Spread the Good News

I used to tell my own kids when they were at home that the "mother grapevine was alive and well." They knew it meant that I would eventually find out what they were up to through the mothers of their friends. It worked, and it worked well.

There is a healthy and hardy grapevine in this mission, although President Tolman and I don't seem very connected to it quite like when I was a mother. News travels from missionary to missionary faster than the speed of light when something happens. It seems to move faster when it is bad news. We started our leadership training this month. When we were in Savai'i, one of our zone leaders said that he felt it was vital that as leaders we support the righteous decisions of the missionaries we serve. It led to a discussion about looking for the good things that happen in the mission and talking about those instead of the negative.

We asked for examples of good experiences when we were in Savai'i and then again here in Upolu. (Tutuila leadership training is the end of this week.) It was incredibly strengthening to hear missionaries talking about other missionaries and the good that they see in them. One missionary talked about the courage of another as he stood alone in a setting in which he was asking everyone there to make a better choice. One talked about zone leaders who say "we love you" every time they talk on the phone. One talked about the strength that is shared through another's ability to bring happiness and positivity to every situation. There were others, but I think you get the idea. I am deeply grateful that they could find the positive and share it openly.

It got me thinking about our tendency as humans in this fallen world to look for the negative instead of the positive. Why is that? I am sure there are many reasons why we tend to see the negative, but I like this explanation: "The brain gives more attention to negative experiences over positive ones because negative events pose a chance of DANGER." That seems reasonable to me. What seems to be more important though is that we don't get stuck in the negative cycle. Somehow we must look for, find, and hold to the positive. After all, isn't that what the Savior wants and expects of us? The last part of the thirteenth Article of Faith states, "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." There it is; the commandment to see things that are virtuous, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy. Those things still exist in the world. Do we seek them?

We have worked hard to develop a culture of obedience in our mission. It is now time to also develop a culture of finding and talking about the good things that happen. I often like to ask the missionaries "what would happen in our mission if . . .." I neglected to ask them "what would happen if our grapevine is only full of the good news?" I like to think we will have happier missionaries. I like to think they will be more motivated to choose good and do good because it is what we all are talking about. I know they will be better representatives of the Savior because they will carry love in their hearts for their fellow missionaries. I know they will be blessed in their work because the joy of finding the good in others will be seen by those they teach and touch. I know the work will feel lighter because the Spirit will attend them as they make room for Him because they focus on the positive.

The Book of Mormon tells a story of a missionary, Ammon, who is overcome with joy in the work of God. "Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness." (Alma 27:18.) Humble seekers of happiness see God's hand in their lives. Humble seekers of happiness find happiness even when things look hard and dark. Humble seekers of happiness change the conversation from bad to good. Humble seekers of happiness know that through Christ all things are possible. Humble seekers of happiness find the good in everyone, celebrate others' goodness, and spread the good news!

Zone Leaders and District Leaders in Savai'i

Sister Training Leaders, Assistants, Zone Leaders, and District Leaders in Upolu

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