This is President Packard's most recent letter to the mission...
Dear Elders and Sisters,
In Jacob’s first sermon recorded in the Book of Mormon, he announced
that he had been “consecrated by my brother Nephi, unto whom ye look as a
king or a protector, and on whom ye depend for safety…” (2 Nephi 6:2).
When Nephi died, Jacob again described Nephi as a protector, stating
that the people “loved Nephi exceedingly, he having been a great
protector for them, having wielded the sword of Laban in their defense,
and having labored in all his days for their welfare.” (Jacob 1:10).
Nephi as the great protector – it sounds right, doesn’t it?
Nephi, we are the protectors of the people we serve. The people we
serve are young in the gospel, and they are vulnerable on all fronts.
The adversary knows that fledgling faith will grow, so he focuses
particular attention on those who are either new to the Gospel or are
recently returning. Those with young faith will face many challenges
including outside pressure from family and friends, anti-Mormon
literature, personal insecurities about whether they can keep their
covenants, and destructive habits that are difficult to break. You are
their protectors, figuratively wielding the Sword of Laban in their
Because you see yourselves as their protectors, you
will make sure that they are not left to fight the adversary alone. Of
course, you will share you testimony and you will teach them the Gospel,
but your people are the most vulnerable when you are not with them.
Thus, you will make sure you have frequent contact, you will warn them
that negative family pressure and anti-Mormon literature will most
likely come their way, and you will help them learn how to deal with
these challenges ahead of time. You will help them find productive ways
to serve in the Church, you will help them prepare to do temple work
for their own family members, you will prepare the ward members to give
them a wonderful experience at church, and you will help them have daily
experiences with the Book of Mormon. Finally, you will advocate for
them with the ward leaders and will make sure that your people have
support and friendship from other members of the Church.
loved his people so much, he said: “For I pray continually for them by
day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry
unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.” (2 Nephi
33:3). As you protect your investigators and less-actives, they will
love you exceedingly just as the people loved Nephi, and you will
reciprocate that love just as Nephi loved them.
We pray that the Lord will protect you as you protect his children with fledgling faith.
President and Sister Packard