Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Mission President Who Leads by Example: Japan Kobe--The Preach My Gospel Mission

Awhile back I did a post LDS Mission Presidents Leading Missionaries by Active Participation: Thoughts and Poll on whether or not mission presidents were actually getting their hands dirty in the missionary process. I found one that is very much involved in the process as he fellowshipped, taught and baptized a recent member. William Arthur McIntyre reports:
Above is Sister Rasario Nishiura who was also baptized and the elders from Kakogawa, Remund and Payne. Rosario asked that I perform the baptism for her. We had taught her at our home several times and Sister McIntyre and I fellowshipped her and her family.
I was impressed with what he is doing in the Japan Kobe Mission as he actively finds members to fellowship, teach and baptize.

He actually has a mission statement based on the Preach My Gospel manual:

In the Japan Kobe Mission we fulfill our purpose as missionaries by finding, teaching, baptizing and confirming those prepared to accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and by establishing the church in Japan. (See D&C 29:4-7) Our main tools for doing so are the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures and the principles and programs outlined in A Guide for Missionary Service - Preach My Gospel.

I found some good advice he also gave his missionaries that is applicable to all missionaries throughout the world. Here is a summary he shared in a Christmas letter with missionaries on how to be Preach My Gospel missionaries:

Many missionaries experienced the first baptisms of their mission this past month. How I desire each missionary in the mission to have the opportunity to be a part of that wonderful conversion process culminating with one of God’s beloved children entering the waters of baptism. Our purpose is to find, teach, baptize, confirm and establish the church in Japan. We have made great progress in fulfilling this purpose in the past several months. But we can and will gradually learn to do even better. We have emphasized the importance of baptism to all of you. This is how people repent and come unto Christ. Mormon taught the “first fruits of repentance is baptism.” (Moroni 8:25) Baptism is central to our purpose as missionaries. We must continue to emphasize its importance and help all those we teach understand that it is the gate that all must enter.

However, “your success as a missionary is measured primarily by your commitment to find, teach, baptize, and confirm people and to help them become faithful members of the church who enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost.” (See PMG p. 10) I think all missionaries want to baptize. I certainly hope you all do! But you must remember that the number of baptisms you have does not make you a successful missionary. A successful missionary is fully committed to being a "Preach My Gospel Missionary." According to Preach My Gospel, a successful missionary will:

- Feel the Spirit testify to people through him
- Love people, including his companion and desire their salvation
- Obey with Exactness (all the commandments and mission rules)
- Live to have the Spirit and know how to follow the Spirit.
- Develop Christlike Attributes.
- Work effectively everyday.
- Help build the church wherever they are assigned to serve.
- Warn others of the consequences of sin.
- Teach and serve other missionaries.
- Go about doing good and serving others.

So as we begin a New Year here in the mission, I ask all of you: Are you a successful missionary? Do you obey with exactness? Does this list of characteristics above describe you? When we truly become Preach My Gospel Missionaries and are fully committed to our purpose, we will feel the Spirit, love our missions, love our companions and the Japanese people, and be successful missionaries. And in many cases, baptisms will follow as a natural result.

Let us continue to have faith and hope, two of the attributes of Christ, to see an increase in the harvest. But in doing so, we must remember that people have the agency to choose whether to accept our message. “Your responsibility is to teach clearly and powerfully so they can make a correct choice. Some may not accept our message even when they have received a spiritual witness that it is true…You should not, however, become discouraged; discouragement will weaken your faith…and you will have greater difficulty following the Spirit…When you do your very best, you may still experience disappointments, but you will not be disappointed in yourself.” (PMG pp. 10-11)

As we begin a New Year, it is my prayer that each of you will recommit to be a Successful Missionary. Success is a choice. When we choose to be a Preach My Gospel Missionary we start to choose success.

I testify to each of you that the Lord has given us the tools and a plan to follow. When we use the tools and follow the plan, we will be successful. As a mission we will continue to focus on fulfilling our purpose and inviting people to repent through baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost. And I know that as we do this, the harvest will increase and each of you will be not only happier, but wonderfully successful!

Much Love,
President and Sister McIntyre

I noticed recently that other missions have been developing mission statements. I reported that the South Carolina Columbia Mission is the Restoration Mission, the South Africa Durban Mission is also a Preach My Gospel Mission, the Korea Daejeon Mission is the Double Plus a Little More Mission, the West Indies Mission is the Hurray for Israel Mission, and the Ukraine Donetsk Mission is the Sunflower Mission. I think every mission of the church should declare their distinct mission statement with their goals and objectives. I also feel mission presidents need to get down and dirty by participating in the daily activities and set the example through contributing baptisms from finding to teaching to baptizing.

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