Friday, January 10, 2014

First Official Missionary Problem

          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.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Sarah, I'm one of the girls from the sisters group on Facebook. Her struggles remind me a lot of some struggles that I had before I decided to serve a mission and still have every now and then. It sounds like she just really needs to feel the Spirit burn within her again. Satan tries very hard to get us to think that our religion and things involved with it are really crazy, and without the right mindset it can seem that way. Because of the importance of the ordinances performed in the temple he will try to make you believe that you've been a part of a cult this whole time, or that you're bonkers, etc. Most people that I know have had an awful and overwhelming experience their first time through the temple. They all say the second time was the delightful and sweet one. The thing that I love the most about our religion, is that if you take a step back from the details as in what happens at the temple, or the formatting of church and look at all of it, our religion makes so much sense and offers consistency in every faction of it. This is important to remember so that you can help her to gain perspective. Help her to feel the Spirit by continuing to pray and fast for her and reminding her that she is very important to you and that she is a Child of God regardless whether she believes it or not. President Uchtdorf said, "the thing about truth is that it exists beyond belief. It is true even if nobody believes it." Find ways to bear small, noninvasive parts of your testimony to her. Show her simple acts of kindness. Most importantly pray for her. When I lost my faith in the gospel after high school, I remember that the most difficult time I had with it was that I was trying to prove the gospel objectively without the aid of our Heavenly Father and without the Spirit. I stopped believing because I got to the point that I could not feel the Spirit anymore. She needs to feel that Spirit. Pray about it and read your scriptures. You will find an answer. Also, remember that if you don't feel like you're making an impact, you still are. Satan will try and get you down, but whatever you do, you'll plant a seed and that seed will blossom, just possibly not in this life. Good luck Sister Whiting.