Think of a time when you got lost. How did it feel? It’s one of the worst feelings ever! Think of the relief you felt when you finally found your way to where you needed to go. Now apply those feelings to our missions. Although many of our brothers and sisters here in New England may not be physically lost, many are lost emotionally and spiritually, hopelessly searching for meaning in their lives. We have a message that leads the lost to be found- are we taking every opportunity we have to share it??
Talking with everyone is a crucial way we do this, yet it’s one of the weaknesses in our mission. It’s understandable that it’s uncomfortable to do. To quote Preach My Gospel, “It is natural to be somewhat apprehensive about talking to people” (pg. 156). In the end, it boils down to either fear or laziness that keeps us from doing it. But, if we want to be able to, as stated in D&C 4:2, “stand blameless before God at the last day,” we must, as stated in Jacob 1:19, “…magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence.” We must jump the hurdles that prevent us from talking with everyone!
We’ve come up with three questions we can ask ourselves to help us find courage to talk to everyone.
1) Do we trust in the Lord and “…pray for the faith and strength to be more bold in opening [our] mouth?”
(PMG pg. 156-157). The Lord knows our hearts and how difficult and uncomfortable it can be, but by stepping out of our comfort zone, we allow the Comforter to step in.
2) Do we realize we have nothing to lose? This is our only chance we have to do this kind of thing! One of my favorite fortune cookies says it best- “Fear the man (or woman) who has nothing to lose.” Indeed, we have nothing to lose, only miracles to miss!
3) Are our contacts “Natural and Normal?” Do we practice making the transition from small talk to the gospel? We should ask ourselves- “If someone approached me the same way I just approached that last person, would I have said yes? Or would I have just weirded myself out?” If it’s the latter of the two, we should probably change our approach. We also must follow the counsel of Elder Holland and be “courteous, but persistent.” If we look, we’ll find opportunities every day. Whether it is giving a mormon.org card to your waiter/waitress thanking them for excellent service, or telling your bagger at the grocery store about your favorite moment in a lesson that past week, if we’ll just seek for them, we’ll find many opportunities to share the gospel daily in natural and normal ways. (See David F. Evan’s talk this last conference)
We know it’s easier to just pass people by. But as Ezra Taft Benson put it, “It’s the pursuit of easy things that make men weak.”
We’ve received a commission to find and rescue. There are people lost looking to find their way home. We know the way.
Let’s help them find it!
-Elder Esplin & Elder Baker <3