One of my daughters returned home last week from serving as a full-time missionary in Brazil. As we have heard about her experiences and seen first-hand her enthusiasm to continue sharing the gospel with others, I’ve asked myself this question: What can I do to be a better missionary? To answer this question, I’ve thought about the examples of the most impressive group of missionaries in the Book of Mormon: the sons of Mosiah. Here’s what I have concluded:
I can be true to my convictions.
Before their conversion, the sons of Mosiah had traveled around, trying to destroy the church (Mosiah 27:10). Once they recognized the error of their ways. they began to travel around the land, “zealously striving to repair all the injuries which they had done to the church…and thus they were instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth” (Mosiah 27:35-36).
They were motivated by a desire to do the right thing. They now understood that the church was established by God, and they wanted to do whatever they could to help build it up.
Today, I will review the most important truths I know and recommit to act upon them.
Shortly after their conversion, the sons of Mosiah approached their father, the king, with an extraordinary request: they wanted to travel to the land of their enemies, the Lamanites, to preach the gospel. Here were their mission goals:
- “Bring them to the knowledge of the Lord their God”
- “Convince them of the iniquity of their fathers”
- “Cure them of their hatred toward the Nephites”
- “That they might also be brought to rejoice in the Lord their God”
- “That they might become friendly to one another”
- “That there should be no more contentions in all the land which the Lord their God had given them”
Why did they want to do this? They were motivated by love:
Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble (Mosiah 28:3).
Today, I will find ways to reach out to people who are not part of my immediate social circles.
When the sons of Mosiah arrived in the land of the Lamanites, they split up, each going to a different location. One of the brothers, Ammon, went to the land of Ishmael, where he was bound and carried before the king. His message to the king was simple: I’m here to help any way I can. He declared his intention to live in the land for a long time, perhaps for the rest of his life, and he volunteered to be a servant to the king (Alma 17:23, 25).
Ammon understood that he wasn’t going to make any friends among the Lamanites by trying to push his beliefs upon them. He was better able to show his love and gain their trust by serving them.
Today, I will find opportunities to serve others.
Throughout their mission, the sons of Mosiah sought direction from God and followed the guidance they received from the Spirit of the Lord.
- When King Lamoni asked Ammon how he knew that his brothers were in prison, Ammon said, “No man hath told me, save it be God” (Alma 20:5).
- When Lamoni’s father asked Aaron why he was teaching alone, why his brother Ammon wasn’t with him, Aaron said, “The Spirit of the Lord has called him another way” (Alma 22:4).
- When the persecution against the new converts became violent, Ammon inquired of the Lord what they should do. He received the answer that the converts should immigrate to the land of the Nephites for their safety (Alma 27:4-13).
Today, I will strive to follow the guidance of the Spirit in my missionary efforts.
One of the most significant events in the Lamanite mission occurred as Ammon lay unconscious on the ground beside the king and queen and most of their servants. One of the queen’s servants, Abish, had been previously converted to the Lord but had kept her conversion quiet. She saw this moment as an opportunity to show her people the miracles of God. She ran from house to house, urging the people to come to the house of the king (Alma 19:12-17).
Unfortunately for her, the people did not understand what they were seeing. They thought Ammon had done something harmful to their king and queen. One of them even tried to kill Ammon as he lay defenseless on the ground. Ammon was miraculously protected. Finally, Abish took the queen by the hand and raised her from the ground. The queen and the king were soon able to pacify the people (Alma 19:18-35).
To me, the point of this story is this: Ammon couldn’t control any of that. He served as a catalyst by choosing to serve as a missionary, but he could never have planned the events which led to the conversion of the Lamanites. He could only do his part and trust that the Lord would do the rest. That’s why he referred to himself as “an instrument in the hands of God” (Alma 17:9, 11, Alma 26:3, 15).
Today, I will remember that missionary work is the work of the Lord. I will do my part to share the gospel, and then as Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf has counseled, I will “trust the Lord to work His miracles” (“Missionary Work: Sharing What Is in Your Heart,” General Conference, April 2019).