Missionary Work: Planting Seeds
Most people see religion as a part of life; I see life as part of religion.
Life is still good for many people. In my experience, this is USUALLY not the situation of the earnest seeker of God. (Of course, that is their decision to make after we invite them, not ours.)
However, it is CERTAIN that in the future, many people will not know where or who to turn to, not know where to go. They will fear for their children’s lives, and for their own. After a certain point (which will be different for everyone) they will not want to take part in what is happening in society. You might or might not be there when that happens. So how can you help someone? Plant seeds.
We were talking about natural disasters in class one day. I spoke to the children about Christian prophecies of destruction, and then in particular about the LDS/ Mormon prophecy of the destructions of New York by fire and Boston by tidal wave. (I don’t try to brainwash the children or make them believe, as a teacher.) The children were interested. I then told them: “If, one day, you are not satisfied with life, or very scared, and you see these things happen, REMEMBER today; go to church, and give it a chance.” Will they remember? Maybe, maybe not. But at least they now have the chance to remember.
I have seen many times in my life where I was not ready for something I needed the first time around, mostly because I just didn’t understand what it really was and what it could really do for me. It is true that if someone had persisted in explaining to me, I would have understood and had more interest; but at other times, not really. I think many people are the same way when it comes to religion and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some people need someone to really explain it to them, and some people need time.
And then hey, I’ll be honest. I usually don’t go to the dentist until my tooth hurts! Yes, I even KNOW I should go earlier, and I’m getting better at it, but… So I understand a little when people don’t take the gospel the first time around–or second, or third, or until their wife yells at them… Even when maybe they KNOW that it’s what they need.
You never know when something might happen for someone. On my mission, we were teaching a group of seven friends. I had ranked them as to how I would invite them, with the most likely at the beginning, down on to the least likely. Well, the first six rejected an invitation to be baptized, but hey, I persisted to the end! The last woman had this… kind of weird smile/ look on her face, and didn’t say anything. Ok… Well, a few days later, we got a call from her–she wanted to get baptized. Go figure, huh? The other six? Maybe their time was right, and they rejected the chance. On the other hand, MAYBE their time wasn’t right, but one day when it is right, they will accept it, and these experiences will have helped prepare them for it.
So, please don’t give up on missionary work, and especially don’t give up on family and friends. “No” means “no”–when it’s given. Things can change, and people can change. IIRC, a few weeks ago the stake relief society president gave a talk about her husband getting baptized after 50 years of marriage. So plant seeds, and give them time to grow–whether it’s an immediate harvest, or if they need years and years to mature. You’d be surprised how sometimes they can grow on their own without your constant care, too.