In your email, you mentioned that the missionaries in your ward were struggling to find investigators. We have run into similar problems here. It is very difficult to find people who are friendly enough to talk to us, let alone let us into their home. Recently there were some thugs show dressed up as LDS missionaries and robbed a man at gunpoint. People have been even more unpleasant to talk to since then (when they don’t avoid us, they can be very rude). So far every investigator that I have taught that came to use through street contacting (our own finding efforts) has dropped us after the first lesson. The really sincere investigators almost always come through members of the ward-which is difficult because traditionally, members view the role of missionaries to be the finders. The way I see it, the church is pushing more and more towards the idea that the members are the real missionaries, and the full-time missionaries are there mainly to assist in the work of the members. So far on my mission, I have found that doing service for the members of the ward can be a really effective way to gain the trust of the members, which ultimately leads to teaching opportunities (whether it means they will be more willing to give us referrals, or if they are more willing to assist us in our efforts to find and teach, or even if it simply means that the Lord will bless the ward in one way or another). I have done all kins of yard work for different members and investigators (although the most popular service has been been helping people load and unload moving vans). I have to say that I am truly grateful for all of the work that I did at home. I’m grateful that dad always made me help out with yard work and various other projects. I am also grateful that Brother Mackay involved me in his yard work and other projects. Because of those lessons that I learned, I was able to bless the lives of those whom I have met in the mission field. Anyways, I am glad to hear that dad and Tyler have been involved in reaching out to investigators. I am also glad to hear about all of the family’s involvement in missionary work. It gives me a stronger testimony that families and individuals can change. I know that I can change. I can become more open and friendly with people-perhaps even outgoing.
In regards to the topic of service and its relations to missionary work, I have this to say:
1 Corinthians 13:1
Teaching, even when it is done masterfully, can only accomplish so much. It has its limits. At the end of the day our words will fade out of the minds of our investigators like a tinkling cymbal or sounding brass. However, when we genuinely serve an individual-perhaps through the sweat of hard labor-their hearts are touched and they are forever changed. Our actions have the potential to demonstrate charity in ways that words can never truly capture. Ultimately it is our actions that bring us unto Christ. Therefore it is through our actions that others may witness Christ’s love for them. This is a plain and precious truth that I have learned.
~Elder Kyle Jensen~
Here is a link if you would like to know more about the Las Vegas robbery that he mentions in his letter: