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Monday, January 11, 2016

Fighting the Good Fight

I am a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ,
called of Him through prophecy and revelation,
and assigned to serve in the Texas San Antonio Mission.
I have been sent to teach repentance and baptize converts.
This is who I am and this is why I am here!
I invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the
restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement,
repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and
enduring to the end.
My decision has been made. I've put my hand to the plough. I've
crossed the line.
So as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Every Sister, every Elder, all in!

This is the new purpose statement that our mission president has given
all missionaries. Whenever there is a district meeting or zone
conference or any missionary-oriented meeting, everyone recites these
powerful lines. Before this purpose statement there was this one.

I have been called of Jesus Christ through inspiration to serve in the
Texas San Antonio Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
I will boldly invite others to come unto Christ by helping them
receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his
atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving  the gift of the Holy Ghost,
and enduring to the end
I will stand for truth and return with honor.
"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the son of God. I have been
called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might
have everlasting life."

Both of these purpose statements are very powerful, but you can see a
shift of culture in the new one. This statement is very much a
manifestation of belief, it does not focus of the willingness to serve
so much as the service we are doing right now. It puts a bigger
emphasis on commitment, conviction. I love it. The whole mission is
trying to catch on fire. Our president is challenging us to double the
amount of baptisms we have per month, and we're all getting behind it.

This week was crazy. Last Monday it got up to about 65 degrees, which
meant that the zone leaders and some other missionaries came over to
play some beach volleyball at our complex. Yes, I played beach
volleyball in January. In the United States. However, the weather
never got any better for the rest of the week. It actually got much,
much worse. The wind here is awful. It cuts through all the layers you
put on. I don't understand it. Luckily, it only gets windy every once
in a while, so usually we're fine.

There was one night where it was particularly warm. On this night I
got to participate in one of the coolest things ever- Pros-ball. Elder
M and I were biking through one of our favorite parks in the
afternoon when we saw the usual bunch playing basketball on the
outdoor court. I decided I would try seeing if any of them were
interested in a message of Christ. So I made a deal with them. If my
team won, Elder M and I got to share a message of the
Restoration with them, if we lost, my team had to get dunked on by
Roman, the local hoops junky. It was a great way to spend 20 minutes
of the afternoon, busting out the old basketball skills In my shirt
and tie. Everyone there was a street baller; cagey on the drives, lots
of isolation moves, poor ball handling. I was able to wreck the
rebounds and steal a couple passes. Unfortunately, R was a little
too good for me, and they ended up beating us. We weren't able to
teach a lesson, but we passed around cards with our contact
information. We were all tight by the end of it. Pretty fun times.

Thursday we had dinner with the S family. Their nonmember nieces
from Recife, Brazil were visiting them at the time. Turns out they are
super interested in the church! Both of their parents are less active
members, but I and M were introduced to it by their aunt
and uncle. The two girls spoke fairly good English, but the mother had
to translate most of the two lessons we've had with them so far.  They
came to church on Sunday and really liked it. It helped that their
Sunday School teacher, Brother V, is also Brazilian. They also
want to go to college in the states and heard about BYU, now they
really want to go there. Unfortunately, I and M will be
leaving back to Recife on Saturday, but they were more than willing to
have missionaries over back home. That would be so cool. Elder
M and I will get to send a referral across a continent! That's
way exciting. You don't hear that everyday.

So, none of you reminded me about D, which is fine, because he is
an investigator and I shouldn't forget about him. Anyways, last
Saturday we had a lesson with Dahir. We were planning on teaching
about the Plan of Salvation, but D had other plans. He had a lot-
and I mean a lot - of questions about the fall of Adam. I probably got
more light and understanding about the garden of Eden and the gift of
agency out of those 60 minutes we spent answering meticulous, deep
questions than if I sat down with Adam himself. D kept sending
question after question, outlining these beautiful ideas and doctrine
that most members don't even think about. Here I was, talking to this
guy from Somalia about the purpose of transgression in a house in
Round Rock Texas that has It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia playing
softly in the background. And finally, at the end of our discussion,
he paused, took a moment, and said, "This is all the will of God. This
is his plan for us. This book contains great truth." Crazy, crazy

We have a new Ward mission leader in the Old Settlers Ward. His name
is L M, and he was actually in the Taylor Ward during the
time that my brother served in this area! Yes, My brother Keith is a
true TSAMer just as I am. Brother M served in the TSAM as well.
He has a real fire of the restoration. He is learning Korean so he can
share the gospel with his coworkers. He says he wants us to have 25
lessons a week, 15 of them being lessons taught to investigators
referred by members. Currently, we're running about 10-15 lessons a
week, and we thought we were busy already. We are busy already! It's
going to be a fun couple of months.

It was an awesome week. If this week will be anything like the last
one, I'm going to have a blast.

Until then,
Elder Richard Hall

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