Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Missionary in the Mission Field

Harold B. Lee with Elder Willis J. Woodbury, first day of tracting

We would say to the elders, that God has called you to an important office, he has laid upon you an onerous duty, he has called you to an holy calling, even to be the priests of the "most high God," messengers to the nations of the earth; and upon your diligence, your perseverance and faithfulness, the soundness of the doctrines that you preach, the moral precepts that you advance and practice, and upon the sound principles that you inculcate, have the destinies of the human family, while you hold that priesthood. You are the men that God has called to spread forth his kingdom, he has committed the care of souls to your charge, and when you receive this priesthood, you become the legate of heaven, and the great God demands it of you, that you should be faithful, and inasmuch as you are not, you will not be chose; but it will be said unto you , stand by, and let a more honorable man than thou are take thy place, and receive thy crown; be careful that you teach not for the word of God, the commandments of men, nor the doctrines of men nor the ordinances of men, inasmuch as you are God's messengers; study the word of God and preach it, and not your opinions, for no man's opinion is worth a straw; advance no principle but what you can prove, for one scriptural proof is worth ten thousand opinions: we would moreover say, abide that revelation which says, "preach nothing but repentance to this generation," and leave the further mysteries of the kingdom, till God tell you to preach then, which is not now. (Brigham Young, et al, "To The Elders Of The Church,” Times And Seasons, 1 [November 1839]:13).

Oh, ye elders of Israel, hearken to my voice; and when you are sent into the world to preach, tell those things you are sent to tell; preach and cry aloud, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand; repent and believe the Gospel.” Declare the first principles, and let mysterious alone, lest ye be overthrown. Never meddle with the visions of beasts and subjects you do not understand. (Joseph Smith, Jr., Conference Report, 8 April 1843 quoted in The Mind and Will of the Lord—Joseph Smith, compiled and indexed by Harold B. Pease, Taft, CA.: WestWood Book, 2001, p. 142).

This is a work of miracles. Miracles are performed in the lives of the missionaries. Your presence here is really a miracle. This is a nation in which only about 1 percent of the people are Christians, but here we have a great, growing organization now, more than a thousand missionaries in Japan; but a hundred thousand members of the Church in Japan. I’ve seen the miracle of the whole thing since I started coming here thirty-six years ago. In those days we did not own a chapel; we did not have a building of our own except a little run-down place up in the north island, not a single building did we own in all of Asia.

When I see the strength of the Church here today, and go into stake centers and beautiful houses of worship and think of those smelly, cold, drafty little old houses in which we used to meet, I know that a miracle has taken place. It is wonderful. What a marvelous thing that each of you can be a part of this great miracle that’s taking place in this good land, this nation of Japan, which is one of the great nations of the earth, among these very able and wonderful people. (Gordon B. Hinckley, Japan Tokyo North, Japan Tokyo South, and Japan Sendai Missionary Meeting, 18 May 1996).

Every elder should be a Christian gentleman always. A gentleman—who is he? “Whoever is open—nothing to hide, no downcast look because of the consciousness of guilt; “whoever is loyal”—-loyal to the truth, to virtue, to the Word of Wisdom—-“true of humane and affable demeanor, honorable himself and in his judgment of others, faithful to his word as to law, and faithful alike to God and to man—-such a man is a true gentleman,” and such a man the elder of this Church should be who goes out to Christianize the world. (David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1927, p. 106).

This is a picture of a teenage boy. He's nineteen. That's still a teenage. He's standing on the seashore at San Francisco. His left hand holds his shoes. His rolled up pants uncover his ankles. His hair, newly trimmed by a real barber, is reddish. He stands on the wet sand, a moment ago made damp and hard when a larger than average wave swelled out before him. Jack was amazed. Never had he seen water like this before. He grew up in Thatcher and the largest body of water he had ever seen was the Gila River. These waves never seemed to stop. They roll and break and spread and roll out again. Only hours ago he had boarded an airplane. This big moment he had anticipated every time a big plane had flown over Thatcher, which was rare. First he tested the seat, soft as a sofa. Then he devoured a six-course lunch. Then he chatted with the stewardess, prettiest girl he had ever seen, even when she wasn't smiling, and that was twice. Then he listened to six channels of music, stereo even. Suddenly they were in San Francisco and now the Pacific and Jack is discovering what an ocean looks like, swells like, smells like, sounds like. Jack is discovering America and a big new world.

An hour ago he was on Market Street and was amazed at the great crowds of people. He wrote a card home to his family and described this experience, saying, "There's so many people. It's just like when conference lets out in Thatcher." Jack is on the threshold. He's going to see even more people in Hong Kong, to learn that there are even more millions in the new world he's coming to know. He will cross part of the 69 million square miles of ocean and will see many of the 3.5 billion people and will become bewildered when he knows that he and his 18,000 fellow missionaries are supposed to proselyte all these people. He's discovering a fabulous world. When he'd climbed Mt. Graham, he'd tried to count the giant trees and was bewildered. When he and his friends had slept out in an Arizona clear night, he had tried to count the stars and got lost and now he'd tried to conceive of 3.5 billion people all in his world. Jack remembered one of the scriptures he had read. "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" (D&C 18:15).

And then he wondered what was the worth of a soul such as he'd been sent out to recover. He remembered how he had read of one little boy kidnapped in Los Angeles who was recovered by his father upon payment of a quarter million dollars to the vicious ones. At that rate that would be 87.5 thousand billion dollars or 875 trillion dollars, and he became bewildered at the responsibility that he had assumed. Who was it that said, "If you want to launch big ships, go to deep water, the ocean." Jack was beginning now to feel a part of this big new world and was determined to meet it and to conquer it, regardless of how big it was. (Spencer W. Kimball, Mission Presidents’ Seminar, 27 June 1971).

The greatest missionaries are those who live their religion. Some of the greatest missionaries the Church has are those who live their religion and teach it to others by their actions. (Howard W. Hunter, The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, ed. Clyde J. Williams, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997, p. 246).

I do hope that, as soon as you get into your fields of labor, you will not apologize to the people for your weaknesses, and tell them how incapable and unfitted you are for such positions as you may hold. . . .Go into your fields of labor as men of God, appointed by him to minister unto them the things pertaining to their salvation, and they will find that you have power which no other men, devoid of the authority you have, possess. (George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth, comp. Jerald L. Newquist, 2 vols., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957, 2:78).

New missionaries need to know exactly the purpose for being in the mission field which is to save souls, to baptize converts, and to bring families into the church. ( Ezra Taft Benson, Mission Presidents' Seminar, June 1976).

We have heard the ministers of the world dwell on the beauties of the Gospel and the mission of Jesus, but we never had awakened in our hearts a knowledge of God’s plan till the humble Elder of Christ brought to us the intelligence that removed from our hearts all doubts and fears and guided us in the right path. (John Henry Smith, General Conference, 8 April 1888).

"Brethren," Anthon H. Lund used to say to groups of missionaries, "the people will love you when you go into the mission field. Now, don't get lifted up in the pride of your hearts and think that they love you because of who you are. You are the servants of the Lord. You are clothed with his Holy Priesthood and that is what the people will love". (LeGrand Richards, Conference Report, October 1953, p. 81).

The question will arise, what am I here for? To sow the seeds of life in the hearts of those who are in this audience; and the prayer should arise in your heart, "O, Lord, may it be so; may I have power through thy Spirit to touch the hearts of these thy people." That very short prayer is all that an elder needs to make. "May I say something to save these souls". This is what the First Presidency and all your brethren want you to do. (Lorenzo Snow, Improvement Era, 3 [December 1899]: 129).

How did these hundreds and thousands of Elders of Israel … have power to go abroad, … and preach the Gospel to the convincing of the sons and daughters of Adam? It has been done by the power of God. No Elder in this Church has had power to go forth and do the will of God [except] by the power of God. If we have any power, it is of God, and we should trust Him with regard to all things. (Wilford Woodruff, Deseret Weekly, [2 March 1889]: 294).

The missionaries say, "We go to carry the gospel". "Thank God we have it, "the convert replies, and then adds, "We will follow you later.” So indeed they have in one heroic round; missionary to convert, then convert to missionary. Great hast been their gift; generously have they given. (Stephen L. Richards, Conference Report, October 1945, p. 52).

Missionaries with families were to send the money which friends might put into their hands, to their families; those without home-ties were to remit such gifts to the Bishop in Zion, or in Ohio, to be used for the propagation of the gospel. Clothes given should be accepted, and the old pieces of clothing given to the poor. The missionary should not attempt to accumulate means, while preaching the gospel. He should not refuse gifts offered in a spirit of kindness and love, but he should use them wisely and for the blessing of others. He should not pile them up for his own benefit. And thus the temptation to a miserly, sordid course was removed from their path; if they would obey this divine counsel, they would never have any use for purse, nor scrip. (Hyrum M. Smith and Janne Sjodahl, The Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974, p. 52).

I would say to these brethren--let it be your study to fulfill your mission. Never mind the world, never mind the dollars and cents, the pounds, shillings, and pence. You cleave to God, live your religion, magnify your callings, humble yourselves before God, call upon him in secret, and he will open your path before you, and you shall have food and clothing, and your every want will be supplied, and you will be able to accomplish a good work and return to Zion in peace and safety. These are my feelings. (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, London: Latter-day Saints Book Depot, 1855-1886, 12:22).

A missionary's money is a consecrated means to an end. In reality it has all been dedicated to the service of the Lord. Missionaries should provide themselves with good food, sufficient clothing, comfortable quarters and necessary incidentals; but extravagant luxuries should be avoided. ("Money, Time, and Talent, "The Missionary's Handbook, Independence, Missouri: Zion's Printing and Publishing Co., 1937, p. 29).

In this connection I wish to mention the fact that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, through the Trustee-in-Trust, have paid the returning fares of all these Elders. They go out in the world at their own expense. They maintain themselves in their missions, at their own expense or by the assistance of their parents or kindred at home, and the little assistance that they may receive from time to time from the people among whom they labor. (Joseph F. Smith, Conference Report, 4 April 1908).

Material reward does not induce the Mormon missionary to go into the mission field; for he receives no remuneration for his service, and must provide at his own expense for his support while in the mission field. When his work is done, he returns to his daily tasks, his honest toil, to earn his living as before--poorer, perhaps, in this world's goods, but with the full reward of the inward satisfaction that comes to all who sacrifice for their convictions and who feel they serve the Lord. That is true wealth. Giving is the way to receiving. Therefore, he is ready if required to go into the field again. (John A. Widtsoe, Man and the Dragon, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1945, p. 180).

While it has been a tremendous sacrifice on the part of parents particularly to send their sons and daughters into the missionary field, a constant and continual drain upon their resources, a drain that probably no other community on earth could stand, and we could not stand it were it not for the blessings of God; nevertheless, I have never met in my associations with hundreds of parents of missionaries, a single one who has ever regretted the money he spent in sending missionaries into the field to declare the gospel message. I am sure that the money could have been spent to equal advantage. If a young man had been sent to a college, or given a training in any other field, it would not have brought him so large personal advantage as his missionary experience. (Melvin J. Ballard, Conference Report, October 1925, pp. 125-126).

All young men in the Church should be very eager to go on a mission, and they should also help their parents to fill missions after the families are raised. Young people should study the gospel, prepare themselves for service in the Church, and keep the commandments as diligently as it is possible to do. Young people who have planned to fill missions are more fruitful, more effective, and more successful when they serve, and more people will come into the Church and will create more enthusiasm, and there will be a chain reaction. Is there any other thing than the gospel that would have a greater chain reaction and affect more interests and people? (Spencer W. Kimball, President Kimball Speaks Out, Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Co., 1981, pp. 31-32).

The time and money given by the Latter-day Saints in missionary labors reach tremendously great sums. The sacrifices of fathers, mothers, wives, brothers and sisters, to make the mission of a loved one possible, form a noble and beautifully tender chapter in the history of humanity. (John A. Widtsoe, Man and the Dragon, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1945, p. 180).

We are greatly concerned over the present expense and high cost of living connected with our missions. We feel that many of our elders are spending entirely too much money and it is working a great hardship upon their parents and those who are supporting them in the field.

We feel that too much money is being spent for amusements, such as theatres, picture shows, etc. Then again, we do not believe in too frequent changes of elders from one field to another. It is not only expensive to the missionary, but, in our opinion, it is not for the best good of the Mission. Where an elder has become acquainted with conditions in a branch or field and has found new friends, we think he should remain there and work with his friends, unless special causes and circumstances may otherwise dictate. We sincerely hope that our Mission Presidents will put forth a special effort to reduce the present expense and pray the Lord to direct them in this labor. (The First Presidency: Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund, Charles W. Penrose, The Elders Manual, Jackson Co., Missouri: Zion's Printing and Publishing Co., 1918, p. 8).

It is the duty and obligation, therefore, of each ward not only to see that its quota is filled and these missionaries are sent into the field, but that they are kept there, and if the finances of the father who happens to have a son in the mission fails him, it ought to be a matter of reproach to a ward that would allow their representative to come home merely because the father of that boy cannot furnish the means. There must be a spirit of co-operation on the part of the men and women of this Church to discharge this obligation the Lord has placed upon us. (Melvin J. Ballard, Conference Report, April 1925, pp. 134-135).

You are not [on a mission] for your own comforts and conveniences and desires. You did not go to see the world or get experiences. You went to forget yourself into immortality, and while in total forgetfulness of yourself, you would bring many to total conversion to the truth. . . . The mere call to a mission does not transform a boy, but it does provide an unusual opportunity for him to improve himself and develop his powers and spirit. . . . My dear boy, we all have our crosses. If we can get rid of them we do, but if we can’t we carry them and go about our life’s work...

Maybe you need to sit down and “count your blessings. . . . I hope you will take proper steps to get to the bottom of your trouble and cure it if possible; then move forward to forget yourself and remember the millions of good people about you who are perishing for want of what you can take to them. . . . It is on the second mile where the honest in heart are often found. It is in the extra dozen homes which are contacted after the “time to quit” has come that the new leader converts generally live. (Spencer W. Kimball, Letter dated 14 January 1958 quoted in A Prophet’s Voice: Inspiring Quotes from Spencer W. Kimball, American Fork, UT.: Covenant, 2007, pp. 100-101).

Of all the training I have received in my Church assignments, none has been more important to me than the training I received as a nineteen-year-old elder serving a full-time mission in the British Isles. As I look back now, I can see that no training in my life was more important for what I am now doing in the Church than the training I received as a full-time missionary.

I am convinced, boys, that the Lord has no better place to get acquainted with you than when you serve him in the mission field. When you are serving your mission, he will send you on errands to act in his name. He will give you experience with the power of the Holy Ghost. He will authorize you to teach, to convert, and then to perform the sacred ordinances of salvation in his name. He will come to know that he can trust you and can rely on you. He will help you learn the lessons that will qualify you for the great work that you must perform as you do your part in carrying the message of the Restoration to everyone in the world. (M. Russell Ballard, "Prepare To Serve," Ensign, [May 1985]: 42).

Your mission president is the Lord’s representative. Do not criticize or demean him, privately or publicly. If you will respect his authority, be obedient, humble, teachable, and follow the mission rules, you will be a successful missionary. For instance, one of the hardest rules to follow is to get up in the morning when your mission president directs. Many young men think the best time to sleep is in the morning. I’m grateful to my obedient senior companion, Elder William Grant Bangerter, who would set the alarm clock to get up early. When the alarm went off, it would jangle my nerves. In the winter it was dark, damp, and cold, and we never had any hot water for bathing or showering. He would cheerfully shower in that cold water; I would start to shiver as soon as he got out of the shower. I could not do anything but follow his example, but I have to confess that I was not quite as cheerful because my teeth were chattering. (James E. Faust, Conference Report, April 1996).

What I tell new missionaries is that they need to lock into their minds that the 18 or 24 months they are on their missions are not theirs. That time is the Lord’s. They are going to devote their skills and talents full-time to help build His kingdom. When missionaries think that way, they don’t have trouble following the mission rules. They don’t resist the counsel of the mission president, the guidelines in Preach My Gospel, and the counsel of the General Authorities. They embrace that counsel because they don’t want to waste one minute of the Lord’s time. (M. Russell Ballard, “How to Prepare to Be a Good Missionary,” New Era [March 2007]: 8).

The great majority of the Lord's messengers are sent on foreign missions before they have ever stood before a congregation. Their maiden speech, or first attempt to address the public, is generally among strangers in a foreign land. Nothing but the utmost assurance that God has commissioned them would give them confidence to forsake kindred, friends, associates, parents, and what is still dearer, wives and children, and venture "without purse or scrip," without any worldly recompensory salary, to warn the nations, under the heavy pressure of scorn, derision, and persecution of nearly all mankind. And yet these men do all this. Their warning voice is heard, not in the popular eloquence of man's wisdom, but in the still small voice of humble inspiration. They are not welcomed by the rich and proud, and received into the mansions of the great and populous, but, here and there, they find a humble, honest soul whose heart is open to receive them, and their testimony, and to whom they minister in the holy ordinances of the gospel, and to whom the word is confirmed by a reception of the Holy Ghost. (Orson Pratt, Masterful Discourses of Orson Pratt, compiled by Nels B. Lundwall, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1981, pp. 27-28).

The question often arises in the minds of young men who find themselves in the mission field, 'What shall I say?' And another follows closely upon it, 'How shall I say it?'...While no specific rule may be given, experience has taught that the simplest way is the best. Having learned the principles of the gospel, through a prayerful spirit and by careful study, these should be presented to men in humility, in the simplest forms of speech, without presumption or arrogance and in the spirit of the mission of Christ. . . The gospel is not successfully taught by ostentatious display of words and argument, but rather is expressed by modest and rational statements of its simple truth, uttered in a way that will touch the heart and appeal, as well, to reason and sound sense.

… The spirit must first be with the missionary, if he shall succeed in awakening its response in his hearers; and this is true whether the words be spoken in conversation, face to face, or in public gatherings. The spirit will not manifest itself in the person who devotes his time to deliver what he has to say in pompous words or with display of oratory. He hopes to please artificially, and not effectively through the heart. (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine,13th ed., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1968, pp. 358-359).

I went to Grantsville, the largest ward in the Tooele stake of Zion, and I approached the Lord with much the same attitude as Oliver Cowdery when he told the Lord, “I want to translate,” and the Lord told him he could translate. But, failing, he was later told, he did not study it out, and he did not pray about it, and he did not do his share [see D&C 9:7–8]. … I got up and talked for five minutes, and I sweat as freely, I believe, as if I had been dipped in a creek, and I ran out of ideas completely. I made as complete a “fizzle,” so to speak, of my talk, as a mortal could make....

I [later] walked several miles away from that meetinghouse, out into the fields, among the hay and straw stacks, and when I got far enough away, so that I was sure nobody saw me, I knelt down behind one of those stacks and I shed tears of humiliation. I asked God to forgive me for not remembering that men can not preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with power, with force, and with inspiration only as they are blessed with power which comes from God; and I told him there, as a boy, that if he would forgive me for my egotism, if he would forgive me for imagining that without his Spirit any man can proclaim the truth and find willing hearts to receive it, to the day of my death I would endeavor to remember from whence the inspiration comes, when we are proclaiming the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the plan of life and salvation again revealed to earth.

I am grateful to say that during the forty years that have passed since then, I have never been humiliated as I was humiliated that day; and why? Because I have never, thank the Lord, stood upon my feet with an idea that a man could touch the hearts of his hearers … except that man shall possess the Spirit of the living God, and thus be capable of bearing witness that this is the truth that you and I are engaged in. (Heber J. Grant, “Significant Counsel to the Young People of the Church,” Improvement Era, [August 1921]: 871–872).

We take our young men and young women from comfortable up-to-date homes, provided with the conveniences of modern life, and send them out, perhaps into the woods of the south where they have to put up with what would be called rather rough fare, and rather inadequate accommodations. They smile at it all and rejoice in the experience and work all the harder. (James E. Talmage, Conference Report, October 1924, p. 140).

Fill your life with service. From the Book of Mormon we learn, “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17). Missionaries particularly have a wonderful opportunity to give of their full time in sharing with all the world that commodity of such priceless value—a testimony of the gospel. To missionaries I declare that you have been called of God by prophecy and are divinely commissioned and sent forth in your sacred calling.

Missionaries should go forward knowing that they are in the service of God, that they are going to share that most precious commodity—their testimonies. Remember, a testimony is perishable. That which you selfishly keep, you lose; that which you willingly share, you keep. All of us benefit when we remember to magnify our callings. (Thomas S. Monson, Be Your Best Self, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1979, p. 170).

This work is a most important one. It is no ordinary calling even from a human point of view. The missionary work is to this people a great means of education. But aside from this the self-control and success with which the elders adapt themselves to the new circumstances in which they in foreign lands find themselves is admirable. A great change is noticed in the field.

There was a time when the missionaries used to count the success of their labors by the number of baptisms. That time is past. Yet the work of today is as important as ever. There certainly are many who yet must hear the gospel. And our missionaries are doing a great work in bringing it to them. The reward for all this self-sacrifice, they seldom think of. If they can hope to appear once before their Heavenly Father void of offense they deem themselves amply rewarded. (James E. Talmage, Talk on Missionary Work, Deseret Weekly [Saturday, 5 August 1893]: p. 216).

I would not deny the splendid young men who are going into the missionary field today the right and privilege to preach the gospel. They are principally boys in their teens, however. It is the greatest blessing that could come to them. I hope, however, that fathers and mothers shall not be looking upon the missionary field as a mere training school for their boys. Naturally this is a by-product that comes from sending a boy upon a mission. He finds himself and finds the Lord. It is a miracle. The greatest miracle transformation through which he goes under the influence of the Spirit of God, as he goes forward to preach this gospel. (Melvin J. Ballard, Conference Report, April 1925, p. 133).

Some missionaries are gifted with the power of expression, while others have a superior knowledge of the gospel. Some, however, are late bloomers who day by day become more proficient and successful.

Entering the mission field can sometimes be an overpowering and frightening experience. President Harold B. Lee counseled, “Remember, whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies.” (Thomas S. Monson, “Save Her! Save Her!” New Era [May 1997]: 4).

During a trip to Quito, Ecuador, as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Spencer W. Kimball was at a hotel restaurant with a group that included four young missionaries. “He commented to the others that their waiter was a fine-looking young man and would make a good missionary for the Church. Elder Kimball ordered bread and milk, then asked the waiter if he had any children at home. ‘One son,’ the waiter answered. ‘Bread and milk will make him healthy,’ Elder Kimball said, ‘but he will be even healthier if you will feed him the food these young men have to give.’ The waiter looked puzzled. Then Elder Kimball explained that the young men were missionaries who had the gospel of Jesus Christ to teach. The waiter expressed interest in having the missionaries teach him. (Spencer W. Kimball, Spencer W. Kimball, Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball Jr., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1977, p. 354).

I am very grateful to be able to discuss with you an exciting development that will make it easier for each of us to share with loved ones and friends the glorious message of the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. It has ignited the minds and hearts of our missionaries, for it equips them to teach their message with power and to bear testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and of His prophet Joseph Smith without the constraint of a prescribed dialogue. Developed primarily for full-time missionary use, this material has also proven to be most beneficial for parents who want to help children prepare for a mission. Young men and women as well as some couples are using the resource to get a head start before entering the missionary training centers. Some priesthood leaders have confirmed its worth in preparing Aaronic Priesthood brethren for missions. This tool is invaluable in assisting priesthood and auxiliary efforts to help new members become stronger in testimony and obedience. I speak of this new guide, Preach My Gospel, and its attendant planning tools, such as this Missionary Daily Planner.

May I share with you why I am so enthusiastic about Preach My Gospel? It has focused our missionary effort as never before. For years I have asked groups of missionaries, “What is the purpose of your mission?” Their individual responses differed greatly. Most did not have any concrete purpose to organize their efforts. Page 1 of this guide powerfully focuses missionaries on their true purpose: “Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.” The contents then suggest how to do that as led by the Spirit.
The former missionary materials were effective for their time, but the world has changed dramatically. The values which form the bedrock foundation of society are being assaulted by Satan and his allies. There has been an urgent need for an improved way to share the fullness of the truth that God has placed on earth again. This includes an understanding of God’s plan of happiness and of how it has been returned to earth through His singular prophet, Joseph Smith. Also that the Church of Jesus Christ with the priesthood authority to act in His name is once again on earth in its fullness. (Richard G. Scott, “The Power of Preach My Gospel,” Ensign, [May 2005]: 29.)

The valuable testimony, about which we have heard, can be obtained in the missionary field as nowhere else. It is worth more to any young man in Israel to have in his very heart and soul a burning conviction, a knowledge that God lives, and that Jesus is the Christ, than to be possessed of much wealth and to be devoid of this blessing. There are few, indeed I know of none, who have gone into the missionary field to discharge this obligation and have done their duty who have not been endowed with an abiding testimony that God lives, and that Jesus Christ is his Son. (Melvin J. Ballard, Conference Report, October 1925, p. 126).

Oh, yes, there are some missionaries who are lazy, less than effective, and anxious for their missions to conclude. A careful examination of such instances will reveal that the actual culprit is laziness nor disinterest, but is the foe known as fear. Our Father chastised such: "...with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto the, because of the fear of man...(D&C 60:2). (Thomas S. Monson, Pathways of Perfection, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1979, p. 97).

You can’t afford to be lazy. You can’t afford not to get up in the morning. You cannot afford not to study the prophets of old. You cannot afford not to be acquainted with them and their great work. You cannot afford not to get along with your companion. You cannot afford to be thinking all the time of the girl you left at home. She is home. You are here. She has her work to do, and you have your work to do, and it is pretty important, and you only have two years in which to do it—you young ladies, a year and a half, you old people, as long as you can take it. (Gordon B. Hinckley, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Missionary Meeting, 25 October 2002 quoted in Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley Volume 2: 2000-2004 Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2005, pp. 367).

We had a missionary in our mission who was particularly devoted and obedient. I said to him one time, “Elder, what is the source of your motivation?”

“Brother Monson,” he replied, “I slept in one morning. As I did so, my mind turned to thoughts of my mother and my father, who are operating a little cleaning establishment, working around the clock to earn sufficient money to support me on a mission. As I thought of my parents performing that strenuous work in my behalf, all signs of laziness left me; and I determined that I had an opportunity to serve the Lord in my behalf and in behalf of my own mother and my own father.”

Harry Emerson Fosdick said: “Until willingness overflows obligation, men fight as conscripts rather than following the flag as patriots. Duty is never worthily performed until it is performed by one who would gladly do more, if only he could.”
In short, we need to extend ourselves in service to our Heavenly Father if we are to demonstrate our love for Him. (Thomas S. Monson, Live the Good Life, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1988, p. 107).

Hard work is more important than intellect. Remember the Lord’s words in the Doctrine and Covenants: “Wherefore, I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thrash the nations by the power of my Spirit;
“And their arm shall be my arm, and I will be their shield and their buckler; and I will gird up their loins, and they shall fight manfully for me.”

President Ezra Taft Benson once said: “One of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work. If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people; and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry. That’s the secret—work, work, work. There is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work.”

One of the Brethren reported being in a missionary testimony meeting when a young elder, who was not given much to speaking, said: “I am enjoying my work. I guess that is all I can expect. I can’t enjoy what I don’t do!”

When President N. Eldon Tanner presided over the West European Mission some years ago, his slogan was “Have a good time.” One day he said to a group of missionaries in Germany, “I would like you all to have a good time.” After the meeting, one of the missionaries came up to him and said: “President Tanner, I don’t think that it is quite fair for you to tell the missionaries to have a good time. You know, the only way they can have a good time is to do their work.” President Tanner said, “Well, go have a good time.” (James E. Faust, Conference Report, April 1996).

Missionary work is rigorous. It is demanding. It is difficult. It has never been easy, and it never will be. It requires strength of body, strength of mind, strength of spirit. (Brian Kelly, “A Visit with Elder Gordon B. Hinckley about Missionary Work,” New Era, June 1973, p. 31).

Testimony bearing is the key to missionary work. (Thomas S. Monson, Church News, [26 June 1999] ).

We all like comfort; yet industry is at the heart of missionary work. This has not changed since the time of the Savior. He said, ‘… whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s the same shall save it.’ (Mark 8:35.) That is particularly true with missionary work. The greatest challenge has always been to go before the Lord in prayer and ask for strength and capacity and direction, and then go out and go to work. The Lord has declared: ‘If therefore thine eye be single [to my glory], thy whole body shall be full of light.’ (Matt. 6:22.) If a missionary works with an eye single to the glory of God, then the darkness goes out, the darkness of laziness, the darkness of sin, the darkness of procrastination, the darkness of fear, and these are all factors that influence missionary work. (Brian Kelly, “A Visit with Elder Gordon B. Hinckley,” p. 31).

I was recently in London, England, and there we held a meeting with the missionaries serving in the area. Representatives of the British Broadcasting Corporation filmed part of the service. They are preparing a documentary of our missionary work in the British Isles.

Prior to this I had been interviewed by a representative of the BBC Radio Worldwide Service. He had seen the missionaries and noted their youthful appearance. He asked me, “How do you expect people to listen to these callow youth?’

In case some of you do not know the meaning of callow, it means immature, inexperienced, lacking sophistication.

I replied to the reporter with a smile, “Callow youth? It is with these missionaries today as it was with Timothy in the days of Paul. It was Paul who wrote of his young companion, saying, ‘Let no man despise they youth but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity’ (1 Timothy 4:12).

“The remarkable thing is that people do receive them and listen to them. They are wholesome. They are bright, they are alert, they are upstanding. They are clean looking, and people quickly develop confidence in them.” . . .

“Callow youth?” Yes, they are lacking in sophistication. What a great blessing this is. They carry no element of deception. They speak with no element of sophistry. Each is a servant of the living God, an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ. Their power comes not of their learning in the things of the world. Their power comes of faith, and prayer, and humility. As we have been reminded, the work is not easy. It has never been easy. Long ago Jeremiah said that the Lord would gather His people one of a city and two of a family and bring them to Zion and feed them with pastors after His own heart (see Jeremiah 3:14-15). In terms of the individual missionary, the harvest is not great in most instances, but in the aggregate it becomes tremendous. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Of Missions, Temples, and Stewardship,” Ensign, [November 1995]: 51).

Missionary work is hard work. Missionary service is demanding and requires long hours of study and preparation so that the missionary himself might match the divine message he proclaims. It is a labor of love but also of sacrifice and devotion to duty. (Thomas S. Monson, “Save Her! Save Her!” New Era, [May 1997]: 4).

Every missionary ought to come to realize that work, work, work is the key to getting things done, the key to success in life. There is no substitute for work, for getting up in the morning and getting at it and staying with it to get the job done. I don’t know of a greater asset for whatever lies ahead in life than the capacity to discipline oneself to work. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Gifts to Bring Home from the Mission Field,” New Era, [March 2007]: 3-4).

The elders must understand that they have not for worldly pleasures, nor to sit down at their ease to partake of the people’s hospitality; but to work, and that diligently, for the salvation of mankind and the building up of the work of the Lord. Among the sinful and degraded millions who are hurrying along the broad road to death, there are many honest souls who know not the way of life. You are sent to hunt them out and save them from the world’s sad fate. You should be more than willing to undergo toil and privation in hunting for souls in the wilderness of sin. Let the energy which has attended you in your past life now be turned in the direction of your new labors, and work with untiring diligence and zeal for the salvation of these who know not the true God. Warn all whom you meet, but remember, “to the poor the Gospel is preached.” Do not disdain, then, to visit the poor and the lowly in their humble habitations, to impart counsel and consolation to them in their smallest affairs, or to administer the ordinances of the House of the Lord. The blessings of the poor will be a crown of glory on your heads, more resplendent in the sight of heaven than diadems of gold sparkling with the richest earthly gems. (“Cry Aloud and Spare Not,” Elders’ Journal [1 November 1905]: 72).

May God bless you my boy and help you, and preserve you from the fear of the world, and help you to overcome your own timidity and to find out God, to know him, and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent into the world, whom to know is life eternal. . . . I know it was and is the will of God, our Heavenly Father that you should take this mission. And it is His will that you should succeed, but it is your duty to see and acknowledge His hand therein and to do your best to meet His will and purpose concerning it. It is also my will, nay more, my earnest desire and my hope, my faith and my fervent prayer to God, my Father, that you shall succeed in this mission. . . . You must not fail! And you will not, no you cannot fail, if you will but do your duty. (Joseph F. Smith, From Prophet to Son: Advice of Joseph F. Smith to His Missionary Sons, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981, p. 62).

Every one of you is so important to this cause. Without you the Church would not grow; it would just along in a static way and finally it would fade and dwindle and die here. You are what keeps it alive with a constant infusion of new blood, of converts who come into the Church who bring with them their strengths. You are so very, very, very important. Do not ever thin that what you are doing is not important. It is so very, very important. You may not bring very many converts into the Church during your mission. I do not care about that so long as you try, so long as you work hard. If you will work hard, the matter of converts will take care of itself. I am satisfied of that. (Gordon B. Hinckley, Korea Pusan and Korea Taejon Missionary Meeting, 21 May 1996).

I turn from Mexico to a missionary at the Missionary Training Center at Provo, Utah, desperately struggling to become proficient in the German language, that he might be an effective missionary to the people of southern Germany. Every day as he opened his German grammar text, he noticed with interest and curiosity that the front cover displayed the picture of a most quaint and ancient house in Rothenburg, West Germany. Beneath the picture, the location was given. In his heart that young man determined, “I’ll visit that house and teach the truth to whoever lives within it.” This he did. The result was the conversion and baptism of Sister Helma Hahn. Today she devotes much of her time speaking to tourists who come from all over the world to see her house. She delights in telling them of the blessings that the gospel of Jesus Christ has brought to her. Her house is perhaps one of the most frequently photographed houses in the entire world. No visitor leaves without hearing in simple yet earnest words her testimony of praise and gratitude. That missionary who brought to Sister Hahn the gospel remembered the sacred charge: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). (Thomas S. Monson, Be Your Best Self, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1979, pp. 68-69).

When I left for a mission some sixty-two years ago, my good father handed me a card on which were written five words. They were the words of the Lord to the ruler of the synagogue who had received news of his daughter’s death: “Be not afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36). I should like to express a few thoughts on this theme. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Be Not Afraid, Only Believe’,” Ensign, [February 1996]: 2).

Brothers and sisters, whatever your distress, please don't give up and please don't yield to fear. I have always been touched that as his son was departing for his mission to England, Brother Bryant S. Hinckley gave young Gordon a farewell embrace and then slipped him a handwritten note with just five words taken from the fifth chapter of Mark: "Be not afraid, only believe" (Mark 5:36). I think also of that night when Christ rushed to the aid of His frightened disciples, walking as He did on the water to get to them, calling out, "It is I; be not afraid." Peter exclaimed, "Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water." Christ's answer to him was as it always is every time: "Come," He said. Instantly, as was his nature, Peter sprang over the vessel's side and into the troubled waters. While his eyes were fixed upon the Lord, the wind could toss his hair and the spray could drench his robes, but all was well—he was coming to Christ. It was only when his faith wavered and fear took control, only when he removed his glance from the Master to look at the furious waves and the ominous black gulf beneath, only then did he begin to sink into the sea. In newer terror he cried out, "Lord, save me."

Undoubtedly with some sadness, the Master over every problem and fear, He who is the solution to every discouragement and disappointment, stretched out His hand and grasped the drowning disciple with the gentle rebuke, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" (Matthew 14:27–31.)

If you are lonely, please know you can find comfort. If you are discouraged, please know you can find hope. If you are poor in spirit, please know you can be strengthened. If you feel you are broken, please know you can be mended. (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Broken Things to Mend,” Conference Report, April 2006).

Missionary work is strenuous, the change of climate, often the worry that takes possession of some of our men at first, sometimes home-sickness, discouragement. Unless they are physically strong, they break under it. That, too, hinders the work in the mission field. (David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1949, p. 177).

True, as you say, “If it were not the Lord’s work, that we are engaged in” and if we were not mighty sure of it, we would all “feel like quitting.” But the Lord does not love “quitters.” Quitters never win; the battle is not to the strong, nor the race to the swift, but to him that endureth to the end. We are in it for life, and as life never ends we’re in it for a long time; and the best of it is, we only begin in this life, and we don’t propose to end it at all while life or thought or being lasts, or immortality endures. So make your mind up for a long and a strong fight, and a glorious triumph bye and bye. (Joseph F. Smith, From Prophet to Son: Advice of Joseph F. Smith to His Missionary Sons, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981, p. 105).

I experienced times of discouragement on my mission, as does every missionary. On an occasion or two, when the clouds were particularly dark. I felt in a very real but indescribable way the protecting, guiding, encouraging influence of my mother. She seemed very close. I tried then, as I have tried since, to so conduct my life and perform my duty as to bring honor to her name. (Gordon B. Hinckley, One Bright Shining Hope, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2006, p. 20).

Then and now, servants of God can take comfort from the Master’s assurance: “I am with you always.” This magnificent promise sustains brethren of the Aaronic Priesthood who are called to positions of leadership in the quorums of deacons, teachers, and priests. It encourages them in their preparations to serve in the mission field. It comforts them during those moments of discouragement which come to all. This same assurance motivates and inspires brethren of the Melchizedek Priesthood as they lead and direct the work in the wards, the stakes, and the missions. “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing,” said the Lord, “for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind.” (D&C 64:33-34).
An abiding faith, a constant trust, a fervent desire have always characterized those who serve the Lord with all their hearts. (Thomas S. Monson, Live the Good Life, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1988, p. 13).

We should also build the attitude that there is nothing of a vacation, nothing of a holiday in this great missionary service. It is hard, and at times discouraging, work. Last year our missionaries averaged sixty-seven hours a week in actual proselyting effort. Let those who contemplate missions realize that they will work as they have never worked before, and that they may expect such joy as they have not previously known. (Gordon B. Hinckley, CR April 1959 p. 120).

Once missionaries put their hand to the plough (Luke 9:62), they should not look back, but go forward with the work. And work it is, my brothers and sisters. It is not a vacation...But the work, as the hymn suggests, is sweet. (Hymns, No. 147). (Thomas S. Monson, Church News, 4 July 1998).

Go forward. Do your work. It’s so very, very important. You have on your narrow shoulders the responsibility of teaching the gospel to a world that doesn’t want it. At least they think they don’t want it because they haven’t tasted of it. And for many, many of those people you are the only knowledge they will ever have of this Church. It is so very important, therefore, that you make a good appearance. Someday someone might well say, “Well, yes, I met two of your missionaries years ago and I’ve been thinking about it ever since then. Come in and tell me what you have to offer.” Go forward with faith and without fear. (Gordon B. Hinckley, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Missionary Meeting, 27 April 1996).

Diligence is steady, consistent, earnest, and energetic effort in doing the Lord’s work. The Lord expects you to work diligently—-persistently and with great effort and care. A diligent missionary works effectively and efficiently. Diligence in missionary work is an expression of your love for the Lord and His work. When you are diligent, you find joy and satisfaction in your work.

Do many good things of your own free will (see D&C 58:27). Don’t wait for your leaders to tell you what to do. Continue until you have done all you can, even when you are tired. Focus on the important things and avoid wasting time. Pray for guidance and strength. Plan regularly and effectively. Avoid anything that distracts your thoughts or actions. (Preach my Gospel: A guide to missionary service. Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 2004, p. 121).

What manner of persons ought you, therefore, to be? You should be, in reality, the sons of God, pure as the angels of his presence, chaste in your conversation, in your acts, in your thoughts; upright, honest, and full of integrity; temperate, patient, slow to anger; prayerful, faithful, hopeful; sober-minded, and yet cheerful; zealous, courageous, but not overbearing, humble, meek, and yet dignified; wise and impartial in your counsels; always ready to instruct, build up, and strengthen the Church. Be diligent in all your labors...Be clean and tidy in your appearance, for so are the holy angels whose garments are "clean and white". (Orson Pratt, Masterful Discourses and Writings of Orson Pratt, Compiled by Nels B. Lundwall, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1981, p. 46).

Every missionary elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is endowed with the Holy Priesthood and is sent forth as a minister of the restored gospel of our Lord and Savior. He is expected by those who send him to be of upright conduct and morally clean; and he should keep himself pure, sweet, and unspotted from the sins of the world. He should avoid the very appearance of evil, so that, when honorably released, he may return home with clean hands and a pure heart. (Rudger Clawson, "The Counsel of Authority in "The Missionary's Handbook, Independence, Missouri: Zion's Printing and Publishing Co., 1937, p. 16).

It would be well for missionaries often to call to their minds the nature and sacredness of their holy endowments. Remember, how strict were your covenants to do right? How binding they are upon you! If you desire the promised blessings, fulfill on your part, and the Lord will never fail on his part.

God has entrusted you, for the time being, with a sacred watch-care over his people in these lands; you have, in some measure, the forming and fashioning of their society; the influence that you impart will be felt for years to come. Let it them be a savory influence; one that you will regard with pleasure, when you return home, one that will justify you in the judgment day. (Orson Pratt, Masterful Discourses and Writings of Orson Pratt, Compiled by Nels B. Lundwall, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1981, p. 44).

The characteristics of a good missionary are: A man who has sociability--whose friendship is permanent and sparkling--who can ingratiate himself into the confidence and favor of men who are in darkness. This cannot be done offhand. You must get acquainted with a man, learn him and gain his confidence and make him feel and know that your only desire is to do him good and bless him. Then you can tell him your message, and give him the good things you have for him kindly and lovingly...Men are not converted by eloquence or oratory; they are convinced when they are satisfied that you have the truth and Spirit of God. (Joseph F. Smith, "Qualifications of Missionaries,"The Elders Manual, Independence, Missouri: Zion's Printing and Publishing Co., 1918, p. 14).

Forget yourself in His service. The Lord said, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” If you will lose yourself in missionary service, you will find indescribable joy.

Nothing you do as a missionary should get in the way of your important message: not your dress, not your hair length, your attitude; not your deportment; and not your girlfriend at home. I do not wish to be insensitive to the natural affections between a fine young man and a lovely young woman. However, if a missionary receives a letter from his girlfriend stating that her affections for him have changed—-we used to call that a “Dear John letter”; some of us have gotten those—-I commend the good counsel given some years ago by Elder LeGrand Richards, who said, “There’s a new group of girls every year! And the new group is just as good as the old group.”

You young men are properly concerned about finding your place in this unsettled world. However, when you are called as a full-time representative of the Lord, you should “serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.” (James E. Faust, Conference Report, April 1996.

This is a great time in your lives. This is a wonderful season in your lives. This is a unique and different time in your lives. This is a time when you have opportunities that you will never have again as long as you live—the opportunity of spending your full time in the service of the Lord without any thought of money. You know you are going to have enough to get by on, not too much, I hope, but enough to get by on. You don’t have to worry about a job. You don’t have to worry about school. You don’t have to worry about a social life. There is no need to worry about Mary whom you left behind. Suppose she does marry somebody else while you are away? Get on your knees and thank the Lord and ask him to bless her. You’ll find somebody that’s better suited for you. Your tastes will be changed. (Gordon B. Hinckley, Philippines Manila/Quezon City Missionary Meeting, 31 May 1996).

To all missionaries laboring in this mission I wish to say: Study the best ways and methods of reaching the hearts of men with the convincing truths of the gospel, and let your best endeavors be directed to build up the kingdom of God. Be pure in thought, prudent in your sayings, and wise in your actions. Store your mind with the knowledge of the word of God, and seek earnestly to have the spirit of your calling, that you may be able to feed the Saints with the bread of life and be fathers unto them. I pray that you may see many fruits of your self-sacrificing and loving labors for the salvation of your fellowmen. (Anthon H. Lund, "Valedictory," Millennial Star 58 [23 July 1896]: 473).

If every missionary in the Church now in the field were doing his utmost to fill the measure of his calling and appointment, the time of the richer harvest would be here, even now. Many of our devoted missionaries are valiantly striving to do their best, and to make their best better day by day; great is and greater yet shall be their reward. Others are lacking in energy and effort; their work is done, if at all, in a half-spirited way, and their thoughts are ever running ahead to the time of their release and return. To those of the first class the days are all too short and the months too few for the exalted labors in which they find such genuine satisfaction and happiness. To the other, the days drag and the weeks are burdensome. (Joseph F. Smith, "To Elders Going on Missions, "The Elders Manual, Independence, Missouri: Zion's Printing and Publishing Co., 1918, p. 9).

In the missionary training centers, we teach the missionaries that they must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. They are taught that they need to develop genuinely warm, personal, caring relationships with those whom they meet. They must learn to listen with understanding and to show sincere sensitivity to the interests and concerns of those they teach. As missionaries teach the doctrines, they need to find out what their contacts think and feel so they can clarify misunderstandings, ease doubts, resolve concerns, and provide encouragement. The warm, sincere spirit of the missionaries is essential to help nonmembers feel and recognize the Spirit of the Lord, because the Spirit is the power that leads to conversion. (M. Russell Ballard, “The Hand of Fellowship,” Ensign, [November 1988]: 28).

While our missionaries as individuals may not be regarded as "notable religious leaders,” by the great mass of people in the world, they do speak with authority and they do have a message for the world that to them is of such importance that they are willing, at their own expense, to give their time and devote themselves thus unselfishly to carrying the gospel message. (Richard R. Lyman, Conference Report, April 1922, p. 78).

Thousands of elders have been called, not from colleges, but from the various occupations of life, and sent forth into the world to preach the gospel without money and without price. Now for many years they have gone forth and said: "The fullness of the everlasting gospel has been revealed by the administration of
angels; the Lord has raised up prophets and inspired men; he has organized the Church on the earth as it was in the days of Jesus Christ and the Apostles; we have brought you this gospel; hearken to it, and we promise you, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, if you will receive our testimony, repent of your sins, go down into the water and be baptized for the remission of your sins; you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, that shall bear record and witness unto you that what we say is true..." These elders labored by faith, they traveled by faith, they worked by faith. It was faith that sustained them all the way. They traveled without purse and scrip, and through their faith the God of heaven fed and clothed them, and opened the way before them. (Wilford Woodruff, "The Power of Faith," Deseret Weekly [Saturday, 3 February 1894]: 193).

One of the greatest evidences of the truthfulness of this work is the fact that of the thousands of young men and women who have gone into the world to preach the gospel, meeting people of all faiths, not one who has been faithful in the discharge of his or her duty has left the Church, but has returned with a greater conviction of the truth of the message they bore. If this work was not founded upon the truth surely the Lord would have made known this fact unto some of these young humble and prayerful missionaries. (Heber J. Grant, "Church Belief Told Ensign, Conference," Deseret News, [Monday, 21 September 1925]: 2).

Our missionaries go out at the call of the Church. They are not paid salaries; the Church does not even pay their expenses while they are gone. The burden is upon themselves or upon their families, and it is only when their mission is ended that the Church bears any expense--it pays their way home. (Joseph F. Smith, Millennial Star 73 [June 1911]: 403).

Well did President Hinckley teach: “For many years now we have had a standard set of missionary lessons. Great good has come of this. … But unfortunately this method, in all too many cases, has resulted in a memorized presentation, lacking in Spirit and in personal conviction....

“[Missionaries] should master the concepts of the lessons. But they should … teach the concepts in their own words under the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit.” 1
That principle is a foundation pillar of Preach My Gospel. Missionaries throughout the world now get into their minds and hearts the message of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the plan of salvation, essential commandments, and the laws and ordinances of the gospel. These lessons are then given in their own words as guided by the Spirit. This focus has dramatically improved the effectiveness of missionaries that use it. (Richard G. Scott, “The Power of Preach My Gospel,” Ensign, [May 2005]: 29.)

Let the idea be emphasized throughout the entire Church so that when a young man enlists under the missionary banner it means that he is superior in every way--in character, in faith, and in a desire to serve the Lord.

True Christianity is love in action. There is no better way to manifest love for God than to show an unselfish love for one's fellow man. That is the spirit of missionary work. (David O. McKay, Improvement Era, 63 [May 1960]: 303).

The Lord will always provide some way to get along; and the faithful servant of God has nothing to fear only his own weakness and his own imperfections and follies; these are the things he has to fear the most. (Orson Pratt, Masterful Discourses and Writings of Orson Pratt, Compiled by Nels B. Lundwall, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1981, p. 35).

Latter-day Saints today, in response to a call from God's prophet, have left behind home, family, friends and school and gone forward to serve in his harvest fields so wide. Men of the world ask the question: "Why do they respond so readily and willingly give so much?" Our missionaries could well answer in the words of Paul, that peerless missionary of an earlier day: "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel!" [1 Corinthians 9:16] (Thomas S. Monson, Pathways to Perfection, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976, p. 95).

I suppose you have been busy, that your time has been occupied with other duties, and you have not written as often as we would like. There is something of an art in letter writing, which can be acquired only by practice. It is very desirable for you to improve as much as you can in the art of corresponding. You must not allow yourself to be supine. Energy is the vitalizing force which leads on to success and triumph. It is energy which has developed greatness in men, more than natural talent. Many a man with meager ability has made his mark in the world through being energetic and persistent, while many and many a man with superior native talent has completely failed for the sole want of energy. Whatever is worth doing is worth doing well. Whatever you engage in, concentrate your mind and effort upon it and do it as thoroughly as you can. Time is precious, let not a moment be wasted in vain regrets, in discouragement, or fear to try or to begin to do. You have not had to rustle at home to make ends meet, nor to save time and utilize it. You may now find it necessary, therefore, to redouble your vigor and energy to meet the demands of duty. One of those demands. . . is to write good, kind letters . . . (Joseph F. Smith, From Prophet to Son: Advice of Joseph F. Smith to His Missionary Sons, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981, p. 32).

While it is very interesting to get long letters from you, it must be considerable of a labor for you to write so many long letters and keep up with your other labors and duties in the field. I hope you will be prudent and not undertake to do too much, nor overdo yourself. It was a rule of our late kinsman, President George A. Smith, to make short prayers, but fervent ones, shore sermons and to the point, and short letters well digested. It is often more or a labor to write a short letter well composed and digested than a very lengthy rambling one. I think you are a very good letter writer, only that your handwriting appears rather small for so large a boy. (Joseph F. Smith, From Prophet to Son: Advice of Joseph F. Smith to His Missionary Sons, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981, p. 117).

The Mormon missionary is easily recognized. He is clean in spirit and action. His devotion to duty is unflagging. In public or private, he is true to the principles he teaches. In every land, to every person, he preaches the same doctrine. Modestly he moves among people, offering the truth that he cherishes. He uses every honorable means to advance the gospel cause, whether tracting, preaching in churches or on the streets, conversing or writing. Courageously, he meets rebuffs and persecution, with love in his heart ever for those who are unkind--for they do not understand. (John A. Widtsoe, Man and the Dragon, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1945, p. 180).

The man who is devoted to his work and who is trying to make the best of his time will plan his work so that he will have something to do all the time. When he is not out tracting or holding meetings he will be visiting the Saints or improving his mind by studying the scriptures and preparing himself to teach those who are in darkness in such a way that they will not be left in doubt when he explains the gospel to them, and they will know that he understands what he is trying to teach them, even if they cannot grasp the truth themselves. (Joseph F. Smith, From Prophet to Son: Advice of Joseph F. Smith to His Missionary Sons, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981, p. 119).

These boys out in the field are sweet and clean and wholesome, and they are striving to live exemplary lives, that their example might accord with their precept. I have met them, as you know, in many missions, and invariably, they are fit, noble Representatives of their parents and of the Church. Their skin is clean, their eyes clear, their lives wholesome, and men and women who are opposed to our teachings are forced to acknowledge that the missionaries of the Church are noble young men and pure women. O, I grant you there are men and women in the world who are suspicious, many who are suspicious of them. Sometimes, too, once in a great while--a missionary man forgets himself and brings disgrace upon the body of the Church, but the percentage of such failures, thank heaven, is extremely small. (David O. McKay, Conference Report, October 1922, pp. 76-77).

Immorality is the most subtle means Satan has to cover a missionary with failure and shame. Missionaries should be on constant guard against familiarity with the opposite sex. ("Mission Regulations," The Missionary's Handbook, Independence, Missouri: Zion's Printing and Publishing Co., 1937, p. 26).

All the messengers in the vineyard should be righteous and holy men and call upon the Lord in mighty prayer, in order to prevail. It is the privilege of every elder in Israel, who is laboring in the vineyard, if he will live up to his privileges, to have dreams, visions, and revelations, and the Holy Ghost as a constant companion, that he may be able thoroughly to gather out the blood of Israel and the meek of the earth and bring them into the fold of Christ. (Wilford Woodruff, Millennial Star 48 [26 October 1886]: 804-805).

Our goal is to achieve eternal life. That is the greatest goal in the world. We do not want stake and full-time mission Presidents to establish quotas for the missionaries. Rather, we expect them to inspire missionaries to set their own goals, and make them high enough to challenge their very best efforts, and work to achieve them. (Spencer W. Kimball, Regional Representatives’ Seminar, 3 April 1975, p. 6).

We must find ways to inspire and teach better ways of doing missionary work. We see no objection to every missionary setting himself a goal. We do not want others setting his goals for him--it becomes too mechanical. But there is no reason why each
missionary should not set his own goals. (Spencer W. Kimball, Regional Representatives’ Seminar, 5 April 1976, p. 5).

I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principle of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life. (M. Russell Ballard, Salt Lake Area Young Adults, October 18, 1981).

Last summer Sister Oaks and I were in Manaus, Brazil. I spoke to about a hundred missionaries in that great city on the Amazon. As I stood to speak, I was prompted to put aside some notes I usually use on such occasions and substitute some thoughts on the importance of timing--some of the scriptures and principles I have been talking about today.
I reminded the missionaries that some of our most important plans cannot be brought to pass without the agency and actions of others. A missionary cannot baptize five persons this month without the agency and action of five other persons. A missionary can plan and work and do all within his or her power, but the desired result will depend upon the additional agency and action of others. Consequently a missionary's goals ought to be based upon the missionary's personal agency and action, not upon the agency or action of others. (Dallin H. Oaks, “Timing,” Speeches 2002-2003, Provo, UT.: Intellectual Reserve and BYU University Press Building, 2003).

Goals reflect the desires of our hearts and our vision of what we can accomplish. Through goals and plans, our hopes are transformed into action. Goal setting and planning are acts of faith. Prayerfully set goals that are in harmony with the Savior’s command to “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19).

Set goals for each key indicator. You may also set goals for your personal development. Do everything within your power to achieve your goals while respecting the agency of others. The ultimate measure of success is not in achieving goals alone but in the service you render and the progress of others. Goals are a means of helping you bring about much good among Heavenly Father’s children. They are not used to receive recognition. (Preach my Gospel: A guide to missionary service. Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 2004, p. 146).

Each missionary has solemnly covenanted to faithfully discharge his duty--yet there is no compulsion in missionary work. Missionaries are trusted to carry on the work for which they came into the field in conformity with the procedure established by those in responsible authority; but since men and conditions differ, not all will work in precisely the same manner. ("Mission Regulations," The Missionary's Handbook, Independence, Missouri: Zion's Printing and Publishing Co., 1937, p. 22).

In fact, intelligent initiative is welcomed in the mission field. The highest success is reached by missionaries who strive to preserve their initiative while conforming to the practices which long experience has taught are best for effective missionary work. Organization and intelligent obedience are distinguishing features of the Church of God. ("Mission Regulations," The Missionary's Handbook, Independence, Missouri: Zion's Printing and Publishing Co., 1937, p. 22).

The busy elder is the happy elder. Time is his most valuable asset, and he uses it judiciously. He well knows that at best the hours and days slip by far too rapidly for the accomplishment of all he wishes to do.

He regards his missionary work as successful men regard their daily work. Time for getting up in the morning, eating, going to and from work, and activities in various organizations is necessary, but it does not count as part of the day's work. He realizes that effective missionary work requires a full day of missionary activity. He knows that the moments are golden, that they are consecrated, and that his responsibility is great in the use he makes of them. ("Money, Time, and Talent, "The Missionary's Handbook, Independence, Missouri: Zion's Printing and Publishing Co., 1937, p. 30).

Ingenuity is welcomed in the mission field. There are many ways to preach the gospel. The Work of the Lord needs talent in its expression. And he who uses the talent with which he has been blessed, in conformity with mission regulations, will find added joy in his work, a new effectiveness, and an increasing power. ("Money, Time, and Talent, "The Missionary's Handbook, Independence, Missouri: Zion's Printing and Publishing Co., 1937, p. 32).

One of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work. If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people, and he will be happy. Then there will be no homesickness nor worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry. Work, work, work,--there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work. (Ezra Taft Benson, Come Unto Christ, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983, p. 97).

Can you see yourself as the number one man in your mission setting that part of the world on fire? Can you find a way to stir an appetite on the part of all men and women that they may have a hunger and a thirst for righteousness which can only be assuaged by the Holy Ghost following their proper baptism into the kingdom? (Spencer W. Kimball, Mission Presidents’ Seminar, 25 June 1976, p. 6).

There seems to have grown up in many quarters a feeling that we will just plod along and take the two or three or four converts that happen to come along. One sharp young man was saying goodbye to his home folks when a friend of the family said to him, "Where you are going, it is going to be a tough mission. You will do well if you get one or two converts in all your mission". The boy stiffened up and said, "No, sir, I am going out to convert the world". He had that spirit, and of course, he would be rewarded to the extent that he put that into practice. (Spencer W. Kimball, Mission Presidents’' Seminar, 25 June 1976, p. 11).

We ought to be full of light and life and the power and spirit of the living God and feel that we are messengers to the nations of the earth; we ought to feel the word of God burning like fire in our bones, feeling desirous to go and snatch men from the powers of darkness and the chains of corruption with which they are bound and lead them in the paths o life. We ought to be prepare to go forth weeping, bearing precious seed that we might come back again rejoicing bringing our sheaves with us. (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, London: Latter-day Saints Book Depot, 1855-1886, 20:228).

I would rather have a son in the vineyard, saving the souls of men, than to have him heaping up gold at home and becoming a millionaire. (Wilford Woodruff, "Encouragement to the Elders," Contributor 5 [July 1884]: 394).

I wish also to urge the necessity of your proceeding on your missions immediately, and of going to the place of your destination full of the Holy Ghost, preaching righteousness to the people; and while you do this, live up to the principles you preach, that you may teach also by your example, as well as by precept. Go, ye elders, and now consider yourselves from this time missionaries. (Brigham Young, "Self-Government--Mysteries,"Journal of Discourses, London: Latter-day Saints Book Depot, 1855-1886, 1:46).

As I have told the elders, so I will say here. Any man who goes on a mission in these times, to the European nations, to the United States, or to the islands of the sea, and returns home with his scalp on, I think he should certainly acknowledge the hand of the Lord in it. (Ezra T. Benson, Journal of Discourses, London: Latter-day Saints Book Depot, 1855-1886, 6:178).

When I visited the New England Mission a few years ago I found we were having some difficulties with our missionary work. We weren't making too much headway in some parts and so I made it a practice to talk with some investigators and those who had been recently converted and to ask them all the same question: "What was it that attracted you to the Church?" I received a startlingly similar answer from almost everyone with whom I talked: "When we attend Latter-day Saint meetings and hear the missionaries talk, they seem different. Their faces just seem to shine when they explain the principles of the gospel." (Harold B. Lee, Ye Are the Light of the World, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974, pp. 18-19).

We have never had so many missions. We have never had so many missionaries! Our great challenge now is to cause them to function properly and productively. (Spencer W. Kimball, Regional Representatives’ Seminar, 3 April 1975, p. 5).

Our time table says now, now is the time to upgrade our missionary standards. (Spencer W. Kimball, "Lengthening Our Stride,"Regional Representatives’ Seminar, 3 October 1974, p. 5).

The very best element for successful missionary labor is humility, coupled with a determination to do one's whole duty. In order to do this one must be careful not to divide his attentions too much with other things. You have started in to win, and victory will depend upon your integrity to the work you have begun. It will be time enough after you have completed your mission and received an honorable discharge to relax your mind by turning your thoughts into other channels. And yet I sincerely hope that you will never dismiss from your mind an earnest desire to help build up Zion and live and spread the truth restored to earth through Joseph Smith the Prophet throughout all the rest of your days. (Joseph F. Smith, From Prophet to Son: Advice of Joseph F. Smith to His Missionary Sons, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981, p. 109).

While the Prophet Joseph Smith was traveling with a group of missionaries on the Missouri River, the Lord revealed, “It is not needful for. . .mine elders to be moving swiftly . . . whilst the inhabitants on either side are perishing in unbelief” (D&C 61:3). As you move swiftly to planned activities, pray for the ability to see unplanned opportunities to serve and teach those who may be “perishing in unbelief.”

Pray for the spiritual sensitivity to recognize opportunities. You will find that God will place in your path His children who are being prepared to receive the restored gospel.

Nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach. Talk with as many people as you can each day. It is natural to be somewhat apprehensive about talking to people, but you can pray for the faith and strength to be more bold in opening your mouth to proclaim the restored gospel. Try applying the following ideas as you seek to talk with everyone you meet:

· Talk to people about their families. Help them see how the restored gospel can be a blessing to their families.

· Look for clues—such as items in homes or yards, lettering on clothing, or indications of children—to help you know how to begin talking with people.

· Listen sincerely to what people say to you.

· Be warm, friendly, and cheerful. Offer to help.

· Trust the Spirit to put into your heart and mind what to teach.

· Invite everyone to learn about the restored gospel.

· Offer pass-along cards.

· As for the names of people’s acquaintances who might be interested in your message.
(Preach my Gospel: A guide to missionary service. Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 2004, pp. 156-157).

Two or three years is a very short time in which to reach all the people that a missionary should deliver the message of salvation to. A missionary only realizes the opportunities he has missed when it is too late. After your mission has been completed and you are preparing to return home, you will reflect upon the time you have spent in the field and wish you had improved your time even better than you did. At least this is the case with most of us. (Joseph F. Smith, From Prophet to Son: Advice of Joseph F. Smith to His Missionary Sons, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981, p. 118).

Too many of our missionaries spend their time idly, sight-seeing or wandering around in the parks, attending theatres of places of amusement. This should not be. I is all right to go to the theatre once in a while, or to go out in the parks, where it is nice and cool, for recreation, but to lounge around idly during the day or sight-seeing and spending the time that should be devoted to missionary work is not right. Neither is it the proper thing for missionaries to sit up late at nights, and then stay in bed in the mornings when they should be planning the work to be done. Many of the elders sleep away and idle away the best part of their lives when they should be up and hustling.

The elder who is devoted to his work, who is energetic and who puts his trust in the Lord and is dependent upon Him for his support, is the best missionary. The one who has all the money he desires and spends his time in idleness and sight-seeing and putting on airs with fashionable clothes and cane, who attends theatres when he should be visiting Saints or holding meetings or improving his time, will never be happy and faithful as the boy who has to make the best of his time and means. (Joseph F. Smith, From Prophet to Son: Advice of Joseph F. Smith to His Missionary Sons, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981, p. 119).

Trivial comparisons, laughable stories, ridiculous gestures and attitudes are contrary to the dignity of the calling of a servant of the Lord. Humorous anecdotes or personal adventures, my be introduced by a missionary as illustrations of a principle, or doctrine, but if they are told to excite merriment, or to magnify the speaker, they must be condemned. They should be left for the minstrel show, or the music hall. (Hyrum M. Smith and Janne Sjodahl, The Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974, p. 632).

We have unfortunately lost some three or four of our Elders, by the hand of death, in the mission field. We regret this very much and we are impressed with the thought that it is largely due, in some instances at least, to the lack of caution and proper care on the part of the Elders themselves. I shall be most thankful and happy myself if after I have done all that I have the power and wisdom to do for my own protection, the Lord will preserve me by His power. Still I will give to Him the honor and the glory for all. (Joseph F. Smith, Conference Report, 4 October 1903).

I am sorry to say it, but if these two boys, recently drowned, had kept away from those rivers, where they had no special duty, or calling, they would not have been drowned as they were, I would like it understood by the presidents of the missions, and by the elders, that are out in the world, that is not a good thing, neither is it at all wise for our elders to go out on excursions, or dangerous lakes, or streams, or bodies of water, just for fun. They had better keep away. The Lord will protect them in the discharge of their duty; and if they are more careful of their health, there will not be so many of them become a prey to disease.

We know of some of the incidents that were the cause of the death of some of our brethren who have passed away in the mission field. They lacked caution. They did not exercise the best wisdom and judgment. They went too far for their strength, and were not as careful of themselves as they ought to have been. I do not speak to blame these brethren. I have not the least doubt but they have done according to the best wisdom they possessed; but there is such a thing as overdoing. A man may fast and pray till he kills himself; and there isn’t any necessity for it; nor wisdom in it. (Joseph F. Smith, Conference Report, October 1912).

Our Lord teaches us that there are evil spirits that cannot be overcome except by those whose spiritual life and faith are made strong by self-denial and communion with God. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that the servants of the Lord should fast and pray. Through the fasting and prayer of the servants of the Lord, the mouth of Alma was opened, and his limbs strengthened (Mosiah 27:22-23). Through fasting and prayer the Nephites “did wax stronger and stronger in their humility and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ” (Helaman 3:35).

Fasting has in all ages been an outward sign of sorrow and mourning. When the heart is full of grief, the body does not crave for food as usual. When calamities sweep over a country, or when sinners are awakened to a realization of their condition abstinence from all pleasures, including those of the table, is natural to all who take things seriously. The Elders, however, are not required to fast as a sign of mourning alone, but as one of rejoicing. This is just as natural. For when the heart is filled with joy, the craving for food is forgotten for long periods, as they know who have attended meetings, lasting many hours, where the Holy Spirit has been poured out upon the assembly. Our Lord warns His people against making a display of fasting: “When thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face” (Matthew 6:16-18). (Hyrum M. Smith and Janne Sjodahl, The Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974, p. 555).

I believe in our people’s sense of service. I have been in the missions of the Church where we have about forty-nine thousand missionaries. They are there at their own expense and at the expense of their families. They give to the Lord one and a half to two years of their lives. Their days are long, their weeks crowded and arduous. They speak with a persuasive conviction. They bear testimony of the living Christ and of the virtues of His marvelous work.

May I read from a letter received from one of them: “The most effective technique we have found in our work is fasting and prayer. We saw how this worked a few weeks ago with an investigator of the Church. He had a number of questions and problems to overcome, and we just didn’t seem to get anywhere when we met with him to discuss them. So we would go home to our apartment and ask the Lord to bless him and help him understand what we had explained to him. We felt it was very important that he be baptized, so we asked the Lord to bless him with a desire for baptism. Even up through the sixth lesson he was wavering, so we fasted the day before his baptism, and he has been a faithful member ever since.”

One thinks of the words of the Lord to His disciples who complained they could not perform miracles. Said He: “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matt. 17:21).

Is it not a miracle in itself that in this day of doubt and disbelief young people, thousands of them, with lives to live and careers to build, spend a year and a half to two years in the service of the Lord, laboring constantly and even willing to fast and pray in behalf of those to whom they seek to teach a better life? I know of no experience more refreshing than to be with them and feel of their spirit. They will restore your faith in youth. They will quicken your faith in the Lord. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “‘Be Not Afraid, Only Believe’,” Ensign, [February 1996]: 2).

A few years ago I was afforded the privilege of serving as a mission president and became intimately acquainted with almost four hundred missionaries. We had one young missionary who was very ill. After weeks of hospitalization, as the surgeon prepared to undertake an extremely serious and complicated surgery, he asked that we send for the missionary’s mother and father. He said that there was a great likelihood that Elder Davidson could not survive the surgery. The parents came; and late that evening, his father and I, in the hospital room in Toronto, Canada, placed our hands upon the head of the young missionary and gave him a blessing. What happened following that blessing was a testimony to me.

Elder Davidson was in a six-bed war in the hospital. The other beds were occupied by five men with a variety of illnesses. The morning of Elder Davidson’s surgery, his bed was empty. The nurse came into the room with the breakfast these husky men normally ate. She brought a tray over to bed number one and said, “Fried eggs this morning, and I have an extra portion for you.” Bed number one was occupied by a man who was lying on his bed with his toe wrapped up in a bandage. He had suffered an accident with his lawnmower. Other than his injured toe, he was well physically. He said to the nurse, “I’ll not be eating this morning.”

“All right, we shall give your breakfast to your partner in bed number two!” As she went over, he said, “No, I think I’ll not eat this morning.”

She said, “That two in a row. I don’t understand you men, there is no one this morning in bed three.” She went on to bed four, bed five, and bed six; and the answer was the same. “No, this morning, we’re not hungry.”

The young lady put her hands on her hips and said, “Every other morning you eat us out of house and home and today not one of you wants to eat. What is the reason?”

And then the man who occupied bed number six came forth and the answer. He said, “You see, bed number three is empty. Our friend, Davidson, is in the operating room under the surgeon’s hands. He needs all the help he can get. He is a missionary for his church; and while he has been lying on that bed while we have been patients in this ward, he has talked to us about the principles of his church—principles of prayer, of faith, of fasting wherein we call upon the Lord for blessings.” He said, “We don’t know much about the Mormon Church, but we have learned a great deal about Davidson; and we are fasting for him today.”

I might tell you that the operation was a success. In fact, when I attempted to pay the surgeon, he countered, “Why, that would be dishonest for me to accept a fee. I haven never before performed surgery when my hands seemed to be guided by a power which was other than my own. No, “ he said, “ I wouldn’t take a fee for the surgery which Someone on high helped me to perform.” (Thomas S. Monson, Pathways of Perfection, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1979, pp. 249-251).

Lose yourself in this work, and all who lose themselves will find themselves. Forget the things of pleasure and self and, consistent with good health, consecrate yourself and energies to the work, and you will find the magnificent obsession that why you want most to do is to touch souls. (Spencer W. Kimball, Lamanite Conference, Mesa, Arizona, 4 November 1947).

Keep your bodies clean and healthy and your living quarters clean. It is very important that you eat properly and get adequate sleep so that you can maintain good health. If you become ill, not only can you not do the work, but you will also become a burden on your companion. Remember, also, that keeping your person and your living quarters neat and clean is conducive to enjoying the Spirit.

As a representative of the Lord, your personal appearance is very important. You, the Church, and your message will be judged in part by your cleanliness and neatness. People will be reluctant to invite you into their homes if you are unkempt. (James E. Faust, Conference Report, April 1996).

It is a strange thing that among the thousands of letters which I have received from those who have been called to go upon missions--mostly young men--I do not think of but one case where a refusal was given. Why is this? It is because the spirit of love and of immortality, the Spirit of the Almighty, is upon these young elders, and they have received manifestations which inspire them to do that which otherwise no inducement could prompt them to do. (Lorenzo Snow, Conference Report, April 1900, p. 3).

A missionary is one who is sent from somebody to do something. An ambassador of a foreign country is but a missionary. He must have his commission as he has rights and authority. There is certainly some room for missionary work at home too, by trying to foster the spirit of self-sacrifice that is characteristic of a true missionary. Here we sometimes think we have enough to keep the wolf from the door, but we ought first of all to try to serve our God and do this, not only for the sake of the promised reward, but because it is right...A missionary who labors for the Lord without a thought of return is indeed a son, an heir, and not a servant. (James E. Talmage, "Missionary Work,"Deseret Weekly [Saturday, 5 August 1893]: 216).

The missionary labors of the young people of the Church are too well known to require much comment. I believe that their work measured in terms of devotion to a cause, expenditure of available time and means, and proportionate numbers of the whole group engaged, has few, if any, counterparts in all history. What these young missionaries have accomplished in bearing God's word to the world would require volumes in the telling, and the appreciation of their efforts in the joy they have brought to the hearts of men, women, and children the world over is of a depth and a nature never to be told. Thousands upon thousands who are the beneficiaries of the unselfish Christ-like ministry rise up all over the world to call them blessed, and generations to come will look upon them as the source of the most enduring happiness they will ever know. (Stephen L. Richards, Conference Report, October 1943, p. 92).

And the elders in the field ought not to be kept coddling the Saints, but they should be sent out among the Gentiles and derive that strength and power which comes from preaching the everlasting gospel. (Charles A. Callis, Conference Report, October 1945, p. 82).

It has been a great privilege to labor with the young men and women who have been sent out as missionaries. It is one of the marvels of this Latter-day work to see them in action. They come quite inexperienced and untrained. They have lived the gospel as children and youths but have been engrossed with school and occupations, and other matters that have filled their lives; then they are suddenly sent into the field to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.

Many of them do not know just what it is. Many of them cannot quote you a scripture, but their hearts are right. Most of them have looked forward to a mission and are joyous in having come into the missionary field. Being there, they get down on their knees and get into the scriptures, and they become humble and contrite. The Lord takes hold of them, and in a few weeks they are preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, no other gospel. They are not sent out to be taught of men. They are sent out to be taught from on high the revealed work of God, taught through the priesthood of God; and the Lord is close to them; and they grow in power and faith; and the gospel is preached--the gospel that the Lord Jesus Christ preached, that Peter, James, and John preached--the identical principles. (George Q. Morris, Conference Report, April 1952, p. 31).

Humility is essential in missionary work. To convince people of the divinity of the work one must of necessity be humble. To be arrogant or “cocky” is to threaten to drive away the Holy Ghost, who alone can convince and bring testimonies. (Spencer W. Kimball, Houston Texas Stake Missionaries Meeting, September 1958 quoted in A Prophet’s Voice: Inspiring Quotes from Spencer W. Kimball, American Fork, UT.: Covenant, 2007, p. 97).

Our missionaries are humble men and women. Except in rare instances, they are not trained theological scholars. Their conduct, their ideals, and their standards of living may in many instances be as effective as factors of conversion as are the words which they speak. (Richard R. Lyman, Conference Report, October 1943, p. 23).

If missionaries will, when they leave Salt Lake City--the day they are set apart--if they will lock their hearts! If they've got a girl in there that's all right, lock her in! But if you haven't got one in, then lock it against all other girls of every description! And the same applies for young women, too. I am mainly talking to you Elders. You lock your heart and you leave the key at home. And you never open it here! It's impossible to fall in love with someone unless you open your heart! Your heart is the only organ that has any ability to get into love, you see, and when a missionary says, "I just fell in love with a girl!" well, that's as silly as it can be! Nobody falls in love unless they want to! Unless they're trying to! Nobody does, nobody ever did!

So we just don't fall in love unless we are fooling around. We never fall in a crater unless we are somewhere near the edge of it. I have been up to Vesuvius and on a number of craters and volcanoes and I know. Just keep your heart locked! Lock them in Salt Lake when you leave the Mission Home and don't give a thought to it. But if you go around and say, "Well, she is kind of a pretty girl! She surely is a sweet little thing! She's a nice girl! I'd like to talk to her--I'd just like to visit with her!" well, you are in trouble and that trouble can bring you a lifetime of trouble and a lifetime of regrets if you continue on with it.

So, can I impress that again? Lock your hearts and leave the key at home! Whenever you live, leave the key home with your folks. And your heart--it's only that part of it that deals with people generally that you open up. We just can't tolerate it, can we? We can't individually, we can't totally.

Someone said, "Well, is there any harm to marry a Mexican girl if you are working in Mexico?" No, that isn't any crime, but it proves that some missionary has had his heart open! He has unlocked it! Is it wrong to marry a German girl when you have been on a German mission? Why, no there is no crime in that, if you met her some other way. But when you meet her in the mission field and you have opened your heart, I tell you, it isn't right! And you have shortchanged your mission!

Just keep your hearts locked! Your whole thought should be missionary work. How can I make it more plain and more important than that! I'd like to because there is no reason whatever for any missionary to ever become involved, not even in a decent way, with any girl in the mission field. It isn't the place! You guaranteed, you promised!

You went through the temple! You remember what you did in the temple? Remember you promised you'd do all the things the Brethren request of you, to live the commandments. That's one of the commandments when you go into the mission field--"Thou shalt not flirt!" Thou shalt not associate with young women in the mission field or anyone else for that matter on any other basis than the proselyting basis." You promised and you would not want to break a promise you made before the Lord in the holy temple of the Lord. And when you wrote your letter [of acceptance]...that was implied. You knew, of course,--every missionary knows--that he isn't going out to court, and that he isn't going out to find a wife! He's got plenty of opportunity when he gets home, and the mission field isn't the place.

Sometimes we find a young man who has not been popular at home; he has been very, very backward at home and he hasn't had many dates. And so when he gets out into the mission field and somebody flatters him a little--some girl shows a lot of interest in him--why, he's flattered. He thinks all at once, "Well, that's whom I should marry!" Well, I say this once more by repetition and for emphasis, you lock your hearts at home, and if you haven't done so, do it now and send the key back! You will not permit any impression, no romantic thought or impression in your mind. For two years you have given yourself to the Lord, totally, to teach the gospel to the world. When you have done this perfectly for two years and then you go home, you are infinitely more attractive, more able, more dignified, and more mature to make those important decisions for your life in the matter of personages to enjoy eternity with you. (Spencer W. Kimball, "Lock Your Hearts," Proclaiming the Gospel: Spencer W. Kimball Speaks on Missionary Work, ed. by Yoshihiko Kikuchi, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1987, pp. 194-195).

In this, you young men and you young women, “flee also youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22). You didn’t come to Philadelphia to find a wife. You didn’t come to Philadelphia to find a husband. You came to Philadelphia as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to give your full time and your full interests for the period for which you were called to the service of the Lord. There will be time enough when you go home to find a wife. This is not the time. Flee youthful lusts. (Gordon B. Hinckley, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Missionary Meeting, 25 October 2002, Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley Volume 2: 2000-2004 Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2005, pp. 369).

The making of a man out of a boy--you have all seen missionaries come and go, thousands, tens of thousands of them. Missionary work does this, if they will yield. How often have you said goodbye to a 19-year-old boy going into the mission field and two years later met a man returning, who stood tall and strong and high and purposeful. (Spencer W. Kimball, CR A'75, Ensign, [May 1975]: 80).

Only an elder! Only a person ordained to preach the gospel, build up the kingdom, and perfect the Saints; only a minister whose every word is scripture; only the holder of that office which carries the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, of having the heavens opened, and of communing with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn, and of enjoying the communion and presence of God the father and Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant. (See D&C 107:19).

Only an elder! Every elder in the Church holds as much priesthood as the President of the Church. No apostle can or will rise higher in eternity than the faithful elder who lives the fullness of the gospel law.

What is an elder? An elder is a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. he holds the holy Melchizedek Priesthood. he is commissioned to stand in the place and stead of his master--who is the Chief Elder--in ministering to his fellowmen. He is the Lord's agent. His appointment is to preach the gospel and perfect the Saints.

What is an elder? He is a shepherd, a shepherd serving in the sheepfold of the Good Shepherd. It is written: "And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God." (Ezek. 34:31). It is also written, and that by Peter, the first elder in his day: "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder....

"Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
"Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock.
"And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." (I Pet. 5:1-4; italics added). Know this: elders, who are standing ministers in the Lord's kingdom, are appointed to feed the flock of God, to take the oversight of the flock, to be examples to the flock. (Bruce R. McConkie, "Only an Elder," Ensign, [June 1975]: 66).

In many respects, a mission is a family calling. The letters which a missionary sends to Mother and Father are packed with power--spiritual power. They are filled with a faith--abiding faith. I've always maintained that such letters seem to pass through a heavenly post office before being delivered to home and family. Mother treasures every word. Father fills with pride. The letters are read over and over again--and are never discarded.

I trust parents will remember that their letters to a missionary son or daughter bring home and heaven close to him or to her and provide a renewal of commitment to the sacred calling of missionary. God will inspire you as you take pen in hand to express to one you love the feelings of your soul and the love of your heart.
At the funeral service for the mother of President Marion G. Romney, held in Provo, Utah, her son-in-law, Brother John K. Edmunds, gave the following account: "In their early married life, Brother and Sister Romney [like the father of President Benson] was called on a mission. There was no feasible means of support, yet he went and his wife sustained him. One day she grieved because she wanted to write her husband a letter but did not have sufficient money to but a postage stamp. She prayed and then took a walk through the orchard that autumn day, kicking the leaves as she walked along and thinking of her husband. She noticed a shiny object on the ground and discovered it to be a coin--just the right amount for several postage stamps."
Her letter had been written. Now, through the intervention of God, it could be mailed.

Brethren, think of the family blessings received by the Romney and Benson Families, which blessings followed the commitment to missionary service.

I think of my own grandfather, Nels Monson, who waited seven years for his sweetheart to become his bride. The first entry in his missionary journal expressed eloquently his gratitude: "Today, in the Salt Lake Temple, Maria Mace became my eternal wife." The entry written three days later was more somber: "Tonight the bishop came to our house. I have been called to serve a two-year mission to Scandinavia. My dear wife will remain at home and sustain me." I treasure such faith. I cherish such commitment. (Thomas S. Monson, CR O'87, Ensign, [November 1987]: 43).

We should never delay expressing appreciation. Some time ago I had a lesson of gratitude taught to me. I was in the mission home in San Francisco when the mission president received a telephone call and said, “I must cross the bay and take a message to an elder that his father has just passed away.” I went with him. We crossed over the Bay Bridge, up to Berkeley, and stopped at an apartment building. A fine-looking elder came to the door. He was excited to see his mission president and said, “Oh, president, come in; we want to tell you what happened this morning.” The president said, “Elder, sit down with us for a moment; we have a sad message to deliver to you.”

I will never forget that occasion as the young man’s head fell into his arms and he commenced to sob. After we had comforted him he said, “My father was the greatest man I have ever known. I have never told him that. I don’t believe I realized it in my years growing up, but since I have come into the mission field a maturity has come to me to make me appreciate my father and my mother. I decided last week I was going to sit down and write my father a letter and tell him how much I loved him and how much he has meant to me, but now it is too late.” He commenced to sob again.

My heart went out to that young man, but I thought how typical that is of many of us. The letter we intended to write, the word of appreciation we intended to express, the prayers we intended to offer when we had more time to express to the Lord our appreciation for his goodness. We are grateful for all of these things that are done for us, of course, but in our busy life we don’t always express appreciation for what others do for us. (Howard W. Hunter, The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, ed. Clyde J. Williams, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997, p. 94).

In answer to the question, "How often do you receive letters from your parents," the elder replied, "Very, very seldom." "What are you doing about it?" I asked. "I'm still writing them every week," he declared. Here was a young man who may have had some excuse to pity himself with a "nobody" label when his parents didn't bother to write, but he was having no part of this kind of attitude. Further conversation with him emphatically convinced me that here was a young man who is really someone. If his parents didn't write, that was their responsibility. His responsibility was to write, and that is just what he was doing with enthusiasm. I have never met this missionary's mother or father, probably never will, but wherever they are, in my mind they are "somebody" just to have him for their son. This missionary will succeed because he knows he is someone, and is conducting himself accordingly. (Marvin J. Ashton, What Is Your Destination? [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1978], p. 136).

We are aware that one of the prime groups susceptible to the teachings of the gospel is what we might call the peer group of the missionary. Since this is so, you can see why it is important that we all be missionaries--when that happens, the missionary peer group includes everyone!

Even so, most of our...full-time missionaries are young adults--and with whom do you think a pair of 20-year-old missionaries would be most comfortable? Obviously, others more near their own age. For this reason, and partly because they are not as set in their ways, many young adults are embracing the gospel. Thus, many young adults are in the situation of being the only members of the Church in their families.

My counsel to persons in such circumstances, whether the member is a child or spouse, is to avoid the tendency to become impatient. Rather, continually show an added measure of love, an added measure of patience. Demonstrate by your own lives how the gospel has improved your lives, and family members in time will generally become aware that the gospel has had a salutary effect on you. Love, patience, continued prayer, and a life filled with joy, happiness, and trust in the Lord—trust that he is mindful of you and that your day will come—is the direction I uniformly give.

Now, as to the young adult in this circumstance who becomes a full-time missionary candidate—we want such candidates to enter the missionary field with the blessings of their nonmember parents. Then that young missionary has the choice opportunity to write his family weekly and tell them of his or her experiences. I don’t know if there is any way to count how many nonmember parents have come into the Church as a result of wonderful, love-filled, inspiring, interesting weekly letters to the home. There is something special about a missionary’s letter. I’ve often said that it seems to have an invisible postmark placed there by the Spirit. And when the letter arrives, it seems to have special significance and a glow about it that was not always there when the missionary wrote it. The letters are read and tears of joy course down the cheeks of parents, members or not. The end result is that there is a spirituality in such correspondence that is difficult to define. ("Status Report on Missionary Work: A Conversation with Thomas S. Monson," Ensign, [October 1977]: 12-13).

We want missionaries who have the kind of faith that Wilford Woodruff and Heber C. Kimball had, each bringing hundreds and thousands of souls into the waters of baptism. (Ezra Taft Benson, CR A'86, Ensign, 16 [May 1986]: 45).

A striking personality and good character is achieved by practice, not merely by thinking it. Just as a pianist masters the intricacies of music through hours and weeks of practice, so mastery of life is achieved by the ceaseless practice of mechanics which make up the art of living. Daily unselfish service to others is one of the rudimentary mechanics of the successful life. “For whosoever will save his life,” the Galilean said, “shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). What a strange paradox this! And yet one needs only to analyze it to be convinced of its truth...Only when you lift a burden, God will lift your burden. Divine paradox this! The man who staggers and falls because his burden is too great can lighten that burden by taking on the weight of another's burden. You get by giving, but your part of giving must be given first. (Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward W. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, pp. 250-251).

There are several areas that a missionary needs to be concerned with in order to be successful. First, he must develop a real deep spirituality. The Spirit is the most important matter in this glorious work. The Lord gives us a great law about teaching His gospel. He said, "And the Spirit shall be given you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach" (D&C 42:14).

To be a successful missionary one must have the Spirit of the Lord. We are also taught that the Spirit will not dwell in unclean tabernacles. Therefore, one of the first things a missionary must do to gain spirituality is to make sure his own personal life is in order. (Ezra Taft Benson, Mission Presidents’' Seminar, Salt Lake City, Utah, 21 June 1975).

To be successful, missionaries must avoid worldly things. Remember that you have a relatively short time to serve the Lord full-time, and the rest of your life to think about it.

You can’t be a part of worldly things and also carry out your role as a representative of the Lord. The two are not compatible. Your objective has been clearly defined for you. From the day you were set apart, you were charged to not only be of the world, meaning that you were transferred then from worldly things into a spiritual climate for the duration of your mission. If you have found yourself in this new climate, you are on your way. If you haven’t, then you’ve got some work to do. Satan is always present and will do everything he can to hinder and block and defeat. We encourage you as companionships to help each other in this matter. Two persons dedicated, living in faith, and being prayerful can be an awesome force in the work of the Lord. (Howard W. Hunter, The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, ed. Clyde J. Williams, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997, pp. 251-252).

Once in Canada I stood before a group of missionaries impressed with how strong and clean missionaries are. Then I noticed an elder on the back row, worried and immature, hesitant and insecure in his calling. I had interviewed him earlier and had not helped him.

There came an inspiration, and I called him to my side and said, "Look at the missionaries and tell me what you see." He looked intently for a few moments, and I could feel that something was happening. Then I asked, "Did you ever know that before?" He shook his head; he had not known that before. "Will you be alright now?" I asked. He nodded his head yes, he would be alright. I then said, "Tell us what you see." He answered in one word--"power!" (Boyd K. Packer, "Come, All Ye Sons of God," Ensign, [August 1983]: 68).

You will never be effective as a missionary unless you are humble in your work. The Lord has made it very clear that no man can assist with this work unless he is humble and full of love (see D&C 12:8). But humility does not mean timidity. Humility does not mean fear. Humility does not mean weakness. You can be humble and still be courageous. You can be humble and still be vigorous and strong and fearless. In the early days of the Church the elders were human also, and the Lord was not always pleased with them, as He made very clear in some of the revelations. But great teacher that He is, He would often commend them for the work they had done and then correct them. That is good psychology. My wife uses it on our children and sometimes on her husband. The Lord used it with the early elders of the Church and one time was pretty severe on some of them, and I am sure it must have caused them to have very serious reflections. Speaking to the elders, those who are the men who were called to bear His name, He said: "But with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of men. Wo unto such, for mine anger is kindled against them." (D&C 60:2.) That is pretty plain, isn't it? Sometimes we have among our missionaries those who are afraid because of the fear of man, and if you permit yourselves to get that spirit of fear, the adversary will back you up. He will support you. He will encourage you in it until you get to the point where you are afraid to exercise your authority and to bear testimony regarding this message. Remember the promise made: "And they shall go forth and none shall stay them, for I the Lord have commanded them" (D&C 1:5). There is no place for fear. There is no place for discouragement, because you can't fail in this work if you do your part. There is no place for timidity or hesitancy. Humility, yes, but you can be humble and courageous and fearless and effective. (Ezra Taft Benson, God, Family, Country, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974, pp. 61-62).

The testimonies we’d heard from all the other missionaries went something like this: 'I’m grateful to be in the mission field. I’ve learned a lot from it. I have a fine companion. I’ve learned a lot from him. I’m grateful for my parents. We had an
interesting experience last week. We were out knocking on doors and. . . .’ Then the missionary would relate an experience. His conclusion would be something like this: ‘I’m grateful to be in the mission field. I have a testimony of the gospel.’
And he would conclude ‘in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.’

This young elder was different somehow. Anxious not to spend an extra second on his feet, he said simply, in hurried, frightened words, ‘I know that God lives. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that we have a prophet of God leading the Church.
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.’

This was a testimony. It was not just an experience nor an expression of gratitude. It was a declaration, a witness!

“Most of the elders had said ‘I have a testimony,’ but they had not declared it. This young elder had, in a very few words, delivered his testimony—direct, basic, and, as it turned out, powerful.

I then knew what was wrong in the mission. We were telling stories, expressing gratitude, admitting that we had testimonies, but we were not bearing them. (Boyd K. Packer, Teach Ye Diligently, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book,1975, p. 275).

Missionaries should have a standard of performance or excellence to which they ascribe and to which they commit. Missionaries should take pride in being in "the best mission in the Church," [for them] and being "missionaries of excellence." (Ezra Taft Benson, Mission Presidents’' Seminar, Salt Lake City, Utah, 21 June 1975).

It is vital that missionaries maintain the proper missionary image and have the reputation as great proselyting elders and not just "good guys." (Ezra Taft Benson, Mission Presidents’' Seminar, Salt Lake City, Utah, 21 June 1975).

If you want to keep the Spirit, to love your mission and not be homesick, you must work. But, remember: "Work without vision is drudgery. Vision without work is dreaming. Work coupled with vision is destiny." There is no greater exhilaration or satisfaction than to know, after a hard day of missionary work, that you have done your best. (Ezra Taft Benson, "Keys to Successful Missionary Work," Mission Presidents’ Seminar, Salt Lake City, Utah, 23 June 1987).

Missionary work is not easy. It is the most demanding, the most compelling, the most exhausting, and yet, with it all, the most happy and joyful work in all the world. (Ezra Taft Benson, Mission Presidents’ Seminar, Salt Lake City, Utah, 25 June 1986).

Missionary work is not easy. In fact, it is often quite difficult, but the Lord is the greatest paymaster in the world. Dedicated missionary service is one of life’s most fulfilling experiences. This is in large measure because of the divine agency which flows so richly from the Lord to His humble and obedient servants to bless the lives of others. I know this because I have seen it manifested in the lives of thousands and have felt it in my own life. (James E. Faust, Conference Report, April 1996).

It is a time of harvest and not a time of gleaning, and if [missionaries] are true and faithful, they will literally be instruments in the hands of the Lord in bringing souls unto Him. The Apostle Paul's statement [reminds them] that in the conversion process some missionaries will plant, some will water, and some will baptize. You are not concerned with who gets the credit for the baptisms because "God [gives] the increase" (1 Corinthians 3:6). (Ezra Taft Benson, Mission Presidents’ Seminar, Salt Lake City, Utah, 25 June 1986).

Concentrate all of your time and effort and talent on your mission. The Apostle Paul declared: "This one thing I do" (Philippians 3:13), and you have just one marvelous thing to do and that is the most important work in all the world--missionary work. Give it all you have got and you will have true joy. As you come to the close of your mission, don't run out of steam. Sprint to the end. (Ezra Taft Benson, Mission Presidents’ Seminar, Salt Lake City, Utah, 25 June 1986).

A missionary should never permit himself to see a movie or cheap literature, or hear music that tends to interfere with or which dampens the spirit of missionary work. There is ample evidence that rock music is offensive to the Spirit and affects adversely the spirituality of the missionaries and thus the success of the proselyting work. (Ezra Taft Benson, Mission Presidents’ Seminar, Salt Lake City, Utah, 21 June 1975).

The principle of not aspiring to positions in the mission field is taught well in Mark 9:34-35 and Matthew 23:11-12. Missionaries should be taught that it doesn't matter where they serve, but how. Position doesn't save anyone, but faithfulness does. Aspiring to positions of responsibility can destroy the spirit of the mission as well as the spirit of a missionary. (Ezra Taft Benson, Mission Presidents’ Seminar, Salt Lake City, Utah, 25 June 1986).

Ours is the responsibility not only to direct their feet but also to effectively climb with them, rung by rung, the ladder to eternal life. Help them to be successful, help them to meet people, help them to teach the gospel, help them to convert and to baptize and to fellowship, and you will see miracles before your very eyes. (Thomas S. Monson, “First Presidency Trains Mission Presidents,” Ensign, [September 1999]: 76).

The busy missionary is the happy missionary. I cannot recall a missionary who was really active and busy ever going astray. Occasionally we have missionaries who make mistakes. It usually starts when they become idle, when they stay in their lodgings when they ought to be out with the people. Occasionally you will find a missionary who is looking for excuses for not going out—-who can look out the window and see a storm coming when there isn't any, who can see rain when it isn't raining. The important thing is to get out with the people, to keep active, to be devoted. Do not sleep longer than is needful. The same Lord who gave the Word of Wisdom in the 89th section also gave that instruction in the 88th section, and it is just as binding as the counsel that you are not to use tobacco or alcoholic beverages. So cease from all light mindedness, cease to sleep longer than is needful, and retire to your bed early (see D&C 88:121, 124). You will be more effective, you will do more work, you will be happier, and you will have better health. (Ezra Taft Benson, God, Family, Country, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974, p. 60).

You must not allow yourselves to become discouraged. Missionary work brings joy, optimism, and happiness. Don't give Satan an opportunity to discourage you. Here again, work is the answer. The Lord has given us a key by which we can overcome discouragement: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30). (Ezra Taft Benson, Texas San Antonio Mission, 2 March 1986).

Immerse yourself in your work, totally, and forget clocks. It is on the second mile where the honest in heart are often found. (Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward W. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, p. 582).

You must have a burning testimony of the divinity of this work if you are going to succeed. It is almost a foregone conclusion that missionaries, when they come into the field, have that testimony. Sometimes there will be missionaries who are not quite certain. Then your first obligation is to get that testimony through prayer, through fasting, through meditation, through study, through appealing to the Lord to give you the testimony, through responding to calls when they come to you. You must have a testimony of the divinity of this work. You must know that God lives; that Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer of the world; that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God; that the priesthood and authority of our Heavenly Father is here; and that you bear that priesthood and have the authority to represent Him in the world. (Ezra Taft Benson, God, Family, Country, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974, pp. 60-61).

The words of the Lord seemed so appropriate then. They are equally appropriate now: "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" (D&C 18:15).

We are a missionary-minded people. We have a divine mandate to proclaim the message of the Restoration. You young men here this night are on the threshold of your missionary opportunity. That energetic missionary from the Book of Mormon, even Alma, provides for us a blueprint for missionary conduct: "This is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy" (Alma 29:9).

I add my personal witness: Our missionaries are not salesmen with wares to peddle; rather, they are servants of the Most High God, with testimonies to bear, truths to teach, and souls to save. (Thomas S. Monson, CR O'87, Ensign, [November 1987]: 42).

But all of us acknowledge that we have barely scratched the surface. We have a mandate laid upon us from which we cannot shrink. It is the charge from the Lord Himself to teach the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. The field is white, but the laborers are relatively few. (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, [December 1987] ).

Some elders find themselves in the mission field and do not quite know how they got there, and wonder, are they qualified or are they there in some measure under false pretenses? Was it only to please his parents? That is all right. For while they may go on a mission for a superficial reason, they stay on their mission for the right reason. They may go out of duty, but they stay out of devotion. For, on the mission there comes an individual testimony of the gospel. (Boyd K. Packer, "Come, All Ye Sons of God," Ensign, [August 1983]: 71).

Now, as we increase the missionaries, we can also increase the perfecting of their performance and make them truly preachers of righteousness as the Lord said of his apostles, "I will make you fishers of men," not "I will invite you to be,"--"I will make you father's of men." (Spencer W. Kimball, Regional Representatives’ Seminar, 3 April 1975, p. 8).

You are to build up the Church by finding “them that will receive you” (D&C 42:8). Such people will recognize that you are the Lord’s servants. They will be willing to act on your message. Many of these people have been “kept from the truth [only] because they know not where to find it” (D&C 123:12).

Usually you do not know who these people are. They may not immediately recognize that you are the Lord’s servants. They may not understand that greater peace, direction, and purpose in life will come through the restored gospel than from anything else. They often do not realize that they are looking for the restored gospel until they have found it. For example, one convert said, “When I heard the gospel, it filled a hole in my heart that I didn’t know was there.” Another said, “I have finished the search I didn’t know I was on.”

Whatever you are assigned to serve, remember that the Lord has “suffered you to come unto this place; for thus it was expedient in [Him] for the salvation of souls.” Work effectively to “lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that [the Lord] shall put in your hearts.” If you do, you will receive the promise that “you shall not be confounded before men,” and “it shall be given you . . . in the very moment, what ye shall say” (D&C 100:4-6).

Finding by the Spirit is as important as teaching by the Spirit. As in teaching, your efforts in finding will be effective if you are guided by the Spirit. Have faith that you will know what to teach and what to do to find those who will receive you. (Preach my Gospel: A guide to missionary service. Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 2004, p. 156).

Finding and teaching are related, connected activities. When you meet people, be prepared to teach brief summaries of restored truth so that the Holy Ghost can bear witness that you are the servants of the Lord. In many situations, you will need to be able to present a message in a minute or less. People are accustomed to short, powerful statements. For example, you may testify of the message of the Restoration in just two or three sentences:

After centuries of being lost, original truths of God (the gospel of Jesus Christ) have been restored by a loving God through a living prophet. We have evidence of this that you can hold in your hands, read, ponder in your hearts, and pray about to learn its truth for yourself. Will you allow us to . . . .

Avoid the tendency to say things such as, “Do you have a few minutes that we could teach a message about . . .” Rather, develop the habit of immediately beginning to teach and testify as you meet people. You will find more people to teach as you testify and allow them to feel the power of the Holy Ghost.

Whatever your initial approach, refer quickly and simply to the Restoration of the gospel, for this is our unique message to the world. Those you teach often have friends or relatives who are prepared to receive the restored gospel. In all teaching situations—such as finding, teaching investigators, working with members—-ask, “Who do you know who would be interested in and benefit from this message?” After receiving a referral, ask, “Who else can benefit from our message?” Do not hesitate to bring this up again and again in later meetings. As those you teach experience the blessings of the gospel, their desire to share it will increase (see 1 Nephi 8:12). They will often make new friends while learning the gospel. Missionaries who apply this principle usually have many people to teach. (Preach my Gospel: A guide to missionary service. Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 2004, pp. 158-159).

Our missionaries are not salesman with wares to peddle, rather, they are servants of the Most High God, with testimonies to bear, truths to teach, and souls to save. (Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, [November 1987]: 42).