The first part of this post is taken from a comment that I posted just after Elder Maxwell’s death. The story that follows those thoughts is new.
During my mission, while serving in the office, I found notes of a talk that Elder Maxwell had delivered to missionaries in Vienna about a decade before. The title of the talk was â€œSweet Boldness.â€? At the time, still early in my mission, I was struggling to find my own style of missionary work, and this concept appealed to me. (It was easy to become either hostile or reserved in a country where rejection of the message was so overwhelming.) Indeed, it became something of a personal mantra, which I shared with the mission president and several of the missionaries. As fate would have it, Elder Maxwell returned to Vienna toward the end of my mission. The mission president mentioned this talk to him and asked if he could say a few words about acting with sweet boldness. Elder Maxwell obliged, without too much alliteration, if memory serves.
This past Sunday, I witnessed this principle in action. Our new home teachers — one Elder and one Priest — were visiting us for the first time. The Elder is a faithful young graduate student, and his companion is a young man who, although active in Sunday attendance, has not been attending Seminary. Last year, when I was teaching Seminary, we tried to get him out, but his athletic activities (early morning training) always took precedence. The home teachers delivered an excellent message, then asked how they might serve our family. My daughter looked across the room at the young man, smiled, and said, “Start attending Seminary.” This provoked lots of laughs of the “gotcha” variety, but I think he was genuinely flattered. Now, I don’t know whether this will have any effect on his participation in Seminary, but she left no doubt that he was welcome and wanted. I am not sure that we can expect any more of a member missionary, and I appreciate being re-taught how to share the Gospel by my daughter.