Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Missionary Meals with Families

I have been wondering lately about the whole practice of feeding missionaries. It is argued that it helps missionary work since families can give referrals. Many wards have it down to a fine art with a feeding calendar to sign up. I have not always found it a spiritual event to have the missionaries, particularly with seven daughters who are close to their age. Many times the missionaries have had to receive a subtle reminder from me or my wife for why they were there. I enjoyed their brief message and praying with them but many times the few referrals I gave them they screwed them up or didn't even follow up on them. A couple of times we had to push them to teach our friends. I would say out of the twenty or so times in the seven states I lived in that the missionaries did nothing more than eat food they didn't even enjoy. It didn't matter if I served steak, pizza, or Kentucky Fried Chicken. If I served meat sometimes I had a vegetarian or vice a versa. I had fewer than ten meal appointments my whole mission and I was involved in the baptism of more than forty people. I wonder what the perspective of others is about this practice is it a positive or negative thing or is it a mixture of both.


Anonymous said...

Feeding the missionaries is wonderful! I just returned from my mission (state-side) and was fed by many wonderful families. Unfortunately, some missionaries are "better" or more focused than others. I have found, as a missionary, that the purpose of being in members' homes is not only to receive referrals and forward the missionary efforts in the ward, but to get to know the families. The greater rapport you can gain with the individual families, the more they can trust you with their friends. This doesn't mean you can goof of at these appointments. You show them you are capable of loving everyone, even upon first meeting. "Good" missionaries had better show their love and appreciation for these families and help them in their own missionary efforts, including teaching their friends. Meals with families has been a great tool as a missionary. In fact, every baptism of each person I taught was a referral by a member family. Though your experiences with your missionaries have not always been great, I, for one, appreciate your willingness and sacrifice to serve the missionaries in your wards. I hope you will allow future missionaries who are more focused to teach your friends. Keep being a good example, and when they're ready, when the right missionaries are there... they will be taught and brought to know the truth.

Anonymous said...

As a mother of two young daughters, the playful interactions of the missionaries with them provide a fun and welcoming path for my children into the faith. They admire these young men, and perhaps someday will choose to follow in their footsteps and become missionaries themselves. The missionaries help to teach my children how to pray, so even if the only spiritual things we do are the meal prayers, they are still serving the Lord.

Anonymous said...

I have 3 boys and one girl all little stair steps and one day not too far in future will send them on missions. As a convert to the gospel, found my missionaries, and as a mother, I have become very grateful for the sacrifices that missionaries make and am grateful that for a little bit of time each day my missionaries will have families who love and care for them. Hopefully, they will set a good example to all of the families that they are with. If they at times slip or mess up, I hope those that they are with remember that they are looking at twenty year old kids not full grown men and women. The example of the head of the house is just as important to young missionaries as the example of the missionaries are to the family.