After the baptism we had a ward activity called M&M Night (members and missionaries), which Sister V. Silva and I have been planning for several weeks. We've got a bit of a retention problem here in Mussurunga, largely because the members don't know how to fellowship. The church is still so young here and while everyone has the best intentions, they also get nervous when they don't know what to do and it can come off the wrong way, so for the past two transfers I've spent here I've been trying to come up with a way to help and the idea came to me in the form of a memory. A memory of that super sweet Missionary Night we had in my home ward back when I was 13 or 14, where all the youth got to do missionary activities with fake investigators.
So, our M&M Night began with everyone being welcomed to the "CTMM" upon their arrival to the chapel and receiving a missionary name tag of red or blue before sitting in the cultural hall where 'The District' (a missionary training video) was being projected on the wall. After enough people had arrived, they were separated into District Blue and District Red and sent in companionships to knock doors in the church, behind which were members of the ward who pretended to be non-members. Everyone had 5 minutes to get into the "house" and teach about the Book of Mormon.
I admit I was super nervous about the activity beforehand. The other missionaries kept telling me that the members here run from anything having to do with missionary work and that they wouldn't want to participate, but we gave it a try. We also weren't sure if anyone would come, because there was big Seminary thing going on that night. As I set up a lot of chairs for the activity, the other missionaries laughed and said, "Wow, you've got a lot of faith, Sister Whitaker."
I'm pleased to report that my faith paid off. Not only were all the chairs I set up filled, but there were even more people that came and we ended up putting up more chairs! And the activity was a real hit. Everyone LOVED it! They all got giddy and nervous about knocking doors and came out eager to swap stories. In the end, we missionaries explained to them that as members, they don't need to knock doors or talk to people in the street. They just need to be good examples and talk to their friends about the gospel.
The highlight of the night was when Rafael raised his hand, stood up, and said for everyone, "Hi, I'm Rafael, and I was just baptized tonight. I just want to say that what these missionaries do isn't easy. It's hard. You all had fun because the people behind your doors were members of the church, but these missionaries do this all day every day with complete strangers. It's so important for all of us to help them out. We need to share the gospel with the world!"
Sister V. Silva and I cried, we were so proud.
The next day, one of our investigators surprised us by coming to church all on his own, when we didn't think he would! Long story short, he asked if he can request to be baptized or if we have to select certain people only. Ha ha ha! Hopefully we'll be having another baptism this week or next.
I love you all so much! Aunt Anne, your comments make me laugh so hard and miss you!
Now how about that baby, Reana???