Although I’ve been involved in missionary work since the day I walked out of the waters of baptism — as taught to me by Brother Joe Calabrese — we often think of “missionary work” as going to a foreign land or going to another culture to share the restored gospel and Christ.
Both definitions are correct!
In some circumstances, it can be harder to share your testimony with a neighbor, work colleague, or family member than to travel thousands of miles and teach or preach about Jesus and salvation. Both are needed!
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” – Matthew 28:19
What prompted me to go on “foreign” missionary work?
It was a simple testimony by Brother Nephi and Sister Lorraine DeMercurio at a General Church Conference, after returning from 8+ years in Nigeria. I sat in the last pew, a young elder listening to their dedication and desire to share the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It touched my heart, and at that moment I remember saying to my wife, “I want to go to Africa one day.”
She looked at me as if I had lost my mind.
As a wife and mother, she heard the hardships, the trials, the danger, and the sacrifices that Brother Nephi and Sister Lorraine described. I heard the miracles, the power of God, and the souls that came to know Christ as a result of their efforts. Both were accurate!
As a wise husband, I didn’t repeat the “I want to go to Africa one day” phrase too often. But approximately 10 years later, when asked if I’d be interested in going to Kenya, my wife was 100 percent supportive. In addition, our church family and members of our branch were so supportive that while I was in Kenya on my first trip, a brother came to my home to cut grass, and others called my wife and stopped in to make sure she was OK, while others took my family to dinner.
It was the first of many “foreign” missionary trips, but as I noted earlier, I was taught as a young brother: Our mission field is our children; our mission field is our neighbor; our mission field is another culture; our mission field is Israel; our mission field is the Gentiles; our mission field is every life we touch by sharing the joy of Christ and His resurrection and victory over sin.
ALL are necessary!
What mission field are you working in right now?
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This article has undergone ministry review and approval.