We finally have a little time to update you about the last four months. We have included photos of the major events, and we will try to comment as much as possible. We love Oklahoma. We love the people, who are very friendly and welcoming. We love the missionaries. They are wonderful in every way. We enjoy getting to know them and a little about their families. We love to see them expanding their capacities every day in many different ways. We get to see their highs and their lows. We love to see them rise to their purpose in the strength of The Lord. We love to see their faith expand as they rely on The Lord and work through challenges and trials. We really love to see how happy they are when they powerfully connect to their purpose through obedience and hard work. It is a privilege to be here and serve with them.
One of the things we see most clearly is that these are not the young men and women you parents sent out on a mission a few or many months ago. They grow spiritually, socially and emotionally from the moment they leave home. They are capable, energetic and motivated in a way their family and friends have probably never seen before. They are problem solvers and leaders. They make major contributions to establish the church here in Oklahoma. The church leaders respect them and listen to their ideas and counsel. They have the wonderful privilege of helping the good members here spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. We wouldn't want to be anywhere else at this time in our lives. Our family is very happy here.
At the direction of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, we have been emphasizing the missionary purpose which is 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 Holy Ghost and enduring to the end." (Preach My Gospel, page 1) A missionary is most happy and effective when he or she is connected to this purpose and all his or her activities are viewed through the filter of this purpose. We have also been working together with the missionaries to increase their teaching effectiveness. We have all been powerfully taught by the Brethren and The Spirit. Please ask your missionaries about their experiences with our training on fundamentals of effective teaching as found in Preach My Gospel. The missionaries have gone out in faith and applied what the Brethren have taught us and miracles have occurred in the work here in Oklahoma. More people are accepting the invitation to be baptized and make sacred covenants with The Lord.
Let us tell you about the last major event in the life of the mission. Elder and Sister Zwick came to tour the mission on October 19-23, 2010. It was a delight from beginning to end. They brought a beautiful spirit to every meeting they held. They lifted, inspired, encouraged and blessed every person with whom they came in contact. We are sure that every Elder and Sister came away with individual impressions and feelings. We left with several messages imprinted on our hearts. One is that we should not put limits on what we think the Lord can do, nor on what we are capable of. The Lord will show us what we are capable of and will stretch our capacity if we let Him. Often missionaries of all ages think that being long-suffering is a short-term proposition. When we open our minds and hearts to what The Lord expects and wants us to do, we find that we grow and change in ways that make us able to be more patient with ourselves and others. He will show us what we can do and how to do it His way. What a great blessing.
Another lesson we learned by example from the Zwicks and from volunteers from the audience is that an effective way to teach is to introduce a principle, illustrate it with a personal experience, and then bear testimony and close. When we teach a principle, illustrate, testify, close--we can teach powerfully and not have to go on and on to get the idea across. We liked that concept.
Speaking of going on and on--enough for today. We will try to keep you up to date with more frequency and more brevity.
Love, President and Sister Taylor