Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lesson: Joy in Missionary Work

Do you want to be happy?
Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause.
Lend your efforts to helping people.
...Stand higher, lift those with feeble knees,
hold up the arms of those that hang down.
Live the gospel of Jesus Christ.

~ President Gordon B. Hinckley ~

Joy in the Scriptures
If you take a look through all the scriptures in the Topical Guide on joy you'll find they fall into 4 categories. Here are a few, for example. Joy...
  1. Relating to the plan of salvation: 2 Nephi 2:23-25, Alma 4:14, Job 38:4, 7 
  2. After we feel God’s Love for us: 1 Nephi 8:12, Mos 4: 20, Alma 36:20-21, 3 Nephi 17:17-18 
  3. In righteousness: Mos. 2: 41, Matt. 25:23, John 15:10, D&C 59:13
  4. As a result of seeing others embrace the gospel: Luke15:7, Alma 19:6, Alma 29: 9, 13, 16, Alma 22:15
What holds you back?
So if you know there is this potential for greater joy in your lives, what keeps you from doing more missionary work? Is it lack of opportunity, fear, pride, shyness, time, an attitude of 'not my job', lack of motivation, too distracted by life, or just being forgetful? Ponder which it is for you and decide today that you want more joy in your life.

It starts with our own conversion
1. When we are converted we want to convert others. When we feel the joy of the Spirit and of the Gospel we naturally turn to share it.

Think of Lehi’s dream. He had progressed along a path with an iron rod and made it to the tree and tasted of the fruit or the love of God. As Lehi did in his dream, when we feel God’s love for us and the joy the plan of salvation and righteous living bring, we naturally turn to beckon others to come especially our loved ones.

Remember the Sons of Mosiah. When they were converted to the Church, their hearts were filled with compassion for others. They wanted to preach the gospel to their enemies the Lamanites, “for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble” (Mosiah 28:3). As the gospel fills our lives with joy, we will feel this kind of love and compassion for our brothers and sisters. We will want to share the message of the gospel with everyone who desires to listen.

Examine our own conversion first. It starts with our own testimony and feeling God’s love for us. The motivation to share the gospel may come from the feeling of commitment we made to God at baptism to take the name of Jesus Christ upon us and always remember Him. It comes from realizing that your life is a gift from Him and in no way can you ever repay but to devote your life in service to Him. It comes from humility born of hardship or sin and experiencing his saving grace and the redemption of the atonement. It comes from realizing God’s opinion of us is the only one that matters. It comes as a gift of the Spirit, energizing us, inspiring us how to use our time, who to talk to, how to use our own particular gifts and personality.

D&C18:15 [If you] bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

That one soul is you. You start with yourself. Your own conversion. Maybe your goal this week is to work on that.

It goes on to say...16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!

2. The Lord has prepared ways for us to share the gospel.

We know that the prophets have told us we are all missionaries.

We know that the Lord never gives us a commandment without preparing a way for us to accomplish it (1Nephi 3:7).

What are some different ways that the Lord has prepared for us to share the gospel?
  • Nations have been opened. - I remember when the Soviet Union was closed. Then a temple was built in East Germany. Then the walls came down.
  • Inventions and Technology - In my lifetime television, satellite broadcast, personal computers, internet, blogs, Twitter, computerized scriptures, mobile apps
  • profile - 2,000 profiles and 15 videos you can share with your friends. Add your own profile. I told a few of my interests, answered an FAQ, told a personal story, and about how I live the gospel everyday. Easy!
  • Missionary social networking pilot - Missionaries tell about their experiences on Facebook, blog, or comment on sites that talk about mormons during down time or in the mornings.
  • These are just a few. The Spirit will whisper what you can do with your opportunities and talents.
3. Choose to do something this week.

What are some specific ways you can or have shared the gospel? What works for you that could work for others?

Time. On average we spend 12 hours a day information gathering! 5 hours for TV, 2 hours on the computer, two hours for radio, one for gaming, 36 minutes with print media and 27 for recorded music. Do we really need 34 gigabytes of information a day?!

Sign up to go with the Sisters on an appointment! No preparation. Just go and be real. Tell how the Holy Ghost works in your life. Share something you learned from your prayers and scripture study in the last week. Sympathize with someone who is struggling with doubt.

Get a babysitting buddy to trade off so you can go.

Make a commitment - once a week, twice a month, once a month. On the calendar. Just do it.

Call and invite the Sisters to dinner and a brief lesson. Get them in your home. Get to know them.  You make time to eat every night, right?!

Exposure. Half of all Americans have never heard of the Mormons. Many people are just curious so prepare for that.

Remember Elder Ballard, Faith Family Facts Fruits conference talk? Prepare some simple facts and help those who are curious to know a little about the Church.

Family home evening topic. Raise hands...who had family home evening last Monday? What was the topic? Could your neighbor use the same help with her parenting? Open your homes.

With other parents in the park. “Hey there’s a women’s group at church and we get to talking and I can ask 'hey is your child doing this or that', and I get a lot of help. My church helps me be a better mom.”

At work. It's Friday and your coworkers ask, “Got any plans for the weekend?” “Yea, my church is pitching in on a service project. We’re meeting at a local park to help clear some brush and plant some gardens. It’s kinda fun to work as a group.” Or, “how was your weekend?” Tell them about your family and your church activities.

At home with small children. Blog about your study, how your family lives the gospel, not just the cute or not-so-cute things they do, but what they are learning about prayer, for example. Wear your religion on your sleeve.

There are opportunities in everyday living!!!!

Finding people. The amazing PMG manual is not just for Missionaries. Read the chapter How do I find people. Headings:
  • Develop more faith to find
  • Talk to everyone
  • Teach when you find, find when you teach
  • Talk about the importance of the family
  • Work with members
  • Use media
  • Talk about Family History
  • Former investigators
  • Find through your own efforts
  • Go about doing good
  • No effort is wasted
Speaking of members
Dallin Oaks, in 2003 wrote in an article titled Strengthening and Nurturing New Converts: 
Among those converts who fall away, the attrition is steepest in the two months after baptism. When a convert is baptized, there is no time to lose. Fellowshipping efforts must begin well before baptism and must increase in intensity in the months following baptism.
Our experience has shown that members can have a powerful influence in this process in three critically important ways:

1. Modeling gospel living by providing practical, persuasive examples of the joy we receive from living the gospel.

2. Teaching the gospel informally by explaining Latter-day Saint doctrines and practices, answering questions, and helping investigators and new members resolve concerns.

3. Helping investigators and converts become fully integrated into the community of Saints.

When members see themselves as gospel nurturers, as the prophet has invited us all to be, we will be well along toward our goal.
There is work enough to do. So let's get busy!

My testimony
I love missionary work, but am hot and cold sometimes. And that’s okay, because life gets real sometimes. Missionary work is the reason we, and many of you, moved have more opportunities. And we've had a hand in some baptisms...Wade’s coworker, then her boyfriend (later her husband, then married in the temple), a couple of Carrie’s school friends.

I love the missionaries, love to be with them; the more I am with them the more I want to help them. Invite them to your house for dinner and get to know them.

I promise you will feel the more of the Spirit and more joy in your life. You will feel more included at church. I promise again that you will feel the joy and it will become a positive cycle. You will want more of it.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts, but please be respectful.