Missionary service affects generations

While convert baptisms may be many or few, and the way may be difficult, missionaries will affect generations to come with their service, said President Gordon B. Hinckley in an address to missionaries April 26.

On this occasion, the highly traveled prophet stayed home, speaking via satellite from his office desk. He spoke in the annual Missionary Satellite Broadcast to some 18,000 missionaries in the 101 missions of the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. The balance of the Church's 50,000 missionaries will hear President Hinckley's words on video cassette.Also participating in the broadcast but speaking at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, to some 2,200 elders, sisters and missionary couples, were Elders David B. Haight, Robert D. Hales and Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve and Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen of the Seventy.

"This is one grand, many-zone conference," President Hinckley said. "I Wish I could see all of you out there. I can picture you in imagination. Missionaries look very much the same wherever they serve. You have a clean and crisp and bright and happy look."

In his address, President Hinckley expressed his love for Heavenly Father, the Savior, for Joseph Smith and the Church, for the missionaries and their investigators, and for those who support the missionaries.

"I commend you most warmly on the service you are giving," he said. "I thank you for your faith and faithfulness. As I think of all of you out there, my heart is almost bursting with a great feeling of love.

"I love my Father in Heaven, the greatest of all, the Everlasting Father, the God of the universe. Though He be the great Almighty, He is my Father and your Father and I am thankful that He loves each of us and that we can speak with Him in prayer with the assurance that He will hear and understand and bless us. How marvelous a thing it is, my dear elders and sisters, that God our Eternal Father will listen with love and compassion to our thanks and our pleadings. . . . I love my Savior, His Only Begotten Son, the Redeemer of the world. He was the mighty Jehovah who condescended to come to earth to teach, to heal, to bless, to suffer the terrible pain in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross, to die on Calvary's hill for me and for you so that through repentance and obedience, each of us may obtain forgiveness, and peace and salvation with eternal life.

"I love the Prophet Joseph Smith, the unschooled farm boy. . . . I love the boy prophet because the Father and Son, whom I love, appeared to him and spoke to him to open this most wonderful and glorious and complete of all gospel dispensations when there has been returned to earth the light, the truth, the power and authority of all earlier dispensations for the blessing of all who will listen and obey.

"I love this Church which has come as a gift to man from God. It is not my Church. It is His Church, and the Church of His Beloved Son, whose name it carries. He directs it. Of that I give you my testimony.

"I love you who are my companions in this work, my friends, my brethren and sisters, who day after day, in a magnificent spirit of consecration, regardless of weather and circumstances, go out and teach and bless and bring knowledge and testimony to all who will open their doors and hearts.

"I feel a great outpouring of love for those whom you are teaching. I pray that the Spirit may touch their hearts so that with you they may be edified and that all of you may have cause to rejoice together.

"I feel a great love for those who sustain you in the mission field, who give their means, their faith, and constantly remember you in their prayers. You must never let them down. . . . Be the kind of missionary your mother thinks you are!"

Missionaries, he continued, experience a newness of life within as they forget themselves in the service of others. "As you work to save others, you save yourselves," he said. "You become less selfish; egotism and arrogance disappear. A feeling of humility comes into your heart as you think of the everlasting good that you do."

Missionaries should plead with the Lord for His Spirit, said the prophet. "Teach by the power of the Spirit and invoke its power upon those whom you teach."

In order to obtain the Spirit, missionaries must be virtuous, he said. "You cannot have the Spirit unless you have virtue. Personal virtue and the Spirit of the Lord go hand in hand."

He called upon the missionaries to have their "minds become single to God." (D&C 88:68.)

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