President Brian Leavitt began his service as mission president on July 1, 2012. President Leavitt had a vision for the Canada Halifax Mission and he implemented many an idea to accomplish this goal.
Some of the ways he inspired the missionaries were:
* The “Back To Basics Binder” – This binder was created to help missionaries be their best. It included ways to grow and improve, exercise, a 12-week program (for new missionaries), adjusting to missionary life and working with ward members.
* Facebook – President Leavitt was a huge FB fan and he created many a FB page to help us as missionaries reach out to members, less-active members, prospective members and each other. He created the CHM secret group page — In this group page he included daily thoughts and videos to help inspire us in our daily work and weekly district meetings. He also created the Mormons in Atlantic Canada, where he posted many pictures, stories and updates on the missionaries.
* President Leavitt was a very visible mission president. He attended many a scattered sacrament meeting, gave many sacrament talks and taught many gospel essential classes. He made a point of getting to know those members and leaders he served. He also made time to visit and interview all of the missionaries he was responsible for and never missed a beat even when some of those visits required him getting back at 1 am and driving in a blizzard. He flew thousands of miles and drove thousands of kilometres.
* President Leavitt was also very big on healthy missionaries, feeling that their health has a large relationship with their being happy and productive missionaries. He implemented an exercise program called the 5BX to be part of the daily missionary morning routine. Many a zone conference included missionaries having fun with demonstrating their 5BX ability. And he also started the AB Wheel Challenge and had a plaque displayed on the accomplishments of this challenge. This exercise program resulted in many complaints from people living below missionary apartments, which then resulted in the mission moving as many missionaries as possible to first floor apartments.
– President Leavitt wanted the missionaries to catch the vision of missionary work and he often quoted Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” and Hastening Ourselves in the Work of Salvation. He then shared with us The Canada Halifax Vision: “Members, Leaders and Missionaries actively working in a balanced and unified way to establish the church and hasten the work of salvation.” It was repeated daily and at every district/zone conference to remind each of us of our divine purpose and how it could be accomplished.
*President Leavitt was noted for his many quotes, including this from Joseph Smith: “You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost.”
— A negative mind will never give you a positive life.
— This thought from President Thomas S Monson, “Vision without effort is daydreaming; effort without vision is drudgery; but vision, coupled with effort, will obtain the prize.”
— The importance of a principle based missionary verses a rule based missionary.
— Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up
— I am convinced that those who can find on a consistent basis are using a balanced approach consistently.
Sister Leavitt was just as amazing as was her husband. She has mothered hundreds of missionaries through physical problems, through emotional problems and through the countless meals she prepared in the mission home as missionaries constantly came and went. People used to say about Ginger Rogers, she did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and wearing heels. Sister Leavitt may not have danced backwards in heels, but almost everywhere President Leavitt was, there was Sister Leavitt supporting him. And sometimes there were places she was that he wasn’t, moving the work of the Canada Halifax Mission forward with full purpose and full heart. Bless her heart, and his. We of the Canada Halifax Mission will be ever grateful to the Leavitts.