Thursday, November 3, 2011

Being a productive missionary

It's been a few weeks since our last blog entry.  Since then transfers for Christopher have come and gone and Christopher is still in Buffalo.  That is a good thing because Christopher really likes it in Buffalo, all except for the fact that the weather is starting to turn very cold.  He and his companion are doing great there and working with a lot of good people.  Of course there are always the struggles with some of the people that they are teaching.  Things don't always workout they way that he would like them to sometimes.  But overall Christopher is doing well and progressing in many ways.  During conference one of the speakers talked about missionary work and made a comment about the old phrase "a mission is the best two years of my life".  But instead of saying that, he modified the phrase to say that his mission was the "best two years for my life".  The way he stated it by just changing one little word, really brought it home for Christopher.  He mentioned this a few weeks ago and said that he could really relate to what this conference speaker was saying.  Christopher feels exactly the same way.

Christopher has really been working on ways to be more productive as a missionary.  A few weeks ago he wrote home and told us about how he took out a huge map of Buffalo and started mapping out where all the members of the Church live.  He figured that it would be a good idea to visit these members, find out more about them and ask them if they knew their neighbors.  Then he and his companion would do some tracting in these areas and hopefully be able to find some new investigators.  Christopher told us how spending a little time up front to plan out where they were going to tract has really saved them a lot of time and allowed them to do a lot more missionary work.  All of their hard work must be paying off because Christopher told us that he and his companion have a few baptisms coming up around the first part of November. 

We hear a lot from the Church leaders how missionary work which involves working with the members of Church in the area is much more productive than just tracting alone.  Christopher talked a little bit about this in one of his recent letters.  He also talked about how there are so many people in his area that they meet everyday who could be such great members of the Church if they were just willing to listen. 
"You do everything you can, but people have to have a desire to change and help themselves.  "Progress" just isn't a desire for so many people that we talk to.  Just goes to show why member missionary work is sooooo vital! The people we need, the ones who will contribute and help build the kingdom are the hardest to find and talk to. They are the ones at work all day or at home with their families or driving by.... and worse of all, they're the ones who think they don't need what we have. If only everyone knew what we dorky kids in short sleeved white shirts had to offer them. I'm so grateful that I get to be here and have found out what it is that Christ has to offer me!"
This last week Christopher was able to return to Batavia for a mission conference.  If you remember, Batavia was the first area in which Christopher served.  Batavia basically sits right in the middle of the Rochester New York mission so many times it is a convenient place to hold a conference.  Being in the middle of the mission, most of the missionaries can get there without having to travel long distances.  Anyway, after the meeting Christopher was able to visit with someone who he had been teaching while he was serving in Batavia.  Christopher told us that this person has progressed a lot in their life and has made a lot of very positive changes.  He is hoping that someday they will be able to take the next step and be baptized a member of the Church.  He knows that they are ready, it is just a matter of taking the next step.  Meeting and getting to know people like this where the teachings of the Church has made a big difference in their lives, even though they have yet to be baptized, really make Christopher happy to be serving as a missionary.  The great thing about being on a mission is that he is able to share the gospel everyday and help others make the same kinds of changes. 

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