House to house and person to person, Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church or Mormons) are making friends and helping out in many ways in Morrow County. You may see them at your door or helping with a project in your community.
The missionaries here this fall are Nathan Larson of Logan, Utah and Matthew Gunnarson of Ogden, Utah. They are here for six weeks before they go on to another area in Ohio.
Larson explained that LDS missionaries usually sign on for two year commitments. Men are usually 18 years old when they begin and women start at 19. They apply for the mission field, are interviewed and then attend a training center.
Both Larson and Gunnarson said that they “love helping people and making friendly connections” wherever they’re assigned. They said that Mount Gilead Mayor, Mike Porter and his wife Kim have been good friends to them and other LDS missionaries who have come to Morrow County. While here, they live in an apartment on Lee St.
Kim Porter said all the LDS missionaries are wonderful young men. They have helped with several community projects such as Habitat with Humanity, the Trinity Food Pantry and moving chairs for Bible School. They’ve also helped her with Christmas decorations and other chores and tasks in their home.
Larson said their day is very scheduled and begins with an hour of individual prayer and Bible study followed by an hour of praying and study together when they ask for guidance in the day ahead. Their life is very Spartan with no TV and calls to family are limited to once a week.
They have limited use of a car, ride bicycles in good weather and walk in neighborhoods where they can visit door-to-door. They attend worship on Sundays with the Marion LDS congregation.
Both Gunnarson and Larson were happy to talk about their faith and emphasized that their church follows the teachings of Jesus. They call the Book of Mormon “another testament of Jesus Christ and follow those teachings that advocate abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs and other unhealthful substances such as coffee and tea.
Gunnarson said they listen to people’s interests and problems when they go into people’s homes. They offer to help in any way they can and often pray with them or are asked to pray for people.
“We say ‘prayer goes two ways,” said Gunnarson. “It is communication with our heavenly father and him with us.”
“We look at people’s potential and try to help them reach a higher level and to be closer to Christ,” said Larson.
They talked about several LDS programs such as the 12 week program centered in coming closer to Christ for those who struggle with alcohol and other addictions. Familysearch.org is a free website where people can track their family ancestry. You can also go to Mormon.org to speak with the missionaries or call 740-403-6293.
Alberta Stojkovic is a correspondent with the Morrow County Sentinel and can be reached at [email protected].