The other day at work, I had my very first experience where missionary work WAS NOT easy. Usually I feel comfortable just being open and honest about what I believe as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. But this last time, it wasn't so comfortable.
So I have this coworker. She is one of my favorite coworkers and I consider her one of my good friends. She and I get along really well and fortunately we are scheduled to have lunch together frequently. I really like her. She doesn't have the best lifestyle...and I have to ask her to watch her language from time to time...but she's really nice and very funny. Overall, she means a lot to me.
The other day I was talking to her and the conversation lead into the topic of missionary work. I told her about my choice to serve a mission and how I currently have a boyfriend who is in the mission field. I told her how proud I am of him and how extremely anxious I am to get out and be a full-time missionary as well. Well, her response was not at all what I was expecting. She sort of laughed and said she remembered "the missionary days". I asked her to explain and she told me that she used to be LDS. She was going to serve a mission, but then got married to a returned missionary in the temple instead. I'll admit, I didn't believe her at first. This sounds bad, but I just couldn't see her being LDS. So I asked her what happened. Apparently she didn't like her temple experience. She didn't understand the ordinances. She was confused and a little freaked out. And she never got that "warm, happy, peaceful" feeling that everyone says you're supposed to have there. So she left the church. Her husband divorced her. And now she's a single, working mom with 2 kids.
It made me beyond sad to hear this. I have been constantly thinking about this for the past few days. I didn't know what to say to her. My mind drew a blank! I had never thought about a situation like this. I guess I thought that I would only be dealing with people who had never heard about the church. I never thought about what I would say to a former member of the church. Now I really regret that because I want to know how to help such a dear friend.
More than anything, I want to share my testimony with this friend and help her find a way back to the joy and peace of the gospel. However, the way her attitude toward the church is set right now, she doesn't seem entirely open to hear my testimony. I spend a good portion of every day worrying about her kids and her lack of time with them. I worry about them and I don't even know them. I want to be a missionary to her. I just don't know how just yet.
Honestly I think this post is just a big giant request for help from all of you. What should I say to her? What should I do to be a better missionary to her? I don't quite understand why but I feel super responsible for her. I've felt the love that God has for her and I want her to feel it to. I feel that as a close friend and coworker to her, I should use this opportunity to be a missionary to her. It's really getting me down that I've been unable so far to share my testimony with her. If any of you have advice, I would greatly appreciate it. Until then, I think I'll just rely on prayer and scripture study to help me learn what to say.