Some of the content below is presented with tongue-in-cheek, NOT to disrespect our work in any way, but to share a challenge faced by missionaries in many parts of the world. I'll repent later for the irreverence and will take care not to use the name of Deity as in a real introduction to the gospel.
We think this might be a helpful new introduction when approaching potential investigators on the streets or at their doors: "Hello, we are sharing a message about how the gospel has been restored through a prophet, do you have a car?" If they do have one, we teach them. If not, we say, "Please call us when you get a car and we'll be glad to share this wonderful message."
All kidding aside, the lack of transportation issue is bogging down our efforts to get investigators to church. There needs to be a bunch of active members willing and able to transport people to and from the meetings. I saw an advert (Eng. for advertisement) for faith groups to apply for grants to help people get out of their homes and become more socially active. I thought I'd take that on if I could get support from the wards. That idea was shot down quickly when we met with the High Priest leader this week and he explained that they had actually gotten a bus a couple years back where people could pay a little and get to the meetings in a timely manner. That experiment didn't last long because the commitment to attend only lasted a short time. Apparently, it was just an excuse. If people want to attend badly enough, they'll find a way. Still, it makes it much easier to get people going when you can at least provide a friend to gather them up each week and help them get used to things.
Today was a happy day because a member sacrificed his time and convenience to transport others. Our investigator, his son, and our less-active member and his two sons were able to get to church and attend all the meetings! It was our typical musical chairs (booster seats) scenario. Elder Blain called people to arrange rides, but one of the regular drivers couldn't drive, so the other driver offered to get the two groups to Church. The young man, who offered to pick them all up, first attended a 7:30 a.m. meeting, ran home and picked up his wife and the member with the two boys. He dropped all of them at church and went back for the investigator and his son. Consequently, the last group walked in after the Sacrament was passed, but they did get to enjoy the rest of the meeting. Oh, what a few more drivers could contribute towards less stress on Sundays!
Because there were three active boys to add to a devoted sister's Primary class, I stayed in the class to assist. The boys were angels (as opposed to last week when one got upset because he didn't get to say the prayer and his little brother did--so he spent his time during singing time on the floor behind the chairs sulking). They have adapted quickly to behaving in the meetings. The fathers of these boys are very loving and expect obedience from their boys, which they get. The boys are bright, like their fathers, so they participate well in class.
After the meeting, there was no ride for the less-active member and his two boys! Elder Blain gave him money to take the bus home. We felt bad, but that is probably the most practical thing to do from here on out, even if it isn't convenient. The bus schedules are not good on Sunday, so it probably took an hour to get home. With two very hungry boys, I can imagine it wasn't fun. We wonder how long they'll continue to come when we aren't here. Hopefully, by then the ward will have rallied around with more support.
Sister Blain's revised Hymn #81: Press forward, Saints, with steadfast faith and DRIVE, with hope's bright headlights in heart and mind, with love of all you will transport mankind. Al-le-lu-ia! Al-le-lu-ia! Al-le-lu-ia!
Press forward driving every Sabbath day. Picking up all of those who need a ride. Come unto Church, get all the saints to bide. Trans-por-ta-tion! Trans-port-ta-tion! Trans-por-ta-tion!
Press on, enduring, in your ways to serve. Your love proclaimed for mortals who need rides. Thus saith them, we gain eternal life! Cars-and-pet-rol! That's-where-it's-at! Al-le-lu-ia! (AMEN!)