So this week I gave a training alongside my new companion, Elder Holt, on the importance of working with the members. Now if you're reading this blog, chances are that you're not a full-time missionary with the nametag and white handbook. So this week I'd like to just share some of the insights that we shared as a part of out training.
The first that I would like to share is a quote by Elder Quentin L. Cook, which reads:
What we desperately need is for member-missionary work to become a way of life—for the Savior’s mandate to share the gospel to become part of who we are.
(Quentin L. Cook, "Be a Missionary All Your Life", given as a BYU Devotional March 2007)
What I love about this quote is that Elder Cook stresses the importance of making missionary work a way of life. In this quote he implies that member-missionary work is far more than just occasionally going out with the missionaries or giving a referral to them every now and then. True member-missionary work is shown every day, not just on the days when the missionaries ask for assistance. It's living in such a way that our testimony is visible, not just something that we say.
As you all live your lives, stop for a moment an consider whether you share your testimony in everything that you do, or whether you just share it during fast and testimony meetings at church. A testimony is a terrible thing to keep to yourself, and sometimes the most powerful testimony is the one that requires no words to be spoken.
Another point on member-missionary work is to show just how awkward missionary work can be at first. I'm not going to lie, being a missionary is weird. You talk to a lot of people about a subject that many people avoid talking about in public. It can be weird talking about religion to a stranger or to a friend if you've never done it before. But as with anything, the more you practice the less-awkward it becomes. In an article titled "Seven Lessons on Sharing the Gospel", which I would recommend everyone read, Elder Clayton M. Christensen gave this piece of wisdom concerning sharing the gospel:
The ability to share the gospel isn’t a “gift” that has been given to only a few Latter-day Saints and denied to the rest. We have concluded from our own experiences and from watching others that finding people for the missionaries to teach can be easy and natural for all of us—if we go about it the Lord’s way.
Missionary skills aren't restricted to missionaries. The same skills and gifts of the spirit that are available to the few that wear the tags are available to every member of this church. Spreading the gospel can become natural, but sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and try spreading the word of God. I remember the first few weeks as a missionary. They were awkward and full of mistakes and mishaps. There's a definite learning curve, but the more I worked at it, the better I got. Soon enough, talking to people on the streets or on their front porches became second nature. And though I still have some fears, many of the large ones have been swept away in the joy of sharing the gospel.
I just want you all to know that missionary work brings great joy, but I can tell you that all day and it wont change your life. What will is if you have faith in the promises of the Lord and try sharing the gospel. Prove the Lord and see if he wont bless you and aid you in this righteous goal. I love you all, and hope that you discover or rediscover the joy in spreading the gospel.
Love, Elder Gailey