March 13, 2011

Missionary letter

This is a great letter to missionaries that would do all good to review.  Thanks to President and Sister Bunker for it. 

A Letter From President Bunker

A Letter From President Bunker

A Letter From President Bunker

March 6, 2011
Dear California Santa Rosa Missionaries,
It was wonderful to see all of you last week in zone conference.  I hope that some of what was discussed during our time together was of benefit to you and to your work.  I hope that we will each contemplate what we might do to better "cleanse the inner vessel" in order to more fully qualify for the trust of our Heavenly Father.  I also hope that we will receive the blessings that have been poured out on us and on our mission with great humility and gratitude.  Let us never become casual or immature with our callings and with our privilege to represent the Lord as a missionary, and to be a son or daughter of Heavenly Father.  I remember Elder Perry powerfully testifying to us in the MTC that as wonderful a person as the prophet was he was still not the head of the church, but rather the Lord Jesus Christ himself was the leader and that in essence, He was not an absent leader.  President Monson has an important role to be sure, but make no mistake about whose church this is and whose name you carry as you go forth to serve and represent both pre and post mission.   This is not the church of a man but of the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Let's all make it our quest to honor Him with our very best efforts.
I would like to talk with you about accountability and responsibility.  In DC 72:3-4 it reads:
"And verily in this thing ye have done wisely, for it is required of the Lord at the hand of every steward to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity.  For he who is faithful and wise in time is accounted worthy to inherit the mansions prepared for him of my Father."
Wouldn't it be a wonderful occasion to have the Lord pleased with our service by praising us as being wise and faithful?  I think those attributes are closely related and associated with being trusted and obedient.   It also appears from this scripture that we will always be accountable and responsible, even into the eternities!  Some people view accountability and responsibility as pressure and therefore something to be avoided.  While it is true that we can at times be too hard on ourselves to the point of self-deprecation, it is also part of our opportunity on earth to push ourselves beyond that which might just be comfortable.  Our loving and wise Heavenly Father did not send us to this earth so we can avoid hard things, but rather so that we can learn from them in preparation for what we must, and are yet to become. 
We must be able to "see afar off" and also to "see the end from the beginning".  There is purpose to every commandment, covenant, and responsibility that is required by the Lord, and we must have the end vision or result in mind before we begin our choice of decisions we make in life.  Elder Hafen has said that, "We can have eternal life, but only if there is nothing else we want more."  That concept is true of every decision and choice in our life.  We may not have control over our circumstances in life, but we have total control in how we choose to respond or react to our circumstances.  We also know that the Lord will give us no temptation or trial that we cannot bear or endure.  It is Satan who wants us to believe that our responsibilities are too much and that it is just not realistic to think we can live up to the standards of the Lord.  That is the great lie of Satan.  Never fall for it even if the world does!  
As you think about where you are in your life and as you contemplate your choices of today and in the future, remember this important process for not only your missionary service but also as a blueprint for your entire life:
"A goal without a vision is a drudgery, and a vision without a goal is day dreaming."  
Vision — the why we do.
Goals — the what we do.
Plans  – the how and when we do.
I know that there are times in your mission when you get tired, discouraged, and wonder if you are really doing any good.  You will experience some of those same feelings in your life post-mission too.  I promise you that you are doing a great deal of good—more than you will be able to fully know and understand while you are yet here!  Blessings come after the trial of our faith and the Lord asks us to go the second mile because that is where all the blessings are, and yet many times we can't fully see the blessings or understand them until some time has passed.   Most of the time we are able to see things as they really are and as they really will be with a little time and perspective.  In the meantime, we must believe and obey with love and faith.
Establish a vision in your mind of your mission, your areas, your companions, and your investigators.  Then set goals and make plans.  Use this pattern with every phase of your life including your future spouse, your vocation, your schooling, and most importantly your relationship with your Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  See your end from your beginning and do not allow Satan to distract you and keep you from your eternal destiny.  Do not lose hope or faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Hold steady and fast to the iron rod and pray with earnest for strength and for the spirit.  Do not despair if you have sin and weakness.  Do not despair if the twist and turns of life give you circumstances that you weren't expecting or that you want.  Have the courage and the love for yourself and your future to always confess, repent, and to turn away from the darkness and come back again into the light of the gospel.  Elder Boyd K. Packer has said that the man who is one mile from hell but is turning his life around and heading in the opposite direction is better off than a man who is 100 miles from hell but heading straight towards it.
Let's not be afraid of responsibility and it's accompanying accountability.  It is a privilege to be blessed to know what we know and to bring to the world the gospel.  Don't worry about your inadequacies and weakness.  The Lord will magnify you and quicken you.  In fact, He already has and continues to do so.  See yourself as He sees you.  Have a vision, set goals, and make plans.  Never forget who is leading this church and who has called you.
I love each of you dearly and I pray for your continued success and happiness.
All my love,
President Bunker 

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