I’ve now been a member of the Church for nearly 8 years, and in that time I’ve tried talking to all of my friends and to everyone I come in contact with about the Gospel. Despite that I’ve seen none of my friends express any real interest. And I haven’t experienced any miracles of that type spoken of in conference. For that reason, Elder Anderson’s talk on missionary work really resonated with me:
“Even with a strong desire to share the gospel, you may be less than happy with the success of your past efforts. You may feel like a friend who said, ‘I have talked to our family and friends about the Church, but few have shown any interest, and with each rejection, I have become more hesitant. I know I should do more, but I am stuck, and all I feel is enormous guilt.’”
I’ve not had success that fits into missionary statistics. Nevertheless, in that time I’ve also had incredible conversations about faith. I’ve been able to touch and strengthen others in ways that I would not have been able to otherwise. And I’ve been able to keep my desire and fire for missionary work strong.
Elder Anderson warned that while guilt may be a motivator at first, we cannot continue onward with drive and purpose without a more powerful fuel:
“I suggest that you stop feeling guilty about any insufficiency you think you have in sharing the gospel. Rather, pray, like Alma taught, for opportunities ‘to stand as [a witness] of God at all times and in all things, and in all places … that [others] may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, [and] have eternal life.’ This is a much stronger motivation than guilt.”
If we continue to have faith in the message of the Gospel and in its power to bless others, then continued missionary work becomes easy. Despite discouragement or failure, we can continue resolute in our journey. We can never give up because we understand how great the stakes are, both for ourselves and others.