Missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world are finding new and creative ways of sharing the Gospel with the people around them.
These are a few excerpts that I found particularly interesting from the Church Newsroom article Missionaries in Ecuador Find ‘New and Creative Ways’ to Teach Amid COVID-19 Challenges
In his October 2020 general conference address, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf acknowledged that the current COVID-19 pandemic would seem to be a roadblock to missionary work, with traditional methods of sharing the gospel not possible because of restrictions.
“However, the pandemic is revealing new and more creative ways of reaching out to the honest in heart,” said the member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who chairs the Church’s Missionary Executive Council. “The work of gathering Israel is increasing in power and enthusiasm. Hundreds and thousands of stories attest to this. … Many of our missionaries are busier than ever. Many are teaching more people than ever. There is an increased connection between members and missionaries.”
In Quito, Ecuador, missionary work is moving in a different way and at a pace that affirm Elder Uchtdorf’s statements.
‘New and More Creative’ Missionary Work
Ecuador was hit especially hard by COVID-19 in the early spread of the pandemic, and the entire country went on lockdown for a time. Nearly all nonnative missionaries were initially sent home, and those missionaries who remained were not allowed to leave their apartments for anything except to purchase food.
Missionaries still had basic cell-phone service, but without Internet access, meaning they couldn’t use WhatsApp or social media for communication. “Back in May, missionary work was at a standstill because of the quarantines in effect and because the missionaries didn’t really have a way to share the gospel,” President Winters said.
This all changed in May when the two Quito missions received smartphones and missionaries adapted rapidly to an entirely new method of missionary work using social media and smartphones.
Increased Media Referrals
With online and social media work taking root, supplemental efforts have been added, including the placement of Facebook ads and a local initiative involving ads on Google and YouTube. Within hours of the first ads being released, missionaries had multiple people requesting to be taught — eventually they were inundated with media referrals.
The increased number of referrals received at the Ecuador Quito Mission Office resulted in missionaries in some areas struggling to keep up with the requests. “Responding to all the people who are interested in the gospel is not easy at all,” said Elder Carlos Bolaños, the mission’s referral secretary.
Elder Mathias Held, a General Authority Seventy and first counselor in the South America Northwest Area presidency, said similar patterns are being repeated throughout the area.
Member Missionary Work Through Social Media
While ads have increased the number of referrals, they aren’t the most important source of referrals. “The majority of baptisms we have seen have come from member referrals,” President Winters said. “When members and missionaries work together, the results can be miraculous.”
Technology Within the Mission
Technology also benefits the missionaries in working behind the scenes and with each other. For example, President Winters and his companion in the Quito mission, Sister Pamela Winters, can use Zoom and other videoconferencing apps to spend more time with missionaries living far from the mission office, rather than wait for periodic zone conferences or companionship interviews.
Not Easier, Not Harder — Just Different
In speaking to missionaries in the Ecuador Quito Mission, Elder David A. Benalcázar, an Area Seventy from Quito, addressed the changed methods of missionary work resulting from pandemic-period efforts.
“What you must understand is that the mission at this time is not neither easier nor more difficult than before. It is simply different,” he said. “Different in the way it is preached, but at all times, whether it be now or tomorrow, the Lord’s promise is that it will always be possible.”
For more details read the full article here: Missionaries in Ecuador Find ‘New and Creative Ways’ to Teach Amid COVID-19 Challenges
Other articles about missionary work during the pandemic
Technology and Pandemic Recalibrated Missionary Work: From Elder Ballard to Elder Uchtdorf
2020 Virtual Mission Leadership Seminar of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints