A couple of Latter-day Saint missionaries are spreading good news about their faith to students at Florida A&M University.
Although on some student’s behalf, this might seem strange being as though they may be trying to get to class.
However, to Elder Davis and Elder Barney, who preferred their first names to not be disclosed, it’s a divine duty and commitment to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Passing on the word of God has brought me great blessings and that’s why we service two years to really help out here at FAMU,” said Barney, 19, from Salt Lake City. According to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Web site, the Christian organization has more than 50,000 volunteer missionaries throughout the world.
Davis and Barney said that missionaries generally begin serving when they are 19 to 21 years old and voluntarily serve for either 18 months or two years.
They receive no payment for their service as representatives for the Mormon Church.
“My coming here and just seeing the expression on people’s faces when they accept the word and want to learn more is reward enough” said Davis, 19, from Seven Oaks, Calif.
Davis has been serving eight months of his mission to FAMU’s campus and said he postponed going to college to fulfill his duty as a missionary.
Davis and Barney proclaim that their approach to students is far more personal, since they are trying to teach each person individually.
Mormon.org states that missionaries usually undergo extensive three week training at one of the 15 missionary training centers around the world before being deployed on their mission.
“We walk up to them [students], introduce ourselves and let them know what we’re all about and then we tell them about the word of God,” Barney said, who also says the response from the students have been fairly decent.
“There are some students who prefer not to talk to us, but we haven’t encountered anybody that has been extremely rude. Our overall experience has been pretty good,” Davis said.
However, some students do not think a university campus is the right place to deliver a spiritual message.
First-year elementary education student Alicia Myers, 18, from Tallahassee, says she thinks they should not be allowed to witness on campus.
“I see them around and I always think that this is not the right place to try to preach and push religion on students,” Myers said. “This is a place for education. Everybody is not religious and it may offend some people.”
Other students do not seem to have a problem with the missionaries being around campus spreading their messages.
“I don’t have a problem with it at all. When they came up to me, I introduced myself and politely declined,” said fourth-year psychology student Carlita Woodson, 23, from Orlando.
“You never know, they might actually help someone in need who is lost and needs something to believe in. Who am I to say they shouldn’t deliver their messages?”
Davis and Barney enjoy their work and that it’s very fulfilling for them to be serving the church and sending messages to those who are willing to listen. For more information contact Davis at 850-212-5186.