Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Missionary Dinner Appointments Are So Inconvenient

Last night my family and I had two missionaries from the South Carolina Columbia Mission over for dinner. I asked the missionaries why they couldn't come at six o'clock instead of five o'clock for dinner appointments since it forces most ouf us working people to go home an hour early from work. I asked them if they realized not everyone could go home and fix them dinner and have it ready by 5pm in today's business world. I also said I bet even the Prophet works until at least five and maybe even until 6pm. I explained to them that there are many people who could get in trouble by going home before their normal work day is over but that fortunately I am the director and I was able to go in today by 7:30am and leave by 4:00pm. I wanted to know why didn't they come one hour later.

I commented to the missionaries that they should be more flexible in coming when a family could have them over. One of the elders patiently replied "It says in our White Missionary Handbook that we are to have dinner from 5pm until 6pm. The prophet himself has instructed us. The prime proseltying time is between 6pm until 9pm." He explained they need to be done in order to do their most effective work."

I replied I find it hard to believe that the Prophet or General Authorities themselves go home on time by exactly five pm in order to feed the missionaries. The missionary replied "I don't know about that but I bet they do but it doesn't matter we are obedient to the mission rules and that is when we have dinner appointments." He said there is nothing he can do about it whether people can or can't feed them at that time. He also said for the most part people comply with that schedule but if they have to they have some food in their apartments when an appointment falls through.

The thought passed through my head that there are many people not in the situation to go home and feed them that could get fired. I also thought I guess it would be easier for people like that to just buy them a pizza and have it delivered.

Then I thought that defeats the purpose since they asked if they could give us a family missionary discussion and hit us up for referrals. I then thought if the Prophet and Missionary Committee wants us to feed them so bad maybe we all needed to suck it up and do it across a whole ward since it places a hardship on the few who do feed them.

I also thought about the value of why I have them come over is to interact with my children so they will one day go on a mission. Plus it helps me give back something since someone once feed me when I was a missionary. It is a very conflicting thing.


Spencer Paul said...

I think the confusion comes because you are under the impression that the leaders of the missionary program 'badly' want missionaries to eat with the members, and thus why make it difficult. As far as I have researched, and I have thought about missionary dinners a lot, and sustained by cumorah.com, the church has never encouraged member dinners. The activity just spreads through most wards because it gives the members an effortless sense of accomplishing missionary work when in reality it is probably more of a distraction for the elders.

I do agree it serves a useful purpose if eating with less-actives or ward leadership, but generally is a waste of prime time. This is why you see some missions requiring a non member present to join a dinner with members. On my mission, I stopped having them altogether and ate in the car in between appointments.

Bookslinger said...

Missionaries can have dinner at any time _if an investigator is present_.

That's the 2nd part of the rule.

If no investigator is present, then they have to eat between 5 and 6pm.

So if you want to feed the missionareis between 6pm and 7pm, then have an investigator present at the meal, and scedule a missionary lesson after eating.

Times vary by mission.

Here in the Indianapolis Mission, missionaries may eat between 3pm and 5pm, either by themselves, or with a member.

But if an investigator is present they can eat at any time, with a member or not.

The key is if an investigator is present or not.

It makes sense if you look at it that way.

Anonymous said...

The white bible when I was there said usualy between 5 or 6 or the customary dinner hour in the area. Since 6 was more convenient we usually ate then. Besides if everyone is eating dinner it is hard to proselyte anyway. now 7:30 appointments at night that does damper into proselyting. Also giving money for food or dropping it off may help financially but does defeat the purpose of the program.

One rule was an hour for dinner however with longwinded members that rule was frequently broken. Some members talk your ear off. And some missionaries were jerks about the rule. Walk out rudely to keep the rule. When done properly it is a good program I think particularly for less actives and many times someone is taught after.

As for asking for meals not good manners but some people insist on feeding the missionaries when you come. I got over feeling guilty about walking in at mealtime then.