We live in an increasingly diverse church and world. Therefore certain policies and practices that work well for some may not work well for others. I therefore really appreciated that Elder Oaks focused his talk on missionary work on what he saw as universal principles that apply to all regardless of circumstances:
“There are many good ideas for sharing the gospel that will work in individual stakes or countries. However, because we are a worldwide Church, I wish to speak of ideas that will work everywhere, from the newest units to the most established, from cultures now receptive to the gospel of Jesus Christ to cultures and nations that are increasingly hostile to religion. I want to speak of ideas that you can share with persons who are committed believers in Jesus Christ as well as with persons who have never heard His name, with persons who are satisfied with their current lives as well as with persons who are desperately seeking to improve themselves.”
Elder Oaks pointed out three things we can do regardless of our circumstances. First, we can pray for desire. Second, we can be faithful and obedience. Third, and finally, we can pray for personal inspiration for our own circumstances. These three things do not depend at all on a receptive audience. Just as someone living far away from a temple can nevertheless remain worthy and hold a recommend, we can cultivate a desire even if our circumstances provide us with only limited opportunity for missionary work. We can ask for guidance and seek direction from the lord. And we can have faith that our prayers will be heard.
Elder Oak’s other suggestions flow from these basics. If we are living the Gospel, and have the desire to share, then we will be able to naturally share with others as we encounter them. We will be able to answer questions effectively because we will be living witnesses of the things we say.