We were in the midst of one of the worst droughts we’ve had in 50 years.
Kind of going along with the drought, there was not much progress going on in the missionary effort in our stake. I know for our ward, we had not had a convert baptism in three years.
We were concerned as a presidency about what was happening, and we counseled together. So we sent a letter out, asking the members to join together in a fast for missionary work and for the drought.
We received this letter, and the entire stake and other stakes around us fasted, and the missionary work immediately started to pick up.
The floodgates kind of opened up, and everybody was getting involved.
Elder Bowen of the Seventy came to this area and offered missionary training. One of the first comments that he made was, “Full-time missionaries in your ward or branch are simply there to assist you in the missionary work.”
It’s our job as members of the Church to actively be engaged in the work and to invite our friends and family to church.
It can’t happen without either the full-time missionaries or the members being engaged in it. That’s kind of our goal, is to get those ward mission leaders and the ward council really the ones that are driving that, not the full-time missionaries.
The ward mission leader role is to meet with the bishop and with the ward council and to formulate a ward mission plan and then to try and carry out that plan, which is to help the members find and fellowship people for the full-time missionaries to teach.
The only thing that I try to do, along with my assistant ward mission leader and the missionaries, is try to keep the missionaries’ calendar full. Since this whole missionary effort has taken off over the past year, we went from averaging two, three, four lessons taught with member presence per week to 10 to 12. A few months ago we were averaging 14 to 16, and now our goal is 20 lessons taught per week with a member present.
As I sit back and look at this transformation in our ward and within our stake, it’s really easy to see two main aspects that led to this missionary effort exploding, and that’s members being involved in the missionary effort and then extending the invitation to attend church or to meet with the missionaries. So I’m just helping my family and every other family in the ward come up with opportunities to share the gospel with other people.
I’m Trish Gauvin. This is Mark Gauvin.
We were baptized January 26, 2013.
It was the perfect story of member missionary work. We had one family that became friends with them; they introduced them to another family. Their kids met other kids in our ward, and they became friends.
I believe that God placed a lot of members of the Church in our lives for a purpose.
And that led to more serious discussions with the missionaries, and they started to attend church on a more regular basis.
I saw just how the gospel is working in their lives and how they are just lights.
It’s important for our members to get to know our missionaries and our missionaries to get to know our members. But even more importantly, it’s crucial for our members to get to know our investigators and start fellowshipping them.
It puts you at ease when you learn and you meet people like that because you can just feel free to ask. You can feel free to explore and learn something that you don’t know. There’s no judgment.
To me I felt a lot like Joseph Smith as I went to church after church after church. It never felt like there’s something so big missing, and I never found it. This fits. It fits my family; it fits my life.
This drought or stagnant period of missionary work in this area has clearly ended, and it’s just building momentum day by day. And I don’t see it subsiding any time soon.
This is the great work of the latter days. This is the reason why we’re here, to gather Israel. And for me and for all members of the Church, it’s our responsibility to share the gospel with as many people as we can.