First thought after my day with the missionaries

Just finished my day with the missionaries and got back to my own house at about 10pm. It was a very interesting day, after never having served a mission to be able to see it from behind the scenes. I had some trouble with twitter, so will be fixing that up tomorrow. We’ll also try to get to any questions we weren’t able to before or questions that still might come in.

I joined this Church 7 years ago because I thought it would be good for my family. My experience today only confirmed this choice. These young men had a greater maturity, sense of organization and responsibility, and ability to work with others that I don’t see out of many people twice their age outside the Church. The work they do is incredible, they are helping others join the Church, while working to make themselves stronger members, and even set themselves up for success outside of the Church. Many youth start planning for a mission at 12 years old or younger, where many other youth or teenagers are out not sure what they want to do, and aren’t planning for anything. I want this for my daughters.

I got to see a lot of the behind the scenes interaction between the two Elders. They are both near the end of their mission, so they have been doing this for almost two years, and are very good at working together. With very few exceptions, they never get a break from each other for the months they are together. This leads to an incredible ability to work together and to work through any issues they might have. Many missionaries will get married within months of returning from their mission. Having a short courtship and getting married at a young age are usually factors that lead to a higher divorce rate, but among returned missionaries, the marriage success rate is one of the highest in America. This is also something I want for my daughters.

I’ve always heard, and even seen stories of missionaries being treated poorly, but I didn’t see one negative interaction all day. Pretty much everyone we met was happy to see them, and they were just great at having conversations with members, investigators, and even random non members we ran into throughout the day. The Elders taught with an enthusiasm that people responded very well to. While we were on our splits, Elder Klafke gave me his secret, that you can’t teach everyone the same way, you have to know who they are, and teach them accordingly. Elder Done told me you have to be humble enough to rely on Christ to lead you in the right direction when you pray. It was powerful words coming from men almost 13 years younger than me.

I only had to prepare to do this for one day. Right now they are going to sleep and getting up at 6:29 am tomorrow to do this all over again. Most of the people they talked to today made a follow up appointment, and those who didn’t should be very soon. I saw a lot of people who were ready to be baptized, or become reactivated. But many of them didn’t seem to know it. It reminded me of myself when I was at that point of my conversion. I was ready to be baptized for a few months before I actually was, and it was a combining of factors that finally pushed me over the edge. I’m thankful for that, and I hope and pray for these people to find their way into our Church.

I’ve been up for 17 hours now, working fairly hard right alongside them most of that time. I had some tired moments, a few moments where I felt really hot and dehydrated, but overall it was a great experience. I’m surprised at how fast the time went, and how focused I was on what I was doing. Pretty much everything I would have thought about or done went way to the back burner while I was working. Any challenge I’ve been trying to deal with or think about was just non existent while I was working. For the missionaries, this effect is probably magnified, as they are cut off from their lives to that point a lot longer. But it was nice to be able to forget about everything else and just focus on the work for a day,

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About garybraham

I grew up in Mahopac NY, studied geology at Colgate University. I've moved to Queensbury NY to teach HS earth science. I also coach soccer and wrestling, take pictures at local sporting events, and am the Scoutmaster for the Glens Falls ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My wife and I will be married 5 years this October, and we have a two and a half year old little girl.
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