September 18, 2014
I believe the feelings that I briefly share below mirror the vision, priority, and sense of urgency that the Utah National Parks Council has in not just Hastening the Work, but also in saving our boys and developing them to be the rising generation of leaders prepared for the tremendous responsibilities of the future.
Provide Scouting experiences that educate, empower, and inspire boys to dream beyond fear and live beyond limits. Transform them into men of integrity and courage that can bring a mighty change into the lives of people and the world around them.
In the vernacular of Scouting lore:
Run like the wind.
“And all saints shall … run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.” (DC 89: 20)
Vision (Hastening the Work) Provide training opportunities, leadership experiences, development of life skills, and quality connections with their Creator, and the great outdoors, that will foster a new force of missionaries prepared to successfully assist in hastening the Lord’s work immediately upon entering the mission field, and sustained through their period of missionary service.
From a general perspective of mission presidents:
“Missionaries who prepare properly will be able to exercise faith, courage, obedience, sacrifice, and work hard in the mission field. A mighty change occurs within them. They become strong, courageous, confident, and responsible. They develop burning testimonies of the gospel. They also taste the fruits of the spirit, and experience heavenly joy, as they are able to find, teach, and baptize precious sons and daughters of God.
“We hope that parents and leaders will prepare them to come out on their missions as young warriors on fire, ready and willing to convert the world.
“As mission presidents, we will continue the honing and development process: train, organize, empower, lead, and love them so that they can successfully build the Lord’s kingdom as they serve as full-time missionaries; and then, when they return home, as seasoned and wise men and women, continue on, without missing a beat, as a new generation of church, business, and community leaders.” (Steve Sutherland)
Importance of Spiritual and Physical Focus
Every boy needs to develop physical and spiritual strength. The Lord has provided us with two basic, personal resources, in mortality: a body and a spirit. A key opportunity for helping Scouts grow and develop properly centers around these two dimensions. This is a key foundation that we can then build other Scouting and missionary attributes on.
This should also be an important personal area of focus for [all] Scouters, as well as for parents, community and church leaders.
Personally, this is a quest that I challenged myself to 4 ½ years ago. I was feeling diminished and worn out both physically and spiritually. I developed my personal mantra of: Run like the wind (physical improvement) and Soar like the eagles (spiritual improvement).
Where am I today?:
- Physically: I successfully ran my first 26 mile marathon (2014 Utah Valley Marathon) in over 25 years.
- Spiritually: I am trying to spontaneously touch hearts and minister to people, not because of a calling or an assignment, but because I love them. I am an ambassador of Christ and they are His children.
Utah National Parks Council Expectations for New Leaders
One key way for the Council’s leadership to [help LDS Stakes] realize the fulfillment of [their] Hastening the Work vision will include… [Scouters who] demonstrate leadership from the front by currently practicing the very same skill sets… that they desire for the boys. It will require… Scouters who truly can exclaim follow me boys.
Another stake president said, “Life is full of difficult experiences. Teaching resilience in the early years is very helpful preparation for missions, marriage and parenthood.” The Boy Scout staff appreciate these thoughts as we all work together to help each other in strengthening youth and hastening God’s work.
Author: Steve Sutherland | served as mission president of the Texas Houston East Mission 2002–06 and was recently hired as a Camping Director with Utah National Parks Council, BSA.