The impetus for International Week at M* came out of a missionary experience I had a few weeks ago with someone who spoke Portuguese, my mission language.
After posting about my missionary experience on Facebook, the ensuing discussion evolved to posting in our mission languages. At M*, there are three of us that speak Portuguese: Geoff B., me and Ben Pratt.
While posting in our mission languages (along with a translation of the post) might be fun for those who speak the language, I wanted to also focus on the aspect of doing member missionary work.
After returning home from my mission, I still had a strong desire to share the gospel with others and had frequent opportunities to do so. As time passed, I fell into a routine of work and school and the opportunities for missionary work seemed to decrease. Or at least I wasn’t actively looking for them.
Recently, in my own ward, we have been asked to pray for missionary experiences and to seek out opportunities to share the gospel. Along with the increased focus on missionary work in my ward, Bookslinger was kind enough to send me a few Books of Mormon in foreign languages to hand out. (I have not had an opportunity for a Bookslinger-style missionary moment, but I have found a restaurant close to work where I can attempt to share these Books of Mormon.)
My most recent missionary moment, the one I mentioned at the beginning of this post, came while my wife and I were helping a friend.
My wife received a phone call from a mutual friend who needed our assistance letting the cable repairman into her home. She was running errands and received a phone call from the repairman asking when she would be home. My wife’s friend was a great distance from her home and did not want to have to cancel the appointment. My wife and I were just a short distance from her house, so we agreed to let the cable repairman into her house.
After letting the repairman into the house, we stayed out in front and played with our children. Several minutes later, my wife went into the house with our daughter and answered some questions the repairman had. One of these questions was about a Book of Mormon he saw in the house. He wondered if our friends were Latter-Day Saints. My wife informed him that they were and that we were also LDS. During the course of the discussion, my wife learned the man was from Brasil. She mentioned to him that I spoke Portuguese and had served my mission in Brasil.
When the repairman finished with his work, we had a delightful conversation, in Portuguese, about the gospel. He mentioned that his wife is LDS and that he was taking the lessons from the missionaries. He shared with me his concern about being rushed into being baptized. His overriding concern was having a witness from the Spirit about the truthfulness of the gospel.
I paraphrased the promise found in Moroni 10:4-5 and told him to seek for a witness from the Spirit concerning the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I then bore my testimony to him of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration.
When I finished the conversation, I was amazed at how much I was able to remember in Portuguese and marveled that we were both able to understand one another. It has been nearly 20 years since my mission and I do not have a lot of opportunity to speak Portuguese with others. I do periodically read my scriptures in Portuguese and study grammar, but not with any degree of regularity.
I feel blessed by the Lord to have had this missionary experience.
I would love for our M* readers to share their missionary experiences, particularly those who have done so in their mission languages.