I was recently released as Ward Mission Leader. I have to say that it is one of the most rewarding AND most frustrating callings in the church.
It is rewarding when you see someone accept the gospel of Jesus Christ with their whole heart.
It is frustrating for me when I look at what Satan is doing in our day to blind the minds of people.
I live in a great ward, but it is not exempt from problems.
One of the most frustrating things I have had to deal with is the terrible example of two girls in our young women's program. They are so boy-crazy that they will do anything for popularity. Unfortunately, this has included teasing, mocking, or outright ignoring girls at school who are either recent converts or investigators. One of the young women who was investigating the church actually went to girl's camp for a week. I'll call her 'Alice' (all names are changed). Once she was there, Alice was largely ignored by the girl who was the Mia-Maid president 'Zoey', because Alice was not pretty like Zoey was. Our ward missionaries have tried desparately to bring Alice back. She has come to church a couple more times, but each time she has a less-than-pleasant experience. Now she won't answer the door or the phone for us. At one point she was basically ready to be baptized.
Another young lady who is a recent convert 'Kacie', is told by Zoey and her best friend 'Beth', that she is stupid and that no one likes her. We have been working on Kacie's family - a great family - for a long time and have been making some progress.
Yet another girl who was best friends with Beth, whose name is 'Anna', quit coming to church. I found out that Beth and Anna had a 'falling out'. Apparently is was so bad that even Anna's mother, who once or twice came to church to investigate, is not hostile toward the church.
These two girls, Zoey and Beth, are the children of 'leaders' in the ward, who have no idea what their daughters are doing, and who won't believe it when told. 'Oh no, my daughter would never to something like that. How dare you accuse her.' Ther's no stopping it without really ruffling feathers throughout the ward, which I am not afraid to do.
The Book of Mormon is full of stories about how the pride of the church and bad examples became a stumbling block. It's just really frustrating to experience it first-hand.
The other big problem is couples living together. Satan tells the world that sexual immorality is OK as long as you 'love each other'. As if he would know anything about love.
In the past year and a half, we have worked with five couples who, after we started working with them, we found out they were not married. Amazingly, four of the five were part-member situations, where a member guy is shacking up with his girlfriend. That makes it hard for the missionaries to teach about the law of chastity without embarrasing them. Two of these were returned missionaries. Another one was endowed but didn't serve a mission. Amazing, after having made temple covenants. I'm not naive, just disgusted. Only one of these couples got married.
I could go on with my list of frusrations about missionary work.
Satan is raging. I have felt in the past that outer darkness for eternity is too harsh. But the more I see the hatred involved, and the destruction involved, I am seeing things differently. Satan is a spiritual terrorist who can never be rehabilitated.
Pray for missionary work, because it is harder now and takes longer than ever before.