Bishop Waddell Tells New Mission Leaders to Help Missionaries Develop Faith

Contributed By Jason Swensen

  • 10 July 2017

Bishop W. Christopher Waddell of the Presiding Bishopric addresses mission presidents and their wives at the Provo Missionary Training Center during the 2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents on Sunday, June 25. 

Article Highlights

  • Missionaries need to have faith that the Lord will lead them to those ready to receive the gospel.
  • If missionaries are prepared to work in the Lord’s way, they will be guided to success.

“Never apologize to your missionaries that they serve in a ‘hard’ or ‘difficult’ mission, that they won’t teach repentance as often or baptize as many converts as their friends or siblings in ‘easy’ missions. Teach them to focus on the elect that have been scattered to your mission [and] to exercise the faith to seek them out.” —Bishop W. Christopher Waddell of the Presiding Bishopric

As a former mission president, Bishop W. Christopher Waddell knows well the exhilarating, fulfilling, tiring, and humbling experience of presiding over a group of young elders and sisters.

“You have a front-row seat to watch what every parent would love to see,” said Bishop Waddell, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric. “You’ll watch your missionaries grow, develop, and progress. You’ll see them struggle, laugh, cry, and overcome. You’ll witness their faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement expand and become a foundation for their life.”

Believe that the Lord is at the helm

Mission presidents and their wives play a pivotal role in helping their missionaries develop the faith to teach repentance and baptize converts. To exercise that faith, missionaries must first believe and trust enough to act, taught Bishop Waddell.

“First, we act; then we see the power and the hoped for [and] prayed for results,” he said.

There are some areas of the world where the people may not be as open or accepting of Jesus Christ’s restored gospel. But remember, the Lord is aware of scattered Israel—wherever they may be and in whatever circumstances they live.

“Never apologize to your missionaries that they serve in a ‘hard’ or ‘difficult’ mission, that they won’t teach repentance as often or baptize as many converts as their friends or siblings in ‘easy’ missions,” he said. “Teach them to focus on the elect that have been scattered to your mission [and] to exercise the faith to seek them out.”

Bishop Waddell encouraged the mission presidents and their wives to teach with all their heart, mind, and strength. “But remember that after all we can do, the ultimate size of the harvest is in control of the Lord of the harvest—for they are His.”

Faith to follow His instructions

Second, have the faith to teach repentance and baptize converts in His way.

“As we exercise the faith to do things the Lord’s way, we will never have need to repent of the outcome, for ‘it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men’ (D&C 3:3).”

Bishop Waddell said the mission presidents and their wives would serve in missions full of “miracle workers.”

“Help them to build their faith to teach repentance and baptize converts,” he said. “Challenge them to live up to their callings and to fulfill the responsibility they have been given to gather scattered Israel, … teaching all nations and baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

Bishop W. Christopher Waddell speaks during the 2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents held Saturday, June 24, through Wednesday, June 28, at the Provo Missionary Training Center.

Bishop W. Christopher Waddell speaks with participants at the 2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents at the Provo Missionary Training Center held Saturday, June 24, through Wednesday, June 28.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, and other Church leaders attend the 2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents held Saturday, June 24, through Wednesday, June 28, at the Provo Missionary Training Center.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland speaks with participants at the 2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents at the Provo Missionary Training Center held Saturday, June 24, through Wednesday, June 28.

New mission presidents and their wives greet missionaries at the Provo Missionary Training Center during the 2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents held Saturday, June 24, through Wednesday, June 28.

New mission presidents and their wives converse between sessions of the 2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents held Saturday, June 24, through Wednesday, June 28, at the Provo MTC.

New mission presidents and their wives participate in a class during the 2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents held Saturday, June 24, through Wednesday, June 28.

Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other Church leaders attend the 2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents held Saturday, June 24, through Wednesday, June 28, at the Provo Missionary Training Center.

Members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles attend the 2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents on Sunday, June 25.

One hundred twenty-seven mission presidents and their wives gather in the Provo Missionary Training Center to hear counsel and instruction from Church leaders during the 2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents on Sunday, June 25.