The Unconventional Missionary
Every member a missionary? I am not proud to admit that I am squirmingly uncomfortable engaging in traditional missionary efforts — handing out Book of Mormons, inviting friends to “special firesides,” committing to do “x” initiative that the missionaries/bishop/stake president ask us to commit to. So when I had to give two lessons in a row on missionary work — as the Relief Society Manual recently required that I do — I had to dig deep. This post from my past reminded me that I am not adverse to spiritual sharing – quite the contrary.
Perhaps I’m just better suited to different forms of Good-News-spreading than we typically talk about. Sometimes I feel like a missionary for interfaith marriages – (Don’t let the Proc-Talk get you down! Healthy relationships are worth celebrating! Your mom will get over it! God is Love!).
This week, when a friend was personally contacted about her ward’s mission plan, she composed this gracious and thoughtful response. My friend may be an unconventional missionary, but I am certain she is called by God to this charism of outreach. Listen in (shared with permission):
I’m so impressed with how on top of this you are! I think the ward’s missionary plan is an interesting idea, and I hope it’ll be successful.
After a rather disastrous attempt with a neighbor and missionary work a few years ago, I have made ways I can do missionary work a matter of prayer and have found ways that I believe help me and those I’m trying to help but aren’t conventional missionary ideals.
My husband and I regularly host a Mormon LGBT group at our home that supports members of the Church who are gay and are deciding how and if they want to continue to be Mormon. I work with a lot of women across the country who struggle with the way women are treated in the Church, and I continue to befriend my friends who have decided that the Church isn’t a safe or happy place for them to be, supporting them and knowing that they’ll never come back. Some of these people are in our ward boundaries, most are not. I realize many don’t consider this missionary work, but to me, showing our sisters and brothers love and acceptance, like Christ did, is the single best way we can bring others the light of the Gospel.
I feel like this is the type of missionary work I am best able to do. It doesn’t fit in particularly well with the model below, but it is a part of my daily life, and something I feel called to do.
If I can be helpful with your work in the ward, please let me know.
Her response was a balm to me, a reminder to reach out to those in pain in our ranks and help provide a soft landing, a place of rest — wherever their journey might be taking them.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on unconventional missionary work.