Dear Elders and Sisters:
That introduction sounds as natural as meeting you on the bus as you arrived at the mission home from the Missionary Training Center. For almost three years Sister Christensen and I began our monthly letter to you in Zion's Harvest with those words. Now, as we close in on two years since our release, the words still mean as much to us as they did then. And, what's more, they always will. Your title of Elder or Sister will remain with you for the rest of our association on earth and in Heaven. When you are all married, the title will remain. But then there will be 1400 of you instead of merely 700. With the addition of eight children to each marriage, the total will go to 11,200 (with the exception of inner-mission marriages [which we approve], which will bring the total down slightly). Our point is simply that Sister Christensen and I will always refer to you by your title of Elder and Sister. It is a constant reminder of your faithfulness to the Lord and to our close association during your sojourn with us in the Utah Salt Lake City Mission.
With that in mind, let us bring you up to date on us and our family. The Institute of Religion is again the repository for this released president of the Utah Salt Lake City Mission. I love teaching here at the University of Utah. Sister Christensen is again working in Membership Records at the Church Office Building. In addition, we are beginning our second year as temple ordinance workers at the Jordan River Temple. That call has been one of the great blessings of our lives, especially as we began the process of "adjusting" to our release. Does that sound familiar?
Our daughter Cindy and her awesome husband now have four children and are doing very well. Cindy still sings beautifully. Cary (remember him) is still working in his sheltered workshop and living in a group home (The Work Activity Center). We see him every morning when we go to his apartment and give him his insulin shot and help get him ready for work. Special Olympics is still a powerful influence in his life. Julie is on sabbatical from CES and taking graduate classes at the University of Utah. She has a hot sports car and drives it to the temple as well as the U. Mike is teaching at BYU and is working on his Masters/Doctorate degrees in counseling. He continues to speak to youth (and adults) for BYU all over the Church.
One of our great joys is to hear about each one of you and your progress. Sister Christensen is keeping a file on each one of you. Included in that file is a picture of you and your husband or wife-to-be as we get your wedding invitations. Announcements of the birth(s) of your children are now included (and are beginning to pick up!!). Not every child carries the middle name of David or Pat, but that's o.k. Surely, as you have your eight children, one of them can do that J! Our point is simple. We love and care about each one of you. So, please keep us posted on where you are, what you are doing, etc. Don't worry about getting married within a certain deadline. There is no such thing. Just live the gospel and, when it is right, it will happen.
We read with great satisfaction the letters from President and Sister Tate as they serve as President of the Nevada Las Vegas Mission, and from President and Sister Parker as they continue to serve in the presidency of the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission. We love them and delight in their continued service to the Lord. They are both talented and deeply committed couples, and our close friends. We are extremely grateful for the preservation of the life of President Parker as he lost one of his kidneys to cancer. The Lord provided miracles to keep him with us. He is strong and well, and we are deeply indebted to the Lord. President and Sister Tate's call as mission president came as no surprise to any of us. Their missionaries are blessed beyond measure to have them preside as their mission president.
Remember those who served as staff in the office? We surely do too. We see some of them from time to time, but we also want to be sure they will always feel a part of us. They were full-time missionaries in the best sense of that word. Without them, our mission could never have accomplished the great good it did. We love them very much. They are eternally a part of us. And don't forget those who were "apartment inspectors." Doing that job alone should assure their exaltation!! They are also a part of our eternal relationship. We love and honor them as part of our mission team.
And to the above list of those we all love, add the 150 stake presidents, the bishops, the stake and ward mission leaders, the stake missionaries and the members themselves, and it is no wonder that you Elders and Sisters baptized over 12,000 during those three years. And more importantly, "what [adds] more to [our] joy," the majority are "still [our] brethren in the Lord." (Alma 17:2)
From President Tate's letter, it looks like "Proselyting For the Elect" continues to have a positive effect wherever it is used. Joseph Smith said it best: "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves." As Sister Christensen and I used to emphasize, numbers alone mean nothing. People do! And those people include each and every one of you wherever you go in this earth. Zone conferences were not only for improvement in proselyting method, but were also for the teaching of the doctrine through the spirit of the Lord. Those principles you learned will, hopefully, be an anchor to you as you go through life. Sister Christensen and I used every occasion to teach you doctrine and correct principles. Transfer sessions, ZLR, Pink Eye, Red Eye, Orientations, and Interviews were all used to teach you the Truth. We anticipate that you will do the same for each other, for your children, and for those you lead. The 700 of you stripling warriors will have a profound effect on the world and on the Church as you are scattered throughout the earth.
Well, enough is enough. Sister Christensen and I love you more than you will ever know. We rejoice in every good word we hear about you. On occasion, some of you struggle, but that is what we call "Life." Remember who you are. Say your kneeling prayers night and morning. Read the Book of Mormon every day. Be virtuous. Serve. Be happy.
Sister Christensen and I continue to pray for you both day and night. Our thoughts go out to you continually. We talk of you. We rejoice in you. You are the best group of missionaries ever assembled on this earth. Our missions are not over. We have just begun. The Utah Salt Lake City Mission was only the beginning. It was the MTC for our life's mission.
May the Lord bless you. May he protect you. And may He grant us the privilege of being closely associated both spiritually and, whenever possible, physically. Sister Christensen and I consider you one of the greatest blessings we will ever receive.
We Love You!
Nevada Las Vegas Mission
Dear Utah Salt Lake City Missionaries:
Greetings and much love from the Nevada Las Vegas Mission! For those of you who are unaware, Sister Tate and I preside over this great and wonderful mission of the church. Trained and schooled by the master teacher, celestial leader, and eternal hero…President David Alma Christensen, we are having the time of our lives. Our missionaries here are almost of the quality of the missionaries who served in the Utah Salt Lake City Mission - that means YOU!
We began our labors June 27th 1999. The first week seemed like an eternity…we asked each other, "How will we ever be able to do this?" The days since then have flown. We were unaware we could love others as we do the full time missionaries, investigators, and members. Each day is a day of joy and thanksgiving. We are humbled and grateful for this precious privilege of serving our Heavenly Father as full time missionaries.
You will be interested to know that after being in the mission for 6 months, we introduced "Proselyting for the Elect." The "Holy Ghost Dialogue" and the "Pray Now" are essential tools used in our efforts. Many of our older and more seasoned missionaries have commented, "I wish I had had these tools when I was a new missionary." I continue to hear powerful stories of successes with these tools. We will continue to experience more and more success as we become more skilled in using this great proselyting emphasis.
The Nevada Las Vegas Mission is one of 15 missions in the North America Southwest Area. Our area president is Rex D. Pinegar. While we haven't yet baptized at the level of the Utah Salt Lake City Mission while you were there, we are making progress. Our mission currently stands on top of the other 15 missions in our area. More importantly, precious souls are joining the church in Nevada.
There are two missions in Las Vegas - ours and the Nevada Las Vegas West Mission. Las Vegas is a fruitful field, white and ready to be burned. 7,000 people per month move into the greater Las Vegas area. They are open and receptive. This is a gathering place for God's "elect." In many ways, it is very similar to Salt Lake City.
Our testimonies of the Savior and of His Atonement have grown so much deeper. We have come to realize much of the double mindedness of our lives and the need to completely submit to His will. As we have tried to do so, our lives and the lives of the missionaries have been blessed. Our family is being blessed in special ways.
Our daughter Sarah is with us. She is 17 years old and a Jr. at Chaparral High School in Las Vegas. This transition has been a challenge for her yet she has been sustained and strengthened because of her willingness to accept the "call of the Lord" and join her parents for this great experience. In a real sense, she has laid everything on the table. She is a powerful young woman and is blessing the lives of her new found friends and associates. Our other children continue to experience success as they strive to serve the Lord and their families. We expect our 7th grandchild this May! Hooray!!
We think of you often and wonder what is happening in your lives. God bless you in your families, your careers, your service to God and man, and your pursuit of eternal happiness. We love you and pray for your success!
The gospel is true. This is His work. We must all continue to play significant roles in bringing men and women unto Christ. We hope His light continues to burn brightly in you. That you feel of His love and know of His reality. Indeed, He is the Christ.
God Bless you our fellow missionaries!
Nevada Las Vegas Mission
March 20, 2000
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
A flood of wonderful memories has been going through my thoughts during the past few days. Those thoughts and memories are about you. You are awesome. What a blessing it has been for my family and myself to have associated and served with all of you in the Lords work.
Our family is well. Some of you took our son David on splits and he is now serving in the Canada Calgary Mission. Sister Parker is teaching the gospel doctrine class in our ward and I have the privilege of serving as a counselor in the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission.
Thanks to your efforts and the great foundation, structure, and enthusiasm you established, both missions, the Utah Salt Lake City Mission and the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission continue the Lord's work here in this wonderful valley and surrounding communities. We are so grateful for your service here and the legacy you left us.
Like most of you, I have been studying with great intensity during the past few weeks the writings of Nephi. Read and feel his great counsel to us.
19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
Many times, I have heard speaker's use this great counsel applied to new converts or reactivated inactive members. Lately, however, it seems to apply to me and perhaps to you. Consider the following.
Have we gotten into the strait and narrow path? For the most part yes.
Wherefore, what is next? We must press forward, be steadfast, love God, love all men, feast upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end. None of these things is a one-time event in our lives.
How is the pressing forward going?
Remember when we said if I ever get to be a ward mission leader, stake missionary, (for the sisters) in the Relief Society presidency or on the board, I'd find people for the missionaries to teach. I'll fellowship my neighbors. How are we doing?
Well how about steadfast (steady) now that we have the pressures of work, school, dating, marriage, children, bills, etc.? Are we accepting calls issued by servants of the Lord? Are we steady in the Lords kingdom?
My love for God grows and deepens each day of my life. This past year the Lord was kind enough to extend my life. I lost a kidney to cancer. Each morning a new day arrives. Another opportunity to serve, obey, thank and show my love for the Lord by caring for his children.
Loving all men is not always convenient is it? We have to work it in between the bills, school, job, lists your wife/husband would like you to get done this week, not next week, etc. Loving takes effort and planning as well as spontaneity and a constant loving attitude.
Are we feasting on the words of Christ? How about scripture study every day? Twice a day? Deep gospel study includes prayerful contemplation of the scriptures in addition to reading them. KNOWING WHAT IS MEANT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT IS SAID. Enduring has changed my life during this past year. It has a lot more smile, lunches every Saturday with my family at a great Mexican restaurant and a lot less sighs, frowns, and days of self-indulgent isolation. Isn't agency great. The great plan of our God. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to become more than I've been. ENDURING IS OPPORTUNITY NOT SURVIVAL.
Well that is it. A lot of memories of you, a little counsel, a lot of love. The Lord bless you.
President Wayne M. Parker
Dear fellow missionaries:
We have finally finished the first edition of the post-mission Zion's Harvest collection. We hope that we will be able to use Zion's Harvest, in conjunction with the society's web site, to keep everyone informed of what is going on in "our" mission around the world. The success of this renewal of Zion's Harvest is once again dependent upon each of us. Like it's birth in the full-time mission, it will continually need everyone's input and support.
As most of you know, we have found a home on the World Wide Web (http://www.slcmission.com). The internet affords us the opportunity to do great things very quickly and efficiently. We want to take full advantage of the power of the internet. We would like to thank Richard Brown for providing the foundation for the Society's home page. We would like to thank Sasha Pachev for hosting our site on his server and furnishing our searchable database and enrollment form. We would also like to thank Ken George and Bill Bentley for additional input that has helped us get where we are. However, we want the Society's appearance on the internet to continue to grow and evolve. We welcome any ideas that you may have to improve the site's flexibility, functionality, and cosmetic appearance. We know that we will not be able to integrate every suggestion, but all of the suggestions will help mold the page into something more functional and efficient for all of us.
We would also like to reiterate our intentions for future use of the e-mail addresses that have been provided on the web page directory. Last year we mailed a total of 689 invitations to the 1999 reunion. This cost the society approximately $247. This year we mailed 465 invitations to missionaries around the world, and e-mailed approximately 210 letters. This reduction in hard copy mailing reduced the postage costs to approximately $172. In order to eliminate as much of these costs as possible, we have decided to communicate with everyone through email, except for those who specifically do not have an email address. So, if you have not registered with the society web-site, please do so as soon as possible. If you do not have access to the internet, we ask that you contact someone who does so that you can submit your information. You can also write to one of the addresses on the back of Zion's Harvest so that we can place your physical address information in the database to make our address list as complete as possible.
Last year's reunion was a great success. We had approximately 300 people in attendance. It appeared that everyone had a great time. The refreshments were great and plenty. This cost the society about $300. We are hoping that the attendance will continue to grow. As it does, it will require us to provide more room, more refreshments and more time for preparation. We would like to thank Stephanie Tyndall for all of the time she has put into coordinating the refreshments this year. This has helped to distribute the initial cost of the refreshments, but it does not eliminate it. It has also allowed more people to be involved with the setup of the reunion. We do not have the names of all of those who contributed, but we do want to express our thanks and appreciation.
As you can see, financing the society is a big concern. We feel that for now, a contribution of $5 per person should be adequate to take care of the needs of the society. As a result of your generosity, we will all be able to enjoy these annual reunions for years to come without it being a financial burden on anyone.
We also have a great opportunity, through Zion's Harvest, to share what is happening in our own lives with each other. We would like to ask everyone to provide us with stories "of good report" that we can share with the rest of the society. We will print these stories in Zion's Harvest so we can all be strengthened and edified and continue in the spirit of the mission.
May the Lord continue to bless you in your personal endeavors and in the gospel.
Last Updated: 13 June 2000
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