Day of rest. Went to church. Had recently returned missionaries speak in the Sacrament meeting again. We get those quite often in this ward, I think recently it's been almost every other week. One talk mentioned a 9-year-old girl in Zambia who is the only member of the Church in her family that walked to church alone for an hour each Sunday. I think there is an aspect to the missionary program of the Church that does not get frequent enough attention. Those who are in the church take it for granted, those who are not are not close enough to the Church to be aware of it. There are thousands of young men and women that would not otherwise even know where countries like Zambia are that end up dedicating two years of their lives to serving in those countries learning the language and becoming intimately familiar with their culture. Their parents and grandparents would not otherwise know where those countries are. I understand that we are not unique in sending missionaries to other countries. Where we are unique is that we send them by assignment for two years and expect them to learn the language. We also expect them to do more than just preach the good word. They are expected to figure out what they need to do to convince people to make significant changes in their lifestyle. Anybody who has served a mission will know the difference between telling people to do better and seeing through to make sure they actually do better. You cannot get away with a superficial approach. If you do not immerse yourself into what the people you are working with live you will not succeed.
When I lived in Russia I happened to run into an influx of foreign, mostly American, missionaries when things opened up. However, it was not until I had met the LDS missionaries that I found somebody who has some depth behind them. They were the ones that were not afraid to invest their skin into the matter, so to speak. This was definitely a plus. While the message alone was convincing enough for me, to observe the messenger living up to the message made it even easier to believe.