Today in my personal study I felt a wonderful calm and distinct impression that God is pleased with my labors here :) trust me, there are few feelings better than that. In fact I believe that having that feeling is the only thing that truly gives peace of mind and lasting happiness... the knowledge God is pleased with you and that you are living in harmony with His laws is priceless.
The other day I was in finishing an interchange with a great missionary in our zone and during the companionship study he shared with me some of his struggles, stresses, and feelings of inadequacy. He's a wonderful missionary with a pure heart, deep love and passion for the Lord's work, very obedient, hard working, happy, service oriented, and righteous. He's just has a hard time being organized and remembering all the things he has to do such as appointments, copies of the progress report, give daily follow up, send the goals, etc. etc. and whenever he forgets something or doesn't do something just right he gets a little down on himself. He was very frustrated that morning and shared with me that he feels like he's letting the Lord down and failing when he forgets something or something goes wrong. I kindly listened and felt a prompting to read pages 10-11 in PME [Preach My Gospel] together about what makes a successful missionary. We each read different parts and analyzed it together and I helped him see how much of an awesome missionary he was citing specific examples of things he does great. Then there was a very special moment when we read the following part of PME 11, "When you have done your very best, you may still experience disappointments, but you will not be disappointed in yourself. You can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when you feel the Spirit working through you." Tears started to stream gently down his cheeks as he read those words. He finished reading. I waited a few seconds and then quietly asked him, "Elder have you felt the Spirit working through you?" He looked up and with tears in his eyes and a smile on his face said confidently, "Yes." The Spirit filled the room. I told him how much I loved him and how grateful I was for his great service and how I happy I was to work side by side with him.
These are the moments that one remembers and treasures from the mission. This missionary and his companion are both very new and very inexperienced and one of them is just starting the mission and hardly speaks Spanish.... yet they were the sector with the most baptisms and investigators in the church each week. They baptized 10 in the month and week after week after week they brought 15, 12, 14 investigators to Church. Stunned, my companion and I asked ourselves how is this happening? We had thought they were going to struggle and couldn't believe nor understand how they were having such great results when they barely knew how to use the daily planner, area book, etc, and barely knew the language!!! The following Scriptures came to mind.
- 1 Corinthians 1:27
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
- Doctrine and Covenants 133:59
59 And by the weak things of the earth the Lord shall thresh the nations by the power of his Spirit.
Now don't misunderstand here. I'm not wanting to offend those missionaries saying they are foolish or weak, just that the principle really applies here that many times it isn't the smartest, strongest, or the fastest that wins the race its the one who is most persistent, full of love, full of faith, and trusts in the Lord. Those two missionaries are a living example of that to me and their example of love, passion, and dedication to the work inspire me :)
With the call of the Prophet asking us to go to the rescue, we as missionaries have been focusing much more on reactivating less actives as well as baptizing. The prophetic promise is that the more we rescue the more we'll baptize and its really true because the less actives always have more friends who aren't members and thus better referrals and thus two birds with one stone and a fuller chapel, happy Bishop, happy missionaries, and happy everyone. In this process of rescuing less actives I have realized that there are many members who don't how to treat and help the less actives as they return. Many members will make a joke when the less actives come back like, "Ooohh wow long time no see" "What happened to you?" "Did you forget how to get here?" or lots of other foolish comments that generally aren't intended to be hurtful but truly make the poor less active member feel very uncomfortable. Others will just coldly walk by and won't reach out to say hi, shake their hand give them a hug, and help them feel welcome.
Being a good member missionary includes doing visits with the missionaries, giving referrals, sharing the gospel with your friends, etc. but it also means helping the less actives come back. Remember that the worth of ALL souls is great in the eyes of God and we as members can do a much better job in helping come back, feel our love, and STAY back. I have witnessed and sadly been a part of less actives coming back but then being offended and leaving again...how sad. We need to do better. Don't say wow how long time no see or anything of the sort to make them feel bad just give them a big sincere smile and tell them welcome, its great to see you :) show them your love. That is really all they need. The majority of the less actives still have their testimony they've just forgotten who they are or have been distracted or forgotten what they're priorities are. Let us do our part to help them remember how important they are and follow the Prophet's invitation to go to the rescue :)
I lovingly encourage all to study and apply the Prophet's talk "Our Responsibility to Rescue" from October 2013.
May the Lord bless us all in this effort.