"The Time Has Come for the Nations of the East..."
Russia Novosibirsk Mission
President Williams... And We Must Be Prepared
Date: October 27, 2014 (one day later than usual, due to the multi-zone conference today)
Dear Elders and Sisters,
This subject line, along with the above follow-on phrase, were re-emphasized by Elder Bruce D. Porter today. The part about "We Must Be Prepared" is in Strengthening the Members and the Branches, with the promise that, when the Lord sees that we are ready, with branch members loving and serving one another, He will open hearts and doors to bring many people into (or back into) the Church in such branches. This is what I have been promising branch council members since the beginning of our mission, starting with our first visit to Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Elder Porter then emphasized the following principles (in brief):
1. Missionaries fellowship members to “re-establish the bond between missionaries and members.” (I note that this is consistent with President Monson’s charge in June and Oct 2013 for “… members and missionaries to come together, to work together….”)
a. Missionaries love the members with all our hearts (Moroni )
b. Missionaries arrive at least 20-30 minutes early for Church and greet members
c. Missionaries learn the names of all branch members
2. Missionaries engage in reactivation work
a. Visit inactive members with the intent to rekindle teaching them.
b. Teach and bear testimony (and, as Elder Callister emphasized, help them feel the Spirit and to recognize when they are feeling it by asking them, “how do you feel as you read this…,” and then, “that is the Holy Spirit inspiring you….”
c. Invite them to act with faith (such as to read and pray, to come to Church, etc.), following the “commitment pattern” of Preach My Gospel Ch. 11.
d. Help with home teaching and visiting teaching, under the direction of the branch president and branch council, through the missionary district leader
3. Missionaries retain converts
a. Teach and re-teach lessons for up to a year, staying especially close during the first three to four months (with succeeding companionships picking up this role after original companionships move on, considering these people also as “their own” baptisms)
b. Teach with the goal of these new converts remaining strong long after you leave, standing independently on their own “feet” of faith
4. Missionaries help encourage more native Russian youth to prepare for and serve full-time missions, both young men and young women:
a. When talking with young people, share the joys of your mission
b. Encourage them to prepare to serve (including to consider “short-term missions,” when available)
Elder Porter gave an “additional principle,” as follows: “Avoid falling into the same approach to people every time. Have conversations with them and immediately begin to teach and testify. Please see D&C 100:5-9, noting especially the powerful promise.
“The Lord has a timetable for every people,” he said. “The time has come for the nations of the East…. May we feel the sense of the glory [of the Lord’s work in this area] and pray for the Spirit to be poured forth” among the people.
As for Elder Callister’s talk, I will send to the zone leaders and district leaders a copy of the planning chart that he and Sister Callister presented, so they can share it and discuss it with you in District Meetings later this week. Please consider this in your companionships as you plan lessons.
We continue to be delighted with your reports of miracles. Please continue to send them, along with additional reports of special experiences in the Group Gospel Discussions (in English).
As a final note, let me provide guidance on whom to notify if you have health problems that either need attention, treatment, or that might require you to stay in the apartment.
• First, for emergencies that may have serious consequences, get necessary help immediately and then notify President or Sister Williams without delay.
• Second, missionaries should not stay in the apartment beyond the prescribed times in the daily schedule, unless authorized in advance by the Office Couple (if the impact is expected to be on only one day or less), Sister Williams, or President Williams.
• Third, for all non-emergency health issues for which you need attention or that might affect your ability to proselyte:
1. First, please call the Mission Office and notify Sister Turman. (As mentioned above, if the situation might require a missionary to stay at the apartment, she can authorize up to one day.) Sister Turman will determine what situations should be further referred to Sister Williams or Sister Jefferies.
2. Second, if you cannot reach Sister Turman, contact Sister Williams or Sister Jefferies.
We enjoyed seeing those of you who could be here today, in person! For those in Krasnoyarsk, Omsk, and Kazakhstan, we visited Krasnoyarsk last week, we will be in Omsk on Wednesday of this week, and we will be in Kazakhstan in the middle of November (for about nine days!). We will also be in Kemerovo on Friday of this week, and in Tomsk for the weekend.
May the Lord continue to bless you all! We love you!
P.S. Again, please remember to report miracles and also special experiences with Group Gospel Discussions. MGW