The last few months have brought unprecedented changes to missionary work. We have moved many missionaries home, as other missionaries have stayed in their missions. Throughout this time, I have received hundreds of messages from missionaries who attend MTC at home, or serve in their mission under challenging COVID-19 circumstances. They share with me how they focus on the things they can do and not so much on what they cannot. They learn to be happy under any circumstance. Some of them don’t even have smart phones or WiFi access and still they connect with others socially and help spread the gospel message of hope and peace.
As I reflect upon what has happened and look to the future, I like to consider the question “What can we learn from this?” I feel that the Lord has lessons in store for each of us in these difficult times.
Social Media and Technology
We are continuing to learn of the immense good that comes from the righteous and intentional use of technology. Sometimes we think of the Internet and social media as an enemy because there can be so much negativity there. However, the Internet can be a friend to us when we use it correctly.
We may seek personal revelation from heaven for ways we can use technology to connect with others during this time. We have many success stories of missionaries who have used technology to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in extraordinary ways! We should seek to use these tools to fulfill the great commission from our Savior: “That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world,” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:23).
Our goal for the future is to continue to learn and become better at using the Internet to proclaim the gospel and to bless God’s children. It is through our everyday actions—including our social media interactions—that we invite others to come and see, come and help, and come and belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I testify that the Lord will guide us as we seek His guidance on how to use technology to share His gospel in normal and natural ways.
The Power of Communication
It has been a great blessing to see missionaries regularly communicate with their families. Through all of this, we have watched families, missionaries, and leaders around the globe stand together and support one another. This communication has helped missionaries and their families lift each other up during this difficult time. Rather than focusing on things outside of their control, missionaries and their families have focused on what they can change and control within their own circumstances.
We can learn from this for our future. The Lord teaches us, “I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine,” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:27). This experience has further testified to me that if we are united—if we do things together, with the help of the Lord—we will triumph!
The future of missionary work is bright. We are learning much and the Lord has lessons in store for all of us as we seek to hear Him and find new ways to share His gospel. Now, is our turn to make the best we can out of this. I hope that we will not yearn to move back to something that didn’t work well in our lives before COVID-19, but rather look to the future with hope. May we each use this time to become more refined, edified, empowered, and refreshed to move forward.
Harriet and I love our missionaries and we love and we pray for all you families who support them by staying close to them spiritually and socially.
Stories from Missionaries During COVID-19
I hear of many amazing experiences from missionaries around the globe. They stay happy by sharing the gospel message in new and wonderful ways. There is much we can learn from them. Please see a couple of these examples to the right.