Learning to Convert: Building Trust

Your missionary says they are unable to find anyone who wants to convert.  They don’t know how to find the right people and baptize (2 of 2).

What would happen if every missionary spent every hour at church on Sunday--in the hallways, in the classrooms, in the parking lot--absolutely focused on helping every member increase their testimony of Christ?  Would the number of baptisms would go up?

How could a missionary do such a thing?  Some ideas come to mind.  That missionary would first have to stop thinking about himself as a teenager.  He would have to see himself as an emissary of Jesus Christ.  Next, he would have to prepare by thinking of how to lift conversations from their normal level to a level of spiritual meaning.  He would have to pray about both of the above and then try-fail-evaluate-try-improve-try-evaluate.  And try again. 

He would be a 24-hour missionary who was never out of role, particularly with members of the Church.  He would always show love, receive revelation, and offer service.  He would impact the people around him and they would grow to trust such a missionary.  The missionary would go to their homes with the purpose of bringing them the Spirit, and he would lead the discussion at dinner by sharing deeply spiritual stories.  He would focus the conversation on the great topics of Jesus.  He would pray with them and bless their home and family.  He would be a welcome light.

I remember an experience in my own mission.  The first day in the mission field, a short, intense young elder walked up to the mission president and said: "What is the mission record for baptisms?"  The president said, "79."  The elder said, "Two years from now, it will be 80."  He wrote the number on the chalkboard and walked out of the office.

After a year, that intense elder were both on track to break the record.  The mission president knew that the first elder was particularly competitive, so he made sure the intense elder heard about every baptism by the second elder.  At one point, the second elder pulled ahead by several baptisms.  The mission president called the intense elder and told him he was sending him to the very worst area.  No one had had a baptism there for two years.  The missionary was unruffled; he simply went to work.  He maintained his commitment to be an extraordinary, 24-hour-hours-a-day missionary.

He was in his new area three weeks when an old Hawaiian woman walked up to him at Church and said, "Come to my house."  There she introduced him to a family of 13 people and said, "I have prepared these people for two years.  All that time I have been waiting for a missionary that I could trust.  From the moment you arrived, I could see you are a real missionary."  Three weeks later, the intense elder baptized 13 people in the worst area in the mission.

The missionaries come to our home for dinner.  They are nice.  They have a nice casual conversation and leave.  I do not remember their names.  They are nice boys and girls who deserve a meal.  But why should I remember their names?  They add no new dimension to my life.  They eat my food, read a scripture, and go home.  They do not know how or they do not dare to teach me with power.  Actually, I like it that way because my family is very busy.  Because I do not expect much from them, I might as well keep the visit short. 

When I was a missionary, I sensed this lack of connection with the members of the Church and I blamed them.  But it is not the fault of the members.  They respond in ordinary ways to ordinary stimuli.  They would respond in extraordinary ways if they were exposed to extraordinary stimuli.  The same is true of investigators.  The same is true of companions.

The answer is not a program or a particular discussion.  The answer is an attitude, a way of being.  I am talking about becoming a person of Christ-like power.  When Christ went to someone's home, what happened?  He taught them with power.  People were anxious for Him to come to their home.  Could a nineteen-year-old do that?  No, a normal nineteen-year-old could not do that.  But a servant of Christ--of any age--could do that.

I do not want my precious contacts wasted by turning them over to some elder who just happens to be around.  I want a spiritual giant and a great teacher.  I want a 24-hour missionary.  I want someone who is extraordinary.

 

Journal:

1.     Who in your life (child, spouse, the primary class you teach, your colleague, yourself) needs a more full conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ?

2.     Purify yourself and put 100% effort into your interactions with that person (or people) this week.

3.     Write about your insights and any results.