Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mission Letter 1-7-13


Dear missionaries,


What a joy it is to have the opportunity to be on a mission right now, right here in the California Santa Rosa mission.  Over the last 6 months, Sister Alba and I have had the great privilege of getting to know you better.  We love each and every one of you and only want the very best for each of you.

Each of us has accepted a call from the Lord through his living prophet, Thomas S. Monson whom I sustain and love.  Each of us accepted a call from God to serve here in the California Santa Rosa mission for a specific period of time, each of us, including Sister Alba and I signed a letter of acceptance to serve the Lord.  I was called to preside and Kathie was called as my companion in this important undertaking.

In our call letter, it reads:

“In this assignment as mission president, Elder Alba will be fully responsible for the supervision of the mission and will be expected to direct all of its affairs according to the instructions of the First Presidency.  The missionaries assigned to labor under your presidency will rely upon you for assignments, for guidance, and for motivation to put forth their best efforts.  In measure, they are entrusted to your custody.  They will need and deserve your understanding and sympathetic counsel.  Becoming close to them is an essential element of your leadership.

“We pray that our Heavenly Father will bless and sustain you by the power of His Holy Spirit so that you may be abundantly qualified to discharge all the duties devolving upon you to His honor and glory.  We pray also that through the diligent, harmonious, and united labors of you and your associates, the Saints may be blessed and strengthened and many others brought to a knowledge of the truth.”

Signed by The First Presidency.

I fear Elders and Sisters that we are not putting forth our best efforts.  A lot of you are doing wonderful and amazing things and you are seeing miracles to the point that you are bringing souls to the gates that will allow them to enter through them to Eternal Life.  There are also others that are not doing what we have been called to do.  We are allowing our pride and desires to serve time to the point that we are molding the mission to our own selfish and prideful desires rather than allowing our mission and in this case the Savior to mold us to what we must become so that we can serve him.  Many of us are not truly doing what we are supposed to be doing.

After much prayer, pondering and wrestling with the Lord and with the advise of my wonderful companion, we want to be exactly obedient and will set forth what I feel is what the Lord expects of us – Standards of Missionary Conduct.  You will hear about these in your zone meetings on Tuesday and a list of expectations will be given to each of you.

Here is what I ask of you:

1.      Be like Nephi and inquire of the Lord if these standards (by the way, they are not new but they will be in place for us to be exactly obedient to them) are what He wants us to obey.   Before you begin to dispute these things, ponder the following – This is Nephi speaking (1 Nephi 15:6-11)

6 And it came to pass that after I had received astrength I spake unto my brethren, desiring to know of them the cause of their disputations.
7 And they said: Behold, we cannot understand the words which our father hath spoken concerning the natural branches of the aolive tree, and also concerning the Gentiles.
 8 And I said unto them: Have ye ainquired of the Lord?
 9 And they said unto me: aWe have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.
10 Behold, I said unto them: How is it that ye do not keep the commandments of the Lord? How is it that ye will aperish, because of the hardness of your hearts?
11 Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and aask me in bfaith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.

So I ask that you don’t harden your hearts but ask God in faith, believing that each of us will receive, with diligence in keeping his commandments – then these things will be made known unto all of us.

2.      I ask that all of us purify ourselves from things that are holding us back from being valiant servants of the Lord.  Put all things that are NOT conducive to faithful, valiant missionaries on the altar of the Lord and let him consume them.

I ask each of you to follow this admonition given to us by Helaman in Helaman 3:33-35.

33 And in the fifty and first year of the reign of the judges there was peace also, save it were the pride which began to enter into the church—not into the church of God, but into the hearts of the people who aprofessed to belong to the church of God—
 34 And they were lifted up in apride, even to the persecution of many of their brethren. Now this was a great evil, which did cause the more humble part of the people to suffer great persecutions, and to wade through much affliction.
 35 Nevertheless they did afast and bpray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their chumility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the dpurifying and the esanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their fyielding their hearts unto God.

Many of us have not been teaching the younger missionaries how to conduct ourselves to be the most valiant, most obedient and most deserving missionaries of the Lord.  This needs to change!

This is why a list of standards and expectations will be given to each of you so that there will NOT be any question as to what type of missionaries we are and can become.  There have been “cultures” and “falsehoods” introduced in our behavior that are priest crafts and will not be allowed to start or continue from now on.  There is much rationalizing as to why these falsehoods are acceptable – this will also stop.  If any of you are not willing to completely obey and accepts these, be mature enough to come and see me and I will make arrangements for you to practice these things back home – again, there is no room for such behavior as servants of God.

We all need to repent so:

3.      Start now – spend part of your Preparation day to purge and purify your belongings and I ask that you go and bury deeply all things that are not conducive to the direction of the Spirit.  Do as the people of Ammon did (Alma 23:6-7)

6 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 amiracles in them—yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were bconverted unto the Lord, cnever did fall away.
 7 For they became a righteous people; they did lay down the weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more, neither against any of their brethren.

My fellow servants of God, we can do this and I ask for your sustaining me as your mission president and all the mission leaders in this endeavor.  As we do this, I promise that there will be absolutely nothing that can be denied us by God.  We will see miracles and thousands will come and join our ranks.  Join us in this incredible journey that will allow us to have a mighty change of heart.  It can be done! 
After we purify and purge ourselves, I invite us all to lengthen our stride, quicken our pace and to go forth with power to keep the commandments of God.  They will bring innumerable blessings – the greatest of which is our assurance in the Kingdom of God with our families.  What greater gift there is I know of none.  Imagine – to be heirs of all that God has and will have are promised to us all who are willing to humble and purify ourselves.

Surely as we do this, we will be highly favored of the Lord and His hand will be in all that we do.  We cannot go wrong, we cannot fail and we will have joy.
Know that I love you and this is why I ask you to do these things so that we can completely enjoy His love.


President Alba




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