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Hello all:

I wish to describe what has happened over the past 9 months in the mission field, using as my text Helaman 3: 24-26:

And it came to pass that in this same year there was exceedingly great prosperity in the church, insomuch that there were thousands who did join‍ themselves unto the church and were baptized unto repentance.
And so great was the prosperity of the church, and so many the blessings which were poured out upon the people, that even the [missionaries and mission president] were themselves astonished beyond measure.

And it came to pass that the work of the Lord did prosper unto the baptizing and uniting to the church of God, many souls, yea, even... thousands.

Just as the ancient Nehpite church, this mission has taken off and reached levels of success we had never thought possible under the dynamic leadership of Pres. Maynes. As we've relied on the Lord, our baptisms and less-active reactivations (both being conversions) have soared, even into the thousands. As we've relied on the Lord and sought His help in doing this work, we've seen the miracles of missionary work.

But it isn't enough. In our inspiring trainings on Friday. Pres. Maynes told us that we need to "catch fire." Jesus Christ told His Apostles, "I am come to send fire on the earth" (Luke 12:49). What kind of fire? It's the fire of the burning bush. It's the fire of the Pentecost. It's the fire of the incarcerated Nephi and Lehi (Hel. 5:43). In other words, it's the fire of the Spirit.

He cited example of many prophets and missionaries who "caught fire" with the Spirit and could not be restrained. Like Enoch, who preached with a loud voice, and, "and all men were offended‍ because of him," and thus exclaimed, "a wild‍ man hath come among us!" (Moses 6:37-38). Or like Jeremiah, who couldn't hold his tongue, though all people ridiculed him, and he was thrown into the stocks!

"Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But ‍ was in mine heart as a burning‍ fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not" (Jeremiah 20: 2, 8-9).
Not to mention the scores of other prophets and Apostles who caught that fire-- Moses, Isaiah, Elijah, Peter, Paul, John, Alma, Helaman, Mormon, Moroni, Nephi, Samuel the Lamanite, and of course Abinidai (him, perhaps in a more literal sense).

I've been out now "a little over a year" (the mission lingo for "a pretty long time"), yet, I still feel I'm just starting to get it. I've only felt myself "catching fire" just recently, and I wish I could restart my mission for the beginning knowing what I know now. I would be so much more effective then.

But then I suppose every missionary feels that way. I will just have to make sure these next few months, I really keep that fire going, and don't let it die down. So let everyone be offended, and let them call me "wild man." Let them throw me in the stocks (or at least point angrily to the "No Soliciting" sign). I will not be still, and my voice will be heard, testifying to the world of the Prophet Joseph Smith, of the Book of Mormon, or the Restored Church, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom they all testify.

I pray I will never back down in embarrassment or shame, nor ever again become nervous or hesitant to share my witness, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Watkins

Colorado Denver South Mission
999 E. Tufts Av.
Cherry Hills Village, CO 80113

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