A behind-the-scenes look at Evan's two-year mission in Madagascar for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Monday, May 2, 2016


  Last week was a good week. I would say the highlight of the week was the baptisms on Saturday. It was awesome to see people who wanted to be baptized and be disciples of Jesus Christ have that opportunity. Everything went as planned with the baptismal program. Everytime I listen to new converts bear their testimonies and share the experiences that led them to be baptized, I am assured that the message that we are sharing blesses lives and is truly from God. I have learned a few lessons recently. It's funny, I have only about a transfer left as a missionary, but there is always something new I can learn.

NEVER write someone off as being uninterested in hearing or learning the gospel without trying to share 
it. We will never understand what people are looking for without talking to them. There is a scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants that says that if we will preach the gospel, it does not matter where we are in the world, we cannot go wrong. Fear should never be a factor because now, with access to social media, we can easily share Church videos and conference talks with our friends and family. The reason I say that is because throughout my mission, I have unintentionally classified people in my mind as those who look like they would listen to the gospel and those who probably wouldn't.  But a predetermination to not talk about the gospel to those we don't think will be interested prevents us from being guided and led, by the Spirit, to those who truly need the gospel in their lives. I have tried to make that change this week. It is difficult, but I have already seen how much of a difference it makes in our missionary work. It also makes me we wonder how many people I may have missed because I did not give them a chance. We should talk to everyone, because everyone is a child of God, and everyone deserves the chance to hear His  word and return to His presence. This is a very important lesson for everyone, not just the full-time missionaries.
    Much of missionary work is about laying the bricks of a foundation in a person's conversion; we perform acts of service, develop friendships and teach our lessons, hoping to inspire someone who may be investigating the Church; sometimes nothing happens until the next set of missionaries comes along and lays more bricks or adds on to what was initially started. Sometimes it may take years and many sets of missionaries for it to happen; and sometimes it just doesn't happen at all. But once the Spirit steps in, the end result is something far greater then they can even imagine . Of course, we must have faith that God will give these people trials and experiences that will prepare them to accept the gospel. When we as missionaries and members talk with our friends, family, and even strangers about the gospel, we find it easy to be discouraged when their response to our sincere beliefs is not what we hoped it would be. When I think about people here in Madagascar or South Carolina, I realize that I know many who already have the foundation of a testimony of Jesus Christ. As missionaries we know what people need to do to build on that foundation, but we can be a great help as we set a good example, show Christlike kindness and charity to those around us, and serve. When I serve those around me, I know that at least in some way, I am fulfilling my covenant to take upon me the name of Christ. I have had several opportunities to serve others recently, the most recent being yesterday. We were riding in a taxi, and the taxi had a flat tire. So we waited and watched taxi driver's car while he ran to have the tired fixed; it took about an hour and a half before he returned. As he drove us home, we told him we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and got his contact information. We hope to be able to teach him soon about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I have also had opportunities to serve without even mentioning the gospel once. Somewhere in the future, those people will remember their experiences, and it will strengthen their faith that God lives and he works through inspired individuals opon the earth.

I get to Skype soon! I am looking forward to that. It is my last Skype as a missionary.  I hope everyone has a great day.

              Elder Pinson

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