How to be sensitive in your efforts as a member-missionary

While many members of the Church would like to be member missionaries, many are afraid of doing missionary work. We may be afraid of offending someone, or we are afraid of being "pushy." We do not want our non-member friends and neighbors to feel that we do not accept them as they are.

I would suggest the following:- Be an example. Live gospel principles. Accept your friends and neighbors as they are. Say hello to them often, and stop and visit whenever possible. Send over a plate of cookies occasionally, and help them when they have needs. Be good neighbors to them.

  • Build a good friendship. Do not worry about whether they will ever join the Church, but build a friendship for friendship's sake. You will be amazed at the opportunities that will come up during ordinary conversations where you can express your beliefs and feelings. This usually occurs after you have become good friends.
  • Invite your friends to family occasions, such as baptisms and baby blessings. Invite them to informal Church activities and programs where they will not feel threatened. Help them and their children to feel accepted in the neighborhood, if you live in a predominantly LDS area.
  • Do not underestimate the power of prayer. When you don't have the courage to do anything more, then pray for your non-member friends and family members. Pray for the Lord to soften your friends' hearts. Pray for guidance. Would you like to give them a Book of Mormon, but are uncertain about it? Pray about it. Your Heavenly Father knows their hearts – and yours. He will not lead you astray.
  • Follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Trust the impressions you receive. Remember, the Lord does not send angels to every person who is searching for truth. He relies on us to share the gospel, thereby answering the prayers of His children as we are impressed to do so. – Kathy Wright, Sandy, Utah

How we did it:

Pure love, caring

As a ward mission leader and as director of training at the Missionary Training Center, I have noticed the following items as being invaluable to successful member-missionary work:

  • A personal commitment to the Lord not to engage in "bashing," meaning debating scriptural and/or doctrinal points.
  • A non-judgmental attitude of others and a sacred respect for them as children of our Heavenly Father.
  • A willingness to listen to non-members share their thoughts and their understanding of the gospel without trying to quickly respond and give them ready made answers of "how it really is."
  • A recognition that missionary work is a consistent, diligent work of pure love and caring that requires more than a one-time approach.
  • An understanding that we daily plant seeds by our actions and words, which must be consistent with our message.
  • A heart-felt and sincere testimony borne under the influence of the Spirit. – Tony Strickland, Fort Worth, Texas

Sincere service

One thing I have learned is that serving our non-member friends and relatives often leads to opportunities to share the gospel with them. As recipients of sincere, loving service, non-members can feel the Spirit, and their minds and hearts are often prepared for discussions of gospel truths.

As they become more open, we can then plan opportunities to share with them. It helps to share in an environment conducive to the Spirit. Family home evenings, visits to Church sites or simply quiet visits alone are good. We should share specific ways the restored gospel has blessed us personally and invite those we care about to learn more.

With all of this, however, prayer seems to be most important. We should always remember to invite the Lord's help. We should believe that He will help us, since He is more than willing to bless us and use us as instruments in His hands. These are our Father in Heaven's children, and He wants them to be happy.

Finally, I have learned that we should have the courage to follow whatever promptings come. These promptings may not be exactly what we expect or want, but as we follow them we will be blessed, and miracles will happen. – S. Shane Littlefield, Springville, Utah

Basic principles

To be good member missionaries and find enthusiasm and excitement in missionary work, my wife and I always seek to live the basic principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. These are so important for people to hear about and to see in our daily lives.

Study and live the basic principles well, then pray to Father in Heaven that you may be able to find those who are ready to hear the truthfulness of the gospel. – John and Charlotte Hopkins, Kansas City, Kan.

Pray for help

Pray to have a sincere desire to be an enthusiastic member missionary. Enthusiasm can come to a person by the power of the Holy Ghost. The ability to develop the art of sensitivity will follow, which will develop the art of listening.

When we listen to people about their needs, we find they become interested in us because of our concern. A two-way enthusiastic conversation usually follows because of our interest in each other. The opportunity has arrived to enthusiastically ask a most-important question, "Have you ever heard of the Book of Mormon?"

If not, tell them about it. If yes, you then tell them where to find the instructions of how to read the book and how they will know through the power of Holy Ghost that the book is true – Moro. 10:3-5.

Imagine if there were 10 additional enthusiastic member missionaries in each ward or branch of the Church how the missionary work would increase. – John B. De La Mare, Blackfoot, Idaho

Be humble

  • Prayerfully select a non-member or less-active family or person. Study your scriptures diligently so you will be prepared to answer questions.
  • Be humble so the Holy Ghost can prompt you. Love the work and the people; investigators will know if you're sincere.
  • Remember that we are often planting seeds and may not see the fruit immediately, if ever.
  • Teach by example. If you're happy and peaceful, people will seek what you have. "Use boldness, but not overbearance, and also see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness." (Alma 38: 12.)
  • Use your talents. Share a poem, song, fresh bread, a flower or just a kind word.
  • Don't be offended by a "no"; gently try again, or just leave an open invitation for Church services and activities. – Becky Robinette Wright, Richmond, Va.

How to checklist:

  1. Pray for the Spirit, guidance; live gospel, be good example.
  1. Build sincere friendship; share talents, offer service.
  1. Don't judge; be willing to listen to others' beliefs.
  1. Include non-LDS in Church, family activities.

Write to us:

Sept. 9 "How to find positive direction, focus in your life."

Sept. 16 "How to overcome obstacles to meaningful Church activity as a new member."

Sept. 23 "How to forgive a child for the heartache caused by rebelliousness."

Sept. 30 "How to encourage participation in Church classes."

Oct. 14 "How to benefit from stake conference as an individual and/or as a family."

Oct. 21 "How to overcome discouragement while serving a full-time mission."

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