We set the new baptismal goal for the year of 2017 for the Temple Square mission yesterday. Since the Temple Square mission is a little bit (a lot) different from other mission, we count a baptism as a Temple Square baptism when someone was introduced to the Gospel of Jesus Christ through physically coming to Temple Square and meeting missionaries here, or if we were instrumental in introducing the Book of Mormon and their local missionaries to the people who come on mormon.org.
After much prayer and discussion and sincere seeking of God's will, our grand goal is... 1700 baptisms.
In 2015, we achieved 915 baptisms in the Temple Square Mission. In 2016, we set a goal of 1016 and achieved 1351. For 2017, we're striving for 400 more people's lives to be touched and changed for the better.
The number makes us sweat a little bit, but it's been really cool to see that in 2016, when we had faith and worked hard, the Lord provided so so so many tools for us to succeed and find and teach. Even though it looked like the odds were against us with how much fewer missionaries we had this year, and how many more guests came to Temple Square, somehow it all worked out.
Looking back, it feels a little bit like the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5000.
I am so excited to continue to embark on this very important work of teaching people that there is a Christ who atoned for their sins, so they can have lasting peace in this life. Every single person who comes onto Temple Square is taught that there is a God who has provided a perfect plan for them, and they can partake of that plan if they choose to do so.
This has not at all been easy, but it makes me happy, and I know that this message that I share everyday is true. It is true because as I have lived it especially in these last 14 months, I have improved 3000% as a human being. My worst weaknesses have become my strengths. I have achieved things I never imagined accomplishing.
It is true because when we share the teachings of Jesus Christ and the scriptures, the eyes of guests of Temple Square light up and I feel the love of God for them.
For anybody reading this, (if anybody is reading this) I would like to let you know that the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ will help you improve the quality of your life. It helps everybody. It helps those who have never even heard of Jesus Christ or touched the Bible, and it helps those who have been religious all their lives and think that they are content and happy. Go to mormon.org. Read the Bible. Read the Book of Mormon. Attend a church. These are all tools that are for you, because God loves you and sees your infinite potential.
That's all. No pictures this week. Happy New Year.