Some people feed the missionaries out of guilt. Some people feed them because they were assigned by the ward missionary meal coordinator. And some people feed them because they just absolutely love to feed the missionaries.
Here are the 4 major reasons why we absolutely love to feed the missionaries:
1. Each Missionary Has A Mom That Is Desperate For Your Help
There is a mom somewhere desperately praying that a few members will provide a refuge from the storm for her missionary. All you have to do is picture the mom of these young missionaries and your heart will swell with love and compassion for them. Imagine your child out there in a massive city, or a secluded countryside and you will want nothing else but to ensure that these missionaries have a solid place to rest their feet and fill their bellies.
2. When We Feed The Missionaries, We’re Indirectly Doing Missionary Work
One of the greatest and most memorable experiences of my life came as a result of the families in our ward feeding us as missionaries. It was Christmas time, and my companion and I had previously door knocked into a large group of African refugees. They spoke decent English and so we were able to learn a lot about their lives. There were about 12-15 of these refugees living in a single apartment in a very bad part of town. We learned that they had recently escaped the country of Sierra Leone to make it to America in the wake of the blood diamond conflict and the 10-year long civil war. Their leader, Gibril, took a liking to us and wanted to learn more about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
On Thanksgiving night, ward members had triple booked us. That means we had to attend three dinner appointments with the members. We had no idea how we were going to pull that off. By the end of the first dinner appointment, we were stuffed. “Have some more dessert Elders!,” they said. The second dinner we were making ourselves sick. And by the third dinner, we could do no more. The members also tried to send us home with leftovers. There was so much food, and we knew just the people who could really benefit from it. Gibril… and his refugees. So we went around to these members homes and gathered as many leftovers as we could. Turkey, stuffing, green beans, rolls, and whole pies. We were loaded up with an entire Thanksgiving feast and by about 8:30 p.m. we arrived at Gibril’s apartment. We knocked on their door with our hands full of the best smelling food these refugees had ever smelled. We could see that they had nothing. It looked like a little white rice was their Thanksgiving meal. When we set the food down, they began looking at it in wonder. They smelled it and stared at it. Someone gave the word that it was OK to dig in. It was evident that they had never seen or tasted this kind of food. One of them picked up an entire pumpkin pie and each of them began to dig their hands into the pie, eating it with their fingers. I’ll never forget the look on their faces as they ate that food. We left to get in the car, and I never felt so happy in my life as we drove to our apartment. My companion and I just sat there in silence as we contemplated what we had just done for these people. But really… we just delivered the food. It was the members who gave it to us that made it all possible.
I know this exact situation isn’t all that common, but it illustrates the nourishment that is ultimately transferred from the ward members to those people that the missionaries are teaching. Gibril ended up getting baptized, and as great as that was… it wasn’t near as great as the night we brought him the food from our ward members.
3. They Lift Our Spirits
You can tell the difference when those missionaries enter your home. Whether they are green or seasoned, they seem to bring a power with them that is noticeable. They are trying very hard to look and act the part. They generally always bring a message with them as well. For some families, it might be one of the only gospel messages that get shared during a given week or month. Sometimes we can get busy or lazy in our family home evenings and gospel study… and these missionaries seem to come in and fan that flame of gospel study.
4. They Are Great Role Models For Kids
Look at all the people in the world that will be fighting for your children’s attention. On the radio, at school, in the movies, and almost anywhere else you go, there is someone crying out for your kids to come and idolize them. For some reason, the world has turned the riff raff of the past into the role models of today. People who have no business leading other people, let alone leading children, will fight to become role models to your children because it makes them money.
But then we have the missionaries. A few of the last remaining people on this earth who are willing to sacrifice the things they want now for the things they ultimately want most. If our kids get used to seeing these young Elders, and Sisters doing the Lord’s work and being good examples… then maybe they will become role models for our children to look up to instead.
These are just a few of the reasons that we love to feed the missionaries. There are many more reasons I’m sure. We feed the missionaries physically… and they feed the world spiritually. Sounds like a good deal to me.