“New Mission Presidents Receive Training,” Ensign, Sept. 1994, 76
President Howard W. Hunter and other General Authorities, including President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson of the First Presidency, spoke to ninety-two new mission presidents and their wives during week-long training held at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.
“The atonement of Jesus Christ was a foreordained assignment by our Heavenly Father to redeem His children after their fallen state,” explained President Hunter. “It was an act of love by our Heavenly Father to permit His Only Begotten to make an atoning sacrifice. And it was a supreme act of love by His beloved Son to carry out the Atonement. …
“A great indicator of one’s personal conversion is the desire to share the gospel with others. For this reason, the Lord gave an obligation to every member of the Church to be a missionary.
“Those of us who have partaken of the Atonement are under obligation to bear faithful testimony of our Lord and Savior,” he continued. “For he hath said, ‘I will forgive you of your sins with this commandment—that you remain steadfast in your minds in solemnity and the spirit of prayer, in bearing testimony to all the world of those things which are communicated unto you’ (D&C 84:61).”
In his counsel to new mission presidents, President Hinckley also spoke about missionary work being based on Jesus Christ. “Missionary work is really not about weekly or monthly reports,” he said. “It is about people. … It is about faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, a faith that speaks of love for Him who gave His life for each of us in an act of atonement beyond our capacity to fully understand. It is about coming to know of His love for us and of the love we must have for Him. It is about repentance, and that is more than a word. It is an act that means sorrow, godly sorrow, and remorse and restitution and resolution. It involves pleading prayers for forgiveness, and promises, sincere and honest, to do better.
“It is about baptism,” he continued, “the act of being immersed in water, not only symbolic of washing away one’s sins, but more importantly in token of the blood of the Lamb of God which was shed for all of us.
“It is concerned with the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter promised by the Lord, the ministering of the Holy Spirit, the baptism of the spirit, if you please, spoken of by the Savior when he told Nicodemus that ‘except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God’ (John 3:5).
“Missionary work is concerned with searching and winnowing and gleaning and teaching with love and kindness.”
In his remarks, President Monson shared the feelings he and his wife, Frances, had thirty-five years ago when they were leaving to serve their mission in Canada. Elder Harold B. Lee, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, counseled them to remember two things. President Monson passed on that advice.
“First, whom God calls, God qualifies,” he said. “You have been called by Heavenly Father, and he will qualify you.
“Second, when you are on the Lord’s errand, you are entitled to the Lord’s help,” he continued. “These two statements will bring comfort to your souls and give you confidence that the Lord will be with you.”
President Monson read the Lord’s promise found in the Doctrine and Covenants: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:88).
He shared a key to missionary success outlined by President Spencer W. Kimball. “We expect to have full, complete cooperation between the stake and full-time missionaries and to involve the members of the Church generally in opening the gospel door to our Father’s other children.”
President Monson counseled the new leaders not to worry excessively about their homes and families while they serve the Lord. “You are not alone,” he promised them. “We pray for you every Thursday.” He also shared a scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants: “Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, … your families are well; they are in mine hands, and I will do with them as seemeth me good; for in me there is all power.
“Therefore, follow me, and listen to the counsel which I shall give unto you” (D&C 100:1–2).
The ninety-two new mission presidents came from twelve countries and will serve in thirty-nine nations.
Ten new missions have been created by the First Presidency this year, including the Church’s 300th mission. There are now 303 missions worldwide with some 48,500 missionaries serving.