Favorite Mission Stories

By: Graceforgrace
March 24, 2013

I’ve been very busy working with our full-time Mormon missionaries in our ward the past couple months and have been very impressed with all the work and effort they put in.  It has been a while since I have been this heavily involved in missionary service.  Some days can be very awesome and others can be very trying.

I am reminded of experiences on my mission when I meet or speak with the sister missionaries in our ward (congregation) nearly every day.  There are many, many people out there who have little or no concept of who God is and who Jesus Christ is.  Many people when asked say they are Christian, but when speaking more in depth they rarely pray and have little or no concept of what the Atonement of Jesus Christ is and how it applies to our lives.  I have been re-ignited in my faith as to the importance of this message by actively going out and meeting people in my community and seeing the challenges they face and the struggles they have trying to rely on their own strength rather than Gods.

This week was particularly difficult for us.  We had been working with a great family the past few weeks who had begun to embrace reading scripture together, coming to church, and praying as a family.  The father of the home even made the comment of how different his kids were (in a good way) since coming to church.  However, things changed pretty quickly when his ex-wife heard about her kids going to the Mormon church and meeting with the Mormon missionaries.  Although she hasn’t ever gone to church (according to her kids and ex-husband), she was very passionate that they quit going to the Mormon church and start going to the Catholic church she was raised in.  Needless to say, when the sister missionaries went to visit Rick and his kids and found out about their mother’s concerns and also that the kids and Rick wouldn’t continue on with lessons, we were pretty discouraged.

It was during times like this when I was on my mission that I reflected on the inspiring times in my life so I could stay positive.  With this in mind, I thought I’d share an inspiring story from my Mormon mission in Frankfurt, Germany during the mid ’90s.

Inspiring Mormon Missionary Story

The most inspiring moment on my mission was working with a man named Herr Neuhaus.  Hr. Neuhaus was an older gentleman who had lived a very rough life.  When we came across him, he was very angry at God.  His wife had recently passed away and he was very depressed.  Life for him when we met him was drinking and smoking and staring at the TV.

I learned on my mission in Germany to be very direct and bold.  That was their style over there.  So when we first met him and he bellowed out that he didn’t have any interest (they all said that initially), I told him that he might not have interest, but God had interest in him.

He replied that “God doesn’t love me…” which gave me a window into his tortured soul.  I immediately felt compassion for him and I feel that by the grace of God I was able to feel for Hr Neuhaus a small amount of love that God has for each of us as sinners.

I engaged him in conversation on why he thought God didn’t love him.  This is when he shared with us his story of his wife dying despite all the prayers he had offered in her behalf that she would live.

That first day, we just listened mainly and I really felt so awful for him.  However, I knew that through the power of the Atonement, he could be made whole again and Jesus could fill him up with love once more.

I testified of this and challenged him to read the Book of Mormon, especially the parts on the Atonement of Christ and faith.  I promised him if he did this that he would feel God’s love once more.

To make a long story short, God was true to His promise to those who show faith in Him.  Not only was Hr Neuhaus healed from his suffering, but he was also healed from his addictions of smoking and drinking.  I felt honored when he asked me if he would baptize him, which I did on May 11, 1997.

This was the only person I baptized while I was on my mission.

When I reflect on this experience, I am once again reminded of the importance of being a witness for Jesus Christ.  I have seen personally and many times have witnessed other people such as Hr Neuhaus who chose to embrace the teachings and gospel of Jesus.  Their lives are renewed and the cares and struggles of this world are swallowed up in hope and deliverance.

Please take a moment and share your favorite missionary experience either as a missionary, or a pastor, or just in your daily walk with God.  I think it would be very beneficial for other readers of this blog.

8 Responses to Favorite Mission Stories

  1. Howard on March 24, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Nice story!

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  2. Mike S on March 25, 2013 at 8:16 AM

    I was working in the office on my mission, and went and gave a presentation in a bar one evening (this group had different speakers come in each week about different topics). We told the people where our church was and invited them to join us if they wanted to see more.

    The following Sunday, I was sitting in the first hour of church and a man came in who I recognized from the meeting. We started talking, and he asked me if he could be baptized, and what he had to do. Huh? I didn’t ask him, but he asked me.

    As we talked further, I found out that he had actually had the discussions several times over the past couple of years in a different city around 8 hours away. He’d actually read the Book of Mormon as well. So we “reviewed” all 6 discussions in around an hour, as he already knew the concepts. An advantage of being in the office is that the mission president was in the same ward, so he actually gave the baptismal interview to make sure we weren’t “jumping the gun”.

    When all was said and done, the stake president and bishop quickly organized a baptism, and he was baptized that very same Sunday evening.

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  3. graceforgrace on March 25, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    Mike S,

    Very cool story. I’ll be most missionaries wouldn’t have gone in the bar, but if you hadn’t the dude wouldn’t have seen you.

    Where did you go on your mission?

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  4. Mike S on March 25, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Norway. And we had a fair amount of “discretion” to go to the bar. I was an assistant at the time with a really cool mission president who focused more on the principles and not the rules.

    We had another family that we could only teach later after their kids went to bed – so our visits usually didn’t START until after 9:30pm. The husband wasn’t really interested in the message, so we’d do things like going to their house on a Saturday and help him build a deck all day (using power tools is much more fun than tracting). She ended up getting baptized as well, and I actually visited her years later when I toured Norway with my wife. We had a wonderful dinner together and caught up on old times.

    Teaching in bars, regularly staying out past curfew to teach, etc. Maybe a common thread? :-)

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  5. Mike S on March 25, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    This thread got me thinking about all the cool stories from my mission. I don’t want to “hog” the thread, but since there’s a “vacuum”, here’s another:

    When i first got to the country, we were sent to reopen a small town that hadn’t had missionaries for decades. There was one partially active member in the town, but the nearest branch of 20-30 people was over an hour away. There was a miscommunication, so when we arrived on the train, we had no apartment set-up. So, there we were, sitting at the train station with our suitcases and boxes and nowhere to go.

    At the time, apartments were a sellers’ market. There were 2-3 apartments listed in the classified section, yet there were 30-40 listings for people looking for an apartment – hoping they’d be chosen. Although the odds were against us, we just assumed that things would work out.

    The very first apartment we checked said that they wanted to meet a couple more people, but to come back in a few hours. When we came back, they gave it to us. They didn’t know why, but said they felt like they should rent to us. So we stayed there for the next 6 months. (As an aside, I didn’t go to church for that whole time, other than giving each other talks in the apartment. Sacrament mtg in slippers is cool).

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  6. adamemoe on March 25, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    Awesome experiences.

    I was in Upper Hutt Wellington New Zealand. The area was overworked, small and had lots of members. We couldn’t get any referrals from the ward and my companion was leaving the next shift. It didn’t seem to have the workings of a productive area. Almost instantly a family contacted us and we started the discussions. The Mom (who wore the pants) committed everyone to baptism before we could ask. I ended up getting transferred before their baptism date. I didn’t get along with the Mission president and knew he wouldn’t allow me to travel the 40 miles to the baptism. Well I decided to ask for forgiveness. The family also insisted that I be there. I ended up going back to New Zealand for their Temple sealing. Incredible family and awesome memories.

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  7. choro on March 26, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    On my first full day as missionary in my first area in Japan, a somewhat older gentlemen approached my trainer and I on the street and what you could tell was from the depths of his soul said us that he wanted his soul saved. He was near tears.

    We soon found out he was from out of town and was in the area as his wife was in a hospital here severely ill. I spoke and understood very little Japanese at that point, but could easily tell dealing with his wife’s mortality had made him confront the deep questions of life.

    We set up an appointment with him for a few days later and during the first appointment found him to have the same attitude of near-desperation and sincerity in regards to what he was seeking. He wholeheartedly agreed to read the Book of Mormon when we asked him to. He was THE golden contact.

    After that appointment, we never saw him again.

    We figured he either had to go back to his hometown or something happened with his wife in the hospital. Or maybe he thought we were crazies (dunno, but don’t think so).

    I still look back on it as one of the best yet most frustrating experiences of my mission. Missionaries in Japan don’t get approached in Japan on the street for anything (unless it’s some crazy person). To have something like that happen on your first day was, to say the least, amazing.

    However, you can bet one of the first questions I will ask when I get to the other side, is what happened with that guy? Some times I think some of the missionary work we get involved with in this life, we will resume when pass from this life to the next.

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  8. Paul 2 on March 27, 2013 at 5:19 AM

    In my first city in France, Clermont-Ferrand, we were street contacting on a cold rainy day. My companion was about 50 yards away contacting people. People seemed to be more hostile than usual that day, so I became frustrated after trying to talk to 6 people.

    I sat down on a bench and I said a prayer like this, “I am tired of being yelled at. I won’t get up off of this bench until You send me someone to teach.” At that precise instant, a man who was staggering down the sidewalk on the other side of a busy street, stopped suddenly, turned 90 degrees to his left and stared at me, then started to stagger across the street. Luckily he did not get hit by a car, but he did stop traffic. He staggered up to me and said that he approved of our teachings on baptism and non-baptism of small children and asked if we could visit him. Several visits showed that his mind was not really there. I never again had a coherent conversation with him.

    I ended up interpreting the response to my immature and lazy prayer as divinely jovial.

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