I recently read this on LDS.ORG when searching for something to send my brother. I really enjoyed reading this article and remembering the importance of records rather then for the numerical purpose but the personal purpose. Although this article talks about local record keeping and so forth I saw such purpose in sharing it with our missionaries as well. To remind them as they turn in their reports filled with numbers that it is the names, not the numbers that truly matter. My husband shared an experience on his mission where as district leader he was turning in the reports and the numbers were very low. He later got a call that day from a leader stating the lack of determination and work that was being put in if the numbers were really that low. After being frustrated and depressed over this news he contacted the Mission President in hopes to identify where he could improve these numbers. But his Mission President assured him that the Lord cares not about numbers but about fulfilling the prayers of those that surround you. He urged him to concentrate on those few numbers he served and to think nothing less of them for they may be hundreds in the course of time.
Names, Not Numbers
CHRISTOPHER C. H. WILLS
The true reason for keeping reports lies not in numbers; surely the Lord must have little interest in statistics alone. But his work and his glory center in what those numbers represent—people, his children. Numbers can tell us, his servants on earth, about the faithfulness or falling away of our brothers and sisters and about their need for assistance and loving guidance back to safety.
If we count only numbers, we have only statistics. Once we learn to count names, we start to save souls. This is the work the Lord intends us to perform.
When every secretary and clerk accurately record attendance, at the end of every meeting the names of all those who did not attend are known. And when the names are known, a caring secretary, a concerned leader or teacher, a loving friend, a home teacher or visiting teacher can take action. Nobody should be absent from a meeting without somebody recording it and caring enough to ask why. Is it sickness—of body or mind or spirit? Is the person on holiday, or has he or she moved?
As members of the Church, we can all show genuine concern for everyone around us and act to save souls. Then truly we become caring under-shepherds—followers of the Master Shepherd, who cared enough for us to give his life for us.