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The story behind New York Mormon missionaries' viral chalk-art video

Published: Thursday, Oct. 24 2013 1:35 p.m. MDT

"Not only was there the influence of their message and of their individual offering as a missionary there at Union Square, but now the idea and the excitement and enthusiasm will be taken from their efforts by those who watch the video," President Morgan said.

"This idea that social media can influence people across the world is so awesome, and it's just our little zone in South Manhattan. ... Now thousands, literally thousands, of people have seen it, felt the Spirit from it and maybe taken some courage from it, maybe even go copy that idea — why not? It's incredible!"

As the video continues to gain momentum, the missionaries in South Manhattan have felt a growing sense of excitement.

"We definitely think it's more successful than we ever thought it would be," Elder Witbeck said. "It's been amazing the number of views we've been able to have."

The New York New York North Mission recently became an online proselytizing mission, allowing missionaries to engage with investigators online. In fact, it was only about a week ago that Elder Witbeck and Elder Potter created their blog. Although they have reached thousands of people with their video already, the elders agreed that they have a lot to learn about how to share the gospel online.

"It is a lot different than what we've done in the past," Elder Potter said. "I think I speak for both of us when I say we've knocked a lot of doors on our mission. But we've been able to connect with more people than we've been able to talk to throughout our entire missions, just over the Internet and being able to share the gospel with them through that."

President Morgan expressed his appreciation for all involved and for the fact that the local LDS Church members played a large role in the missionaries' success.

"It's just this awesome experience of members and missionaries coming completely together in doing the work of salvation," President Morgan said. "I just think that the component of members and missionaries working together, the idea and the execution ... I think there is a lot of power in that component."

As for Mayfield, she was grateful to have had the opportunity to play a role in something that can influence so many.

"Everything came together with the right people being in the right place at the right time," Mayfield said. "There are so many ways to contribute to the work of salvation. I'm not really the bring-all-my-friends-to-church, bear-testimony-on-the-subway type of member missionary; it's just not my personal forte. But I let what I can do carry me into this whole other sphere of missionary work that I'd never even thought of, just by doing what I enjoy and what I am good at."

Elder Witbeck and Elder Potter consider the attention and excitement their project has received with the help of Mayfield's video a blessing.

"The hand of God really does a lot more than we can," Elder Witbeck said. "If we can do everything we can on our own, God will help us magnify the things that we've done. I don't think there's ever really a way that we saw this coming."

Email: spetersen@deseretnews.com

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