Heartwarming Missionary Service

When I began this blog my intention was to focus on the missionary work that our dedicated young LDS men and women are doing across the world. But, a few days ago I received an email from a truly amazing person. He is not someone of our faith, but he is a Christian. In that email he invited me to pray for his missionary service and even invited me to come and visit where he serves.

Located in the southern regions of India, the work that Ananda is involved in is grassroots. He is working to meet the physical and spiritual needs of people in some of the most remote areas of the world. In a country that struggles with the demands of an extremely high population and a low economic base, Ananda and his group work to provide both a spiritual base for these people, as well as assisting them in the social and economic realms through the establishment of orphanages, schools, and basic infrastructures such as water and medical care.

I feel really compelled to share with you the email Ananda sent me, as I believe it is a wonderful example of how the Lord uses His children to do His work on earth – even in areas where there are currently no LDS missionaries. The wording of the email was as follows:

I am glad to contact you. I have been doing ministry since 1993 among Tribal’s who are living in Forest and never seemed any salvation in their life. I have 46 missionaries in India, Tamilnadu. We have focused to South India Tribal People. We are conduction Free Medical Camps, Free education center for Tribal children, free self work training program for Tribals. We are following 224 hamlets, tiny villages, and Hilly regions Tribal groups. We have just started 9th church in Tribal area. Please Pray for this construction. Support us to Spread Gospel to all Tribal’s. We invite you to visit our ministry and fields.

—Ananda Kumar

There is probably never going to be a chance for me to visit this place, but my purpose in sharing this email with you is to highlight some of the good that is happening in this world amongst fellow Christians. While our missionaries don’t have the opportunity to reach into such areas right now, it is heartwarming to know that there are Christian people out there preparing the way for the day when full missionary services can reach them. These people are akin to the likes of John Calvin, John Wyclyffe, and Martin Luther; preparing the way for the Gospel to spread to all nations, kindreds and tongues (2 Nephi 30:8).

If anyone is interested in reading more about the work Ananda is involved in then please go and visit the website for the India Village Care MinistriesAlso, don’t forget to pray for their success as they work to meet the physical and spiritual needs of these humble villagers.

Mormons in the Spotlight

As most of you would agree, it’s not every day you can link into a global online newspaper and find a major story about a day in the life of an LDS missionary. Let’s face it; it’s hard enough for our boys and girls to get people to open doors to share their gospel message, let alone to have these same people bring this kind of story to their breakfast table.

But this week that’s exactly what I did. This week the New York Times, in their Education section, ran a 5-page spread titled At Age 19, From Utah to Uganda’, that follows two LDS missionaries serving in Uganda.

Now, some of you may feel the hackles rise a bit at the mention of our missionaries and Uganda in the same sentence; bringing back memories of the recent satirical Broadway musical “The Book of Mormon”, depicting the follies of two Mormon missionaries in the wilds of that country. But before you discredit this article as riding on the back of this non-LDS production, I suggest it would be well worth reading.

I found the article to be very well balanced in its depiction of our missionaries. Indeed, it follows in some depth their preparation to serve, their training in the MTC, their incredible commitment to the work and maintains faith in their spiritual maturity.

At the same time it shows the human side of our boys in regards to their life before their missions, their struggles with separation from family and friends during, and the temptations that surround them whilst serving.

This article is most certainly timely when considering the current bid by Mitt Romney for the US Republican Presidential nomination. Romney’s rise to prominence has brought the church out of obscurity. As Josh Kron states, “Mormonism is basking in the mainstream spotlight” at the moment.

Up until now Mitt Romney has been low key about his Mormon roots, but with reports emerging that he is on the brink of being nominated,  and with some prominent evangelicals now supporting him, that will probably change.

So, whether it’s riding on the back of a popular musical, or even adding depth to current political events, this New York Times article has certainly given its many readers the opportunity to reflect on Mormon religious practices over their morning coffee. It may even help to open a few more doors to our hard working sons and daughters.

In this light it may be time for us to start talking about these same things with those of our friends and acquaintances who are not of our faith. Like Romney, maybe it’s time to step into that spotlight.