And what are some of the day to day issues that LDS young men and women experience every day as they leave families and homes to teach and testify of the Savior?
In a previous post, The Realities of Missionary Life, we commented on many of the realities of missionary service . . . we hope today to share some of the realities of a normal day and some of the challenges of life here in the Honduras, San Pedro Sula East Mission.
I would like to start with an example shared by Elder Bednar in a previous talk . . .
In his talk Elder Bednar describes a pair of missionaries he once invited into his home for breakfast. After breakfast the missionaries lingered on . . . playing with the young children, watching cartoons with the family . . . and in general overstayed their welcome . . .
And then before leaving, they asked Elder Bednar, "So do you have referrals for us?"
In his typical gentle-but-stern tone, he told this missionary companionship,
"Elder, I would never give you a referral".
The missionaries were of course taken aback. So, Elder Bednar explained. He told them that the missionaries to whom he would trust his friends and acquaintances would not have wasted so much time playing and hanging around in the house. They would have been polite, kind and grateful, shared a brief spiritual thought with the family and left quickly so that they could get back to searching for new investigators.
About a month later once again the two missionaries found themselves in the home of Elder Bednar enjoying a meal . . . at the conclusion of the meal the missionaries pulled out their scriptures, shared a spiritual thought from the scriptures, bore their testimonies of the example of the Savior in our lives and put on their backpacks in preparation for leaving. At the door as they were leaving, they once again asked Elder Bednar if he knew of anyone who would be interested in their gospel message.
To their surprise and delight he responded that now . . . they were the type of missionaries he would trust his family, friends and neighbors too . . . and proceeded to give them the referrals they sought.
One of the most important things that full-time missionaries can do is build strong relationships with LDS church members in their area. As missionaries they are always observed by those around them, members, less actives, new converts . . . it's important to remember as a missionary you represent the Savior in every moment! You wear the Savior's name over your heart and his attributes should be engrained in your heart.
What kind of missionary are you?
Sometimes from a full-time missionary's point of view, it can seem like members aren't being as helpful as they should. Perhaps it appears they don't care about missionary work . . .
But it's not always that simple. What kind of missionary are you? Have you earned the trust of the ward members of your area? Members can be cautious to give out referrals if they suspect they will just be another "first discussion", another baptism challenge or statistical dat reported at the end of the week.
Be the kind of missionary that inspires the comment, "I wish these missionaries were serving in our ward!" "He is the kind of missionary I would refer my friends and acquaintances to!"
(Some of our missionaries arrived one day early this transfer)
What does that 'kind' of missionary look like . . . a missionary who is close to the Spirit, is well prepared, has a strong conviction of the gospel principals he / she teaches, has developed the Christlike attributes of charity, unconditional love for others, a desire to serve and give of themselves, one who looks for opportunities to lend a hand, never misses an opportunity to help, arrives early to set up, stays after to clean up and take down . . .
(There's nothing sweeter than an elder with a broom in his hand :)