23 And Ammon said unto him: Yea, I desire to dwell among this people for a time; yea, and perhaps until the day I die.
24 And it came to pass that king Lamoni was much pleased with Ammon, and caused that his bands should be loosed; and he would that Ammon should take one of his daughters to wife.
25 But Ammon said unto him: Nay, but I will be thy servant. Therefore Ammon became a servant to king Lamoni. And it came to pass that he was set among other servants to watch the flocks of Lamoni, according to the custom of the Lamanites.
Ammon and his brothers, together with a small number of friends, traveled to the land of Nephi to preach the word of God to the Lamanites. Mormon tells us that they feared for the souls of the Lamanites and wanted to spare them from “endless torment” (Mosiah 28:3). Under the circumstances, I might have expected them to enter the cities and boldly preach repentance, as did their friend Alma in Ammonihah and as would Samuel the Lamanite years later in Zarahemla. But Ammon, at least, took a different approach. As described in the passage above, He assured the king that he was not merely passing through, that he intended to make his home among them. Then, he volunteered to be a servant.
Ammon recognized that he needed to earn the Lamanites’ trust in order to share his message. His grandfather, King Benjamin, had won the hearts of the Nephites by serving them humbly for many years before delivering his impactful sermon. His father had earned the esteem of the people by laboring alongside them, “that thereby he might not become burdensome to his people, that he might do according to that which his father had done in all things” (Mosiah 6:7). So, Ammon had seen in action a powerful truth: humble and unselfish service can open hearts and create opportunities to preach the gospel.
Today, I will follow the example of Ammon. I will look for opportunities to serve the people around me. I will remember that my motivation for participating in missionary work is to help other people find happiness and peace. By serving them, I can bring some measure of happiness into their lives today, and I may be opening the door for opportunities to share the gospel with them in the future.