Maybe you know how it is.

It’s a middle-of-the-week night and one of your children needs help with their homework, perhaps another is crying. You or your spouse is trying to whip up something to eat while the other is trying to get another child dressed for a little league game that starts in 10 minutes.

Then comes a knock at the door, someone asking, “Do you have a moment to talk about our Lord Jesus Christ?” Or, “Do you know where you’ll spend eternity?”

“Timing is a big part of it,” said sister Abby Gibbs, a Mormon and Utah native. “If people are busy, we ask to come back later.”

Gibbs is serving her customary, but not required, two-year mission, and has been in Tupelo since the middle of January. Door-to-door ministry is a hallmark of evangelical denominations, but with other cultures filtering into the area, along with a changing landscape of faith at large, evangelists never know what they’re going to get when they knock.

Going off script

Elders Austin Turley, originally from Las Vegas, and AJ Yergensen, from Utah, are another pair of Mormon missionaries serving in Tupelo.

“The first door of the day is always the hardest,” Yergensen said. “After that, it gets easier. You get into a rhythm.”

“Once I knocked and someone inside said, ‘Come in,’ and when I did, they were in the middle of doing some drugs,” Turley said. “They were friendly, which is maybe natural under those circumstances. But it’s hard for the spirit to work under conditions like that.”

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