One summer, disappointed I could not attend a mission trip in Utah, God instead brought Mormon missionaries to me. They were living in my apartment building.
At first, I had the mindset of what in the world could a single, middle-aged teacher offer to these young men. But, as I looked into the Please Open the Door Program my doubts and fears melted away. It wasn’t about what I could offer to them, it was about what God’s Word offers to the lost. When we sing “Here am I, send me send me” we may not realize that He just may send you across the hallway of your apartment building.
I kept a journal about my experiences and if I wrote about all the wonderful things that happened, we would have a book on our hands. So, let me share some important take-aways that I have:
Takeaway #1: YOU will grow in faith and love.
I think that Please Open the Door is code for Please Open Your Heart. Throughout this whole experience you are deep in the Word. As your faith grows, so does the love you have for your Savior. As you build a respectful relationship with these young people, you also come to care for them very deeply on a personal level. You come to love them and will try to plant as many seeds as the Lord gives opportunity.
Takeaway #2: I just needed to be me.
Being authentic is a key element to building a relationship to speak the truth in love. In layman’s terms, be yourself. God may give you the opportunity to use your interests and life experiences as a tool for planting seeds.
I still smile about the day that my Mormon boys helped me power-wash my kayak at the car wash. One of our visits happened at the Christian school, where I teach. What a joy it was to take them on a tour that was filled with lots opportunity to talk about Jesus! When I was working on bracelet project for school, my boys offered to help make a few. The bracelets are a tool for sharing the gospel message through the meaning of the colors of the beads. The boys left my apartment wearing the bracelets and knowing the Biblical teachings behind them.
Takeaway #3: You’ll have support, exactly when you need it.
When you first begin your visits, you may have to deal with some nervousness and anxiety. The Please Open the Door Program has incorporated an incredible support system that helps you deal with doubts and fears. When you register to be part of the program, the first thing you do is sign-up for a mentor. My mentor sent me materials to read, helped me plan our visits, helped me deal with my emotions, and prayed with me. The face-to-face online chats with my mentor before and after each visit I had with my boys helped to ensure that I had a positive experience and provided what I needed to navigate through Mormon culture and teachings.
You also receive support in ways you may not have experienced before. My mentor encouraged me to ask a group of my friends who I could share my experience with to be my prayer support group. I would send them regular updates of my visits and prayer requests. The encouragement that you receive from your brothers and sisters in the faith enriches your experience. You are also connected to a support group of other Please Open the Door Evangelists. Being able to share with and support others across the country who are having similar experiences is definitely a wow factor.
Takeaway #4: God comes through.
God provides ways to handle the hurdles that may come your way. As a single woman, I knew that my boys wouldn’t be allowed to visit me alone in my apartment. I had a few visits alone with them in public places. At just the right time, God provided a couple of strong Christian young men from my church who were willing to participate in the visits. It was so much fun having a partner to prepare for the visits. There is also something special about young men sharing their faith with other young Mormon men.
That’s just the beginning.
My list of take-aways could go on and on so I will end with this:
We all know that sharing God’s Word with the lost is a good thing for people to do. It is an important thing to do. It is a valuable thing to do. God tells us to do it. Pray for that divine appointment that God will give you at just the right time to share His Word. It just might lead you to your neighbor across the hall…who just might be a Mormon missionary. You just might be able to open the door and plant the seeds of God’s Word.