It’s 10 a.m. on a weekday and full-time missionaries Brayden Bell and Chris Weiss are heading to the local church to use the Wi-Fi. As directed by their mission president, they will continue this method of finding, teaching and contacting people the whole day.
“It’s strange not being able to see members and non–members in person or just being able to stop by homes and say hello,” said Elder Bell, from Heber City, Utah serving in the South Carolina Columbia Mission.
Things changed dramatically for Elders Bell and Weiss when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temporarily stopped all church gatherings for its members two months ago.
“At first, it was quite hard to stay inside basically the whole day,” said Elder Weiss, from Gilbert, Arizona. “Every missionary was used to going out and finding people to teach and having that genuine in-person contact. As time has gone on, our mission has realized this is how missionary work will be from now on.”
Facebook and contact in other ways through technology are the new norms for daily proselyting in the South Carolina Columbia Mission.
“We’re able to teach anyone from around the world, so we’re able to find people with a lot more different backgrounds and also more people who do not know anything about the Church,” Elder Bell said.
Not long ago these missionaries’ daily routine consisted of traveling around town, contacting referrals, visiting with members, doing service and other activities intended to find more people to teach. Many missionaries didn’t expect what came next.
“We didn’t know what was really going on, we just had a few mission wide Zoom calls then everything went lockdown mode,” Elder Weiss said. “We thought everything was being over-hyped until we couldn’t go outside any longer.”
Elders Weiss and Bell also shared the struggle to find genuinely interested people. Many people online put up a fake image much different than in-person interactions, but these missionaries are still hopeful.
“With us finding more people, there are more opportunities to find the elect that need to hear the gospel of Christ!” Elder Weiss said.
Both missionaries talked of the happiness and purpose the gospel has brought to their lives and their desires to further the work of salvation.
“Since this is a trial for many, more people are turning to Jesus Christ, wanting an understanding of how He can play a role in their life,” Elder Weiss said. “Everyone deserves to hear how they can have lasting happiness in this life and the life to come.”