The Mantle of Leadership – Not the Cloak of Comfort but the Robe of Responsibility‏

Transfer 13 just arrived at the doorstep.  In the mission, this is the point where an Elder begins to be called an “old missionary” – all the sisters that came in with him leave since their missionary service is 18 months, 6 months shorter than that of the Elders.  Less than 6 months to coming back and I still feel very much like a bleu missionary because there are many things that I have yet to perfect, and there are many things that I have still got to learn.  Better make the most of every minute.

Amidst the milliard of things that we had to do this week – from going on exchanges in Paris, to working on transfer decisions with President and Soeur Babin, planning the trainings for the upcoming mission council. the incoming missionaries and their trainers, to assessing the statistics of the mission, and working with the members to prepare one of the families we are working with for baptism – the importance of starting the day with scriptures has never been more important.  There are 3 primary principles that result in true ongoing conversion – praying daily, reading the scriptures and attending church.  One of my greatest pasttimes in the last few weeks has been reading talks given by general authorities, because in reading them, I have come to realise how applicable the words in the standard works of the church (the Bible, Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants) are to my daily life not just as a missionary, but as a person.
One in particular gave me so much motivation and inspiration about how I can become a better person, something that I believe everyone works towards without consciously realising.  It is titled, “Three Gates to Open” by President Thomas S. Monson.  In a part of the talk, he addressed the subject of leadership saying,
“Remember that the mantle of leadership… is not the cloak of comfort but the robe of responsibility.  Accountability is not for the intention but for the deed.  You must continue to refuse to compromise with expediency.  You must maintain the courage to defy the consensus.  You must continue to choose the harder right, instead of the easier wrong.”
Immediately, a simple phrase that one of the parents of a fellow swimmer when I was in Singapore came to mind.  Telling her daughter about the importance of remaining grounded while being successful, she said, “It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice.”  What wise counsel.
During the transfer decisions this past week, we talked about each of the missionaries in our mission in great depth – their strengths and weaknesses, their companions, their capacities as missionaries and where they needed to be for the next transfer.  This process took 2 whole afternoons.  There was much prayer and much consideration.  Everyone needed to be placed in exactly the right ville, with the right companion.  One of the decisions we had to make was choosing new zone leaders and sister training leaders.  Looking at some of the missionary leaders we had had in the past and some of their perceptions of leadership, President Babin talked about how becoming a leader in the mission was just as President Monson had said, a responsibility to become more a disciple of Jesus Christ, to help others and serve others to a greater extent.  A calling to leadership was never a calling to recognition, but a calling to responsibility and service. The greatest power a leader has does not come through being called, it comes through fulfilling that call.
This week, I was reminded the importance of leadership, and what it means to be a great leader – to leave a positive impression that will help others be strengthened and find confidence in themselves to carry on.
I am grateful for the calling to be one of the Lord’s missionaries today.  And I am grateful for the life lessons that come from the scriptures and the Lord’s called leaders.
Till next Week.
Elder Lam
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