“Whom God calls, God qualifies,” said President Thomas S. Monson Monson during the 2016 Seminar for New Mission Presidents, held June 22 through June 26 at Church’s Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.
“You will receive Heavenly help as you oversee prayerfully the work of your mission,” he promised and shared “the beautiful promise” found in Doctrine and Covenants 84:88, “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”
President Monson — who spoke to the new mission presidents via a recorded message on June 23 — has addressed the new mission presidents and their spouses every year for the last 44 years, said Elder Dallin H. Oak of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who conducted the session.
Every member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other Church leaders participated in the five-day conference, addressing the theme “Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts.”
In his message, President Monson reflected on the time he spent presiding over the Canadian Mission when he and his wife were both 31 years old, with two young children and another on the way. “We recognized that some of the happiest times of our lives and some of our choicest and most lasting associations came during that three-year period. I am confident this will be your experience as well,” he said.
President Monson extended his love and blessing to the soon-to-be departing couples. “My brothers and sisters, may our Heavenly Father’s choicest blessings ever be yours, and may He guide and watch over you in all that you do.”
During his remarks on June 24, President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, addressed the topic, “Come Unto Me.”
“The way for anyone to come to the Savior and love Him comes through humble and constant prayer to our loving Heavenly Father,” said President Eyring. “The Savior exemplified the way for us. He spoke to His Father in perfect faith, not only that His Father heard Him, but that the Father already knew His heart, trusted Him, and loved Him. And then the Father sends the Holy Ghost to us out of love for His Son and for His spirit children.”
The new mission presidents, missionaries and other Latter-day Saints can feel that loving comfort even in the most challenging times, he explained.
“I will make you a promise of a blessing you will receive in your missionary service in the days and months ahead,” he said. “The Spirit will bring to your mind something you read, heard, or saw in this seminar at the very moment you need it. It will tell you what to do or how to feel. That will give you confidence that God is with you in the details of your life and your service.
“Your missionaries can have that same source of assurance if you teach them to look for it and qualify for it. You can point them toward Heavenly Father, the Savior, and the Holy Ghost.”
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, told the new leaders on June 25 that “missionaries represent the very best of our young people.”
“They represent the hopes, the prayers, the dreams of parents, grandparents and siblings; they represent the love and sacrifice of families. When you, as their leaders, realize the importance of these young men and young women for the future of the Church, you will lead and guide them the Lord’s way.”
Teach them the Savior’s way, by example and with love, he said. “ ‘Show how’ is much more important than ‘tell how’ in the mission field.”
President Uchtdorf said Christlike attributes are essential to becoming and being a successful missionary.
“Who they are will be decided by the extent to which they incorporate Christlike attributes into their lives. These attributes are the foundation of a Christ-centered, successful life and character.”
On June 23, President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke on the “miraculous miracle” of The Book of Mormon, promising the mission presidents and their spouses, “it will be your most effective instrument in bringing souls unto Jesus Christ.”
The Book of Mormon, President Nelson said, affirms the existence of a living and loving Father in Heaven. “It affirms the nature of our Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation, happiness and mercy. It declares, as another testament, the generation and divinity of Jesus the Christ. It teaches of His ministry and of His Atonement.”
President Nelson called the Book of Mormon “a global beacon of eternal truth,” and spoke of the mighty change that occurs in the lives of those who read it “with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ” (Moroni 10:4).
He promised the mission presidents and their wives that their testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon would sustain them “throughout your precious and difficult days as missionaries of the Lord.”