Elder Neil L. Andersen began his remarks at the 2016 Worldwide Missionary Broadcast by speaking of the love that he, along with First Presidency and his fellow members in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, have for the missionaries of the Church.
“We count you as our friends, our fellow disciples, our companions as we build the Kingdom of God in preparation for the Savior’s return to the earth,” he declared. Missionaries and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, he added, share a sacred charge: “The most important thing we do, and the most important thing you do, is testify of the Savior and invite all to come unto Him.”
Missionaries must keep His name on their lips — and be prepared as promptings come to testify of Him.
“I know you talk to everyone who will listen to you,” he said. “Wherever you are — in a bus, on the street, in a teaching situation, or in a home with a member, if you are ever unsure of what to say, speak of the Savior. Testify of Him. Speak of His doctrine, of faith in Him and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. This is your purpose. This is your charge.” Missionaries, he added, teach the doctrine of Christ.
“That doctrine is summarized in words that you all know very well: Our purpose is to 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 Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.”
Elder Andersen noted that missionaries in various parts of the world serve in diverse situations. Some are in countries and cultures that hardly know the name of Jesus Christ, while others are in cultures and countries where the name of Jesus Christ is honored and respected.
Carefully craft and adapt the message of the doctrine of Christ to their specific needs, Elder Andersen counseled.
“We help the sons and daughters of God, our brothers and sisters, to come to know God the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, and to feel Their love more completely.”
A missionary’s first responsibility is to help lift the faith of a man, woman or child from wherever they are to a greater faith in Jesus Christ and in His Atonement. “By increasing your own understanding of the Atonement, your effectiveness as a missionary will increase,” he said.
Elder Andersen taught that one of the best ways to invite others to come unto Christ and have faith in Him and in His Atonement is to introduce them gently but powerfully to the scriptural teachings of the Book of Mormon.
“Learn to love this powerful spiritual nourishment from the Book of Mormon so that you can share it upon the silver platter of your own faith. As you do, I promise you that you will see growth in the faith of those you teach. They will receive as an additional spiritual gift the confirming witness that His gospel is restored upon the earth, for they will know that the Book of Mormon is true.” Elder Andersen then focused on repentance.
“Repentance means to change, to return to God, to think more of Him, trust Him, and obey His commandments. Of course it involves the Word of Wisdom, going to church and reading the scriptures. But repentance means a change of attitude, a beginning of a mighty ‘change [of] heart.’ One of the significant challenges of our day is that many people you teach do not understand why it is necessary to repent, and do not know how to repent. You must guide them.”
Repentance, he added, is critical to true conversion.
“Unless we help those we teach to get on their knees and learn how to pray, personally, with real intent, even when we are not with them, they may not feel the need to change or the effect of this repentance. Kneel down with those you teach. We teach repentance and baptize converts.”
After repentance, a missionary’s next purpose is baptism.
“Do not ever be afraid to teach baptism as you speak of faith and repentance. Of course, there are some areas of the world where baptisms are more frequent than in other areas of the world. But don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and engage your investigators to baptism, no matter where you serve. Talk about baptism. Set goals that point to baptism. Be open with your mission president and with your mission leaders about who you are teaching and their preparations for baptism. If you are not having success, ask for help from others who are baptizing. If you have few who are progressing, don’t feel sorry for yourself. Find others to teach.”
The doctrine of Christ, he taught, can be received only through revelation.
He reaffirmed, “We 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.”
[email protected] @JNSwensen