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
- 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.
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.