As we exited their home, right there on the street 5 feet from their porch, I angrily grabbed Ricciardi and told him he was surely going to hell for slamming shut the gate to baptism on this wonderful couple. The next morning in companion study Elder Ricciardi read the following scripture from D&C 4:4 “For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul” Ricciardi said “Elder, I know you’re angry, but the scripture does not say the field is yellow ready to plant, brown ready to water, it says white, ready to harvest.
But the challenge comes in getting investigators to feel the spirit in those private moments alone, reading marked passages, praying to the Lord, pondering the commitment to be baptized, giving up the coffee, asking the girlfriend/boyfriend to move out to adhere to laws of sexual purity, paying that first tithe
We are harvesters Elder. I replied “Ricciardi, D&C says remember the worth of souls is great in the eyes of God… every soul…” His answer, as always, surprised me. We could have spent all our time together with that “Golden family” every day, making them feel good, them making us feel like we are getting missionary work done. The problem is, there are so many other souls ready to harvest, that it is our duty as missionaries to immediately move on to harvesting. Not planting, but harvesting. They have learned the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Their time will come, but not with us as their teachers…we must move on”. Some major lessons came out of this experience with Ricciardi. I learned to put in a concentrated effort at helping our investigators keep commitments.
They loved having us around, in my anxiousness as a new missionary I simply wanted to stay friends long enough for them to join the church
There were times I thought Elder Ricciardi was way too hard on investigators about not reading when they had made a commitment to us that they would. When an investigator would say, “I was too busy, etc, etc. After a particularly testy visit with investigators who I felt Ricciardi was too hard on for not reading, I rebuked him on the bike ride home. He asked me to explain why we give investigators commitments in the first place. I responded with many answers which he acknowledged were all “sort of right”. However he wanted me to change my thinking about commitments. He felt that commitments were given to investigators so that they could have opportunities to feel the spirit when the missionaries are not around.
He felt it was easy for investigators to feel good around two young clean cut, smart, religious persons like missionaries. It’s easy to admire the sacrifice of young people who would give up 18 to 24 months in the prime of tanner sugar daddy websites their youth. It is in these private moments that people realize when they do what they are asked, the feelings that come when the missionaries visit, and leaves when the missionaries leave, can actually continue to dwell with them, on their own, when the missionaries are not around.
Yearning for The Spirit A yearning to have this feeling all the time begins to swell within the investigator, and then the invitation to baptism becomes a natural progression rather than a nerve racking request by the missionaries. This is why that “Golden Family from Scotland” I referred to earlier, at the end of the day never got baptized. Ricciardi was so right. When investigators keep commitments, especially the little commitments, they learn that the spirit can be with them even when the missionaries are not around. That is when conversion occurs, then they “walk into the font” rather than being pushed. When the investigator reads passages, prays on their own, ponders what they have been taught and are reading alone, their good feelings (the spirit) move them from feeling “obligated to the missionaries”. They begin to ask themselves “how can I have these feelings with me always”. It is a desire to keep those good feelings with them indefinitely. It is conversion by the spirit, and not the personalities or admiration of the missionaries. Don’t misunderstand, your personality and their admiration for your sacrifice opens the door, but the path of your investigator must be walked with a desire born of the spirit. It begins with keeping those little commitments to read and pray. If we returned to an investigators home to teach a 2nd lesson and they had not read, we would read with them instead and postpone the lesson to next time. If they had not prayed, we would pray with them. The goal with commitments like these is that they must do it on their own.