Friday, July 10, 2009

2009 Mission Presidents' Seminar: A Comprehensive Synopsis

The Church News is one of the few sources for finding out what the general authorities say at the mission presidents' seminar each year in June at the MTC in Provo, Utah. The Saturday, 4 July 2009 issue was full of brief reports of the key talks from the Thursday, 25 June to Monday, 29 June 2009 five-day mission presidents' seminar. Jason Swensen and Shaun D. Stahle gave us fine synopses with a few pictures. I have tried to get the full talks in the past but was rebuffed by J. Roger Fluhman, secretary of the Twelve, who sent me a standard form letter not to bother the Twelve. I feel that any address delivered by the general authorities to mission presidents and missionaries should be reported in a paperback edition like BYU Speeches of the Year for general member reading. The best we can find are brief summaries in the Church News and an occasional Ensign or Liahona complete talk.

This year has exceptionally good quotes and it was good to see it was conducted at all despite the swine flu epidemic that had spread rapidly through the MTC and is barely winding down. Swensen, Stahle and photographer Scott G. Winterton put their health on the line to report for the Church News as did the general authorities. It is not as dangerous for young people as more mature people so it showed their mettle. This week a missionary reported the no handshaking ban has been lifted as the swine flu is starting to abate but that is since the seminar.

Not only the 100 mission presidents and their wives were in attendance but all the members of the 12 and many seventies as well as a member of the Presiding Bishopric to show members the brethren walk the walk and how safe it is to be at the MTC. One mission president reported instead of shaking hands mission presidents and general authorities rubbed elbows suit coat to suit coat. I like to see the talks in sequence so I have arranged them in to one post and found the following in chronological order in the Church News. Enjoy!

Jason Swensen reported on M. Russell Ballard's 25 June 2009 talk Elder Ballard speaks about purpose of missionary work:

Photo by Shaun Stahle
Missionaries training at the Provo MTC pause while crossing campus to greet their new mission presidents who are also being trained.
Elder M. Russell Ballard anchored his June 25 counsel to participants at the 2009 New Mission Presidents Seminar on the purpose of missionary work.
A member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Ballard began by quoting "the purpose of missionary work" found on the opening page of Preach My Gospel (a guide Elder Ballard played a pivotal role in developing):

"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."

That purpose statement, he said, reflects the focus and desired outcomes of every one involved in missionary work.

The lessons taught in Preach My Gospel were prepared under the influence of Heaven.
"Thousands of hours were spent by the faithful staff and General Authorities to create the guide — including the purpose statement. This purpose statement is inspired," said Elder Ballard.

When missionaries understand their purpose, they understand they are primarily to find, teach and baptize. Some missionaries regularly stand up in zone conferences and recite their "purpose." But Elder Ballard said living that purpose is far more important than recited words.

"There is a big difference between the ability of missionaries to recite and their commitment to live and practice on a daily basis. They must stay committed to this objective."

Elder Ballard said it is the duty of a mission president and his wife to help the missionaries internalize their purpose to find, teach and baptize.

The missionaries must possess a deep desire to fulfill that purpose.

A missionary's success will be directly proportionate to their preparation, their obedience and their ability as a teacher, he added.

It's important that elders and sisters understand that it's all right to enjoy being a missionary and find joy in their work.

"One of your many challenges is to kindle the fire of a positive attitude and a desire in your missionaries and to keep it burning all the time. When a missionary knows how to teach, all he or she will want to do is teach," said Elder Ballard.

The Church leader said when missionaries teach with understanding and are filled with desire, the great work of preaching the gospel can be accomplished.

"All over the world, even in those areas where baptisms are not anywhere near what they ought to be, there are people who want to know who God is and what the relationship between themselves and our Heavenly Father is," said Elder Ballard. "They seek to know; they just don't know where to find this knowledge."
Jason Swensen reported on President Henry B. Eyring's 25 June 2009 talk Love of God motivates missionary service: Feeling the love of God crucial to missionary work:

Photo by Jason Swensen
President Henry B. Eyring speaks to new mission presidents at the Provo Missionary Training Center on June 25.

The love of God must permeate all missionaries in their charge to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people.

That was the message President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, shared June 25 with those gathered together on the opening day of the 2009 New Mission Presidents Seminar.

"Love unfeigned must motivate all we do in missionary service," he said. "It must lead us in our efforts to find people to teach. It must be in our voice and in our manner as we visit with bishops about their opportunity to lead their wards in missionary work. Our love of the Lord and the love of people must be communicated in every lesson we teach. It surely must be behind our invitation for investigators to make a commitment to repent and do what will lead to their happiness."

It was the Savior who promised rest to all "that labor and are heavy laden." That loving invitation, added President Eyring, runs through all the instructions the mission presidents have been given about how to do missionary work and how to lead.

"Your missionaries will feel drawn by the Lord's love. Love begats love. The missionaries and you will feel His love as the Atonement works to change our hearts. Our love for Him will increase. We come to know the Master as we serve with Him. As we know Him better we love Him even more. That will be true for your missionaries."

Mission presidents can teach their missionaries how to know that their offering of labor is approved of the Lord.

"If the Lord sends them the Spirit to carry their message into hearts with increasing power they can know He loves them and is giving His approval," President Eyring said. "When the Lord increasingly softens the heart of a missionary to love the people he or she can know that God is not only accepting their sacrifice, but sanctifying it to them."

The Church leader instructed the mission presidents and their wives to help the missionaries see signs of the Lord's approval. Always look for ways to build and strengthen them. Repeatedly express love and confidence in them — and help them see evidence of the Lord's love for them. Help them feel that they can succeed.

President Eyring asked how missionaries and their leaders can feel a love of God and for all men, whatever their circumstance or calling.

"First and foremost," he answered, "there is the sure promise that as the Atonement of Jesus Christ works in your life, and the lives of your missionaries, the love of God comes as a crowning gift." Faith begats obedience which then begats charity, the pure love of Christ. Charity allows one to see another as God sees them.

"I have learned to pray for discernment to discern as much as I can what God has seen in the life of the person before me and to feel what He feels for them." Indeed, a valuable gift of discernment is to feel what God feels about people and what He wants for them. It is to know something of their future if they choose the right.

God lives and loves all His children, President Eyring testified.

"He hears every prayer. He loves every one you will ever meet. He knows their hearts and your heart. He has gone before your to prepare the way. He beckons for you to follow."
Shaun D. Stahle reported on Jeffrey R. Holland's 26 June 2009 talk Divine companion Teaching by the Spirit:Key to missionary work is the 'ultimate teacher':

Photo by Shaun Stahle,
Speaking to missionaries and new mission presidents during the New Mission Presidents Seminar June 26, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, "You can't go forward in this work without 'the ultimate teacher.' "
"My assignment tonight is to address the very broad subject of the role of the Holy Ghost in missionary work, with special emphasis on 'teaching by the Spirit,' " said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve, speaking to nearly 600 missionaries in the Provo Missionary Training Center, and another 100 mission presidents and their wives attending the 2009 New Mission Presidents Seminar, June 26.

Photo by Shaun Stahle,
Nearly 600 missionaries at the Provo MTC assemble to hear Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who welcomed them to the "work of angels."
"I have entitled these remarks 'The Divine Companionship,' " he said.

"My point tonight is to stress that the Spirit must be with you and you must teach by it when you teach because that is the way the lesson ceases to be your lesson and becomes His, becomes under the power of the Spirit a vehicle for lifting your investigators out of the temporal world.

"We are charged with the responsibility of getting people out of their ruts and routines, out of their problems and their pain, out of their earthly little arguments and ignorance and sins, and take them to the Gods — to the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost — ultimately we are to take them toward their own Godhood. In short, we are to take them to the divine. And the Holy Ghost is the connecting link which the Godhead has agreed to give us here in mortality for that heavenly connection. …

"You can't go forward in this work without 'the ultimate teacher.' He must be part of your companionship. … Don't ever forget that the Holy Ghost is the key to that knowledge."

Turning to the mission presidents, Elder Holland said, "You and we have the monumental task of taking these young, bright, willing hearts and minds, and turning them into teachers — teachers whose duty it is to teach, making sure that when they do teach, it is by the Spirit. …

"Teach the missionaries that second only to the responsibility they have to listen to the Spirit is the responsibility they have to listen to the investigator. They must have the patience, sincerity and ability to go where the investigator is, spiritually speaking, before expecting the investigator to come where they are, spiritually speaking. But people won't just leap there simply because the missionaries want them to. The missionaries have to go prayerfully and lovingly out into the highways and byways of these people's lives seeking to discern their challenges and concerns. …

"Once we have found these people, once we know our investigators, then we can find out what they believe and what they enjoy and what they hope for, as well as what they fear and anything they are struggling over. Then we must take them by the hand and lead them with 'that portion that shall be meted unto every man' as the scriptures say (Doctrine and Covenants 84:85). If we will listen with spiritual ears just the way we must see with spiritual eyes, the investigators will tell us what lessons they need to hear! …

"Missionaries today have to study harder, pray more earnestly, plan better, be more pure and teach with more focus and power than they ever did in my day as a young elder." Elder Holland said the discerning missionary will know that his teaching is having the desired effect when one or more of these things happen.

The missionary hears himself saying something he didn't plan to say and learns something from his own instruction that he did not know before.
The Book of Mormon is a pure vehicle of the Spirit because it is the pure word of God. Missionaries must use it in their teaching as often as possible.

The piercing flame of the gospel is felt in the missionary's and the investigator's heart every time a particular point of truth is made.

The investigator honestly admits that "this is a good seed being planted, that he already feels a swelling growth" (Alma 32:28).

There is an awareness by the investigator, spoken or unspoken, that the lesson is showing him a "more excellent way," and that repentance of less noble and less spiritual habits is in order.

Investigator asks soul-searching questions, usually out of this new sense of awareness.
Spirit will prompt testimony and an invitation to be baptized. There comes such joy and peace in the room, such a near-tangible atmosphere of divinity, that neither the missionary, nor the member, nor the investigator experiencing such a moment would choose to be anywhere else in all the world at that time. Sometimes tears will be shed. Always great love will be felt. It is then that the veil is thin, that the Godhead is making its presence felt, and no other time or place would be appealing to those so privileged to be experiencing this. When that moment comes, … the missionary then invites the investigator to be baptized.

"The Godhead will bear testimony of you and your companion — frail, little uncelestial souls that you are — when you have earnestly tried to become part of the Divine Order. You have prayed and studied and fasted appropriately, and have always exerted great faith. You have been obedient to the commandments, to the rules of the mission, and to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. You have kept yourself morally clean in thought, in word, in deed, and have helped your companion do the same. You have tried to develop Christlike attributes, have worked diligent hours and have tried to be a witness of God 'at all times and in all things and in all places' (Mosiah 18:9).

"If you try to live this way — try with all the best that is within you — the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost above you will smile and say, 'It is enough. We will let these missionaries and their investigators feel a portion of the power of heaven. We will let them feel the touch of our unity and our divinity. …'

"Welcome to the work of angels," he said in closing. "Welcome to the work of divinity."
Jason Swensen also reported on L. Tom Perry's talk 26 June 2009 talk Missionaries are truly 'their brother's keeper':

Photo by Shaun Stahle
After nearly a month of training at the Provo Missionary Training Center, these missionaries will soon be serving in the Utah Ogden Mission.

When unity is found in missionary companionships, the Spirit is enabled to guide missionaries to find people to teach and enjoy the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve emphasized this principle June 26 in his remarks at the 2009 New Mission Presidents Seminar.
Missionaries truly are "their brother's keeper," he said. Sharing the gospel "two by two" is a spiritual and temporal principle that has been a part of Christ's church for ages.
"The principle of companionship is an eternal one. It is a critical element of a missionary's experience."

Elder Perry said he recently spoke about the task of assigning companionships with his son, President Lee T. Perry, who presided over the California Roseville Mission. President Perry told his father that the importance of deciding on companionships "was near the top of his list because so many important aspects of a missionary's development depends on companionship relationships and what missionaries learn from their companions."

Mission presidents should place high priority on identifying strong trainers for new missionaries because they can help a new elder or sister start their missions off right, said Elder Perry.
He added that presidents should enlist the counsel of their assistants regarding transfers — but to never surrender the sacred decision process of assigning companionships.

Elder Perry shared this companionship/transfer counsel from his mission president son: "First, block out sufficient time so that you avoid feeling pressure. Second, start on your knees, end on your knees, and when you get stuck, get on your knees."

Have faith, and the answers about transfers will come."

Elder Perry spoke of the pain he and his fellow General Authorities have experienced when they have heard accounts of missionaries who failed to protect their companions from serious transgressions. "If we never again listen to such reports, we would indeed feel blessed."

A missionary should be both a "bodyguard" and a "spirit guard" to his or her companion. It's vital that missionaries alert their president if rules are not being obeyed. "Threats of all kinds can be neutralized when companions understand this key responsibility," he said.

Elder Perry told the presidents to teach the missionaries to humbly seek the Lord's help in strengthening their companionships.

"They should repent of companionship failures just as they would other failings," he said. "What better preparation for a companionship of marriage then to learn that life's challenges are always best met when you seek the Lord's help."

Weekly companionship inventories are also essential to help missionaries build their relationships in a frank but gentle manner.

Strong, unified companionships are blessed with the power to find people to teach, he added.
It is vital that missionaries have as many opportunities to teach as possible. Practice role-playing and utilize service opportunities to help build relationships with others that might provide teaching opportunities.
Jason Swenson reported on President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's 26 June 2009 talk 'You will succeed':
President Uchtdorf uplifts new mission presidents:

Photo by Jason Swensen
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf speaks to new mission presidents during a seminar, sharing with them the opportunities that await them as they serve in their fields of labor..
In his June 26 remarks during the 2009 New Mission Presidents Seminar, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, spoke of the blessed opportunities awaiting those recently called to lead the missions of the Church.

"Presidents and sisters, isn't it great to be part of this divine and sacred work?" he asked. "You will be wonderful. You are not called to fail; you will succeed because God is with you. You will have great and wonderful experiences as leaders in the Church, as missionaries, and especially — the two of you — as a very unique companionship."

The Church leader told the mission presidents and their wives that, yes, their calling is to increase the number of new members. "But it is also to assist local Church leaders and members in establishing and strengthening the Church. These members represent a vital source of strength for you and your missionaries."

The fruits of the labors of the new mission presidents and their wives will be seen and felt in the lives of their own families, in the lives of their missionaries and in the lives of families and individuals in their respective missions.

"Please help your missionaries to understand that the fruits of their labor will reach far beyond their present horizon," said President Uchtdorf. "Generations to come will be grateful and bless their names for their faithfulness and dedication. As these noble missionaries endure rejection, loneliness, self-doubt, homesickness and exhaustion, the Refiner's fire will purify their souls. They will increase in wisdom and grow up in the Lord, and their confidence will wax strong in the presence of God."

The Church leader reminded the mission presidents to never underestimate their influence on the Lord's missionaries. Mission presidents are teachers and trainers who instruct their missionaries through their examples, through interviews, through effective mission training plans and by applying the proven approach of Preach My Gospel.

Enlisting his experiences as an aviator, President Uchtdorf said that a powerful jet reaches its true potential in the air only after the landing gear and takeoff flaps are retracted. Missionaries might experience a similar experience in their labors.

"[The missionaries] may arrive in the mission field a little clumsy, timid or even cocky, but as you help them to get rid of some early drag, as you guide them to develop some added acceleration and extra lift, they will discover their true potential and become what they were meant to be. They will become true servants of the Lord, following His promptings and magnifying their callings — climbing during their mission to greater spiritual heights and reaching out to faraway divine goals."

President Uchtdorf then shared five observations that can help mission presidents and their companions bring about such spiritual transformations in their missionaries.

1 — What is important to you will become important to your missionaries.
2 — Be an example of Christlike love, and express that love frequently to your missionaries, to the members, and to others with whom you come in contact.
3 — Emphasize that the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are the foundation of conversion, retention and activation.
4 — Point your missionaries toward the Savior and His Atonement.
5 — Your primary source of support is from on high.

"One of the great gifts you will give your missionaries, a gift that will stay with them for the rest of their lives, is to teach them how to be close to the Spirit," he said. "Through the Spirit, they become self-motivated and self-directed, and they find joy and satisfaction in continual growth."
Jason Swensen reported on Quentin L. Cook's 27 June 2009 talk Book of Mormon plays vital role in the work:

Photo by Shaun Stahle
Mission presidents and their wives, like young missionaries, spend time at the Provo MTC where they receive training in missionary work.
It is vital that missionaries know that their president is committed to and has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, said Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve.

"They must know this first to be effective missionaries, but second, and even more important, they must know it as a fortification for life," he said June 27 at the 2009 New Mission Presidents Seminar. "It must be so deep in their souls that they can withstand the vicissitudes of life. In a world that is in commotion, they need the protection and armor that comes from a testimony of the Book of Mormon."

Elder Cook anchored his instruction on the vital role the Book of Mormon plays in missionary work. He quoted from Preach My Gospel, saying, "The Book of Mormon is powerful evidence of the divinity of Christ. It is also proof of the Restoration through the Prophet Joseph Smith."

Mission presidents should teach their missionaries to use the scriptures when they speak.

"Some are quoting from Preach My Gospel when they could and should use the scriptures," he said. "No one loves Preach My Gospel more than I do, but it is not a substitute for the scriptures. They should particularly quote scriptures relating to the Savior. The Book of Mormon is truly a second witness of Jesus Christ."

It is the Book of Mormon that answers the questions of the soul: Is there really a God? Did I exist before I was born? Will I live after I die? What is the purpose of life? Is Jesus really the Savior?

The Book of Mormon, he added, also provides answers to the temporal questions of the day.

The power to convert is found in the pages of the Book of Mormon.

"You are all familiar with the numerous accounts of the Book of Mormon being passed from hand to hand and converting many who read it," said Elder Cook. "One of the most compelling is Samuel Smith, brother of the Prophet Joseph, who had nothing but the account of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon to share.

"As a result of his missionary service, future Church leaders Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball came in contact with copies of the Book of Mormon left by Samuel and were baptized."
Elder Cook said he received a personal confirmation that the Book of Mormon was true through prayer when he was 15 years old. "As a missionary reading the scriptures, my testimony of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon was immeasurably enhanced. As I have studied the Book of Mormon throughout my life, the Holy Ghost has continuously borne witness to me that it is true."
Jason Swensen also reported on Bishop Richard C. Edgley 27 June 2009 talk Missionary couple:
Bishop Richard C. Edgley, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, spoke June 27 of the pivotal role that missionary couples can play in establishing the Church.

"These qualified, dedicated missionary couples will be the answer to many of your challenges," he said. "Most of your missionary couples have grown up in the Church. They understand Church government. They understand Church policy. They are good teachers and they have strong testimonies.

"These are capable people."

Missionary couples can provide far-reaching leadership and training in a mission, he added. Their duties can range from holding local leadership positions and assisting in the mission office to serving as examples and a source of support to the young elders and sisters.

"They can make a difference in your missions."

Bishop Edgley said some couples might not fall under the direct supervision of the mission president as they fulfill assignments in the Church Educational System, the temple or perhaps in an area office.

"However, all should have a spiritual mission," he said. "To the extent their other assignments will permit, you can enhance their missions by utilizing them in teaching, reactivating, bearing testimony and building the Church."

Unfortunately, not all missionary couples feel they are being appropriately utilized and thus do not have worthwhile or wonderful missions. Bishop Edgley offered several suggestions on how mission presidents can better communicate with couples while identifying assignments that will help them contribute and find joy in their service.

"I can personally testify that the great majority of our couples have wonderful, spiritual experiences," he said. "That is why they keep coming back, and back and back — making great sacrifices to serve."

Jason Swensen summarized President Thomas S. Monson remarks during a special Sunday, 28 June 2009 Mission Presidents' sacrament meeting talk Build mission spirit, Pres. Monson urges: Love, motivate sacred charges, new mission presidents told:

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
President Thomas S. Monson addresses more than 100 mission presidents and their wives during the annual seminar at the MTC in Provo.

The 2009 New Mission Presidents Seminar offered scores of new mission presidents and their wives a priceless opportunity to come together and receive four days of training prior to embarking on their three-year assignments.

The days were filled with instruction at the feet of apostles and other Church leaders. (See accompanying stories.) The seminar concluded with words of encouragement and counsel from President Thomas S. Monson, himself a former mission president.

The Church leader spoke for almost an hour in a special June 28 sacrament meeting. There he offered the mission presidents and their wives practical direction on how to love and motivate their sacred charges — the full-time missionaries.

"The tears come easily to me when I realize the calls that you have, the experiences that you will have and the influence that you will have," said President Monson, looking out upon a congregation of mission leaders hailing from all corners of the globe.

"I know that you are dedicated to the work of the Lord and to the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ," he said. "I also know that the missionaries who will serve under your direction will be loved and guided by you."

The missionaries, he added, represent "the flower of the Church." They represent the hopes, prayers and dreams of their parents. They represent sacrifice, he said.

President Monson enlisted equal measures of common sense and personal experience in offering counsel about motivating missionaries.
"First, your missionaries can be motivated through your personal interviews with them," he said.
That first contact that a missionary has with his or her president is all-important. President Monson counseled the presidents to greet new missionaries at the airport or train depot. Welcome them "to the greatest mission in the world."

Interview each of the new missionaries and learn about their background, their families and their objectives. Take careful notes.

Those interviews that a mission president has with elders and sisters already serving in the field can also inspire and motivate, he said.

"My observation is that a proper interview should take place at about six to eight week intervals," President Monson said. "If you have them more frequently than that, you will find they become too commonplace. If you wait a more lengthy period, you will probably miss some of the things that otherwise could be learned in an interview."

Interviews should be positive, he added. "My suggestion is that we provide help — that we love, not scold."

The missionary transfer period also offers a mission president a special opportunity to motivate. President Monson reminded his audience that only the mission president transfers missionaries within his mission. Beware of the temptation to delegate that sacred duty to zone leaders or assistants to the president, he continued.

"Every missionary has the right to expect his mission president, on bended knee, to seek inspiration concerning where he should be and with whom he should serve," he said.

President Monson promised that mission presidents would witness the hand of God at work as they seek inspiration in transferring missionaries. As a mission president in Canada, he was once inspired to assign a missionary to an area where a large number of Italian immigrants resided.

President Monson did not know that this particular elder had learned Italian from his mother — or that his language skills would bless the lives of many immigrant families investigating the Church in his new area.

President Monson encouraged the mission presidents to resist the urge to transfer the missionaries too frequently. Be judicious and allow the missionaries to remain in areas long enough to build essential relationships with members and investigators, he advised.

The Church president also said the work of sharing the gospel is best served in areas where the Church is already established. "Put missionaries in areas where there are established branches where we can move from the centers of strength outward.

"In that way, we have access to proper fellowshipping in an established unit where we will hold the fruits of our labors rather than losing them as fast as we gain them."

The personal letters that missionaries write each week to their president and parents can also help motivate the elders and sisters, he said.

"Every missionary should have the privilege of personally writing a letter to the mission president and knowing that the mission president is reading that letter."

He indicated the weekly mission president letter can provide a mission leader with invaluable information with regard to the well being of missionary companionships and the proselyting work in a particular area.

President Monson also stressed the importance of each missionary writing his or her parents every week. He said lives can be forever changed and blessed when elders and sister missionaries dutifully communicate each week with mothers and fathers about their missionary activities.

President Monson also commented on the proper use of preparation day in motivating missionaries. Make certain "preparation" day does not become a "diversion" day that puts missionaries at physical or spiritual risk, he cautioned. "Do nothing on preparation day that would rob [the missionaries] of their spirituality."

Remember, he added, all evenings should be "proselyting evenings."

He emphasized that preparation day ends at 5 p.m.

The missionary meetings are also ideal forums to motivate missionaries, he said. "Let the missionary meetings be meetings which build and uplift and inspire." He urged the mission presidents to utilize zone conferences and other meetings to demonstrate finding and teaching skills, indicating that "show how" is more effective than "tell how."

He encouraged them to share successes and testimonies.

President Monson also spoke of the value of involving members in missionary work. "The greatest single thing that you as a mission president can do to increase the effectiveness of your missionaries and their productivity is to ensure that the proper relationship is maintained with ecclesiastical leaders in the areas where the missionaries are proselyting," he said.

He admonished the mission presidents to build up the mission spirit. "Presidents and their wives can instill in a missionary the feeling that he or she is serving in the best mission in the Church," he said.

President Monson concluded his remarks by testifying again of the influence mission presidents and their wives will have for good in the lives of their missionaries and the members.
"God bless you," he said. "It's a delight to be with you in the service of the Master."
Jason Swensen reported on Boyd K. Packer's 29 June 2009 final day talk Church advances as missionaries perform labor: To establish the Church, begin with family in the home:

Photo by Jason Swensen
President Boyd K. Packer tells new mission presidents that if there are congregations attending meetings and the gospel is being taught, then they have done what they were called to do.

During his June 29 talk at the 2009 New Mission Presidents Seminar, President Boyd K. Packer marveled at the growth of the Church he has witnessed since he served as a mission president more than four decades ago.

"When we were called on our mission, there were 30-some missions," said President Packer, who serves as president of the Quorum of the Twelve.

"There were seven mission presidents that went out at that time. We had what was called our seminar over in the Relief Society Building. Most of the instruction centered on how to keep records. And yet we went into a mission and into a world greatly different from what we have now. That will be your lot."

At the time of President and Sister Packer's mission, the Church was just reaching the 2 million member mark. Now the Church is moving toward 14 million. There has been a great proliferation of wards and stakes across the globe.

"It is a new thought to us across the Church that we are not to be duplicating the Wasatch Front out there with the number of buildings and the congregations and the large audiences and activities that go on and on," he said. "We are to establish the gospel."

President Packer counseled the mission presidents not to be unsettled if they do not, say, bring a new stake into the Church during their tenure.

"If you have congregations of people in branches, and the gospel is being taught, and they are understanding it, then you have done what you are called to do. Building the Church seems to center around buildings and budgets and programs and procedures, but somewhere in the midst of it the gospel is struggling for breath. Get that fixed in the minds of your elders."

New mission presidents go out into a world that has become toxic and poisonous to the Spirit.
"Teach your missionaries that they need not be ashamed to be different from … the general population," said President Packer. "If they are decent, they will stand out."

The Church, he added, will move forward when the missionaries "do what they ought to do." It moves forward through the Spirit.

"If you want to establish the Church, the place to begin is in the home with the father and the mother and the children. Respect them for what they are and what they have. You will be blessed, and they will be blessed, and the Church will grow."

President Packer reminded the new mission presidents and their wives that the Lord would guide them in their sacred duty.

"If you know that, you will not make any mistakes dealing with members, with the Church, with the administration, with anything else, because you are ordained now to have that power with you.

"So we will not worry about you. We will send you out there with impossible circumstances, sometimes dangerous, but the Lord will be with you, and you will be all right."
Even though this seems like a duplication putting it all in one place helps you get a comprehensive feel for the messages and emphasis being placed on missionary service. It must be an exciting calling to be a mission president. If you want to learn about being a mission president I suggest you read the side bar of this blog and see the dozen or so mission presidents and their weekly happenings on their blogs.

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