Vancouver Mission Star
This message was written by President and Sister Middleton. It also appears in the Vancouver Star, the weekly newsletter of the Vancouver Mission. It is sent to each companionship throughout the mission.
SISTER MA - - - MODEL MEMBER MISSIONARY
Arguably the most successful member missionary in British Columbia might be Sister Ma. A member of the Wah Yan Ward, the Chinese Ward, Sister Ma rarely is seen in Church without one or more of her non-member friends along as a guest. We had occasion to interview Sister Ma on March 5, 2006. Although she speaks English quite well, she asked that Elder Fong be present to interpret so that she could truly state the feelings of her heart.
Sister Ma is a convert to the Church, having joined 13 years ago. Her schooling was somewhat limited, attending school only through grade school in Singapore. She met Cantonese-speaking missionaries here in Vancouver 13 years ago, and felt their Spirit and was converted through the Spirit. Because of the language difficulties with the missionaries who converted her while struggling somewhat with the Cantonese language, Sister Ma felt that she didn’t really understand the scriptures and doctrines thoroughly but joined because of the affirmation to her Spirit that the Gospel was true. Initially Sister Ma became somewhat less active. When her son, Raymond, reached 5 years of age she felt that she should become more active so that Raymond would have the Gospel in his life. Since then, she has been extraordinarily missionary-minded.
When I asked how many baptisms have resulted through her work, Sister Ma thought for a moment and then guessed it was more than 20! More than half of the people introduced to the Church by Sister Ma were new immigrants from China.
Sister Ma’s Advice to Member Missionaries: Love People, Care, and Be Sincere
We asked Sister Ma what special technique she used to find so many people among her acquaintances to bring to the Church. Her comment was, “I just do what the Church teaches us in church”, which consists of deeply caring about people. She expresses her love for people in word and deed, and is totally sincere. The people whom she meets truly feel of her love.
Early on, Sister Ma prayed that she might find somebody she could introduce to the Church. A friend of her husband came to her home by mistake, and as she began talking to him it led to a Gospel discussion which was quite successful. Since then, she always prays for opportunities to serve, and that service often leads to a missionary presentation as well. She states that she is so excited and motivated to do missionary work that everything else day-to-day is boring. Sister Ma is a landlady, overseeing an apartment which she owns. She often tells her tenants about the Church, and on one occasion she even called a meeting of the tenants with no other purpose in mind except to talk about the Gospel. She likes to focus on new immigrants to Canada, understanding that they are a bit overwhelmed and seeking a new life, and as she was in that position herself once she can empathize beautifully with them.
In regard to her favorite Church activity to which she brings investigators, she stated that she uses any and all activities – a Tour, a ward activity or event, and Christmas/New Year’s parties in particular are very effective. If there is no activity planned she simply invites her acquaintances to come to Church with her. Another point that she makes is that she likes to match a member of the Church with an investigator early, so that he or she develops a fellowshipper.
One in Seven of Sister Ma’s Investigators Join
Sister Ma estimates that about 1 out of every 7 investigators that she brings to the Church goes on to baptism, which is about the same ratio that we see elsewhere in British Columbia. Considering that only 1 in 3,000 to 5,000 or more people who are found tracting go on to join the Church the success of member referrals that Sister Ma brings to the Church is phenomenal, and is also seen throughout British Columbia by all Church members who bring their acquaintances to the Church. Sister Ma carefully explained that she does not become disappointed when her contacts don’t go on to baptism. Rather, she feels that the investment of time and energy that she makes for her acquaintances, taking them to a doctor’s appointment, arranging for places to stay, helping them work through visa issues, etc., is time well-spent in that she feels that she is following our Father in Heaven’s counsel given in Mosiah 2:17, “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” As a result, she does not feel like a failure at all in regard to the 6 out of 7 investigators she brings to the Church who choose not to go on to baptism. She befriends people, and views them as friends whether or not they go on to join the Church. She feels that as a representative of God we serve our friends, even if they are not going on to baptism at that moment.
As she goes about finding those she will bring to the Church she first prays about them, asking her Father in Heaven to let her know which acquaintances to ask to come to the Church with her. A part of her prayer also is to ask for opportunities to serve her friends, many of whom aren’t Church members and understanding that 6 of 7 on average might not become Church members.
When asked what advice she would give to members to truly become member missionaries, she offered the following:
1. Plan on some sacrifice to be a true personal friend in every sense.
2. Be bold.
3. Choose to make the commitment to ask and invite your acquaintances, truly a commitment of the heart.
4. Don’t be lazy.
5. Be friendly.
6. Plan on expending as much time as is needed with investigators and those newly baptized.
7. Every member should become a missionary, and should not leave their missionary work to the “full-time professionals”, who are only in a given ward on a transient basis.
8. Only a member can be a true life-long friend to an investigator, as the member will be here permanently whereas the missionaries will not.
9. Member missionary work starts with local Church leaders, who necessarily must motivate and inspire their members to
accomplish missionary work.
10. Members need to be taught to be persistent - don’t give up too early on a given investigator.
The other scripture which is a favorite of Sister Ma, in addition to Mosiah 2:17, is the entirety of the 4th Section of the D & C, which points out that “the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul.” Section 4 also points out “…see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.”
Sister Ma is truly setting the standard for all of us, being the type of member missionary that we all should emulate. That we might step forward boldly with our own commitment to become a member missionary as Sister Ma has done is constantly in our thoughts and prayers.
--President and Sister Middleton
Remember our mission goal: 10 Gospel contacts per missionary outside our usual finding and teaching duties.
That includes a Gospel message to everyone you see.
“And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.” D&C 15:6
Reminder: We are praying for at least one baptism per companionship per transfer – More than one if you and your ward or branch is filled with faith. Set your baptismal goal prayerfully as a companionship, a goal that will stretch your faith and missionary abilities.
to read past messages.