"You are called to serve where the Lord would have you serve," President Thomas S. Monson told new mission presidents in his address June 20.
"He knows each of us - our talents, our shortcomings, the experiences we've had, and the experiences we ought to have. And He knows how to match the man with his mission."President Monson, second counselor in the First Presidency, promised that "when God calls and we respond to a call, those will be happy years for us. And Heavenly Father will watch over you and your children and grandchildren, and will prosper you in your missionary efforts."
He mentioned that he had served as mission president in Toronto, Ontario.
"What a joy to receive a call to lay aside the mundane affairs of the world and respond to an assignment to serve in a land we had never visited, among a people whom we had not known," he reminisced. "Today, we reflect on those three years and recognize that they were among the happiest years of our lives."
He counseled the mission presidents regarding practical administrative matters, and emphasized the importance of love and inspiration in missionary work.
"No mission will rise to its greatest potential unless the members and the missionaries work cooperatively together," he emphasized. "Missionary problems almost vanish when every missionary is successful." He encouraged mission leaders to cultivate a close relationship with local leaders and enlist their support in cooperative work.
He also encouraged the presidents to remain close to their missionaries. "The Lord will bless you as you look upon each of these young men and women as your son or daughter. I always feel comforted when a mission president has a son or daughter in another mission. All of a sudden, he is much more understanding of what missionaries will do, and much more anxious to save the missionary rather than transfer him somewhere else.
"Take care of these precious missionaries."
He paid tribute to the faithfulness of members in Eastern European countries where a people "that walked in darkness have seen a great light."
He and Sister Monson recently greeted a group of missionaries from the German Democratic Republic who were en route to the Missionary Training Center.
"We spoke little German, and they spoke little English, but the glow that emanated from them, and the glow that I knew was in the heart and soul of their parents just seemed to enable us to communicate with one another."
President Monson concluded, "I bear witness to you that we're led by a prophet and that indeed, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest and most beautiful pearl that we shall ever experience by feel, by sight, by hearing. Let us remember that the great trait of the Savior's which will guide you in the darkest day on your mission, as well as the brightest sunlit day, is the principle of love. Please keep this uppermost in all of your activities, and you will return as Brigham Young said, `Bearing your sheaves with you.' "
"I bear my witness to you that love is the `balm of Gilead,' . . . the formula for success for any mission president and his wife called today, yesterday or who will be called tomorrow."