Running and marathons are like missionary work. For those of you who do not like running though—soccer, volleyball, basketball, and other sports are comparable to missionary work as well. Now many of you may be thinking “HOW?” right? Well today, I would like to tell you how.
In sports, you have the coach, teammates, and new athlete. As full-time missionaries, we are the coach. Our responsibility as the coach or full-time missionary is to teach, instruct, and help the new athlete or investigator set goals. The new athlete is the investigator or person searching to “know of the truth for their self.” The investigator or new athlete’s responsibility is to show up to practice or keep commitments that will strengthen their testimony. Each one of you is a teammate to the new athlete. You are a member missionary. When I train for races, I do so with my best friend. When that alarm goes off at 6am and it is snowing outside, going for a run is the last thing that I want to do. There are days like that. Yet, I know that my friend is counting on my running with her and vice versa. Studies have proven that a person is more likely to stick with a workout if they have a workout buddy. There are similar studies that show a person is more likely to “endure to the end” in the gospel if they have a friend in the gospel.
President Monson said, “I have found that 2 fundamental reasons largely account for a return to activity and for changes of attitudes, habit, and actions. First, individuals return because someone has shown them their eternal possibilities and has helped them decide to achieve them. The less active can’t long rest content with mediocrity when they see that excellence is within their reach. Second, others return because loved ones or “fellow citizens with the saints” have followed the admonition of the Savior, have loved their neighbors as themselves and have helped others to bring their dreams to fulfillment and their ambitions to realization.” Without each one of you, the work of salvation CANNOT hasten.
When I was a junior in high school, my best friend invited me to join the track team. Without that invitation, I would not have joined. I thought I was too slow, the team didn’t need me, and it was already 2-weeks into the season. I never would have discovered my passion for running and marathons if she had not invited me. More importantly though is the invitation of Christ’s gospel. The gospel brings me even more happiness than running. We are able to invite others to obtain eternal life. In Alma 5: 62 we read
“I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church and unto those who belong not to the church, I speak by way of invitation saying come and be baptized unto repentance that they might also be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life.”
How many of you have friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors that could be “partakers of the fruit of the tree of life.” Today, I would like to invite you to invite them into the gospel.
In a recent letter from my stake president, he wrote:
“In June, we extended an invitation to our stake members to invite atleast one person not of our faith to come unto Christ by learning more about the gospel by Sunday, August 25th. One stake member invited a less active co-worker who hadn’t attended church in many years. That person is now attending church each week and has accepted a call to serve as a Church Service missionary performing family history work 12-15 hours per week.”
Each one of you can give that same invitation. I’d like to end with a scripture found in Mormon 9:22-
“For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;”
Are we not all Disciples of Christ? Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. I testify that the work of salvation is hastening. I know Jesus Christ lives. I know he loves me. I know that it is through him that I can make it back home to live with my Heavenly Father. Of this I bear testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”