Hey there Neighbor,
You may have seen some of these guys around town lately.
Or maybe girls that look like this.
I'm not surprised, they seem to be everywhere these days and you are probably going to see a lot more of them in the coming months and years. This is because the number of full time missionaries for the Church has gone from somewhere around 55,000 world-wide to 70,000 and is projected to be to over 85,000 in a very short period of time. The young people in our church are choosing to go out and serve in astounding and ever increasing numbers.
These missionaries are good, honest, talented, wonderful kids. They love the Lord and are doing what He has asked. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."(Matthew 28:19) They have a glad message and they will share it with anybody who will stand still long enough to let them.
Missionaries are completely in the Lord’s service for 2 full years for the men and 18 months for young women. They put on hold schooling, jobs, dating, and all the things that others their age are doing. Their day starts at 6:30 am and ends at 10:30 pm every day of the week. They teach, proselyte, and do service projects. It is difficult and most times thankless work.
They do this willingly; they are not paid for their service. In fact, most of them worked jobs and saved before they went out to pay their way and in most cases their families and members of their home congregations are contributing to financially sustain them.
Intense sacrifice is made by the families of these missionaries; prayers are said daily and sometimes hourly for these beloved family members who are serving all over the world. “Keep them safe. Help them to find people to teach.” Mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, grandparents and friends, all of them are binding their hearts together in faith and love to ask for God’s blessing on these treasured youngsters.
So what I ask of you (my friends and neighbors who are not of my faith) is that when you see the missionaries out on their bikes, in the store, or on your doorstep please be kind to them. They know that this Gospel is not for everyone, but they want to give everyone a chance. They’ve seen it change lives, it has most likely changed theirs and so they are excited to tell you how the happiness that fills them can be yours as well.
When talking to them if you decide it is not for you then please just let them know. There is no need to be rude, call them names, or slam the door in their face. There is no need to get angry, or try to get them to fight with you. Try to remember that these are cherished sons and daughters, both of their parents and their Father in Heaven. So I ask you to be kind.
Also, please don’t tell them that you would like to hear more if you really don’t. Don’t make an appointment with them if you aren’t going to show up and don’t pretend not to be home if you are. They can tell you are in there, I promise. Instead just politely tell them you aren’t interested and that you appreciate their effort. They can handle it and then you won’t waste their time.
I know that you are awesome and good-hearted. I see your kindness and love as we work together in our community. Please take the same care and kindness you give to others and apply it to this situation as well. And who knows, when you chat with a missionary they may be able to teach you something that you didn’t know and you may have something to offer them.
Thanks folks and I’ll see you around the neighborhood.
P.S. The examples I've used are not the case with many of my wonderful neighbors but all of these things happen to the Elders and Sisters in our area on a daily basis. Thanks to those of you who show compassion for everyone you meet regardless of who they are.