"What a wonderful thing, a significant thing, that you are gathered here in Salt Lake City finding people, teaching people, encouraging people, improving the lives of people," President Gordon B. Hinckley said Dec. 18 to missionaries of the Utah Salt Lake City Mission.
"I've spoken to groups of people like you all over the world. You all look alike, all dressed and shined up day after day after day. Bless your hearts, my dear associates, in this work."President Hinckley discussed 10 gifts that each missionary should take home after his or her mission. These gifts are:
- A knowledge of and love for our eternal Heavenly Father and His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
"What a marvelous gift to take from the mission field – the sure and certain knowledge, and great and overpowering knowledge, of God our Eternal Father and His beloved Son, the Redeemer of mankind."
- A knowledge and love for the scriptures, the word of the Lord. "What a wonderful thing it is to become acquainted with the word of God, to study, to read the Bible and this associated volume – this added witness of the divinity of the Lord which bears the title – the Book of Mormon."
- An increased love for parents. "I think every one of you is learning to love your parents a little more dearly."
- A love for the people among whom you labor. President Hinckley said that as a young missionary in England 62 years ago, "There came into my heart a great love and respect for those wonderful people."
- An appreciation for hard work. "You've never worked as hard in your lives as you have here. . . . It is work that makes the difference in this world. One of the greatest things you can learn is to work hard and systematically and effectively. It will bless your lives for as long as you live."
- The assurance of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. "This is available to each of us when we live for it. We know something about that – it is hard to explain. We have this crew here today from `60 Minutes.' They've asked me some interesting questions [about the spirit of revelation]. . . . I don't know whether I can explain it. It is a difficult thing to explain. But it is real. I know it is real; you know it is real. Try to live worthy of it."
- An understanding of the importance of team work. "Each of you has a companion. He may be long and gaunt and homely but he is yours. I suggest you look for his strength and his virtues and try to bring those into your own life."
- The value of personal virtue. "There is no substitute for virtue. . . . Keep your thoughts virtuous. Rise above the filth that is all around you in this world and stand tall and straight and true, and you'll be the better for it."
- The faith to act. "When I went out on a mission, my father said `I want to give you a word of advice.' He turned to the book of Mark and took from that book one short sentence, "Be not afraid, only believe." (Mark 5:36.)
- The humility to pray. "Get on your knees and speak to the Lord as one man speaks to another. There is no substitute under the heavens for earnest prayer."
President Hinckley concluded his talk by saying, "We pray for you. We want you to know that. We know that you pray for us and that means much. We thank you for that. We depend on you so very much. You carry on your narrow shoulders the whole burden of representing this Church. To the man you meet as a stranger, you are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hold your head up and put a smile on your face and go forward in your work."