Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Praying for the Missionaries

My dearest Elders and Sisters, As many of you know, Sister Schmutz and I have been blessed this Christmas season with a visit from our children. First our son, Ian, arrived from his mission in Brazil. I think most of you have met him at our conferences. It has been such a blessing to have him in our home for more than a month. Then about a week and a half ago, our three older sons arrived with their wives, Mason and Ashley, Colin and Marissa, and Cameron and Rachel. They brought our two little grandsons Bennett (Mason's boy) and Cooper (Colin's boy). Only our eldest daughter, Lindsey and her husband Jake and their four little apo are not with us. So we have been playing parents to our children and it has been a rich blessing and a joyous time for us. We have taken some time away from the Mission home and visited Bohol and some points in Cebu Island. Our children love the Cebu Mission. They will be here until Friday. I hope you will all understand that we will be your parents in the mission for 18 months or 24 months, and you are so very special to our hearts all our lives. We will also be parents to our children forever and for the short time they are here, we want to spend time with them. We returned to Cebu Tuesday afternoon. Because we have been away I have not had access to the internet and have not been able to write letters. So please forgive me that for the last two weeks you have not received any personal letters. I am trying to write back to a few of you that have had special questions or needs, but the rest of you are receiving only this letter. I hope you understand and know that I love you all. Next week, I will start back writing to all of you. Please write to me this week and let me know how you are doing and the experiences you are having this last week. I hope you are all working with your hearts and minds to bring to pass the work we have been given, to rescue the inactive members in our areas -- to find the lost sheep and bring them back to the fold. I have been thinking about the power of our testimonies. Strengthen your testimonies through study and the prayer of faith, and share your testimonies as often as you have the opportunity. The bearing of testimony by the servants of the Lord is a great blessing to those who share their testimonies "for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you, and your sins are forgiven you." (D&C 62:3). It is also a great blessing to those who hear, especially the inactive members because sometimes there is "no way that [we] might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony". (Alma 4:19). I want each of you to know that I kneel down multiple times each day and thank the Lord that Sister Schmutz and I have been blessed to receive this call to preside over such wonderful young men and women. Truly we love you as our children. I see such goodness in you, such willingness to sacrifice, such desire to do the right thing for your God. We feel that we are blessed mightily of the Lord. We feel that of all Mission Presidents in the world, we have the richest blessings. And it is because of you. So, I want you to know that your President desires your happiness and joy, your safety from harm, and your protection against the Adversary. That is why I pray for you all the time and think about you in my daily thoughts continuously. Be good. All my love, President Schmutz

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