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Create a Savior-focused mission culture, President Cordon teaches new mission leaders

PROVO, Utah — An individual’s love of the Savior — which fills hearts, guides choices and motivates actions — becomes the very culture and definition of discipleship, said Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon at the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Thursday, June 23.

Cultures take on different characteristics in families, communities, schools, workplaces and even countries. Missions also have their own cultures.

“The needs of each mission are unique,” President Cordon said. She encouraged the new mission presidents and their wives to take time to assess their mission’s culture once they arrive.

“A culture centered on our Savior, Jesus Christ, will shape a mission, empower its young leaders and deepen conversion for you, your missionaries and those they teach,” she said. “Establish a culture of Christ.”

Read more talk summaries and see photos from the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders here

President Cordon’s guidance on how to establish such a culture centered on the missionary purpose found in “Preach My Gospel” and on each leader’s willingness to discover what the Lord wants for their specific mission.

“Prayerfully ponder what it means to be Christ centered. … Allow this Christ-centered focus to guide your day-to-day choices and actions,” she said.

“Establishing such a culture may take time, but the positive spiritual momentum will build.”

Those called as mission leaders may have had spiritual success as a missionary previously. They may have had success in their home, career or a Church calling. However, President Cordon encouraged these new mission leaders to avoid the “desire to leave our own mission legacy” and “consider whose work it really is.”

She quoted counsel from Proverbs 3:5 to “trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

“Trust in the Lord and lean not,” she invited.

President Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, addresses mission leaders during the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Thursday, June 23, 2022.

President Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, addresses mission leaders during the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on Thursday, June 23, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“His vision of your mission is grand and majestic. Will we allow the Lord to lead in His work?” To create a Christ-centered culture and get it “in the heart of every missionary” mission leaders will need to engage and empower the mission leadership council, she said.

The Lord wants each person to participate in His work, but one cannot do it alone. “As you empower your mission leaders to establish and encourage your mission culture, you will see that they support what they help to create,” she said.

She shared an example from John 6 and the miracle of the loaves and fishes and compared the “lad” in the story to the young mission leaders who are part of each mission’s leadership council.

“What can your young mission leaders contribute? Can you imagine how the lad felt to witness the Lord’s miracle — made with his contribution?”

President Cordon went through verses 10 to 14 and showed how the Savior delegated to the apostles and gave them assignments. He asked them to have the 5,000 sit. He asked them to distribute the bread. He asked them to distribute the fish. As they did so, “they witness the miracle twice,” she said.

After becoming witnesses to His miracle, verse 14 says, “those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.”

They participated, they witnessed and they testified of Him, she taught.

Leaders’ greatest desire is for missionaries who return home converted unto Christ and who remain strong because they have learned to make Him the center of their lives, President Cordon said — missionaries who have become “an epistle of Christ” (2 Corinthians 3:3).

“There is nothing more thrilling than to see a missionary progress along their path of conversion as they walk the same journey with those they teach,” she said, “seeing the beautiful shift in their hearts as obedience becomes less about rules and more about deepening their relationship with the Savior.”

President Cordon said she hopes that at the end of their missions, every missionary will echo the words of Nephi from his final writings when he wrote, “I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul” (2 Nephi 33:6).

President Cordon concluded her message by saying, “It is our deepest prayer that our missionaries will come to feel this same whole-souled dependence upon our Savior, that they will know the redeeming love, peace and boundless joy only He can offer.”

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