‘Finding is an essential first step to teaching and baptizing,’ says Elder Rasband

‘Preach My Gospel’ chapter 9: ‘Understanding the need to find helped me be fearless in opening my mouth to find and teach,’ Elder Ronald A. Rasband taught new mission leaders

In the Book of Mormon, Ammon and the sons of Mosiah had a missionary reunion of sorts, recorded in Alma 26. While rejoicing in the blessings they had seen during their missionary service, Ammon shared how they had found so many people to teach: 

“And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them” (Alma 26:29).

A couple of millennia later, the process missionaries must use to find people to teach has not changed much, said Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during his address at the 2023 Seminar for New Mission Leaders on June 23.

“Just like Ammon and the sons of Mosiah, there are missionaries in our day who find people in the streets, in their homes, on a subway platform, and even at a local laundromat,” said Elder Rasband.

He spoke on the principles taught from the second edition of “Preach My Gospel” Chapter 9, “Find People to Teach.”

The phrase, “Go ye therefore,” from the resurrected Savior’s great commission — “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19) — could be interpreted as “go and find.”

“Finding is an essential first step to teaching and baptizing,” Elder Rasband said. It’s a principle he learned as a missionary and mission president. “Understanding the need to find helped me be fearless in opening my mouth to find and teach.”

It’s important that mission leaders model effective finding and show by example their commitment to “go ye therefore.” Elder Rasband focused on a few examples of ways “to help missionaries find those whom the Lord has prepared.”

Focus on the missionary purpose

“It will be your opportunity to help missionaries connect the missionary purpose to everything they do, especially their daily efforts to find,” Elder Rasband said.

Missionaries who focus on their purpose are motivated and uplifted, and their vision of the work is raised.

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks at the Seminar for New Mission Leaders at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on June 23, 2023.  | Cristy Powell, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“To be most effective at helping missionaries understand their purpose, I invite you to be personally involved in the finding and teaching efforts of your mission,” Elder Rasband said. In his experience, missionaries whose mission leaders model how to find and teach are inspired to fulfill their purpose.

“As you teach your missionaries to find by the Spirit, with a focus on fulfilling their missionary purpose, finding will become a joyful experience for them.”

Exercise faith to find through goals and plans

Inspired goal setting and daily plans are one way to know missionaries have the faith to find, Elder Rasband said. “Rather than making goals and plans to merely fill up a schedule — and trust me, many of them don’t know how to do anything but that — faithful missionaries have goals and plans that are rooted in the missionary purpose.”

Missionaries with purposeful monthly, weekly, daily and hourly goals and plans, and who are diligent and consistent in their efforts, are more likely to teach and baptize converts. 

Elder Rasband invited the mission leaders to help the missionaries “learn how to use the ‘Preach My Gospel’ app to prioritize their efforts. Doing this will strengthen their faith and bring about miracles in the work.”

Talk with everyone

The Lord has given missionaries the simple directive to “Open your mouth to declare my gospel” (Doctrine and Covenants 30:5). 

But despite this simplicity, “it is one of the most challenging things for some missionaries to do,” Elder Rasband said. He invited the mission leaders to show the missionaries how to open their mouths, and practice with them, to build their faith and confidence.

A missionary opening his or her mouth goes beyond talking to someone on a busy street. Elder Rasband encouraged the mission leaders to think of other settings. “Help your missionaries open their mouths with a variety of people from a variety of finding sources, including members, missionaries’ own efforts and social media, always with a focus on their purpose to find, teach and baptize.

“I reiterate that the more you can model and demonstrate how and where missionaries can open their mouths, the more likely they are to apply your teachings,” Elder Rasband said.

“Dear presidents and sisters, you can help your mission be most effective at finding as you focus on the missionary purpose, help missionaries exercise faith to find through goals and plans, and open their mouths and talk with everyone,” he said in closing. “... [This] truly is ‘a more excellent way’ to accomplish the Lord’s work.”

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