Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Letters from President and Sister Taylor published in The Standard Bearer July - September 2010

Dear Elders and Sisters:

We would like you each to know how blessed we feel to be called by a prophet to serve along side you in the Oklahoma Oklahoma City Mission. While we do not know you yet the Lord has blessed us since our call with a great love for each of you.  This love is a gift from our Father in Heaven.  We have also felt love for the members of the Church in our mission as well as the people who are not (yet)  members of the Church who live within our mission boundaries.  Again, this love is a gift from our Father in Heaven, a glimpse of how He feels about each of you and each of His children.

We have loved getting to know President and Sister Gee through conversations and emails these past few months.  We respect and honor them for their valiant service and Christ-like example and the great work they have accomplished in the Oklahoma Oklahoma City Mission these past three years.  Since our call we have prayed for them each day.  Our prayers go with them now as them begin a new phase of service in the Kingdom of God on the earth.

We have also prayed every day for each of you.  We have prayed for your safety and your physical and spiritual well being.  We have prayed that you would feel joy in the service of The Lord Jesus Christ.  We have prayed that we would all understand our great purpose during this brief time of our lives as  representatives of Jesus Christ to "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism,  receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.".  We have also prayed that we would all better understand how the Doctrine of Christ allows us to access the great power of the Atonement in our lives and desire to share it with others.  This understanding is also a gift from God.

We respect and admire each of you for  accepting the call to bring souls to Christ. We look forward to serving with you and knowing each of you better.  We hope you will accept us in our new responsibility and that you will accept and love our sons Preston (15) and Quinn (14).  They have both made sacrifices leaving family, friends and high school in Utah to begin a new life with new friends and a new school in Oklahoma.  They have done this willingly, faithfully and without complaint.

In the Church we serve voluntarily because we love The Lord.  We are called to responsibilities and we are released.  Through all this change there is one constant-this remains The Savior's work.  He continues to stand at its head and direct it in Oklahoma and throughout the world.  He goes before us preparing the hearts of men and women and he labors along side us.  We testify of Christ. He was lifted up upon the cross so He could draw all men unto Him (3 Nephi 27:14).  Through His Atonement all power in heaven and in earth was given to Him (Matthew 28:18).  He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world and of each of us.  We accepted this call to serve Him because we love Him.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

President and Sister Taylor


Sister Taylor and I enjoyed very much the opportunity to spend time with you and get to know each of you better this past month.  After meeting you we feel even more excited about serving here with you in Oklahoma.  You are a small but powerful force for good in this land.  Each time you bear your testimony, teach the truths of the restored gospel, invite others to Christ or show your love for and commitment to follow Christ through your obedience, you roll back the effects of evil in this world. 
 To the prophet Joseph The Lord revealed "Wherefore, I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thrash the nations by the power of my Spirit."  (See Doctrine and Covenants Section 35:13)  The Lord also proclaimed that "The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones...."  (See Doctrine and Covenants 1: 19)  Finally, The Lord declared "...the fulness of my gospel...  be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers."  (See Doctrine and Covenants 1:23)  Remember, when in humility and meekness we feel like we are the "weak things of the world," and we rely on the Spirit, that is when we are most powerful.
As we previewed for you in our mission tour remarks, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have created a curriculum designed to help us all become more powerful and effective teachers of the Savior's gospel.  In the August zone conferences, we  will introduce the curriculum and focus on the first of the eight core principles of conversion--The Doctrine of Christ-The Missionary Purpose.  All eight lessons will be taught in depth in the September Leadership Training Meeting for Trainers, District Leaders, Zone Leaders and Assistants.  Thereafter, exchanges and district meetings will focus on developing the skills taught in the curriculum.  Zone conferences, Specialized Training Meetings and Leadership Training Meetings during the next year will focus on training in the core principles of conversion taught in the curriculum.  The eight lessons are are follows:
The Doctrine of Christ-The Missionary Purpose
The Role of the Holy Ghost in Conversion
The Process of Revelation through Prayer
The Process of Revelation through the Book of Mormon
The Process of Revelation through Church Attendance
Teach People, Not Lessons
We Invite, They Commit, We Follow Up
How to Begin Teaching
For those of you who consider yourselves experienced teachers, much of this curriculum may seem familar.  However, I am confident we will all learn a great deal through the Spirit about how we can be more effective as we "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end."
It is a privilege to serve with you.  We look forward to learning together in the Spirit.
With much love,
President and Sister Taylor

STANDARD BEARER  September 2010

August 30, 2010
Dear Elders and Sisters:
The Lord has richly blessed us as we have gone out in faith to do what we were asked to do--invite others to come unto Christ.  You have taken what The Spirit has taught you about the Doctrine of Christ and your purpose as a missionary and you have invited record numbers of people to "follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God."  Record numbers of our investigators have said "yes."  Many of these people said "yes" in the first lesson and some on the door step during a routine (but inspired) tracking effort.  In August, twenty-six people in our mission entered into sacred baptismal covenants to follow The Savior Jesus Christ.  One hundred and five more people have baptismal dates before October 23.  That is enough to form a new ward in Oklahoma! 
The adversary is mounting a counter attack as expected.  Satan is working on these people to persuade them to turn away from their commitments.  Satan will also work on us to persuade us to be discouraged and doubtful as we face disappointment.  We must not be discouraged and we must be supportive of each other as we move forward.  We fully expect (but regret) that some of our investigators will use their agency to decline our invitations.  Nevertheless, we will "press forward steadfastly in Christ with a perfect brightness of hope and a love of God and of all men...."  As we move forward in faith I ask you to do the following:
1.  Pray for the missionaries in our mission that we will all stay connected to our purpose and allow The Spirit to teach and testify through us and that we will work in faith to obey the mission rules and do this work The Lord's way (the "Preach My Gospel" way).
2.  Pray for all of our investigators mission-wide and especially for those with baptismal dates that they will continue to grow in faith and come unto Christ and make sacred baptismal covenants.
3.  "Dig deep" in chapters 11, 12 and 13 of Preach My Gospel.  These chapters will teach us how to help our investigators keep commitments, prepare for baptism and become connected to ward members.
4.  Work with Bishoprics, Ward Councils and Ward Mission Leaders in harmony with Chapter 13 of Preach my Gospel (a) to coordinate members bringing our investigators to church and fellowshipping them and (b) having members present in lessons (or lessons taught in member homes).
5.  Make sure all investigators with baptismal dates receive daily contact from you or the members either in person, by phone or by note. 
6.  Sit down with investigators with baptismal dates and calendar out everything that needs to happen between now and their baptism and commit them to do it.  Leave them a copy of the calendar for reference.  (We have distributed blank calendars through the Zone Leaders).  Use Chapter 8 of Preach My Gospel to help you plan better.  With more investigators with baptismal dates, more and better organization and planning is required to be successful.
7.  While we have had success in other important areas we are falling behind on finding new investigators.  We must continue our inspired finding efforts and concentrate on all of the key indicators.  The key indicators help us focus on what needs to happen in an investigators life for them to progress towards baptism. 
8.  Focus on getting referrals from your investigators with baptismal dates and your progressing investigators (and recent converts).  Work with your ward or branch leaders to identify part-member families you can teach. 
9.  Take advantage of the current media campaign to increase the effectiveness of your contacting and member referral work.  Refer members and non-members to www.mormon.org.
10. Have fun and put a big smile on your face.  You are all remarkable instruments in The Lord's hands.  This is a great time to be a missionary in the Oklahoma Oklahoma City Mission!  More inspired training from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve is coming in September as we continue learning about core principles of conversion.
The Leadership Training Meeting for all Trainers, District Leaders, Zone Leaders and Assistants will take place September 21-24.  All eight of the Simplified MTC Lessons will be taught during this Leadership Training Meeting.  Leaders will be expected to use the Training Model (explain, demonstrate, real play, evaluate and re-real play) to implement this training in zones and districts.
May The Lord continue to bless you for your faithfulness and may you stay connected to the divine purpose and access the power of God in your labors to bring souls unto Christ, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
With much love,
President and Sister Taylor

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