When Elder M. Russell Ballard visited Mexico, he taught that both members and investigators of the Church need to be converted by the eternal nature of the gospel. He said, “We all come to earth with an underlying love of truth and God. We need to penetrate the darkness with the light that is in every soul. Ignite this light.”
Elder Ballard indicated that missionary work is the only way to help all people know of God’s love and of the light of the gospel. He counseled missionaries, priesthood leadership, young single adults, and families in local stakes to make missionary work a priority. He said, “The number one assignment of the Apostles is missionary work. We are missionaries with you.”
On Heavenly Father’s Errand
“It is wonderful to be young and on a mission at this time. I can’t think of anything more exciting to do today than to be a missionary,” Elder Ballard said to the missionaries of the Mexico Cuernavaca Mission. Elder Ballard emphasized the quality of the missionaries’ teaching—missionaries must be able to discern the feelings of their investigators and to teach the principles of the gospel with the Spirit until investigators understand, he said.
Elder Ballard said that missionaries must teach the gospel with confidence and stay happy in the work. “Your success will be proportionate to your confidence to present the Gospel. Be the best you can. Your power and strength as a missionary is directly related to your confidence in yourself to do the work. Know that you can teach. Stay awake in meetings, listen, and work together as a companionship in both teaching and study. Study as a companionship to be a better teacher. Be patient and diligent. The devil tries to discourage and slow you down. Stay happy and smile. . . . It is easier when we are enthusiastic to communicate by the Spirit.”
Elder Ballard offered encouragement and comfort to missionaries that may be weary. He said, “Heavenly Father blesses us with the sweet peace of heaven in your heart. . . . We serve his church and are on his errand. There are occasions when I am weary in the work. Then I stop and look at a picture of the Savior and I think of Him in Gethsemane and all of a sudden I’m not tired anymore. Learn to love Him on your mission.”
In a priesthood meeting, Elder Ballard instructed the local Church leadership to also engage in missionary work. “The missionaries are good tools,” he said, “but the ward members and leadership should team up with them and befriend investigators of the gospel.”
Elder Ballard told the priesthood leaders to remove the words “my stake” and “my ward” from their vocabulary. “It is the Lord Jesus Christ’s ward or stake. We are temporary stewards and help with spiritual needs. Miracles will occur under your stewardship.”
When he spoke to the young single adults, Elder Ballard emphasized the importance of spiritual conversion for both investigators of the gospel and for members of the Church. He said, “The Gospel appeals to many, but it is most important to be felt spiritually and not just in the mind.
“The tragedy and violence of the world will decrease when the people have the gospel in their hearts, when they are deeply converted.”
Use Technology with Care
Elder Ballard advised all of the members of the Church to use technology carefully. “Be careful with the use of technology. Stay away from pornography. Pornography is a tool of the devil and those who tamper with it end up spiritually damaged.”
He continued, “We learned in the spirit kingdom that we are spiritual sons and daughters of God on a spiritual journey to learn to control our physical bodies. We want to be obedient enough that when this life ends we can step into the presence of God. We must be clean. I call upon you in the name of the Lord that if any of you struggle with pornography to resolve today that it is over. Draw the line and do not step into the Devil’s territory and into sin.”
Elder Ballard spoke specifically to the parents and leaders, telling them to be aware of how the children and youth are using technology. “Be sure you know what youth are doing with social electronic devises. Be close enough and direct enough with them, even the very young ones, about such things as pornography.”
Elder Ballard told the missionaries and the young single adults that prayer is an essential part of conversion and personal revelation. He said, “Say your prayers. Do not stay out so late that you cannot pray. Do not leave in the morning without prayer. The Spirit will strengthen you day by day.”
To the missionaries he said, “Encourage the investigators to pray. . . .They need to ask, seek, knock and find.”
The Future of the Church
Elder Ballard expressed his great love for the young people of the Church and said that he appreciated their spiritual strength. He said, “Other churches’ leaders ask what do we do to get missionaries to go and serve the Church. I am always happy to explain that they go for one reason only. The reason is that they know that this is the true church.”
Elder Ballard concluded, “You will be the next leaders as the kingdom on earth is passed on to you. Have determination to be ready for whatever the Lord will ask of you. He will bless your family with protection and blessings. This is His church. He lives and watches over the affairs of His church. Go forward.