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                                                                                                                June 27, 2005


Brother Murray Bennett, Westbank Member Missionary, by Elders Mark Barber and Brian Fisher

         “Brother Bennett is probably the most dedicated member missionary I have ever met. Everything he does and almost everything he says is geared toward missionary work. He knows literally hundreds of people whom he is constantly trying to help and invite to teach the Gospel. It is not easy for him, but he always tries. He is a kind man and is always introducing us to friends, hoping they will want to hear more about the Gospel. To introduce us to his friends he obtains coupons for haircuts, so that he can use that method of introducing us to his friends. He also uses a small neighborhood store where he has a standing tab under his name where we can visit to obtain food and goods, and get to know people better as we do our shopping. The method works.

         “His best idea was an “International Potluck Dinner”. The idea was that people could come to eat different ethnic foods, listen to ethnic music, and learn about the Church Family History Program. Also, the full time missionaries could give visitors a Tour through the Church facility during the evening.  The dinner was a tri-ward event, and the price of admission was to bring a less active or a non-member. The idea was developed by Brother Michael Jensen, the Westbank Ward Mission Leader, and he and Brother Bennett are ‘zealous missionaries’ who truly know the value of a soul. They have truly caught the vision, and because of them our branch has developed a great missionary attitude and a true desire to share the Gospel.

          “The International potluck Dinner was a huge success. An estimated 60 non-members attended, including the mayor. Twelve Tours of the Church building were given, and the mayor was presented a picture of the Savior along with a Book of Mormon. Many new friends were made for the Church through that dinner.  It was so successful that it is going to be an annual event.”

Editor’s note:  If a similar dinner would work in your ward or branch, please give it consideration.

New Member Report Form to be Distributed throughout Wards and Branches

          We received a notification by the Priesthood Department in April, 2006, that a “New Member Report Form” has been created and will be used in each ward or branch to properly keep track of new members. The report form is to be kept by the Ward Clerk, and is updated regularly by the Ward Mission Leader. The report has multiple columns in which the name of the new convert is listed, their age, the confirmation date, and a space is provided whereby lessons taught to the new member are entered. The home teachers are listed in another column, and the number of times the new member has attended Church are listed as well. The Priesthood given to the new member is listed, if the member is male, and another column is listed to indicate the responsibility or calling given to the new member in the ward or branch.

           The information we have received states that the Ward Mission Leader is responsible for the report, but he works with the Ward Clerk who updates the report and “prepares copies for review in Priesthood Executive Committee and Ward Council meetings”.

          This new report form and reporting system seems like an excellent idea to allow the ward or branch leadership to carefully track the progress of new members. Clearly the admonition of President Hinckley, who noted that there is no point in baptizing new members if they simply fall away from the Church thereafter, is being addressed by this new member reporting form. Please help ward and branch clerks and ward and branch mission leaders to use this form well.

The Value of Members telling their Friends about the Church, by President Donald Anderson

          “When Church member Mikael Anderson was in high school he was kind and friendly to a young Korean boy who didn’t seem to have any friends. Mike gave him a Book of Mormon and talked to him about the Church. That new Korean friend, Brent Nam, took home the Book of Mormon and showed it to his father. His father was not receptive, however, and threw it in the garbage. Mikael left on a mission, and about three years later our Korean missionaries in the Port Coquitlam Ward were visiting some less active members, who turned out not to be home. They decided to tract in the same area and ran into Brent Nam, the same Brent who had been befriended by Mikael Anderson and given a Book of Mormon some time earlier. He answered the door when the Korean missionaries were tracting his area, and soon began investigating the Church. He gained a testimony and was baptized in October 2005, and is now active in the Young Adult Branch of the Vancouver Stake.

          “Interestingly, Mikael had returned from his mission and attended the discussions with the missionaries and Brent in the summer of 2005.”

          This true story points out the importance of looking toward telling all in whom we members come in contact something about the Church, and share with them a Book of Mormon coupled with an invitation to our Church on a Tour or to a Church activity.

Missionary Reflections on the Poll Done by Elder Richards

          Elder Richards did a poll during his Zone Conferences regarding our missionaries’ diligence and obedience, which we reported in the June 15, 2006 Vancouver Star. The answers given suggested that our missionaries had a good way to go before they were truly “anxiously engaged” in the work. Since then we have had the chance to interview many of those missionaries, and learn that their answers to Elder Richards’ questions were likely inappropriately modest, with missionaries not choosing to brag about their diligence and dedication. We understand now, and appreciate the more accurate appraisal and poll answers which were supplied to us by Elders Paul-Michael Fernandez and Alexander Bitting. They estimated what they felt were more accurate answers, speaking of the language missionaries. Our interviews suggest to us that their answers were true for our English missionaries as well, and we share them with you:

1.        What is the mission exact obedience estimate? 90% plus (70% was reported in the June 15th Star)

2.        What is the work ethic in the mission? 90% plus are working hard all the time (60% was reported)

3.        How many missionaries were constantly looking to find new investigators? 80% plus (50% was reported)

4.        How many missionaries are using the Daily Planner to set goals and plan daily and weekly, as urged in PMG, Chapter 8? 100% (68% was reported)

5.        What is the faith that you will baptize monthly? 100% in the case of Elders Fernandez and Bitting, likely 100% among all of our missionaries (77% was reported).

          While modesty in general is good, in this case the modest answers given Elder Richards gave a false impression of the true and valiant efforts of our Canada Vancouver Missionaries. This redone poll reflects the hard work that we have noted throughout British Columbia. Humbly and sincerely we extend our heart-felt thanks to all of our missionaries. We deem it a rare privilege to work with you in this, His great missionary work. Keep up the great work! That we might remain anxiously engaged, at all times, is our constant prayer.

          We love all of you, and your success and welfare are 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?”

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.

 “Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.”  D & C 107: 99

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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