How can we be effective missionaries?
I believe with all of my heart that we are on the threshold of the most significant missionary success to date.
Our challenge is to share the joyous, eternally significant gospel with our brothers and sisters so they can find peace and happiness and exaltation.
Missionary work is not just one of the 88 keys on a piano that is occasionally played; it is a major chord in a compelling melody that needs to be played continuously throughout our lives.
With this in mind, how can we be effective missionaries?
First: Be a missionary all your life. President David O. McKay (1873–1970) taught that every member is a missionary, and it is as true today as when it was first declared.
Second: Overcome feelings of hesitancy or inadequacy.
Third: Do not be discouraged because missionary work is hard.
Fourth: Be a good example and take every opportunity to share the gospel (see 1 Timothy 4:12). It is not enough to preach the gospel. One must also live the gospel. Very often people are receptive to being taught because they have had a positive experience with a Church member.
I know one BYU graduate who is a great example. He points out that there is a mirror quality to conversation. If we talk about the weather, people respond by talking about the weather. If we talk about sports, they respond by talking about sports. This friend says he asks people he meets about their school and listens intently. After they respond by asking him about his school, he tells them about BYU and then shares his testimony of the gospel. Then, in a positive way, he offers to let them learn more from the missionaries. He has been very successful in sharing the gospel. He has also remained on excellent terms with his friends who do not respond to his challenge because he genuinely loves them and is interested in them.
I am very enthusiastic about where we are at this time in missionary work. But, as President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) always counseled the Brethren, “We can still do better.”
There are great blessings, including eternal joy, in helping to bring souls unto Christ (see D&C 18:15).
Missionary work is not just one of the 88 keys on a piano that is occasionally played; it is a major chord in a compelling melody that needs to be played continuously throughout our lives if we are to remain in harmony with our commitment to Christianity and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
My specific challenge to each of you is to make a commitment to be a missionary for the rest of your life.
If you look at your group of friends, there are many who would respond to the gospel if you would have the faith to share the message of the Restoration with them.
What we desperately need is for member-missionary work to become a way of life—for the Savior’s mandate to share the gospel to become part of who we are.
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This article originally appeared in the February 2015 New Era.