Friday, May 30, 2008

Respect for Missionaries' Time

The young men and women who serve missions sacrifice 18 months-2 years of their lives. While their peers are advancing through college, earning money, and experiencing social activities, these young people are out preaching the gospel. Many have worked and saved their own money to pay for their missions and when they return from their missions, many have very little money left. Many missionaries miss out on weddings, births, and other family celebrations while they are gone.

The families of the missionaries also sacrifice. They miss out on time with their sons and daughters. A definite void is left in a family when a son or daughter leaves. Even though I was excited for my son to serve his mission, I didn’t realize how much I would miss his energy and enthusiasm. It’s been strange that he isn’t here for dinner or for FHE or even tormenting his siblings during church until they cry. Our family dynamics changed when he left and it took some time to become accustomed to his absence.

Families often help financially as well and have to sacrifice temporally to help their missionary serve.

While a missionary is out in the field his time is dedicated to serving the Lord. It is important that he spend his time appropriately so the Spirit can inspire him to find people searching for the truth.

Members of the wards or branches where the missionaries serve have a responsibility to help the missionaries stay on track and use their time wisely. Someone once said to me, “I’ll have the elders come over and weed my garden. After all, that’s why they’re here, to serve us, right?” Well, no. The missionaries are not here to plant gardens, paint members’ homes, watch movies, or hang out. While it can help investigators when missionaries do service for them, it is wrong for members to use missionaries as their own work force. Members must be careful to never infringe on missionaries’ time.

Here is the schedule that missionaries are encouraged to keep:
6:30 am Wake up
7:00 am Companion Study
8:00 am Breakfast
8:30 am Personal Study
9:30 am Proselyting
Noon Lunch
1:00 pm Proselyting
5:00 pm Dinner
6:00 pm Proselyting
9:30 pm End Proselyting; Plan
10:30 pm Go To Sleep

Most of the time is dedicated to proselyting because the whole reason we send missionaries out is to share the gospel. As members, we need to do as much as we can to encourage the missionaries serving in our wards to keep their schedule and to devote their time and efforts to finding and teaching people.

Missionaries are also asked to write to their parents once a week, contact the Mission President each week, stay within their area boundaries, to not be alone with a member of the opposite sex, to not write to people within their mission boundaries, to avoid debt, and to keep their focus solely on their mission.

The more that members living in the area can help missionaries stay focused, the more the Lord can pour out His blessings.

Return to the neighborhood.


Anna Maria Junus said...

Excellent post.

I'm always aware of this myself, so I refrain from asking the missionaries to help me.

That's what home teachers are for.

Josi said...

good summation! And a good reminder of how we can help

Candace E. Salima said...

Interesting. In our mission the mission president encouraged the missionaries to do service projects once a week. If there is not an investigator to serve then they are to find a member to serve. The mission president found that in having the missionaries do service projects once a week that more people invited the missionaries in, more baptisms were performed and greater missionary work occurred. Of course, they were not to go overboard, nor were they to allow themselves be abused.

Also interesting, the two times the missionaries helped us, they wouldn't let me lift a finger to help. Very frustrating, but they had strict rules.