Last week I asked RoseE what our ward here in Salt Lake could do to help out the missionaries assigned to our Stake. She wrote:
Okay, I won't rant, I promise. I'll just say the following:
Missionaries do love getting fed, this is true. Nothing like a good member meal. They sure do 'preciate it. But they would happily live on ramen in their own apartments if the members were too busy talking to their friends about the gospel to have time to feed them. That would be missionary heaven.
Strike up conversations with people about church and what we believe. Invite people to ward parties, Enrichment, Achievement Day . . . any ol' get-together. Don't be pushy; just be open, and keep yourself ready for when those teaching opportunities come. And if someone asks you a question you can't answer very well, just say, "You know what? The missionaries could probably answer that better than I could. They're eating at our house on Thursday; do you want to come too?" These are Magic Words. (For further Magic Words, see Preach My Gospel. There are more good ideas in there than you think that there are.)
Ask the missionaries to introduce you to the people they're teaching. Say hi to these people when they come to Sacrament Meeting. Call and invite them to stuff. Ask them how they feel about what the missionaries are teaching them. As you're making Christmas cookies/fudge/cute poems for ward friends, make one for them too. (I know you're all getting ready to make them. I remember Christmas in Center Ward.)
And DO YOUR HOME AND VISITING TEACHING. A ward that doesn't take care of its own is not a ward missionaries want to bring people into.
Okay, that became a little bit of a rant. Sorry. But being a missionary has made me understand a lot about what a goshawful member-missionary I was. Honestly. When new converts got baptized in our ward, I never went to their baptisms BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW THEM. Jeeez louise! That's the whole point! Of COURSE I didn't know them; that's why they're called 'new converts.'
The thing that I didn't realize (and, I think, that many wards don't realize) is that a ward is not just a unit of a stake. It's not just the place where you go on Sunday to chat with your friends about the gospel. It is these things, yes. But missionaries think of wards as units of their missions. Really. Center Ward is part of a mission, and in it missionary stuff is going on right now, and it was last year when I was there and I didn't know about any of it. A ward is a growing thing.
Um . . . six short paragraphs. Sorry. Please edit as you see fit.
RoseE the Ranter."