Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve closed the annual three-day visitor centers directors and Missionary Training Center presidents seminar by enveloping the 15 leaders and their wives in feelings of love and appreciation.
"If you miss the joy of this service," he cautioned, "you've missed it all."
Among the greatest joys in life are those that come from sharing the gospel, he continued. Don't miss the experience of being a "first-person" missionary. Such joys are contagious, he said. Sharing these joys with family members, who are also sacrificing, will let the blessings of missionary service flow to them.
Each missionary deserves the joy of at least one conversion — himself, he continued. One of the joys of this service is to see that missionaries in your charge learn the gospel, that the light of the gospel glows in their hearts.
"Love them. Teach them," he counseled.
Service of this nature, continued Elder Holland, is a chance for real leadership, to determine how to get others to do the work successfully. This becomes a great opportunity "to translate your leadership skills through others."
Elder Holland highlighted three scriptures to illustrate leadership in the Church.
Quoting Judges 7:16-18, Elder Holland emphasized Gideon's command to his small army to "look on me, and do likewise," and, "As I do, so shall ye do." Missionaries will follow your lead, he taught. "Do as you want your missionaries to do."
After reading Doctrine and Covenants 84:87-88, Elder Holland noted the Lord directed early missionaries to"reprove the world," and promised that He would go before His emissaries, and support them on the left and the right, "and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."
Reciting Doctrine and Covenants 31:3-7, 11, he noted how the Lord calls for a celebration when He said, "Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come."
The Lord follows with promises to open hearts and forgive sins. "He is always forgiving," said Elder Holland. "It is a great reminder for us in this work. His nature is to be constantly, constantly forgiving."
Don't worry, he said, assuring them that the Lord's blessings for their service will compensate for the loss of significant time with family moments. "This is the Church of happy endings."