Book of Mormon Challenge
It was announced in the Church News that the Italy Rome Mission will be getting a new Mission President the first of July. Presidente and Sorella Pickerd are excited and looking forward to sharing the next three years teaching and guiding the mission. Our prayer is that, as missionaries, you will be prepared to follow their counsel and help "Bring others unto Christ".
In order to facilitate this transition, we are extending a challenge to each of you to re-read the Book of Mormon from start to finish within the next three months. If you begin now, you can finish the book by May 15. That means you will need to read a minimum of 5 pages per day.
In 2005 President Hinckley issued a similar challenge to the members of the church. He said, "Without reservation I promise you that if each of you will observe this simple program, regardless of how many times you previously have read the Book of Mormon, there will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God."
The Book of Mormon teaches us many things. As missionaries, we need to pay special attention to one of the first lessons taught in the Book of Nephi. When Nephi and his brothers returned to Jerusalem to obtain the plates from Laban, their first attempt was a failure. They didn't have a plan or a backup plan. They cast lots to see who should go ask for the plates. When the first attempt failed, the brothers wanted to give up and return home. Nephi wanted to accomplish the task he had been given and offered a backup plan "Let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; therefore let us go down to the land of our father's inheritance, for behold he left gold and silver, and all manner of riches. And all this he hath done because of the commandments of the Lord. ... And it came to pass that we went in unto Laban, and desired him that he would give unto us the records ... , for which we would give unto him our gold and silver, and all our precious things" (1 Nephi 3:16, 24). Laban kept their riches and then threatened to kill them. That wasn’t what they planned either, but eventually Nephi was able to obtain the plates.
Laban and Lemuel complained about the loss of their worldly possessions that would have provided them with momentary pleasures, but not continual happiness. As it turned out, the entire family was blessed with the writings on the plates that offered them the teachings of the Spirit and the reward of life eternal. These blessings are much more valuable than worldly possessions.
Through this example, we learn that the scriptures are of greater worth than worldly riches.
As you make a plan to read the entire Book of Mormon before May 15, you will find that the scriptures are "desirable; yea, even of great worth unto us" (1 Nephi 5:21).
In 1988 President Ezra Taft Benson taught “We need to read daily from the pages of the book that will get a man “nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”’ (History of the Church,4:461.)
President Ezra Taft Benson also said "I challenge our mission leaders to show their missionaries how to challenge their contacts to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Missionaries need to know how to use the Book of Mormon to arouse mankind’s interest in studying it, and they need to show how it answers the great questions of the soul. Missionaries need to read with those they teach various passages from the Book of Mormon on gospel subjects. … Anyone who has diligently sought to know the doctrines and teachings of the Book of Mormon and has used it conscientiously in missionary work knows within his soul that this is the instrument which God has given to the missionaries to convince the Jew and Gentile and Lamanite of the truthfulness of our message.”
We challenge each of you to prayerfully consider what steps you can personally take to bring this new witness for Christ more fully into your own life and into a world that so desperately needs it. You have been called and chosen to be in the Italy Rome Mission at this time because you are the ones who can make a difference in the lives of people living here by sharing your testimony of the Book of Mormon.
We pray for you daily and love you more than you will ever know.
Presidente and Sorella Waddoups