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How to be a missionary in a Latter-day Saint community

How do we as students here at BYU-Idaho manage to share the gospel when 98% of students are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? How do we follow the direction of church leaders to help spread the gospel?

In a recent fireside Elder Michael Packer, an Area Seventy for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, introduced the concept of participating individually in gathering Israel.

“We have so much light here on campus,” said Elder Packer. “But the problem with that is that we need to share it with the rest of the world.”

Before Elder Packer and Idaho Falls Mission President Matthew Hurly arrived to give their fireside of missionary work, I asked how students could share the Gospel. When asked how they shared the Gospel in their life, two answers were the most common:

—Posting quotes from the church and scripture passages onto social media

—Being an example of Christlike characteristics in their life.

Along with these very common answers, other answers included:

—Posting hymns and music from the church on social media

—Being normal and natural and just talking about it

—Inviting others to church activities

—Doing service.

While there are a wide variety of different ways, what do President Hurly and Elder Packer have to say about all of these different missionary efforts?

“Being an example is key,” said Elder Packer. “The light has to be coming from us in order for someone to notice the change that might happen for them.”

They agreed that using social media and being an example to those in our lives are some of the most effective ways to share the gospel.

“The key to being a missionary is to share the gospel in a way that is normal and natural,” said President Hurley.

At the fireside, President Hurley continued to talk about the importance of sharing the gospel with everyone. He reminded everyone that each person we meet, no matter how they look or act is invaluable in the eyes of God and it is our responsibility to help them return to live with God again.

Following President Hurley’s remarks on sharing the gospel with all in our life, both Elder Castro and BYU-I President Eyring talked about how important it is to share the gospel with your friends.

“Be a friend who shares, cares, loves and invites,” said Elder Castro after sharing his experience that started with a friend giving him a Book of Mormon for his birthday.

After finishing the devotional, Elder Packer stressed the importance of sharing the gospel using social media. He mentioned just how much success is found on campus and around the world from the social media efforts made by students on campus.

“In 2019, there were over 200 baptisms that started from contacts that took place on social media,” said Elder Packer. “The baptisms happen all over the world, but it was because of the social media contacts through students here at the university.”

He encouraged BYU-I students to keep up the work that they are already doing to spread the message of the gospel to everyone we can, both members and non-members alike. Before finishing the fireside, Elder Packer extended an invitation to everyone to share their personal conversion story on their social media.

As he finished, he stated, “Thank goodness for wonderful friends who bring about wonderful conversions.”

Over the following week, I again asked people about their thoughts on missionary work and how they shared the gospel.

It seems that the message from the fireside did manage to ripple throughout campus to both those in attendance of the fireside and those who weren’t. As I asked, the majority of students responded by saying that social media was their preferred method.

Along with using social media to share the gospel, other answers from after the fireside included texting and sharing with family, bearing your testimony to others, doing community service, fulfilling their calling and being an example of Christlike love.

While these are the most common methods to share the gospel church leaders have told us that any form of missionary work is important, and as President Hurley said, “There is more work here than you realize.”

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