Rekindle missionary spirit with prayer

Elder L. Tom Perry called on returned missionaries Sunday afternoon to rededicate themselves, to become re-infused with the desire and spirit of missionary service.

"I call on you to look the part, to be the part and to act the part of a servant of our Father in Heaven," said Elder Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve. "I pray for your renewed determination to proclaim the gospel that you may become more actively engaged in the great work the Lord has called all of us to do."

Elder Perry told returned missionaries that it was their privilege to carry the Savior's message in many parts of the world. Perhaps, he added, it was hard to keep alive the spirit of missionary work after returning home. He offered a few suggestions:

First, draw close to the Lord through regular prayer.

"Throughout my mission, I prayed with my companion each morning as we began a new day," he said. "The process was repeated each night before we retired. We offered prayers before we studied, a prayer as we left our apartment to go out tracting, and, of course, special prayers when special guidance was needed to direct our missionary work.

"The frequency of our appeals to Heavenly Father gave us strength and courage to press forward in the work we had been called. Answers would come, sometimes in astonishingly direct and positive ways. The guidance of the Holy Spirit seemed to be magnified the more times we appealed to the Lord for direction on a given day."

Elder Perry told returned missionaries that this is the time for self-evaluation to determine if they still have the same relationship with their Father in Heaven that they enjoyed in the mission field. "Maybe it is time that we rekindle our missionary spirit through more frequent, consistent and mighty prayer," he said.

Elder Perry also counseled returned missionaries to engage in daily scripture study. "When we leave the mission field, we no longer have companions to help us discipline our study habits, but that does not mean that the practice should be discontinued. . . .

"The scriptures are always there to deepen our understanding of the purpose of life, and what we need to do to make life more fulfilling and rewarding. Please keep alive the practice of regular individual and companion scripture study."

Finally, Elder Perry asked returned missionaries to continue sharing the gospel. "Do you remember the joy that comes from teaching the gospel to someone who has been deprived of these teachings throughout their life; the excitement that comes when you teach the law of the Lord and the blessings that are received from following Him? Could you ever forget the joy of your first baptism in the mission field?"

Opportunities to teach the gospel and baptize are not exclusive to those who wear the badge of a full-time missionary, he said.

"There has never been a time in the history of mankind when we have been better equipped to teach the gospel to our Father in Heaven's children here on earth. And they seem to need it more today than they ever have. We see a deterioration of faith. We see an increased love for worldliness and a depletion of moral values, both of which will cause increased heartache and despair.

"What we need is a royal army of returned missionaries, re-enlisted into service. While they would not wear the badge of a full-time missionary, they could possess the same resolve and determination to bring the light of the gospel to a world struggling to find its way."

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