The pandemic is changing the way missionaries find people to teach. Rather than spending hours on the streets, missionaries are staying in their apartments and reaching out to people via technology. This is a significant shift, and Latter-day Saints aren’t the only ones commenting on the change.
Time magazine published an article discussing changes in the Church’s proselyting practices, and how those changes may stay in place even after the pandemic subsides. The article quotes Elder Brent H. Nielson, General Authority Seventy and Executive Director of the Church’s Missionary Department, and how he has seen technology impact missionary work.
“We’ve learned that finding people, teaching people online is much more effective than trying to meet people in person on a bus or on a street corner or somewhere else. This will change what we do, I think, forever.”
The article goes on to explain how missionaries are now meeting with families over Zoom calls and being more creative on social media. However, while relying heavily on technology is proving effective, the article is quick to point out that many missionaries miss the personal touch of meeting in person.
Sister Bella McCain, who was serving in Brazil but has since been reassigned to Florida, said that she and her companion would “love to go and be able to teach in people’s houses.”
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Although missionaries are having to make adjustments in how they work, Elder Nielson told Time magazine that missionary work is moving forward like never before.
“There’s never been a time when more people have wanted to know about religion than there is now,” Elder Nielson said. “People searching for peace. People searching for answers. People searching for someone to talk to. It’s been an incredible thing.”
Read the rest of the article from Time magazine.