I believe I live a fairly sheltered life. If I experience violence or evil it is because I may have invited it into my life through various media forms. Most of the people I associate with are members of the church. Lately, I've ventured out and have been rubbing elbows with many who do not believe or live as I choose too.
I have found that Elder Perry is right. "There will always be those who will distort the truth and deliberately misrepresent the teachings of the Church. But the majority of those with questions about the Church simply want to understand."
It is scary to share the gospel sometimes. When I was a teen, a friend met with the missionaries and joined the church. After we graduated and went off to college, she left the church and it's teachings. I felt bad. I worried that I had complicated her life by introducing her to the gospel. I worried that I was somehow responsible for her and that now she was accountable for far more than she understood.
Eventually, I understood that she was responsible for herself and I was responsible for myself and that sharing was in no way a bad thing. Eventually, I started feeling the need to have a missionary heart again.
This past week I've struggled with my desire to have a missionary heart. My greatest missionary effort right now is my son. I desperately want him to understand the Plan and to remember what I know he once knew and felt.
For the past couple of years we have had the missionaries over every Tuesday for lunch. It has been my attempt to get a gospel message into the heart of my son. I often leave them all be, finding things to do around the house, hoping that the visit becomes more about Chad and less about what mom thinks.
In those two years Chad has connected with only 2 missionaries... one went home for personal reasons and although he did come back for a visit, stopped all communication with our family, and the other was recently transferred.
Last week, one of the current missionaries made a comment that our family only liked Elder G. because he didn't follow the rules.
McKay was quick on her feet. "No, we love him because he loved my brother. At least he took the time to get to know him and doesn't only see him as a number."
It is true that since Elder G. has left, the current missionaries have cancelled most lunches and act as though it is bad to visit. I feel they fail to see Chad as someone worthy of their time. It's as if he doesn't get counted because he isn't ready to return to church. Chad feels their attitude and now goes into my room or his when the missionaries come. They seem to have no interest in him and he has no interest in them.
To the new missionaries credit, he did say, in response to McKay, "I guess someone needs to work harder."
"And it's not us." said McKay.
The missionary did get up and go over to Chad and talked to him about the football game Chad had refused to leave when the missionaries came for dinner.
I wish I could write to the mission president and tell him that Elder G. didn't brake rules. He shared the gospel. He loved Chad. He never left my house without finding a way to share a gospel principle in a way that Chad would listen. Elder G. was a great missionary and the rumors that he wasn't has only damaged the already fragile relationship my son has with church members.
It makes me sad.
I do fear bringing friends to the missionaries when my most important "investigator" feels more like a number and less like a person.
I will just have to overcome this fear. Elder Perry said, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth our fear" (1 John 4:18).
I can follow the example of Elder G. and the suggestions of Elder Perry:
1. Be bold in declaring my believe in Jesus Christ. I can press forward. I can work hard. I can feast.
2. I can be an example of one who loves others, despite their shortcomings. I can let my light shine. I can be an example of goodness and virtue.
3. I can speak up about the church.
I did go to Mormon.org and I did fill out a profile. I don't think anyone would ever click on it... but I did it and we will see what happens... and I will feed the missionaries on Tuesday in the hopes that somehow Chad will be able to make friends with them and be willing to listen to a lesson here and there.