When I was baptized, I was very excited to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the same time, I remember being extremely anxious about joining a church where I didn’t know anyone besides the missionaries who had taken their time to teach me about the restored Church and the Book of Mormon.
I was living in Austria at the time. I got to know a few members in the Church, but at that time I had not really made strong connections with anyone. My first Sunday as a new convert was truly blessed, as the young missionary who had convinced me to come to church sat by my side, translating what was being said as my German was still poor. The sacrament meet-ing left me with so much peace in my heart as I felt an under-standing of the message of the day. I was introduced to Sister Toni who smiled and sat next to me during Sunday School and Relief Society meetings.
I know we can magnify our ministering service by being there for the new converts.
After church, she invited me to her home for lunch and I met with the rest of her family. This family became my first friends in the church, they always picked me up for church activities. Through them I began to know more and more about the gospel and every Sunday I looked forward to going to church. Other Church members were equally friendly.
This feeling of being fully welcomed by people who were strangers at the time has stayed with me to this very day. I realized a lot of new converts have the same feelings that I had when I joined the Church, and the best way to make sure they remain active is to make them feel welcomed and part of the Church too.
It is our duty and responsibility as members to make sure that those who join feel loved and a sense of belonging. Something as simple as a smile and a short introduction can go a long way. Loving them will bring great change.
The old Handbook 2 says that “The transition to Church membership is challenging for most people.
It often involves embracing new religious teachings and a new way of life. All members of the Church, particularly new members, need three things to help them stay active in the Church: friendship, opportunities to mature and serve in the Church, and nourishing by the word of God”. I know we can magnify our ministering service by being there for the new converts. They need extra attention as they can easily fall back in their old ways.
As disciples of Christ, we have to be constant missionaries in our day-to-day lives. I know that Heavenly Father does expect us to strengthen each other as Doctrine & Covenants 108:7 says, “Therefore, strengthen your brethren in all your conversation, in all your prayers, in all your exhortations, and in all your doings.”