“You need to put at the beginning that this was produced by missionaries—because this looks like something straight from Salt Lake!”
That is what a bishop in the New York Syracuse Mission said when he saw the video Elder Jared Bender created encouraging member missionary work.
And we couldn’t agree more. From the high video and audio quality to the creative edits and easy to follow dialogue, this video created by Elder Bender and his fellow missionaries could easily be mistaken as something produced by a seasoned professional on the Church’s payroll.
Elder Bender from San Diego, California, loved making videos for social media before his mission and had even taken a few film classes during middle school and high school. His mission leaders, President Evan Gentry and companion, Sandi Gentry, allowed missionaries to bring camera equipment from home and provided other videography gear like stabilizers, mics, and even drones—something Elder Bender says is grounds for dubbing them “the best mission leaders on the planet.”
“The video has been fun to share with people we meet on the street to explain a little bit about what we do as missionaries,” Elder Bender says. “It helps break down the barrier of missionaries being ‘gospel salesmen.’ We’ve got personalities and interests too! We just have the happiest message on the planet that we wanna share!”
Elder Bender also recruits Latter-day Saints in the area to be involved with the videos. Below, watch his interviews with early morning seminary students as they explain why they are willing to wake up far earlier than most teenagers to attend a religion class.
Other videos feature experiences from the lives of members. The following video shares the story of a young man with cystic fibrosis.
Whatever the content of the video, Elder Bender is focused on one thing: finding natural and effective ways to share the gospel.
“The gospel is the best and it’s simple to share! The best way to share is to BE YOU! There are people that only your example can touch. The more you use your talents to share the gospel with others, the more joy you'll feel. That is an unchanging truth.”
Find more videos on New York Syracuse Mission’s YouTube page, Light of Christ in Upstate New York.