Vancouver Mission Star

This message was written by President and Sister Middleton.  It also appears in the Vancouver Star, the weekly newsletter of the Vancouver Mission.  It is sent to each companionship throughout the mission.

Canada Vancouver Mission Newsletter                                                                                                          February 13, 2007


                We are warned repeatedly in the scriptures to avoid pride.  We read, “Pride goeth before destruction” (Prov. 16:18) and, “Be not wise in your own conceits” (Rom. 12:16) and, “Thou shalt not be proud in thy heart” (D&C 42:40) and, “Wo unto the wise in their own eyes” (2 Ne 15:21) and, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6).   Elder Bruce R. McConkie has written, “Pride is the opposite of humility,” and he describes pride as having “inordinate self-esteem.”   

Seek Joy in Accomplishment, Shun Hubris

                The Wikipedia Encyclopedia defines pride as “a strong sense of self-respect, a refusal to be humiliated, as well as joy in the accomplishments of oneself or a person, group or object that one identifies with.”  A second definition of pride mentioned in Wikipedia is “hubris, or excessive pride … excessive pride also manifests itself as arrogance.” This latter definition is the unhealthy, self-destructive pride warned against in the scriptures and by our General Authorities, and is to be avoided at all costs.

                The first definition of pride is essential to our success as missionaries, when we think about it, and indeed is a critical ingredient in all aspects of life.  Without striving for “pride in a job well done,” we will then be satisfied with less than our best.  President Gordon B. Hinckley writes, “There is nothing in all the world so satisfying as a task or performance well done.  There is no reward so pleasing as that which comes with the mastery of a difficult problem or challenge” (Standing For Something, pg. 208).  This righteous pride is characterized by doing our very best, without the bravado and bragging that turns righteous pride into the hubris or arrogance warned against in the scriptures. 

Goal Setting is Part of Righteous Pride

                We have heard of a quotation used in the mission, “when competition is eliminated, pride disappears.”  Yes it does, but so does achievement.  All life is characterized by competition.  Carried to its logical conclusion, with that idea in mind, a person would be well-advised to never take a job, but rather just live life on welfare in order to avoid pride.  The competition in life would definitely be removed by so doing.  But that is not what the Lord expects of us in life.  He challenges each of us to be the best that we can be, and to do so requires that we engage in the competitive arena of life.

                President Thomas S. Monson has made the important observation that, “When performance is measured, performance improves.  When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates” (PMG pg. 150).  By reporting Key Indicators each week we have the opportunity to compare our work product with that of every other missionary, and that comparison (competition if you will) drives us to do better.  Consider that one year ago few of our companionships achieved 10 full lessons weekly, while now the mission average is over 15.  That change has occurred through the principle stated by President Monson above, as we see through reported measurements in the Key Indicators how other missionaries are doing and we are motivated to do at least that well or better.

                And so we ask each missionary to be the best, the very best that he or she can become.  Understand that the Key Indicators give us a way to compare our work ethic and effectiveness with other missionaries in the mission, but understand further that the best we can be will vary from missionary to missionary.  In any given week, one or several missionaries will likely achieve more than we did.  The only measurement that the Lord will hold us accountable for is whether we did the very best that we as an individual can do.  The lord tells us, “It is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength” (Mosiah 4:27).  So set lofty but achievable goals and then take pride in the fact that you did your very best.  The Lord expects this of us.

Bishop Calan Strom in Salmon Arm Urges All members to Become Better Member Missionaries, by Elders Austin Johnson (& Nicholas Ramirez)

                “The work out here is really going good for us right now.  We started doing service for a dairy farmer, where we help him milk once a week at 5 a.m. and 4 p.m.  While we milk, we have plenty of time to have gospel conversations.  We also meet with a less-active member who does veterinary work there.

                “This week at Church, we had a combined Relief Society and Priesthood meeting in which Bishop Calan Strom spoke the whole hour on our Ward Mission Plan and how to become better member missionaries.  He said, ‘We should provide so many people for the missionaries to teach that they will have to put another set of missionaries here.’  He also said, ‘Make a date on your calendar when you are going to invite someone to your home.’  Bishop Strom is a great help to us and the work is exciting.”

 Editorial Note:  Bishop Calan N. Strom, Brother Jean Drolet, Ward Mission Leader, and the entire leadership of the Salmon Arm Ward has developed a wonderful Ward Mission Plan, and with their excellent leadership we feel that there will be a great quickening of the Spirit in Salmon Arm.   

Increasing Number of Full Lessons

Elder Yoshihiko Kukuchi has challenged the Canada Vancouver Mission missionaries to aim toward 15 or more full lessons, noting that when he was a mission president every companionship which achieved this level of work output eventually baptized monthly or more often.  We are pleased to see that our missionaries are averaging over 15 full lessons for a few weeks now!  For the week ending February 4, 2007, the mission averaged 17.9 full lessons, with 7 of 9 zones averaging over 15.  The Victoria Zone that week averaged 27.8 full lessons, and in that zone Elders Brandon Loong and Kyle Shaw had 50 full lessons (the current mission record), while working in the Victoria Second Ward!  Congratulations to Elders Loong and Shaw, and congratulations to Bishop Frank Hitchmough and all the Victoria 2nd Ward members who are stepping forth with such magnificent support! 

That we might take righteous pride in our best work efforts, and that the Lord will bless our wonderful missionaries and members is our constant prayer. 

--President and Sister Middleton


Reminder: Ask for a referral in every conversation with a member or non-member alike…

“Will you bring an acquaintance on a Tour, and when?”

Challenge members to Set-A-Date for a Tour or a Church event, which can be coupled with a Tour at least 3 times yearly.

Our goal is to find at least one new investigator each day.

Remember our mission goal: 10 Gospel contacts per day per missionary outside our usual finding and teaching duties. That includes a Gospel message to everyone you see.

 “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30).

 As weekly goals are set for each Key Indicator, pray for inspiration, and set goals that are lofty yet achievable. Our ultimate long-term goal is for at least 3 baptisms per companionship per transfer.

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