Bishop W. Christopher Waddell: The faith to teach and baptize converts


As a former mission president, Bishop W. Christopher Waddell knows well the exhilarating, fulfilling, tiring and humbling experience of presiding over a group of young elders and sisters.

“You have a front row seat to watch what every parent would love to see,” said Bishop Waddell, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric. “You’ll watch your missionaries grow, develop and progress. You’ll see them struggle, laugh, cry and overcome. You’ll witness their faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement expand and become a foundation for their life.”

Mission presidents and their wives play a pivotal role in helping their missionaries develop the faith to teach repentance and baptize converts.

To exercise that faith, missionaries must first believe and trust enough to act, taught Bishop Waddell.

Faith is a principle of action and of power. “First, we act; then we see the power and the hoped for [and] prayed for results,” he said.

There are some areas of the world where the people may not be as open or accepting of Jesus Christ’s restored gospel. But remember, the Lord is aware of scattered Israel — wherever they may be and in whatever circumstances they live.

“Never apologize to your missionaries that they serve in a ‘hard’ or ‘difficult’ mission, that they won’t teach repentance as often or baptize as many converts as their friends or siblings in ‘easy’ missions,” he said. “Teach them to focus on the elect that have been scattered to your mission [and] to exercise the faith to seek them out.”

Bishop Waddell encouraged the mission presidents and their wives to teach with all their heart, mind and strength. “But remember that after all we can do, the ultimate size of the harvest is in control of the Lord of the Harvest — for they are His.”

Second, have the faith to teach repentance and baptize converts in His way.

“As we exercise the faith to do things the Lord’s way, we will never have need to repent of the outcome, for ‘it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men’ ” (Doctrine and Covenants 3:3).

Bishop Waddell said the mission presidents and their wives would serve in missions full of “miracle workers.”

“Help them to build their faith to teach repentance and baptize converts,” he said. “Challenge them to live up to their callings and to fulfill the responsibility they have been given to gather scattered Israel … teaching all nations and baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

[email protected] @JNSwensen