Thursday, April 10, 2014

April 7, 2014

Mom, Dad, and Family,

Miss you all loads!  This week has been great!  I want you all to know you're all awesome.  The work moves forward at an increasing rate.  This past week we got a new investigator that just straight up came to church and wants to get baptized (there are no statistics for how often that happens, because it doesn't.)  She's on fire and watched conference and reported to us on what she learned and likes.  Just like that.

Another one of our investigators came to conference as well.  We set a baptism date for him and he's just doing awesome.  We were teaching him the Gospel of Jesus Christ (4th article of faith and enduring to the end), when we got to baptism, we challenged him to be baptized.  We asked him if he would be baptized by someone holding the proper authority.  He responded "Well, I would have to be, wouldn't I?  So, yes."  He's super cool.

We passed Karla off to some other missionaries.  She technically no longer lives in our ward and hasn't for quite some time now.  She has maybe two lessons left and she'll be baptized on the 19th of April.  Elder Bringhurst and I are so happy for her.  She's overcome a lot and made some major changes in her life.  That's two days before transfers so we're both for sure going to be there for her baptism.

Conference was super cool (in case you haven't all noticed), I enjoyed that a lot.  The main duty of a seer is to warn of times of trouble.  As we all sustained the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, we sustained them as prophets, seers, and revelators.  There is no dispute in my mind or heart concerning whether their council was prophetic or revelatory.  What we need to look for is what they are seeing.  What they are warning us about.

It was no question to me that remaining steadfast and immovable is ever important.  Obedience brings happiness.  Every time.  Disobedience brings misery.  Every time.  I don't know what will happen that caused the prophets to speak so much on heeding the word of God, tying ourselves to Him through our religion, and yoking ourselves with Christ through covenants and to always participate in ordinances.  I don't why.  But I do know that it's important.  I know it's needed.  I know it's a warning.  I know there's a reason.  It may not be in the immediate or near future.  It may be now.  It may be far distant.  But study the words of the prophets.

I can now tell you that you must study preach my gospel and invite others to take the missionary discussions.  It is so important.  I'm not saying that just because I'm a missionary.  I'm saying that for the same reason that Oaks talked about the authority of the priesthood.  Because God's church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The work of the salvation of souls is not limited to 83,000 full-time missionaries currently in foreign fields.  The war waged for the souls of men is not by a small part of God's children with white shirts and ties and black name tags.  It's by all of us.  We are all God's children.  We all need saving grace and ordinances.  Baptism is not something only 8yos of the church needs.  The blessings that come from covenants are not just for the members of the church.  They need to be extended to all of God's children.  We must all receive them at one point.  God doesn't just want 83,000 missionary.  He wants 15,000,000 missionaries.  Just because I have a paper that says I'm full-time, doesn't mean you aren't.  Members aren't part time.  We take upon us the name of Jesus Christ and thus, we must act accordingly.  We must not take the Name of the Lord in vain.

Sorry...I get excited sometimes.  I just think missionary work is really cool.  But yeah, tips for studying.  Always remember that Preach My Gospel is not a book of processes.  The words in that book are not things missionaries do, they're things missionaries live.  Preach My Gospel is a compound of inspired principles given to us to live.  For example, one doesn't DO nightly planing.  One LIVES the principles behind nightly planning.  The process is a result of principles properly practiced.  As missionaries, if we're not living PMG, we repent.  If we're merely doing the things it says than we aren't missionaries.  We are fakes.  Repentance is a change of heart, not a change of hand.  Alma asks us if we've ever felt the mighty change of heart.  Not the mighty change in action.  Because our actions always follow the true desires of our heart.  It's never about the what, it's about the why.

Here's an example:  Missionaries invite others to be baptized.  They DO this by teaching the message of the restoration, baring testimony, and asking the investigator to be baptized.  That would be the what.  That's what we do.

Here's the why: Missionaries invite others to be baptized.  They do this BECAUSE they have testimonies that God's proper authority has been restored to the earth.  They know that the ordinance of baptism is a necessary covenant to obtain salvation.  They have felt God's love in their lives.  As a result, the what happens.  But it's not about the what.  In other words, when we live correct principles, correct actions will follow.  So as you study PMG, always remember that the things you read are to be things that happen because of the way you live.

I love and miss you all.  You've blessed my life immensely and I'm thankful for you everyday.  Keep living what you should, so you can do what you should.

Elder Russell

P.S.  This picture is how Elder Bringhurst and I felt after Conference.

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