LDS Church News

Mission presidents' seminar: Calls are from the Lord

By Gerry Avant

LDS Church News

Published: Tuesday, June 24 2014 4:22 p.m. MDT

Updated: Tuesday, June 24 2014 4:22 p.m. MDT

Elder Neil L. Andersen and Sister Kathy Andersen arrive for the 2014 Seminar for New Mission Presidents on Sunday, June 22.

Gerry Avant

PROVO, UTAH

“No matter what call comes to us, from Sunday School teacher to Relief Society president, our faith is that he who is extending our call has been on his knees and that the invitation being given has the approval of the Lord,” Elder Neil L. Andersen said Sunday afternoon, June 22, during the 2014 Seminar for New Mission Presidents.

“Your call to serve as a mission president and the wife of a mission president will so alter and influence both your life and the lives of your missionaries, that your soul needs and deserves to have that assurance from heaven,” said Elder Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and a member of the Missionary Executive Council. “The purpose of my talk is to assure you, settle you and testify to you that your call is from the Lord. He knows you. He knows your strengths and your weaknesses. He knows your abilities and your uncertainties. He knows the needs of the mission and the missionaries where you are going. He has prepared you, and He has called you to His holy work.”

He acknowledged that the new mission leaders might question why they were called or their worthiness or qualifications. He said Enoch wondered about his qualifications (see Moses 6:31), as did Moses (see Exodus 4:1), and Elder Heber C. Kimball, the first mission president of this dispensation, who reflected, “The idea of being appointed to such an important … mission was almost more than I could bear…. I felt my weakness and unworthiness, and was nearly ready to sink under the task. …” (Journal of Heber C. Kimball).

Elder Andersen said, “If you have felt inadequate or unprepared, you are not alone. Humility allows the Lord to work through you. …

“Our answers come from above. We seek the Lord’s approval. I know that you have sought your own confirmation of your call from the Lord.”

Elder Andersen said that President Henry B. Eyring, upon being called to the Quorum of the Twelve, was invited to visit President James E. Faust of the First Presidency. President Faust said, “I’ve been watching you in meetings. It seems to me that you have been feeling that your calling is beyond you and that you are not qualified.” Elder Eyring said that doubt has come to him as if he had hit a brick wall. He expected President Faust was going to reassure him, and said he appreciated President Faust being aware of his doubts and asked for his help. He was surprised when President Faust gave a kind, firm reply: “Don’t ask me. Go to Him.”

Elder Andersen quoted President Eyring: “Now, years later, I sit in that same office. When I walk into it, I look up and remember … how he taught me by example how to help those who are feeling overwhelmed in the Lord’s service. … Send them with confidence to Him. If they will follow your counsel, they will gain the strength they need and to spare.”

Elder Andersen said, “That promise is to you and to your missionaries. You and your missionaries will need the reassurance of His approval, not just once, but regularly. Teach the missionaries that as they do their part, He will comfort them, assure them, direct them and reconfirm that their call has His blessing.

“Think of your sacred calling in view of this powerful scripture: Be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

“Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days” (Doctrine and Covenants 64:33-34).

Elder Andersen said that as he and his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, were preparing for their mission (to the France Bordeaux Mission) in 1989, she had prayed for reassurance that their call was from God. Late one night, as she opened the Book of Mormon, her eyes fell upon these words: “‘My beloved son, Moroni, I rejoice exceedingly that your Lord Jesus Christ hath been mindful of you, and hath called you to his ministry, and to his holy work’” (Moroni 8:2). Elder Andersen quoted Sister Andersen as saying, “ ‘In that moment, complete assurance replaced my fears. I knew with certainty this was a call from God.”

Elder Andersen said, “As you consider the sacrifice you are asked to put upon the altar, remember these words of your Savior: ‘Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice — yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command — they are accepted of me’ (Doctrine and Covenants 97:8).

“How marvelous are those words: “They are accepted of me.” You are accepted of Him; He who sacrificed all; the greatest among us; the lamb without blemish; the king of Kings. He accepts you.”

gerry@desnews.com