We have spent a lot of time this last week working with some of the ward leaders. Without even trying, we got appointments with our Bishop, the Primary President, and the High Priest Group Leader! It was a good week for meeting with them. I feel like the way we are going about it is great. We aren’t necessarily going into these appointments with a specific plan. We have a film
from the Work of Salvation
that we show. Then we show them how they can use Pass Along Cards
. But it is so interesting to see all the different needs and concerns the members here in Freiberg have about doing missionary work and to then talk about it with them and leave feeling more united in this work.
On Tuesday evening we had our Ward Council, where all the leaders in the ward meet to talk about issues, problems, and plan for upcoming events. We were invited this time because the bishop wanted to talk about missionary work. After our meeting with Elder Bednar in the morning a while ago, all the Bishops, Branch Presidents, and Stake Leaders met with Elder Bednar and talked in the evening. One question was, “Why is there no growth in the church in Germany?” And that was his question that evening.
As we went around the room we heard of the worries and concerns the Elder’s Quorum President and Relief Society President. The efforts that the Primary President and Young Men’s President are making to teach the importance of missionary work. One member explained how she wants to share the gospel and support the elders more, but on the list of all the things she has to do it is hard. I was humbled, honestly. As missionaries, we are naturally excited about missionary work. And we should remain so! But I am so used to having to make the “missionary work project” look prettier and more desirable than the other distractions that arise in the church. It is not a matter of enticing or tricking members into talking to friends and neighbors. It is simply helping them. Much happens when we aren’t there. A Book of Mormon is given out or a conversation is held about the church, with little success.
Elder Bednar said in his talk, “Devoted disciples of Jesus Christ have always been and will always be valiant missionaries.” That is why I have really enjoyed this last week helping members remain excited about the work and coming together. This goal that we have as a mission is perfect for this. When we have a goal, it does not only mean that we have a vision, but that we are working towards that vision. I know that as the members and missionaries come more together, in faith and in deed, we can see these 125 baptisms before the end of the year.
Today, my letter is addressed to those who are members. I would like to ask you, “What can you do today to improve your relationship with the missionaries where you are?”In the Germany Berlin Mission, we are well acquainted with member-missionary work. I have seen success from working through members who have the faith to find and teach. Some members just do not know how. Here are some things which we, as members, can say to the elders or sisters in our ward:
- Get to know them. What did you study? Where are you from? When did you join the church? And why did you decide to come on a mission?
- Ask them about their past areas. I am sure they have good stories which they would love to share. Maybe you might even have a similar mission story.
- If you don’t have anyone with whom you can “work” with, ask the missionaries to help you with that. If you do, they can still help you.
- There is power when we join with the missionaries in their finding, teaching, and retention efforts. How well do you know the members of your ward who do not come regularly to church and activities?
- Invite them over: Will you help me and my family make a family mission plan? Invite them into your home to be examples of those who share and live what they know. Allow them to teach in your home so that the Spirit may be there and that you can hear their testimonies.
- Follow up with their work, their invesigators. I personally appreciate when I feel responsible to the members of the ward or branch where I am serving – other than the Bishop and the Ward Mission Leader.
So many missionaries are brand new in the mission. Here in Germany, we have to get over that language hump first. Some are brand new in the church: never went to primary, seminary, young men’s or young women’s. Be patient. They are learning too. In a Ward Family, we should know the names and needs of all the members, regardless of calling in the Ward. The missionaries are also a part of that. They need you and we need the elders and sisters who serve the Lord 24/7. Be a friend. Make it so that you will remember their name ad who they are in five, ten years.
I believe in the power of goals. Set a goal to move forward, to do more, and talk more. In the Germany Berlin Mission, we live in crescendo! Always more, always better, always greater, always louder!!!
Maybe you won’t reach your goal. It is completely possible that, as a mission, we will not see 125 baptisms before December 31st. But think of the increased number of people who DID find the gospel, who would not if we hadn’t set our expectations so much higher. Think of the person who YOU want to become and set goals and then planswhich will help you meet those gaols.
I promise that those who do this will find an added measure of strength and support, more conversion to the gospel and a stronger testimony of those things which we already know to be true.
Just as the ward mission leader and the full-time missionaries are ready to help you, so is the Lord always prepared to help you. Test him!
(You carry around your own pass along cards by clicking on the highlighted link above).