Wednesday Words

For Family Home Evening, Wade and my daughter Emily and I watched a Priesthood session of conference by Richard  C. Edgley.  He spoke about reactivating less active members.  He relays this story below:

“One Sunday morning some 30 years ago, while I was serving in a stake presidency, we received a telephone call from one of our faithful bishops. He explained that his ward had grown so rapidly that he could no longer provide a meaningful calling to all worthy members. His plea to us was that we divide the ward. While waiting for such approval, we decided as a stake presidency that we would visit the ward and call all these wonderful, worthy brothers and sisters to be stake missionaries.

About the third person I visited was a young female student attending the local university. After chatting for a few moments, I issued the call to serve as a missionary. There was silence for a few moments. Then she said, “President, don’t you know that I am not active in the Church?”

After a few moments of silence on my part, I said, “No, I did not know you were not active.”

She answered, “I have not been active in the Church for years.” Then she said, “Don’t you know that when you have been inactive, it’s not all that easy to come back?”

I responded, “No. Your ward starts at 9:00 a.m. You come into the chapel, and you are with us.”

She answered, “No, it is not that easy. You worry about a lot of things. You worry if someone will greet you or if you will sit alone and unnoticed during the meetings. And you worry about whether you will be accepted and who your new friends will be.”

With tears rolling down her cheeks, she continued, “I know that my mother and father have been praying for me for years to bring me back into the Church.” Then after a moment of silence, she said, “For the last three months I have been praying to find the courage, the strength, and the way to come back into activity.” Then she asked, “President, do you suppose this calling could be an answer to those prayers?”

My eyes started to water as I responded, “I believe the Lord has answered your prayers.”

She not only accepted the call; she became a fine missionary. And I’m certain she brought much joy not only to herself but also to her parents and probably other family members.

There were several things I learned or was reminded of with this and similar interviews:

  • •I learned that many less-active members have loved ones on their knees daily petitioning the Lord for help in rescuing their loved one.
  • •I learned that it is not all that easy or comfortable for a less-active member to just walk back into the Church. They need help. They need support. They need fellowship.
  • •I learned we have less-active members who are trying and willing to find the path back to activity.
  • •I learned that many less-active members will hold callings if asked.
  • •I learned that a less-active member deserves to be treated as an equal and be viewed as a son or daughter of a loving God.”

We have the ability to help reactivate less active or inactive members by participating in our visiting teaching.   Showing love and concern for our inactive sisters is what our Heavenly Father and our Savior wants us to do.  We have no idea which sisters are praying for help to become active in the church again.





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