In 1999 President Gordon B. Hinckley gave congratulations for the 300,000 convert baptisms the previous year. But, his congratulations were followed by an admonition to do much better. In fact he talked of doubling that number to 600,000. Since then missionaries and members of the church around the world have worked to answer this prophetic call to improve.
Almost as if in response to this call to duty Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave a promise that if missionaries would consistently teach twenty or more lessons every week the number of baptisms will double and missionaries will improve as teachers.
We in the Italy Milan Mission believe this promise is true and we are making great efforts to consistently teach twenty lessons a week. In working to meet the challenge we have focused on planning to help us reach this lofty goal. After all it isn’t easy to organize such a busy week without a conscious effort to teach more. As missionaries have stretched and committed themselves to this goal they have witnessed not only the promised blessings, but also a greater sense of purpose and a greater spirit of determination and happiness.
Last July we were able to reach this goal on a missionwide basis and blessings came as promised. In that month of consistently teaching twenty lessons there were exactly double the number of average monthly baptisms.
But why is this so important to us?
Maybe this helps?
The numbers are meaningless without the faces behind them, but when we remember that these figures represent the lives of human beings, our brothers and sisters, the call to action- to teach twenty lessons and double baptisms- takes on life and vigor. There is a sense of urgency and feeling of excitement in our work. In essence the call to double baptisms is a call to double the number of people that we help have faith in Jesus Christ and repent. It’s twice as many people finding joy in following the Savior and making a commitment to follow Him. How could we not go on in so great a cause? This is the work of the Lord among His children.
Do you believe in this apostolic promise? How have you seen the Lord work in your life?