Recently, I was reflecting on my mission. I served in Russia in Siberia specifically (Novosibirsk Mission). It is often said to be a difficult mission with many people highly resistant to hearing our message because of the ingrained traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church. I consider myself to have been a highly successful missionary because of those that was I able to teach and bless. Yet, my wife’s mission in the Philippines baptized about as many converts in a month as we did in a whole year. Reading about accounts of thousands converted in the Book of Mormon, it is hard at times not to wish one could have had a greater impact.
“ 5 And thousands were brought to the knowledge of the Lord, yea, thousands were brought to believe in the traditions of the Nephites; and they were taught the records and prophecies which were handed down even to the present time. (Alma 23).
Today, during sacrament meeting, I reflected on the number of people I was able to talk to about the Gospel on my mission, and realized the full impact that I was able to have as a single missionary laboring in a far away part of the Lord’s vineyard.
In my mission, we had a goal of talking to at least 10 people on public transit/on the streets/tracting each day as a companionship. I was one of those missionaries that struggled to keep my mouth shut, and so I usually sought to talk to at least that many people personally and often exceeded that by a large amount.
I figured that if I had talked to somewhere between 10-15 people a day, seven days a week for the course of a full length mission of two year, I would have talked to around 10,000 people over the course of my mission
Of course, at least 75% of the people I talked to rejected me outright. And yet, still that is thousands and even tens of thousands “were brought to the knowledge of the Lord.”
This isn’t something unique to me alone. Every full time missionary has such an incredible footprint. I don’t think we can fully realize how many we are able to invite to come unto Christ in the time that we serve. Even though many reject the message, it is amazing to think about how many people we are able to reach out to and simply invite.
I am so grateful that I served a mission and was able to be used as an instrument in the hand of the Lord. I know that I was not always a perfect missionary, but I am so grateful that I was able to put my heart and mind into serving God.
If you ever feel discouraged that you were not able to teach or baptized more people on your mission, know that your service still impacted thousands or tens of thousands.