2014 was a good year for the members and missionaries living in the Colorado Denver South Mission (CDSM). By working together last year we saw 441 people come unto Christ by joining His church. This coming year we are committed to dramatically improve that number.
This past year the work was made all the more exciting by the release of the feature length motion picture Meet The Mormons. That was followed by the, He is the Gift initiative which gave of us all an opportunity to share the true meaning of Christmas with our non-member friends.
Another great missionary event took place last summer in Grand Junction as five Stakes joined together to produce the play, 18 Lives and The Book of Mormon. This was a remarkable production and it did much to strengthen the testimonies of our youth and also served as an excellent missionary tool.
My wife and I enjoy our opportunity to meet those who are taking the lessons and finding faith in Christ and choosing to be baptized. This is an important work and we appreciate that more of you are inviting people you know to meet the full-time missionaries and take the lessons.
Last summer I had a chance to meet Mari-Emilie who was about to baptized in the Cedaredge Ward in the Montrose Stake. In talking with her I learned that six years ago her son, Ian, made friends with some member boys and joined the ward’s Cub Scout Pack. Shortly thereafter Mari-Emilie became involved, first as a mother and shortly thereafter as a member of the scout committee.
As a natural result of this she made friends with a number of ward members. Then about three years ago she says one of the scout committee mothers invited her over for dinner and to meet the missionaries. At the time Mari-Emilie says she had little interest in learning about the church but as one that strived to live a Christ-centered life she relished the idea of talking about God, so she agreed to come.
That process continued, on and off for three years. During that time Ian grew into a teenager and continued his involvement in the ward’s scout troop and thus started coming to Mutual. About this time last year the five Stake production of 18 Lives and The Book of Mormon was gearing up and Ian decided it might be fun to participate. Ian says that while playing the part of one of the sons of Helaman he realized Helaman was a real person and the Book of Mormon was true. That night, on the drive home he told his friends he wanted to be baptized. Mari-Emilie says she could see in his eyes that something in him had changed. She allowed him to take the lesson and join the church. During this time she also took the lessons but did not get baptized. But, about six weeks later she got a personal answer to her prayers and was baptized.
I share this story because it demonstrates a perfect pattern for member missionary work. All too often active members of the church believe that others are not interested in our church and fear inviting them to participate in church-related activities. While most people we know are not ready to take the missionary lessons the fact is there are many that are. Our job is to pray, ponder and find the faith to ask the Lord to direct us to someone He has prepared to investigate the church and invite them to meet the missionaries.
As a mission presidency we counsel together, pray and ponder about this work on a daily basis. In doing so we have been inspired to know that each ward or branch in this mission can both baptize and reactivate at least one person each month. Our fervent prayer is that by working together, members and missionaries, we can find, teach and help many more people find the joy of the gospel.
We look forward to seeing this happen as the Lord continues to hasten His work.