“Come unto Him” during “Challenging” Calling, President Eyring Tells 2016 Mission Presidents
Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News associate editor
- Through humble prayers, missionaries can have the revelation they need through the Spirit.
“The Holy Ghost will carry you the first six months of your mission; then after that, He will be your constant companion. Let Him carry you!” —President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency
The way for anyone to come to the Savior and love Him “comes through humble and constant prayer to our loving Heavenly Father,” said President Henry B. Eyring.
“The Savior exemplified the way for us,” he said. “He spoke to His Father in perfect faith, not only that His Father heard Him, but that the Father already knew His heart, trusted Him, and loved Him. And then the Father sends the Holy Ghost to us out of love for His Son and for His spirit children.”
Speaking at the 2016 Seminar for New Mission Presidents on June 24, President Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, addressed the topic “Come unto Me.”
President Eyring told the new mission leaders that the reality of leading missionaries “will be among the greatest challenges you will have in your lives.”
He read a letter from a mission president just completing his service: “This calling has been the most rigorous, relentless, repetitive, redefining, revealing, refining, revelatory, and rewarding calling I have ever served in. You cannot prepare yourself enough spiritually, emotionally, and physically for this experience,” wrote the leader.
A mission choir performs for the 2016 Seminar for New Mission Presidents, titled “Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts” and held in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on June 22 through June 26. Photo by Matthew Reier.
The letter then advised new leaders: “The Holy Ghost will carry you the first six months of your mission; then after that, He will be your constant companion. Let Him carry you!”
President Eyring explained that the mission president found that the Savior watches over and guides His servants in the missionary service to which He sent them in the meridian of time.
President Eyring said one of his schoolmates in the 1950s was later called with his wife to a South American mission. “He had graduated from a school whose purpose was to create great business leaders. With that exceptional training and his natural ability, he created a successful enterprise. He had been a missionary as a young man, and he spoke Spanish well. So he approached his call with confidence.”
Yet to the new leader’s surprise, all he thought he knew turned out to not be enough, said President Eyring.
“He was humbled to the point of tears by the realization that, for the first time in his life, he saw himself failing. And above all, he felt he was failing the Lord.
“He told me years later that it was breaking his heart. And so he bowed down and pled with his Heavenly Father for help. He told God that he was ready to give away every idea and every technique he had relied on in his years of success. His prayer was a complete surrender.
“When he prayed in humility, like a little child, answers came, a few at first, and then a flood. In time, every day and then every hour he knew what to do, what to ignore, what to think, what to say, and what he need not do. The revelation he received even led him to be able to discern the thoughts and the intents of the hearts of the missionaries and their investigators.”
President Henry B. Eyring, center, First Counselor in the First Presidency, visits with Elder Dallin H. Oaks, left, and Elder Neil L. Andersen, both of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, during the 2016 Seminar for New Mission Presidents. Photo by Matthew Reier.
As the man persisted, the work and all the trials didn’t seem to him like sacrifice, because he began to love what he was doing.
“That simple pattern of surrender to powers beyond your own is one that you can follow with confidence. But it takes at least a grain of faith at the start.”
President Eyring said that grain is found in the words of the first article of faith: “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.”
“I have come to know and feel the parts of that article of faith in my heart,” he said. “For me, it has become more than that I believe. It has become part of the reality that shapes my life and can shape yours.”
President Eyring said every missionary is on a lifelong journey to accept the Savior’s invitation to come unto Him. “They have at least taken the first steps. They have had faith enough to try to repent and to have their hearts softened.
“They have chosen to enter the path to come unto Him at the gate of baptism. They have received the right to the Holy Ghost as a companion from those in authority from God. And they have felt at least some of the great cleansing and purifying effects of the Atonement.”
Missionaries whose eyes are single are that way because they know Him, said President Eyring. “They have served Him. They love Him. And so the sacrament prayer is, to them, not a standard they are to meet but a description of what they feel and do. They always remember Him, and they keep the commandments He has given them. And they have His Spirit to be with them.”
Missionaries and the people they bring into the kingdom of God face the problem of distraction, President Eyring said. “There are so many good things to do, so many rules, so many instructions, and so much opposition that the few things that matter most may be ignored or forgotten.”
Through humble prayers to the Father, missionaries can have the revelation they need through the Spirit.
“The people your missionaries will bring into the Church will need that same guidance. They will be coming into what will seem to them to be a strange new world. Just as you and your missionaries, they will need to turn for help from God and have confidence and determination that they can get it. That confidence will come from your missionaries having taught and shown them how to get help from a loving Heavenly Father, His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.”