Rome Forum Article
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We recently read a letter written by Kevin and Nancy Duncan written to their missionaries in the Chile Santiago Mission when they were serving there. It contained some valuable information. We want to share an excerpt that we believe will help you become more effective missionaries.
“Don’t be afraid to be bold. For some, approaching a stranger and talking about religion can be a very scary experience. I know, as a new missionary, I was afraid. Overcoming fear takes some time and effort. The most effective way to gain courage and then confidence is to just dive in. A little practice will go a long way in helping you develop the courage it takes to be an effective missionary [role play]. And even if you do something wrong you will learn and grow from the experience and be better because of it.
You may not recognize it, but the Lord in His wisdom carries the message of salvation to the world through young men and women for a very unique reason. It is easier for young missionaries to be bold without being overbearing. Missionaries age 18 and up have some hidden advantages – merely because of their age. Children and teenagers look up to them and want to be just like them. Peers their own age feel a connection with them and find it easy to believe their message. Older adults don’t feel threatened or intimidated when approached or taught by 2 young adults. You can always be bold without being offensive. People expect it of missionaries. Alma’s counsel is to, “Use boldness, but not overbearance” (Alma 38:12). By the end of their mission, most missionaries learn to be bold. But it is such an advantage if you learn how to be bold early in your mission.”
When missionaries first arrive in the Italy Rome Mission, they feel a great excitement and zeal for the work. After the first, second or third transfer, that enthusiasm is replaced with the inevitable bout of homesickness and the mission is not what they expected it to be. Perhaps they experience what the Apostle Peter felt.
During the last transfer period, each of you had the opportunity to listen to a talk given by President Uchtdorf where he talked about “Fear Not”. Many of you felt a connection with the Apostle Peter—some because of your boldness and some because of your fear.
In another talk, President Uchtdorf said:
“While serving with the mortal Christ, Peter displayed both boldness and fear. Such could also be said of the missionaries serving today across the globe. It was Peter who, following his Master’s lead, walked on water. And it was Peter who became frightened by the boisterous wind and began to sink, crying out, “Lord, save me.”
“The Lord did save him, and as Peter followed Jesus he continued to show remarkable courage, mixed with a good measure of human weakness. He was always willing to take risks, to open his mouth and say what was in his heart. At times this led to blunders, but more often it led to precious learning experiences not available to those who held back.”
Peter’s human challenges are often found in missionaries.
“They arrive in the mission field brimming with confidence — in themselves, in the Lord, and in their mission president. They are ready to baptize the entire city, starting with whoever opens the first door they knock on. They will walk on water if you tell them there’s a golden investigator on the other side of the lake. And they are quite certain that they will never, ever, get discouraged or tired or fearful.”
Until they do.
“Because lurking beneath their confidence and zeal are human imperfections, inexperience, and fear,” said President Uchtdorf. “And if they are to become the kind of disciples, the kind of leaders the Lord expects, they will need to face and overcome those weaknesses, just as we all must in our individual journey of discipleship.”
“We all start out a little rough, but with some polishing and refining, with an ever-growing conviction of the Savior’s Atonement and Resurrection, we can become an effective instrument in bringing souls unto Christ.”
We encourage each of you to “bee bold” as you daily strive to overcome your fears and share the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Preach My Gospel was written to help you know how to overcome these fears.
President Uchtdorf concluded his talk with this counsel:
“As you dedicate your work and will to Him and put your worries and fears in His hands, He will make you a great and fearless witness of Him, of His gospel, and of His Church. He will make you great missionaries.”
We pray each of you will be blessed as you strive to become “great missionaries”.
We love you and pray you will “Bee the best you can bee!”
Presidente and Sorella Waddoups