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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Who should you approach FIRST?

Every once in a while, missionary work comes up in a Sacrament meeting talk or a Sunday School lesson. Now if you're like me, the first thing you think is, "Well, I would help, but I can't think of anyone to talk to" Now, for me, that is usually true. We've moved pretty frequently, I don't work outside the home, I have a newborn baby, I homeschool, and I've never had the greatest luck in moving next to amiable neighbors. So, aside from relatives, do I know anyone in the area outside the church? Not really. Its not that I'm trying to be exclusive, its just that I'm kind of a home-body at this stage in my life.

Even if you do work outside the home, or volunteer, its not always appropriate to directly speak to people in those situations about our beliefs. Or maybe you feel uncomfortable doing so. Or maybe you've already tried and didn't receive what you'd consider a warm response! According to the Church Handbook of Instructions, one of the responsibilities of a ward missionary is finding people to teach. Seriously- don't panic! It will be okay - I've got a very, VERY EASY idea for you...

Are a visiting teacher or home teacher? I'm guessing you probably are. (If you aren't, call your RS President or EQ President RIGHT NOW and tell them that you want to be! There are never enough visiting/home teachers to go around and there are so many families that could really use a visit!). If you have a visiting/home teaching route, you're most likely assigned at least one less-active or part-member family. Am I right?

Did you know that the full-time missionaries often contact less-active members and part-member families? These members are some of the best resources for finding people to teach. Why do you suppose that is? These families are almost always a source of new investigators because they usually have non-member family members who are already somewhat familiar with the church and probably know other members. Because of their previous contact with the church, they are much more likely to be receptive to learning more or taking the next step (attending church, baptism, receiving the priesthood, temple ordinances, etc)

This same concept can work in a similar way for ward missionaries. I typically have had 2 or 3 sisters on my visiting teaching route that are less-active. For me, contacting these sisters is less intimidating than approaching a non-member neighbor or co-worker, since I know that they already have a history with the church. Their involvement may range from "hasn't been to church in 40 years because she was offended" to "wants to come to church but needs ride." At least I know (I tell myself as I'm dialing the number of a sister I don't know) they haven't requested that their name be removed from the church records, so thats a "positive"! Don't be scared to contact these less-active sisters / families. Everyone needs a friend in the church and you may be the only one who's ever been willing to reach out and try.

Everyone needs a friend. Being a friend is a really big part of missionary work. When we have something incredible in our lives, we naturally want to share that with others. Christ is the ultimate example of friendship. He is an unconditional friend to us and He invites us to follow Him. Lets follow His example - Contacting your visiting / home teaching families is a great (and easy!) way to start!

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