being with our Prophets, Seers and Revelators and we felt of their deep, deep love they have for each and everyone one of the missionaries throughout the earth.  They pray for all of us daily and are concerned for our welfare and want us to be successful.  I would like to share a few things that President Henry B. Eyring shared with us in regards to our service and how we stand in the sight of God – source is from an article in the Church News.
"You are never alone in the Lord's work,"

"We who are called of God know that is true, but we sometimes feel and act as if that fact was not a practical and hourly reality in our service in the Kingdom of God."

Speaking to new mission presidents and their wives, President Eyring recalled a conversation with President James E. Faust, then second counselor in the First Presidency.

President Eyring had just been called to the Quorum of the Twelve and President Faust had noticed he was beginning to doubt himself. "I felt he was going to answer the question of whether I was approved of the Lord," President Eyring recalled. "I began to ask him for that reassurance.… He pointed to the ceiling of his office and said quietly, 'Don't ask me. Ask Him.'"

President Eyring said President Faust knew that the only source for the answer to his question was the Lord of the vineyard.

"President Faust knew that time after time I had been called to labor. He and other human servants knew what I had done over those years. But only the Lord knew what had been in my heart and what had happened to my heart. Only the Lord knew in what way the Atonement and the Holy Ghost had changed and purified me."

President Eyring said that only the Father, His Beloved Son, and the Holy Ghost can provide the assurance Church members need to go forward boldly in their service.

"It is not what we have done that matters," he said. "It is how our hearts have been changed through our faithful obedience. And only God knows that."

President Eyring said he has learned how to seek and then feel the assurance that he is approved enough in his service to go forward in confidence. "Everyone needs that assurance," he said.

He asked the mission presidents to teach their missionaries that there is only one audience that they can trust perfectly. "Only God is a sure source of accolade," he said. "And the accolade we need is to know that by serving Him faithfully we have become more like Him.

"That could shape the praise you give your missionaries. You will tend to praise them more for what they are becoming than for what they have done."

The most certain evidence of approval is that the Lord trusts a person by sending the Spirit to testify, guide and help them in the harvest, he said.

"I find that only comes after prayer, searching scriptures and the words of living prophets, exact obedience, love of others, humbly listening for the Spirit and long and painful labor.

"I wish I could tell you that it took less effort and came more quickly. I wish the harvest was easy and that the Holy Ghost was given just for the asking. … The Holy Ghost comes as we try to give our all. And it is the Holy Ghost who both cleanses us and conveys the Lord's approval."

Temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, charity and humility give servants of the Lord the power to work with and influence other people, President Eyring said:  Teachers improve, he added, as they try to feel the true love of God for their students. "It takes faith in the Savior that He loves every student— or every contact — enough to have paid the price of his or her sins."

President Eyring said teaching is just one of the ways missionaries labor with and for others. "But all those labors must spring from the love of God to be effective," he said.
Love of God begets love, President Eyring added.

"You will touch a few. They will touch others. And in the years ahead you will find that the fruits of your labors were multiplied a hundredfold by those with whom you served. And most of all you will come to see that it was the loving service of Heavenly Father, of the Savior of the world, and of the Holy Ghost which allowed you to be blessed with peace here and joy in the celestial kingdom, never to feel alone."

So it is with us dear missionaries that we go to the altar of the Lord to give all that we have and then to look for His approval and if we have given all our “heart, might, mind and strength” we will truly come to understand and feel his Divine approval.It is our prayer that we may so feel as we faithfully serve Him who is the Giver of Life, the Fountain of all Truth and the most Loving Heavenly Father.  He wants us to succeed and we will with His help.

My dear Kathie and I are here to help you be successful.  We love you and are in awe of who you are and your great potential.  Let your Divine Spark take flame in doing this work and we will help kindle it and great shall be the fruits of our labors as we give all to our Savior in helping with His work and glory to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

With great love and honor we serve you.

President and Sister Alba