Is feeding the missionaries missionary work?
As an active member of the Church or you come often enough to know who the missionaries are, then you probably already know that they are going to ask you to do something.
The Missionary Handbook states, “When you visit, talk to, or eat with members, your primary purpose should be to strengthen them and help them fulfill their missionary responsibilities. Ask them whom they know that you could teach.”
Missionaries are primarily responsible for teaching the gospel. Even though teaching is their purpose, missionaries spend most of their time tracting and using other less effective methods to find people to teach.
President M. Russell Ballard explains that for missionaries to do their most effective work, they need your help.
“The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have made it clear that missionary work is to be centered in the ward. Stake presidents and bishops have the responsibility and accountability to help members find the pure in heart and prepare them for baptism and for a life of service within their wards and stakes.”
On my mission, we do always get the chance to have dinner with a family. All these were fully active member of the church. One day the Elders Quorum President invited me for a dinner. After we shared a message, we invited them to think of someone that they could share the gospel with. You know, as missionaries do.
When We Feed The Missionaries, We’re Indirectly Doing Missionary Work.
To be clear. Calling and Inviting a friend over for a missionary dinner is missionary work. Giving missionaries referrals and/or being a participant in your friends’ interaction with the gospel is missionary work.
Inviting any of your friends or colleagues to anything, for pretty much any reason could be missionary work. There are SO MANY WAYS to do it, but simply feeding the missionaries and then sending them on their merry way is not one of them.
I don’t want to come across ungrateful people who are feeding the missionaries. It is a wonderful service that you provide and it allows missionaries to stay alive and keep working.
But don’t feed them and then send them away on their own efforts. Missionary work is so much more effective with help from the ward or branch members.
President M. Russell Ballard said, “As we raise the level of expectation for the performance of our missionaries, we must also raise the level of expectation for the performance of all of the members of the Church in fulfilling our missionary duties. Brothers and sisters… If the standard is to be raised, it is raised for all of us.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley stated, “It will be a great day when our people not only pray for the missionaries throughout the world but ask the Lord to help them to assist the missionaries who are laboring in their own ward.”
Along with praying for what you can do to help, may I suggest that the best way to do missionary work is by fulfilling your calling. Another way is by doing your ministering. As you do what you have already been asked to do with a missionary mindset, then the work will move forward.
President Ballard encourages, “We can and we must do better, brothers and sisters. I pray that the Lord will grant to each one of us the faith and courage to increase our participation in supporting our full-time missionaries in sharing the restored gospel.”
Just be brave and invite.