24 November 2013

Hastening the Work of Salvation in My Ward

Last week in Church, one of the Sisters serving in our ward made an observation that stuck with me all week. She pointed out how the Church's emphasis on Hastening the Work of Salvation is the Lord raising the bar for us as members. It isn't enough for us to "be good examples," and not open our mouths anymore. We have to actively participate in missionary work by inviting others to come unto Christ.

I've thought about what she said all week long. And it made me ask myself a question that has really opened my eyes to how to be a better member missionary. What relationship does baptism play in the Lord hastening the work of salvation?





As I pondered the answer, I felt inspired to teach my Relief Society lesson today on baptism. That was the most amazing lesson I've ever given. I taught the basic doctrine of baptism, we reviewed the details of the baptism of Jesus Christ from Matthew 3, people shared a few experiences they had with baptism, and I told part of my conversion story to emphasize how member missionaries are the only reason I'm a member of the Church. It was really powerful because the Spirit was so strong.

But that doesn't begin to compare how strong the Spirit was once I invited the Sisters to share their thoughts on the role baptism plays in hastening the work of salvation. They each shared their testimony and their heartfelt commitment to do whatever it took to earn the trust that would inspire members to work together with them. It was a heartfelt declaration.

The investigator who is marked for baptism on December 8th with her three children then shared how her niece's baptism is what has inspired their family to be baptized. She expressed her love and gratitude for how the Lord is saving her family, and how baptism is bringing such wonderful changes into their family.

By the time they finished, our whole Relief Society was filled with tender feelings from the Spirit on the subject of baptism and missionary work. It was the greatest outpouring of the Spirit that I have felt in my ward in a long time.

I then invited the sisters to ponder on how they could each individually help more people to be baptized, and encouraged them to make their own lists of what they had to offer. This was the list I came up with:
  • Praying to find someone for the elders and sisters to teach
  • Inviting friends and neighbors to come to Church, especially to Sacrament Meeting
  • Inviting friends and neighbors to baptismal service
    • If we each invited someone to the baptism on the 8th, and some of them decided to be baptized as well, imagine how much we would grow!
  • Sharing our testimonies of the Book of Mormon with our friends, family, and neighbors
  • Offer our homes as places for the missionaries to teach their investigators
    • How would it be if, when we sign up for a date on the dinner calendar, we make a goal to invite someone else to dinner that the missionaries could teach?
  • Attending lessons with the Sisters and Elders
  • Giving rides to the missionaries’ investigators to come to Church
    • Know their names. Offer to sit by them. Ask them about what they’re learning from the missionaries. Invite them to your home. We are a family here at Church, and when we are warm, friendly, and inviting, people will want to come and they will want to STAY here with us. It takes each of us to do our part in being welcoming and kind, not just the Elders and Sisters.
  • Showing our support to new converts, so they always have a friend
    • Visiting Teaching
It was great to see how their understanding was really being enlarged, and they could see how being a member missionary isn't hard--it's doing simple things in effective ways. But the step we all have to take is to open our mouths and let them be filled!

So what role does baptism play in Hastening the Work of Salvation?

Answer: Everything!

Unbeknownst to me, we had a visitor in our ward, who was an emeritus mission president who served in Houston, Texas. I was thrilled to hear his comments in Sunday School, where the lesson incidentally was also on missionary work. And my husband and I have yet another dose of preparing member missionaries this evening with the Bishop's Youth Discussion. We've been asked to come and speak about preparing to serve a mission. So after that discussion, I will have spoken to most of the ward today about how to be a missionary.

Then to top off the day, I did a long overdue visiting teaching visit, only to discover that a very wonderful young father is looking to take the discussions there because he wants to be baptized. I couldn't be more excited to get to know this family and help them in any way that I can to build their gospel foundation. It's what most brings me joy in life.






I love missionary work, and I love helping others to love it too. I'm contemplating using my teaching calling in Relief Society to focus more on missionary work and implementing more material from Preach My Gospel. I would be excited to see the impact of that guidance and encouragement. Our ward has amazing potential to grow, we just need to catch the vision of it before the Lord can use us to make it happen. And being a big dreamer and helping people catch the vision of the work has always been my greatest strength.

I know that the work in which we're engaged is essential to our own happiness. The experiences I've had today have been the strongest spiritual experiences I've had in months. I feel so happy to be a part of hastening the work of salvation. I know I'm in my ward for this very purpose, and the joy I feel because of that I something I have really needed to find.

I know that God lives. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. He set the example that we all must follow as missionaries--he was always inviting others to come closer to Him, regardless of whether they would reject Him or not. He baptized thousands, and helped his disciples to baptize thousands more. May we always strive to stand within our place as member missionaries, "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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