Missionary Speech of All Time

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland recently spoke at a seminar for new Mission Presidents and shared what was referred to as the “Missionary Speech of All Time.”  R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer, recounted the story in an article he wrote for the Church News on June 30, 2017.

He wrote the following:

Elder Holland closed by relating a story—being careful to protect the privacy and anonymity of the participants—of a young man from southern Idaho. One night the young man stormed out of the house and set off to join an infamous motorcycle gang. He succeeded in that resolve and for 20 years became immersed in a culture “of temptations yielded to and degradations explored,” never contacting his parents, who feared that he was dead.

Eventually ending up in Southern California, he one day was sitting on the porch of a rented home when he saw two LDS missionaries making their way up the street.

“With a rush of memory and guilt, regret, and rage, he despised the very sight of them,” Elder Holland recounted. “But he was safe, because he kept all visitors at bay by employing two Doberman pinschers, who viciously charged the gate every moment that anyone came near.”

The dogs startled the missionaries as they passed by and continued on, “our man on the porch laughing at the lovely little drama he had just witnessed, wishing only that the gate hadn’t restrained his two dogs.”

Then, the two elders stopped, looked at each other, conversed a little, “likely said a silent prayer,” then turned around and approached the gate.

“The Dobermans on cue charged the gate again, hit it, snarling, frothing, and then stopped in their tracks,” Elder Holland said. “They looked at the missionaries, dropped their heads, ambled back to the front steps, and lay down.”

The man on the porch was speechless as the missionaries opened the gate, walked up the path, and greeted him.

“One of the elders said, ‘Are you from this part of California?’

“The man said, ‘No. If you want to know, I’m from Pocatello, Idaho.’

“There was a pause. ‘That’s interesting,’ the elder said. ‘Do you know the [such-and-such] family in Pocatello?’

“With a stunned look, our biker paused and then, in very measured words said, ‘Yeah, I know them. They are my parents.’

“‘Well, they’re my parents too,’ the missionary said. ‘God has sent me to invite you to come home.’”

The younger brother had been born after the older boy had left home. The elder brother did not even know of him.

“Mom and Dad have been praying for you every morning and night for 20 years,” the younger brother said. “They were not sure you were alive, but they knew if you were, that someday you would come back to us.”

The wayward son invited the two in, and they talked for the rest of the day and some of the night. He did return home, returned to Church activity, and, in March 2015, was married and sealed in the Boise Idaho Temple.

Commenting on the account, Elder Holland said, “This is a story of the role of Almighty God, the Savior of the World, and the Holy Ghost involved in the work of the ministry to which we’ve been called.

“The Holy Ghost prompted those parents to keep praying, to keep believing, to keep trusting. … The Holy Ghost inspired that rebellious boy to come to himself like the prodigal he was and to head for California. … The Holy Ghost influenced that younger son to serve a mission and be willing to accept a call to Southern California. … The Holy Ghost inspired one of my brethren in the Twelve, who was on the assignment desk that Friday, to trust his impression and assign that young man for service not a great distance from his native-born state. The Holy Ghost inspired that mission president to assign that young missionary to that district and that member unit. The Holy Ghost led those missionaries to that street, that day, that hour, with big brother sitting on the porch waiting, and, with Doberman pinschers notwithstanding, the Holy Ghost prompted those two elders to stop, talk, and in spite of their fear, to go back and present their message. …

“And through the elders, the Holy Ghost taught repentance and brought true conversion to one coming back into the fold.”

Elder Holland said the young elder, without realizing it, gave the missionary speech of all time, when he said to his brother, “God has sent me here to invite you to come home.”

“We are sent by God to invite His children home,” Elder Holland concluded. “We do that through the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, on the strength of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Welcome to the divine companionship.”

Elder and Sister Huling

16 July 2017

Dear Woodbridge Stake,

With less than six months left in Argentina, it is past time for us to let you know what Humanitarian Missionaries do who are assigned to the Area Office in the South America South Area. The Church is seriously following the scriptural admonition to seek out the poor and the needy. There are two different types of projects with which we have helped. There are Major Initiatives, such as donations of vision operating equipment, donations of wheelchairs and training courses taught to people who assist in child births. These require the supervision of specialists who live in the US.

Then there are Area Initiatives which are developed locally to cover a wide variety of needs. For example, the Church has donated defibrillators, a 4-wheeler to assist in feeding the disabled, a vein finder, personal hygiene items for refugees, school supplies for needy children and clothing for flood and fire victims.

As missionaries, we help move the projects along in a variety of ways. We coordinate meetings, prepare agreements between the Church and our partners, make flight and hotel reservations for the specialists who come down, attend official ceremonies where donations are presented and take pictures of events and write reports. Our trips to Uruguay, Paraguay and several places around Argentina help break up the tedious, but necessary, office work.

We have traveled by plane, train, boat, bus, taxi, car and subway to accomplish our tasks. We have attended the temples in all three countries. All are beautiful and the ordinances always uplifting.

There are other Senior Missionaries serving in the Area Office in a variety of assignments. We have enjoyed our association with them which strengthens all of us to be better able to accomplish our assigned tasks. Testimonies are borne daily of how the Spirit guides us in answer to prayer. There are countless manifestations that the Lord is at the head and directs this work. We pray continually to do His will.

Elder and Sister Huling

Elder and Sister Huling

Elder and Sister Huling with the defibrillators that were donated to the pediatric wing of a hospital.  Elder and Sister Huling drove them to Córdoba, an eight-hour drive away.

Called to the Work

Are you waiting for a mission call or preparing yourself for serving?  Perhaps you are just filling out your papers or maybe you are still trying to make the decision to serve.  Maybe you’ve recently returned from your mission or you are still in the trenches of tracting, testifying and teaching.

Wherever you are in your journey as a missionary, these words from Elder David A. Bednar from the April Priesthood session of General Conference could make a difference in your perspective and preparation.  Ponder his inspiring thoughts about the difference between being called to the work and called to a place.

Consider your preparation as he discusses “three interrelated words (that) define a pattern of preparation and progression for sons of God: priesthood, temple, mission.”

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And don’t forget to go ahead and do missionary work no matter what stage of the journey you are in.  He said, “Young men, each of you is a missionary now. All around you, every day, are friends and neighbors “who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.”12 As you are directed by the Spirit, you can share a thought, an invitation, a text or tweet that will introduce your friends to the truths of the restored gospel. You need not and should not wait for your official call to become anxiously engaged in missionary work.”

Do you know someone who is at some stage of the missionary journey?  Share Elder Bednar’s talk, “Called to the Work.”

Missionary Mondays

Do you need a simple video to explain to your friends what it means to be a Mormon?  Is there a gospel principle you would like to share with a friend?  Try this video about how to find lasting happiness or this video about why we have prophets.  Share one today.  Find more at lds.org

 

The Potential

Yesterday I posted some of my thoughts about music.  Then today I saw this new video on the Mormon Channel.  I saw connections to what I wrote about yesterday and what I should be writing about today, namely missionary work.  Let the Spirit work in your heart as you watch this video and then please share in the comments what it taught you.