Saturday, September 5, 2015

August/September Newsletter

A newsletter is emailed to the missionaries sometime after the transfer and MLC.  Included in the newsletter is a letter from President Felix, a picture of the new missionaries, departing missionaries, zone leaders, sister training leaders, baptisms of the previous transfer and the number of missionaries now serving in the California Ventura Mission.
The numbers we have presently are:  
English Sisters 27  and Spanish Sisters 26
English Elders 81 and Spanish Elders 17
A total of 151.  
We have continued to decline in numbers with so many missionaries going home who came out with the changing of the age a missionary could serve.  Next month will be the first time in a year that we will have more coming in than going home.
The following is the letter from President Felix

Dear Missionaries of the Great California Ventura Mission,

This morning, Sister Felix and I were reading in 3 Nephi 11 and we were impressed with the coming of the Savior to the land Bountiful after his resurrection.  After being introduced by His Father, the multitude thrust their hands in his side and felt the nail prints in his hands and feet.  Then the Savior introduced the ordinance of baptism as Christ set forth His doctrine to repent and be baptized.
We have attended a number of baptismal services throughout the mission for which we have been very grateful.  At times, we have been very concerned about the sanctity of this holy ordinance with our members and others attending.  We understand that we, as members of the Church and missionaries, are excited to see each other and want to visit; however, baptism is the first ordinance of the gospel and it should be a reverent and holy experience.  We have observed members participate in the baptismal program who come dressed in short pants and tee shirts.  There has been a party atmosphere at times where non-members and others want to take pictures of the ordinance (which is not approved) and applaud after the ordinance has been done.  As this may be the first impression others have of the Church and it will be a lasting memory for the souls of those being baptized, we need to help the ward mission leaders and bishopric members help set the atmosphere for the baptism as they conduct the meeting.

President Boyd K. Packer said “Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins is the first ordinance.
Baptism must be by immersion, for it is symbolic of both the coming forth from temporal death, from the grave, and the cleansing required for redemption from spiritual death. 
“…Under the plan, baptism is not just for entrance into the Church of Jesus Christ.  It begins a spiritual rebirth that may eventually lead back into the presence of God.
If we really understood what baptism signifies, we could never consider it trivial nor alter the form of this sacred ordinance. … Through the sacrament we renew the covenant.” (Our Father’s Plan 39–40).

Teaching the importance of preparing for the baptismal service itself is important for the family and friends of the candidate who will make this sacred covenant.  Review Preach My Gospel Chapter 12. May the Lord bless you as “we follow the Spirit as we find, teach and baptize.” 

Love and blessings to you all,
President Felix

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