This week in zone class our zone leaders told us about the new "Enfoques de la Misión." We are used to having a focus each month, but President Arrington released these focuses of the mission and said that they will NOT change until the Lord tells him otherwise.
"This purpose says nothing specifically about only teaching investigators or non-members. You can fulfill this purpose by helping people at all different stages of coming unto Christ. Sometimes that means helping people understand that they have a Father in Heaven who loves them. Sometimes that means helping investigators progress towards making the covenant of baptism. Sometimes that means helping members gain a greater understanding of our Savior and His Atonement, or helping less actives repent, or helping your companion -- or even yourself -- endure to the end."
For anyone who isn´t familiar with the Preach My Gospel system of missionary work, our purpose as missionaries is:
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. (I hope that is right - I remember it better in Spanish!)
Well it turns out that retenion in our mission is super low, and the number of less-actives is also astronomical. So in order to better fulfill our purpose, on top of finding and baptizing worthy converts, we are now to focus a LOT more on the retention of those recent converts as well as the reactivation of less-actives. In order to do this, we are now required to take members with us when we visit them. This is because based on studies that the Church (or the mission, I´m not sure) has done, the most common reason for people becoming less-active is that they didn´t have any friends in church. So we are going to help them find some friends so that they can have a lasting social as well as spiritual converson.
I think this is awesome, even though it will be difficult to begin living by that new culture, especially at first as we will have to ask a lot more of the members, who already give a lot. But really I have felt for most of my mission that the recent converts and less-actives weren´t getting a fair shake. Baptizing people just isn´t enough. Baptism, as the scriptures teach us, is only the gate through which we ENTER into the path of the gospel. It is not the end, and it is super important for us as missionaries not to forget that. We are here to do the work of salvation - and that requires enduring to the end just as much as it requires baptism.
A friend wrote me a while back and said something pretty profound with regard to our missionary purpose. I hope she doesn´t mind if I quote her here:
I think that all of us could probably use a little help from time to time (or if you´re like me, a lot of the time!) in coming closer to Christ. I am excited to have this new focus in our mission. I think it will really help us to more fully fulfill our purpose as missionaries, and it will help us to be able to help others be prepared to make temple covenants, not just baptismal covenants, and to receive eternal life when the time comes. It´s very cool.
Well, that´s all for this week. My emails are getting boring. Sorry about that. It´s just been a while since I´ve had any exciting adventures....
This week for your commitment I want you all to pray for opportunities to serve. I remember this being talked about in conference (in October?) and I just feel like now is a good time for us all to be reminded. Pray each day for opportunities to serve, and then take them when they come and just see how happy you feel!
Anyway, all my love and hugs to y´all. Have a great one!