by Marisa Whittaker Humphrey
If you discovered the secret to perfect health, you would, of course, tell everyone. You’d share the good news on radio, television, and anywhere else you could find, right? Well, there is a remedy to cure hopelessness, despair, and the lack of direction so many people suffer from. Read on, and get some ideas on how to spread the best news in town.
Keep it simple
Before you can share the gospel with others, you must know the basics yourself. Read your scriptures, study and learn as much as you can in church and at seminary.
Giving service is a great way to share the gospel by example. Offer to tutor a friend at school in a subject he is having a hard time with, carry someone’s books, or help a friend with a chore. Remember, service should be motivated by love and given regardless of whether or not a person is interested in the Church.
Invite your nonmember friends to Church activities and expose them to a wholesome, fun environment where positive peer influence abounds.
Enthusiasm counts! Make your excitement for the gospel evident in all that you do.
Share with a friend
Be a true friend. Many people have never had a friend before, so take the time to take an interest in what others do, whether or not they want to learn more about the Church.
Sharing the gospel can help you learn more about it, too. When friends ask questions about the church, you can make it a learning experience for both of you. Invite them to seminary or church, or read the scriptures together.
Be concerned for the welfare of others. Make a list of the blessings that have come as a result of having the gospel in your life and use it to recommit yourself to missionary work.
Elevate others with a positive attitude! If friends at school see that little things don’t get you down, they’re bound to be impressed. They may even ask why you are always so happy. What an easy answer to share!
Do your best
Include your friends in activities at your home. Invite them over for a barbecue in the backyard. Play badminton or volleyball together, and give a short lesson on communicating as a family.
Do a good deed. Mow your neighbor’s lawn for free for a month. People are impressed by others who are sincere and unselfish.
You’ve got nothing to lose. Keep loving and fellowshipping your friends. You will not lose their friendship. They will respect you for sharing things that are important to you.
Plan a missionary fireside. Have everyone invite a nonmember friend and have the full-time missionaries show a Church video. Don’t forget to follow up with a Book of Mormon and a personal appointment with the missionaries.
Speak up! The Lord tells us in Doctrine and Covenants 33:8 to “Open your mouths and they shall be filled, and you shall become even as Nephi of old.” [D&C 33:8] Nothing will happen if you don’t speak up. If you do, Heavenly Father will help you know what to say.
Youth in the Carlsbad New Mexico Ward knew that participating in their town’s “True Love Waits” program would be a good experience. What they didn’t know was that the experience would give them a chance to let people know the Mormons really are Christians.
The program, which is sponsored by several Christian denominations around the country, is a day of workshops on moral cleanliness. Participants spend the day learning how to avoid peer pressure and stay involved in activities that are wholesome and uplifting.
“It was really great, and everyone felt comfortable because the people were nice,” says 16-year-old Janell Buttrey.
Although the program doesn’t focus on specific religious beliefs, Janell said that the fact that LDS youth were participating was beneficial.
“I think communication is better because now the other kids know that we’re Christians. It has brought us closer together.”
Taking a stand wasn’t easy for Sarah Koyle, a Laurel who lives in Rancho Cucamonga, California, but she knew it was the right thing to do. When a teacher at her school showed a movie that Sarah felt was inappropriate, she made her opinion known.
After Sarah’s bold move, there was little room for doubt by her peers as to what Sarah believed was right. Then a local newspaper interviewed Sarah about her stand on R-rated movies. Again, Sarah was able to voice her opinions without reservation.
Was all the attention worth it, especially when Sarah seemed to be the only one who felt that the movies were wrong?
“If I were given the chance, I would definitely do this again,” says Sarah. “Standing for the prophet’s words is something I can’t do enough of. It wasn’t easy, but it was right.”
Young Men in the Rocklin California Stake all had a chance to learn about being a missionary during workshops taught by their leaders at the stake center. Their activity included unusual dinner plans, including eating stew and salad with chopsticks. Missionaries need to be prepared for anything, right? The young men also learned about other mission activities, including tracting, teaching, and sharing testimonies.
Youth in Orem, Utah, and many of the surrounding areas met for a kind of spiritual “pep rally” to get them excited about missionary work. The program featured three workshops on mission preparedness and a missionary fireside.
The meetings gave the youth a chance to come together and talk about missionary service, now and in the future.
“I learned about serving others tonight,” says 14-year-old Amy Walker. “A full-time mission is a way off for me, but I can be a missionary now.”
Friends Tamara Hendriksen, Julie Garrett, and Lynnley Jones agree.
“I want to serve a mission, and this activity tonight will help me get ready,” says Lynnley.
Missionaries love lots of things—teaching investigators, attending church meetings, and going to baptisms, just to name a few. Youth in the Greenwood Village Ward, Willow Creek Colorado Stake, also know another thing that missionaries love—letters! Every year the ward has a short program in which the families of missionaries in the ward tell where “their” missionary is serving and how he or she is doing. Following the program, each family sets up a table with pictures of the missionary and lots of pens, paper, and cards to write to each missionary.
“I like hearing about what’s going on in the missionaries’ lives,” says 12-year-old Ashley Perry. “It helps me feel like I know them.”
Scott and Brodie Te Hira didn’t know that they were being taught about the gospel by their friends—at least, not at first. They just knew they were getting together with friends in the Cairns, Australia, area to participate in a dance program every Friday night. The group performs free of charge for tourists in the area.
In order to participate, dancers must pledge to stay drug and alcohol free. Scott and Brodie liked the spirit they felt among the dancers so well (many of them are LDS) that they started to ask questions. The rest, as they say, is history.
Scott and Brodie aren’t the only ones who have joined the Church as a result of their participation. Sisters Kelly and Lisa Bell, as well as four others, have now joined the Church.
Kim Frantz and her parents, of Hayden, Idaho, did “missionary work” of a different sort on their last “vacation.” They helped at Mother Teresa’s adoption center in Calcutta, India, feeding, diapering, and playing with the children there. They also helped LDS missionaries teach English lessons to street children.
“It’s sort of a break for those kids to come learn English,” says Kim. “After they’re done, they go back out to the streets again.”
The highlight of the trip, Kim says, was meeting Mother Teresa herself.
“She’s such a small little lady, and she’s working to make simple changes for the people. I won’t ever forget her,” says Kim.
by Judith Rasband
Feeling a little unprepared in the social graces? Want to know how to make a good impression as a missionary? Read on.
Whoever reaches the door first or is less burdened by bags or boxes should open the door.
Be gracious when someone opens the door for you. Say thanks.
Always make introductions at the beginning of a meeting or gathering. It helps people feel more comfortable.
Learn the appropriate greeting (handshake, bow, etc.) for the country you live in; then use it with confidence.
Be liberal with praise and thanks of others.
When appropriate or requested, give constructive suggestions, and always in private.
Don’t engage in gossip about anyone.
Stand to show respect to someone entering a room.
Don’t bite your nails, play with your hair, etc.
Still nervous? Manners are all about being considerate of the feelings of others. Remember that, and you can’t go too far wrong.