The Norman Transcript

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December 15, 2013

Mission is daunting yet rewarding for young LDS elders

(Continued)

NORMAN —

“What else really do we have to talk about?” said Winterton. “What else are we going to take to the next life? In my own opinion, all we have is the Gospel… So why not express it more? Why not talk about it?”

“Sometimes as a culture, we kind of mask what is important.”

It’s also mistaken to believe missionary work is impersonal, said Winterton. There’s no script, contrary to popular belief.

“When we go up there, it’s us,” said Winterton. “It’s just us going up and bringing our message to you and we’re inviting you to listen.”

Of course, not everyone does. Some people are happy to converse with missionaries, but others are less enthusiastic. Sometimes Buhler and Winterton approach a house with eyes peeking through the blinds, but get no answer when they knock. Other times, people are more direct.

“We normally don’t get anything very severe,” said Winterton “Most of the time it’s just like ‘We’re not interested,’ and like a good slam of the door, or ‘Go away, get off my property.’”

Despite the backlash from some people they approach, Buhler and Winterton say their experiences are typically good.

“For the most part, Oklahoma is great,” said Winterton. “I love the people of Oklahoma. They’re great people. They’re nice, very willing to talk.”

As one might expect, the pair doesn’t see a lot of conversions. As articulate and kindly as they might be, an encounter with Buhler and Winterton is rarely enough to cause someone to overturn their worldview. Winterton has only helped five people come into the church, and Buhler still hasn’t gotten one.

But it’s no contest. While it may be a “great reward” to see someone embrace their faith, Buhler and Winterton emphasize conversions are not all that matter.

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