When leaving on a mission we have these ideas and goals of all the things that we want to accomplish. We’re eager to work hard and become the best missionary we can possibly be. We have plans to convert hundreds and hundreds of people. Then we get to the field and see that it’s a lot harder than we thought it would be. Baptisms just aren’t happening and so we get discouraged, our confidence weakens, and we begin to lose hope.
This post is for those missionaries that might be experiencing this.
Your purpose as a missionary is to:
Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.
We see here that baptism is essential to salvation. It is the first major step towards living with our Heavenly Father again. We should always be working towards preparing our investigators to enter the waters of baptism.
However, that should not be our only goal. Yes, baptism is an essential step, but there is so much more than that. We all know that after baptism we must still work towards eternal life. Life doesn’t get easier after we’re baptized, it only gets harder. We are constantly given trials and opportunities to strengthen our faith and testimonies so that when the time comes, we are ready to enter into the Father’s Kingdom. On the way we continue to make covenants with Heavenly Father. The temple is an important part of that journey. Just as we need to attend the temple and make those covenants for our salvation, so do our investigators. Rather than seeing our investigators in baptismal clothes, envision them in their temple clothes doing everything necessary to reach salvation.
Baptism is not our final destination.
See missionary work with a more eternal perspective.
Don’t get caught up in the numbers.
The number of baptisms you have on the mission DO NOT define how good a missionary you are.
I’ll say it again, NUMBERS DO NOT DEFINE YOU.
I’m not saying you should give up, though. You should ALWAYS be working to find people to teach. You should ALWAYS improve yourself so that you have the Spirit with you. This will help you better teach by the Spirit, making it so that it touches and testifies of the truth to everyone you teach.
When you work with the Spirit and share the Gospel with the sole desire to do the Lord’s work, then you are fulfilling your purpose.
The first chapter of "Preach My Gospel" says it perfectly.
“Your success as a missionary is measured primarily by your commitment to find, teach, baptize, and confirm people and to help them become faithful members of the Church who enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost.”
“Avoid comparing yourself to other missionaries and measuring the outward results of your efforts against theirs. Remember that people have agency to choose whether to accept your message. Your responsibility is to teach clearly and powerfully so they can make a correct choice. Some may not accept your message even when they have received a spiritual witness that it is true. You will be saddened because you love them and desire their salvation. You should not, however, become discouraged; discouragement will weaken your faith. If you lower your expectations, your effectiveness will decrease, your desire will weaken, and you will have greater difficulty following the Spirit.”
Coming from a mission where baptisms are not as frequent as others, I testify of this.
I had one companion who was the most consecrated and diligent missionary. She talked to EVERYONE, always taught by the Spirit, and truly had charity for everyone. Despite her diligence, she did not have one baptism. Did she sometimes get discouraged? Yes, but she never gave up. Her lack of baptisms are a poor reflection of the incredible missionary she was, for she was truly exceptional. Her work touched many and has helped them progress towards salvation.
See everything with an eternal perspective, and remember that with every person you contact, every lesson taught, every testimony shared, you are doing the work of the Lord.