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.
This coming Sunday we celebrate the birth of the most important person ever to live on earth, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His birth was seen in vision and prophesied by many ancient prophets, in Jerusalem as well as the Americas. We know that he is literally the Son of God, and we know from modern revelation that He is the Jehovah of the Old Testament, and the promised Messiah. Some historic evidence suggests that Christ was born in the Spring, and some interpret D & C 20:1 to mean that he was born on April 6th. Presidents Harold B. Lee and Spencer W. Kimball have both supported the idea of April 6th being the birth date of Christ but all Church leaders have agreed that we celebrate His birth on December 25th, as has become the tradition in the rest of the Christian world.
Missionary work at Christmas is particularly effective. In my first mission, in England, I was stationed in Norwich at Christmas, a city northeast of London. Back then tracting was our primary finding technique, and we decided to tract on Christmas day. Working through an upper middle class neighborhood at that time, we were invited into less than one in 40 or 50 of the homes we visited on a normal tracting day. Usually even when invited in we were somewhat rudely treated. However, on Christmas day that year we were invited into every home, the families listened to our full lesson, and most offered to feed us! It was extraordinary!
Similarly, most people in British Columbia respond to a message about Christ at this time of year, so the whole Christmas season becomes "Prime Time". As we celebrate Christmas there will likely be invitations to missionaries from members and others to dinners, parties, etc. While accepting hospitality graciously we urge all of our missionaries to maintain their focus on finding, teaching and baptizing, understanding that Christmas is a unique time of the year when we expect many people to relax their inhibitions and become receptive to our message about the restored Gospel. Do enjoy celebrating with the saints, but stay focused on our proselyting efforts. Continue to work hard and work smart.
We must all keep in mind fully that He whose birth we celebrate stands at the head of our Church, directing the Church and its missionaries through His prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley. We must always remember that our directive from Christ our elder brother is to spread His Gospel to the citizens of British Columbia, and that Christmastime finds more people willing to listen to His message than at any other time of the year. Work hard, work smart, and enjoy Christmas. Christmas in the mission field is something you will remember your whole life, we promise you.
Enclosed with this STAR is our New Testament reading schedule, the “Bible Bash”. We want all missionaries to start the schedule on Jan. 2nd, 2005. Read on schedule either alone or in companionship, or both. Sister Middleton and I like to do our reading aloud and take turns reading. Ponder as we read that this is the first person account of the ministry of Jesus in the Old World, including His supernal atonement and resurrection. Full knowledge of the New Testament is at the core of the lessons we teach in Preach My Gospel. Read prayerfully, seeking for better understanding both intellectually and spiritually.
Merry Christmas! We love you and love serving with you.
--President and Sister Middleton
to read past messages.