Disclaimer: I kind of lied in my title. I don’t have the same opinion as every other missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on your doorstep. They could view things differently than me and I don’t want to act like everyone thinks exactly the same way I do. I just wrote this to be helpful and not cause problems so if you disagree it’s all good right?
I may sound really apologetic in this..but let’s make one thing clear: Just because I say things like I wish I wasn’t knocking on your door or I felt like I was bugging people doesn’t mean I discredit what I was doing. I fully believed in what I was doing (Still do!) and I would assume other missionaries do too. Just because it’s not super fun doesn’t mean I don’t stand by it. I wouldn’t have knocked on your door if I didn’t know what I was doing was what God wanted me to do.
So here is 10 Things missionaries wish you knew..or rather, what I wish the person about to answer the door knew
1) We are scared
Believe it or not..I was often scared to be knocking on a complete stranger’s door. I acted all confident and brave and bold but I was shaking in my boots. (Most of my companions didn’t know I was scared either.) I was scared of saying something stupid (especially if I was speaking spanish) or I was scared of bugging them because I knew what it was like to be home and a stranger to ring your doorbell. I was scared that the person answering the door would be annoyed or rude or yell at us. You never know who is going to be behind that door..it’s not the best situation for us either. I really didn’t want to make anyone mad or uncomfortable or scared either.
2) We would rather be anywhere else than knocking on a stranger’s doors
It’s true. We don’t want to knock on your door just as much if not more than you don’t want us knocking on your door. Some days I wished I was back home watching tv or that I could go take a nap or that I could really be anywhere else in the world than walking down some street trying to talk to people who are trying at all costs to avoid you. It’s pretty painful for us at times. We get it. You don’t want us talking about religion..you aren’t interested, you are already set and complacent in whatever you have going on in your life. But we wouldn’t be there if we didn’t have a reason. A reason that trumphs our fears and not wanting to bug you. We know what we have to say is true, and that it will in fact make your life better because it’s made ours better and we truly just want you to be happy too. If we are knocking doors that probably means we ran out of ideas of what to do! It’s really the last thing on the list because it’s the least productive way to find people to teach and it’s also sometimes the most painful. However..just because it’s not super productive with finding people to teach doesn’t mean that it’s worthless. (Refer to #11)
3) Please be nice..we are just kids!
Sometimes people made fun of things we said or picked apart our words..remember we are just human and most of us are in our late teens or early twenties. We are just kids! We don’t say the perfect thing and we don’t know everything..don’t act like we do. Go easy on us. And please try to be nice, especially to the Elders (The boys). They get yelled at, cursed at, and things thrown at them far more then the Sisters (the girls) do. I only had a handful of bad situations. My husband had people swear at him every single day. Let’s all be kind to one another, there’s no reason to be hostile.
4) Be honest with us
If you aren’t interested–that’s ok!! Like I said, we get it. It’s ok to say “No thanks, I’m not interested”. I’ll be h honest with you and tell you-if you don’t tell us no..we will take that as a maybe and ask if we can come back another time and we will come back another time. We will not give up on you unless you tell us to. 🙂 Some missionaries are very persistant..don’t be offended. They just are really excited about getting to teach you! So just be nice but straight up with the missionaries and they’ll leave. If someone said to me “I’m not interested” I wouldn’t come back to their house..promise. We want to teach people that want to be taught and we don’t want to waste our time or yours. I didn’t like it when people would act like they were interested and said to come back another time and we would and they would pretend they didn’t hear us at the door when we came back..it made me feel stupid. I understand it’s hard to say no because you don’t want to be rude but it’s ok..we won’t be mad.
5) It’s ok to accept service or to ask for help!
Missionaries usually offer to help you with yard work or anything they can..it’s ok to accept that offer! It doesn’t come with strings attached. I helped people move, painted walls, pulled weeds, mowed lawns..tons of yard work and other things for people that just needed help. Missionaries don’t just teach people but they are looking for ways to help others..let them! They love it..seriously. It’s free service! If you need help with something..don’t be afraid to ask! Some people would say I’m not interested but I do need help moving on Saturday. I was totally cool with that.
6) We don’t want to fight
This is the last thing on earth we want to do. I never once knocked on a door wanting to “bible bash”, fight or belittle someone else’s beliefs. We try our hardest to be respectful and kind and patient. Just because we are trying to teach you about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does not mean that we discredit your beliefs and think we are better than you and want to argue. Please don’t try to argue with missionaries. I don’t care if you want to prove them wrong or whatever..that’s fine with me! You can ask as many questions as you’d like. (Refer to #9) But there is no good in arguing for anyone’s benefit. Some missionaries fall into the trap of arguing so please don’t provoke them. Let’s all just be friends and agree to disagree.
7) My FAVORITE thing was when someone offered me cold water on a hot day
Yes even if you don’t want to hear what we have to say..we would LOVE a cold drink on a hot day or a hot drink on a cold day. (Sorry we don’t drink coffee or tea) Or just to come inside for a second and bask in your air conditioning or your heat. Knocking doors can be miserable but people surprised me with their generosity when they asked if we just wanted to come in for a minute to cool off and have some ice water. When I think back on it now to this day, I still ask God to bless those kind people. It’s awesome. If you want to do a nice thing-that is something you can do. They will appreciate it far more than you could ever understand. Missionaries are out ALL DAY. They get up at 6:30 and go back home around 9:30..they are LONG days and doing something like that definitely makes it more bearable.
8) If you have a soliciting sign..it won’t deter us..sorry
I’m sorry to say this but a No Solicitng Sign will never keep a missionary from knocking on your door. Believe it or not we aren’t selling anything. We pay to go on our missions. We pay for everything, it’s not cheap. But if you join the church or let us teach you..we don’t get money. We don’t get bonuses or even incentives to do it. We just do it because it makes us happy. To teach someone and see their life change for the better and them benefit from it..makes it all worth it. We just want that for you. So that feeling we get outweighs the fear of you telling me when I ring your doorbell “The sign says no soliticers!” and then yelling at me to go away. It’s ok I won’t take it personally. I’ll just say..”We aren’t selling anything..”
9 Feel free to simply ask questions just out of pure curiosity
Even if you don’t plan on being baptized..even if you aren’t looking to change religions (ask Elder Cunningham says in The Book of Mormon musical..no I haven’t seen it just clips) you can still ask us questions! Ask us about some rumors you have heard about Mormons. Ask us about the weird stuff you have heard (like from South Park or The Book of Mormon Musical). It’s ok! We don’t get offended by that sort of thing. You aren’t wasting our time and we would love to clear some things up for you. Like, no we aren’t polygamists and no there is nothing freaky that goes on inside the temple.
10) There are people who want us to teach them
The reason we knock on your door is because there is like a 1 out of 1000 chance that you might actually want us to teach you so that’s why we do it. We believe that Christ cares about every single one of us and sends us out to find those who are searching for the truth and do want to learn more. So just in case you are that person, we ring your doorbell. Because believe it or not (I say that a lot)..there are some people praying for us to come! There are some people that when a missionary knocks on their door they say: “I have been waiting for you please come in!” (My Dad was actually a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)
11) We pray about what we should do every day
Even if you don’t want us at your doorstep and we may not want to be on your doorstep..we do pray about what to do every day. We pray to be led to those who need us and maybe neither of us know what that reason is. We may just need to meet you to talk to you to brighten your day or help you paint a room. We try to do and be where God wants us to be and so just maybe..there is a reason for us to be knocking on your door that day. Maybe YOU can teach US something! Don’t discredit the fact that God does care about you and your life and maybe He sent us to you for a reason.
Lastly: We leave behind everything because we want you to have everything
Before my mission I was dating my now husband and was totally head over heels in love and knew I would marry him. But, I left him behind to only be able to write him letters for the next 19 months I would be gone so that I could go on my mission that I had been preparing for my whole life. I left behind my family, friends, phone, laptop, and school for this opportunity. Why am I telling you this? To show you how much this all means to me. This isn’t a game. I didn’t go on a mission because I thought it would be fun. On the contrary, it was not fun most of the time. (I tried to make it fun whenever I could!) It was bar none the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Some mornings I didn’t want to get out of bed or leave the house and just wanted to sleep past 6:30 for once! (Now that I am home there isn’t a day I’m not grateful I never have to do that again!) I just wanted to go back to my boy and go snowboarding and go swimming and the list goes on and on of what I wished I could do..but I didn’t leave. The moments that were amazing far exceeded any bad moment. The moments that were amazing sometimes weren’t just amazing..they were the most incredible fulfilling moments of my life that words cannot describe. I learned to love others unconditionally. I gave it my all. I worked when I didn’t want to work and served when I didn’t want to serve. I saw people pray for the first time. I saw people cry because they felt so happy. I had people cry on my shoulder because of the hard lives that they have endured that made me cry too. I became close to people I feel like are now my family. It was so worth it. We see lives change-for the better. We see people change and a glow come into their eyes they didn’t have before. We feel a warmth come into a cold room when we read The Book of Mormon and a humble person is on their knees asking God if it is true. It’s not a coincidence. It’s not a lie. It’s all true and real and I know that and that’s why we go door to door, for a year and a half or two years of our young lives..to find those moments. They sometimes are just seconds. But those seconds are the most miraculous and beautiful seconds of our young lives.