5 Things Missionaries Wish Church Members Knew

 

As an LDS missionary in the Manchester New Hampshire Mission, I often had things I wanted to tell the members, but I did not. I thought maybe it was only my feelings or my mission. But in the 19 months since I got home I’ve had the chance to talk and work with missionaries in North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and California, and elsewhere. After talking with countless returned missionaries, I found most of us feel the same. Here is what a lot of us feel… Spoiler, we feel a lot like you do!

 

  • Member meals are not about the food. 

 

It’s not about the food. Trust us, we like the food, and I’d never pass up a good homemade meal. But it is feeling wanted and loved by the members that we need, it feeds our spirit, and yours! When we knock doors all day, and get rejected time and time again, we get discouraged. But when we go to church and no wants us to come over, we feel rejected by our own church (members).

When people ask us to come over, it also renews us and inspires us to keep trying. Feeling your love eases our stress and fears.
Let us come over to your house, and we can all feast on the Gospel together!

 

  • Sharing the Gospel scared us to death

 

Just because we have a name tag does not mean it’s easy to share the gospel. A lot of us have anxiety, and it is awkward for us to talk to people, we’re just like you. We’ve been set apart to do it, but blindly knocking on a door is very difficult and awkward! It took most of us a long time to overcome our fears.
Let us help you overcome your fear!

 

  • We really just want to help people

 

We really just want to help people, it does not matter how we do it, we just want to feel effective. When I was serving in Ellsworth Maine one of the families we were teaching got told a bunch of nasty lies about the church and missionaries in general. They told us they did not want us to come over ever again.

This family was having a house built for them by the Habitat For Humanity, and every Saturday morning we had been helping build their house. We still loved this family and wanted to serve them, even if they hated us. So after this happened we still went every Saturday to help build their house. Because of this, the other people helping build the house were shocked! Why did we still come even though they did not like us. It’s simple, we wanted to help them because we loved them.
Let us get to know, and love your friends!

"Many of you have a deep desire to help people in need. Because we follow Jesus Christ, Latter-day Saints are also compelled by that insatiable urge." President Russell M. Nelson

“Many of you have a deep desire to help people in need. Because we follow Jesus Christ, Latter-day Saints are also compelled by that insatiable urge.” President Russell M. Nelson

 

  • We don’t want to be “That missionary”. 

 

If you’ve been a member for any length of time you’ve run into “that missionary”…. The one that just left a bad taste in your mouth, maybe he was overly assertive, or was too bold, or maybe just rude. The fact is it just happens and is part of the missionary cycle, there are awesome missionaries, and then not so awesome missionaries.

Most of us don’t want to be “that missionary” we want to earn your trust and feel like we helped someone. And if we are “that missionary” don’t hold it against other missionaries. Nothing is more frustrating as a missionary than the assignment to “clean up an area” aka try to repair the damage another missionary has caused.
PLEASE Let us earn your trust, and give us a chance even if you’ve had a bad experience before.

 

  • We don’t want to get trunky, you can help us. 

 

Before my mission, I had set a goal that I did not want to get “trunky” on my mission. It is naturally hard to do, but it is not helpful when members or missionaries are constantly counting down the days till we go home. We don’t need to be reminded of when we are going home, even if you’re just “teasing” it is hard on us. We want to serve the Lord with our whole heart, and you can you have a huge effect on either making or breaking us.

The cover photo for this article was taken the day before I finished my mission, I am on the right, and my last companion on the left. When I first arrived in Cornish Maine I told Elder Millis I don’t want to get trunky, he said he would help me. For the next three months, he supported me and we were able to give the Lord our whole heart. The morning I went home as we were preparing for transfer meeting he told me. “Wow, you did not get trunky.” Members and Missionaries can make the difference.
Help us to endure to the end, please don’t try to make us trunky.

 

Conclusion

 

Missionaries are people too! We’ve had to overcome a lot of fears to be serving a mission. We long to feel valued by the ward/branches we are in. When we feel loved we work far harder, and we are happy.

15 thoughts on “5 Things Missionaries Wish Church Members Knew

  1. Hello missionary, I’ll start by saying how proud I am of the courage you have shown in writing on such a sensitive yet personal topic. I’m fairly a new convert just about 18 months. I was baptized on June 21, 2014. However, I have been investigating what I call today a true modern day church. I can truly say that I appreciated each time the missionary’s would come by. See I live in an upper to middle-class neighborhood mostly executives, CEOs, Educators, and Business Owners. I had met a young lady many years ago who was born in the church, and we became friends. She would say, “I always want you to know the truth”. So quite often she would ask me if I. Would like her to ask the Missionaries to come by and share the goose restoration or just to discuss conference talks with me. This is how I started having the Missionary’s come to my home. Given my challenge with my business and all the traveling, it entailed while trying to raise two children with a then spouse who didn’t want to study the Gospel of Jesus Christ it was refreshing to be able to talk freely with the missionary’s every chance I had. Even attended the enrichments activity and go to Stake meetings when my long term friend would invite me. Oh, by the way, it’s been over twenty years and her son is currently serving on a mission in Italy, he was only 2 years old when I met her family. I share this with you because I want to encourage you to never give up on your calling. There are people who really want to hear and know the truth. Keep searching knock on those doors and smile because they too want a hope and you’re that faithful face that they wished they could be. You’re not getting rejected because of who you are but because of what your examples of. Your showing up arson robes door reminds them of Jesus Christ love for a lost soul. One who may even feel like they understand and don’t want to talk with you but you can be assured that just by you thinking enough to stop at their home makes them feel pretty special. With-out you the world would never now how Christ truly loves us unconditionally. I live in North Carolina and don’t think that people are any different where you are no matter how large the house may be or type of car they drive or how much money in the bank they have. Please know we all still need the gospel to keep us grounded and to feel like we truly have a safe place.

    1. Thanks Cea, you brought tears to my eyes.
      Both my sons served in the England Manchester mission. They worked hard.
      The members were very good to them.
      Missionaries need to feel loved, their families need to know that they are being taken care of too.
      You missionaries keep up the good work. I love having the missionaries over, they bring a special Spirit with them.
      They also bring a smile to my face.

      1. We so love having the missionaries in our home as often as we can, either for dinner, or teaching investigators or my family, the spirit they bring with them is wonderful.
        You mentioned both your sons served in England Manchester Mission….who were they?? I live in the Swinton Ward of that mission, maybe we had the honour of them in our home.

  2. If number one is true why have the missionaries been no shows every single time I have signed up to feed them? It was several times and happened every single time! Not a call or anything….

    1. Because some missionaries are immature and inconsiderate. They are “that missionary” the good ones won’t do that.

    2. They are teenage boys. They forget stuff. Mission leaders forget to tell them stuff. More leftovers for you! You’ll be blessed for being willing. I hope you keep offering and I really hope some lucky missionaries get the joy you are willing to share. 🙂

    3. It is sad that you did not receive an e-mail or call to cancel. Usually, missionaries miss these appointments because they are teaching or giving service in some way. Other missionaries are not good at checking planners or entering dinner appointments in them. This is one time when the saying, “It’s not about you, it’s about me.”, is true. Sorry for your frustration.
      Clark

    4. They should have the courtesy to at least call the day before if they were not coming. I don’t know what mission you live in but if you are a single female under the age of 60 they cannot come without another male over the age of 18 in the home.
      They could come if you had another male friend in attendance.

  3. Hello there, I too served in the NHMM!!! ’09-’11. Born in haverhill, mass and died in skowhegan, me. I know exactly ever feeling you have described, I have yet to return and I long to be back with those I served. I loved each and every one of them.

  4. So if its not the food, getting them a gift certificate for Swiss Chalet is pointless, correct?

  5. I love missionaries in our home .So true it is not about the food we feed them.Trust me they are delighted to participate in a humble meal served .We love the spirit they bring in our homes and the influennce they have to young men that one day they would like to be on a mission field .Well when friends and family come to visit and the missionaries are there even better .So our home is open for these elders with their impefections …just like anybody .Mission field does not perfect them but make them better people that yesterday .

  6. I appreciate the insights share by these return missionaries. I know for a fact that a lot of it to be true. I am involved in missionary work in my ward and have experienced the same things that have been shared, however not all the missionaries are the same and have come from all different backgrounds. I know this one thing to be true. If the missionaries work hand in hand with the ward members the success is enormous and the conversion rate is much higher. The experiences that the ward members have can be shared and can be the best tools in missionary work. Sometimes our missionaries wants the focus to be on them instead of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  7. My daughter is serving In the NHMM right now. You said exactly the same thoughts she has had. Nicely done sir! A portion of her last email:
    Yesterday and today have both been good; things are starting to turn around. Oh and another thing, I keep getting more and more confirmations that you really do need to be friends with the members if you want any success as a missionary. Since Sister M. has been here and since we’ve been laughing and joking around with the members, our member meals have gone up a bunch! And we are getting more trust with the members. You know what that means?! More referrals! Which is just what we need. Sometimes it’s hard but it will be good. It’s good for everyone, plus I know coming back I have a whole ‘family’ waiting back here for me after a hard day and that’s a good feeling.

  8. One more thing – I noticed sometimes members when they are on splits don’t know when to be quiet and let the spirit work.

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