Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Rising Above Discouragement for Mission Presidents

Mission presidents have a lot of pressure on them to produce results on their missions. Just like missionaries they face obstacles and drains on their time and resources. Mission presidents are human so they face the same range of emotions to we all do from happiness to discouragement. For the most part the majority of them are well-balanced individuals that guide missionaries in productive teaching and humanitarian efforts that lead men to Christ.

President Gordon B. Hinckley talks about the rewards of being positive as a mission president: "You are going to get discouraged in this service. I have no doubt of it. I hope you do. It will humble you down a bit. There will be no arrogance in the face of discouragement. But look ahead, my dear brethren and sisters, look ahead to the years down the line and see the flowering of your effort. Because as surely as the sun rises in the morning, this work will come into flower in the missions where you serve. (Gordon B. Hinckley, Mission Presidents’ Seminar, 23 June 2000)."

In the unlikely event a mission president doesn't accomplish much President Gordon B. Hinckley tells them: "In recent months I have had the opportunity of speaking with sixty-three men and extending to them calls to serve as Presidents of missions. One cannot have such an experience without coming to recognize the depth of faith found in the hearts of this people. Husbands and wives and children, at the call of the Church, are willing to leave the comforts of their homes, the association of their friends and loved ones, and their employment to go out to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Brethren, the work of the Lord is advancing as much as at any time in its history and every more rapidly. As individuals we may fail in our part in it, but if we do so God will raise up others to take our places, for he will not permit this work to fail. (Gordon B. Hinckley, CR A'84, Ensign, [May 1984]: 48)."

Thomas S. Monson says the answer to overcoming discouragement is found in section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants: "The promise I want you to carry in your minds and in your hearts and to instill within your missionaries is in the 84th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 88. “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” On disappointing days, if you just read that promise, the Spirit will enlighten your soul and you will be doubly prepared to move forward with that great band of missionaries. (Thomas S. Monson, “New Mission Presidents Instructed,” Ensign, [September 1997]: 76)."

Gordon B. Hinckley promises mission presidents that if they work hard they will overcome any problems they might have: "Each of you will have a wonderful experience and work very hard, perhaps harder than you have ever worked in your lives, but you will gain deeper satisfaction as you do so. Your burden will be lightened by the Spirit of the Lord. You will be motivated by that Spirit, and you will do things you thought you were never capable of accomplishing. I don’t hesitate to promise that if you observe them, you will be blessed in your work and in your ministry. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “New Mission Presidents Instructed,” Ensign, [September 1997]: 76)."

Mission presidents need to lead by example by demonstrating positive attitudes toward their missions. You need to instill in your elders that they are in the best mission in the best place in the world at the best time. You need to remember David O. McKay's advice that “ ‘Whate’er Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part.’By modeling positive behavior you and your missionaries will have a better experience. The Lord is mindful of mission presidents and will bear your burdens. Remember you are his ambassador to the area of the world in which you are called and you are on his errand. Lift up your hearts and be of good cheer.

1 comment:

Jari Vesterinen said...

I bumped into your blog by a happy accident. I am looking for the 11 Dec 2002 letter for our stake pres (I'm his clerk) and, although haven't found the letter yet, I am really excited to have been going through the material you have put together. The statements listed here are really universal. We at our stake are trying to get the membership involved, and to be able to share some of these quotes, we'll be able to coach them (and us) on.

Your work is invaluable! Thank you, thank you, thank you! And as a true educator, you have enclosed the sources --another thanks for that!

Keep it up!
A former Seasider