Hey, I really enjoyed the letter this week! It definitely applies to all missionary work...I always think that we should have people coming up to us and asking to be taught! Ha but unfortunately that's not how it happens...it is rewarding when it all works out, though.
Dear Sisters and Elders,
I recently have had occasion to ask, “Why is this so hard?” But it came as no surprise that I ran into this talk given in a Mission President’s Seminar by Jeffrey R. Holland where he asks these same questions. Why doesn’t it get better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the church? It is the truth!!! We believe in angels! We trust in miracles. And Elder Holland asked, “Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why do they reject us? Can’t they see?”And I have thought hard about this myself the last few days as I have had the opportunity to attend two recent baptisms. Elder Holland taught, this is not church doctrine but I feel to offer a personal feeling about this:
I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation was never easy. We are the Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. Why would we believe, why would we think, that it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? As missionaries we are proud to say we are disciples of Christ–and we are. But mark my word. That means we must be prepared to walk something of the path He walked, to feel something of the pain He felt, to at least occasionally sometime in your mission shed one of the tears of sorrow that He shed. Now please don’t misunderstand. I am not saying you have to look for suffering and I am not saying we experience anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and frankly, sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators to come to truth, to come to salvation, to come to repentance, to come to know something of the price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price—it will only be a token, but I believe it has to be paid. I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continual faithfulness in the church is. I believe it is supposed to require something of our soul. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane. The only victory is the victory at the summit of Calvary. Welcome to the journey of the Disciples of Christ. Missionary President’s Training Seminar
So as I have said from the very beginning, when the storms come, when it gets so hard, when success doesn’t come rapidly, when we wonder why we are here, let us offer a little smile and have a happy spirit to know we have felt in a small measure something that Christ has felt in a much larger measure. ‘We should remember that we are not the first ones to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot better asked it a long time ago, but He said, ‘Not my will but thine be done.’
Let us all press forward with steadfastness in Christ as we get up, go out, and FIND, TEACH AND BAPTIZE. I love all of you very much, believe in you with all of my heart, and I pray that we might bring souls unto Christ with a happy spirit. J