By Jeffery Hunt
Four elders for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints working BYU campus arrived at the fifth floor of the Wilkinson Center, and though an interview for The Daily Universe was an unusual appointment for missionaries, this visit still had striking similarities with most missionary encounters.
It began with a round of handshakes. Then came introductions complete with hometown and family information. The humor was dry and infrequent, and the interview ended with the usual request.
“During our visit,” said Elder Andreas Ruckauer from Germany, “have any names come to your mind of people who are ready to hear the gospel?”
The interview made it obvious that these missionaries take their duty seriously. But they still shared a couple experiences that could be enjoyed only at BYU.
“People think we are MTC [Missionary Training Center] missionaries,” Ruckauer said. “They ask us where we are going [to serve our missions].”
And if people do not think the missionaries are from the MTC, Ruchaur”s companion, Elder Stuart Keller from San Diego, said he is asked why they are at BYU.
“People don”t believe there is a mission here,” said Keller. “They say, ”everyone is a Mormon, why are you even here?””
He said even a person who is not a member of the LDS Church asked him that very question.
When campus missionaries are not teaching prospective converts, they spend a lot of time working with less-active Latter-day Saints.
“Usually, they have been offended,” he said. “I guess people take it for granted here. They have a church building right next door.”
Elder Benjamin Schultz from Rosamond, Calif., said it is simply a matter of personal commitment.
“Sometimes the Church is taken for granted,” he said. “But it”s a strength to have so much membership so close.”
Schultz shared a unique experience while walking through campus on Halloween. Students stopped to ask if he and his companion were actual missionaries or just dressing up.
“At first it was funny,” he said. “Then it got frustrating.”
Schultz”s companion, Elder Donald Rossberg from Kansas City, Kan. said he transferred to this area only a few days earlier.
“When I got my call, I thought, ”Wow, this is great. The missionaries in this mission must be great,”” Rossberg said. “Then I got here, I realized it”s not the missionaries that are doing it, it”s the members. We just show up and teach.”
As their interview came to a close, the elders left a couple pass-along cards and another round of handshakes.