Have you ever watched a movie, or a show, or ate at an amazing restaurant and then just had to tell all your friends all about it? You tell them you just have to watch it, you won’t regret it!
I definitely have and you just can’t wait to tell your friends because you are so excited about the experience you had. That is kind of what missionary work is like when you, “have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love” (Alma 5:26) and you just can’t wait to tell everyone about it. It can be easy to tell someone about a favorite food or TV show, sharing the gospel because it is so deeply personal and treasured can be scary at times.
So how do we share the good news and the excitement we feel about the gospel without being too scared to do so or scaring the people off we are trying to share the gospel with? We have two really great examples of amazing missionaries found in Alma 17-22. First off we have Ammon, before he opens his mouth to share anything about the gospel of Jesus Christ in Alma chapter 18, there are a lot of verses about how he “wins the
hearts” (Alma 17:29) of the people.
- Ammon meets the king and asks to live there among the people- he commits to being there and asks to be the Kings servant. (Alma 17:25)
- He seeks for opportunities to show the strength of the Lord or be an example (17:29)
- He doesn’t doubt and is cheerful in the face of opposition (17:31)
- He is kind to the fellow servants (17:29)
- He is faithful in doing what the King asks- he shows he is a hard worker and a friend to the King (18:3)
- He feeds the horses (18:9)
- He prepares the chariots (18:9)
- He asks the King what he would have him do (18:14)
- Finally he begins to teach the King (18:24)
So how can we win the hearts of the people we are trying to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with?
What exactly was Ammon doing that we can do to make the difference? We probably aren’t going to feed someone’s sheep or prepare their chariots, we may however be their friend and be like Ammon when showed Lamoni’s father the “great love he had for his son Lamoni, he was astonished exceedingly.” (Alma 20:26). We may get frustrated when others do not reciprocate our efforts, we can be like Ammon again and be of good cheer. (Alma 17:29- 31) The fellow servants were being attacked and almost put to death by these certain Lamanites who were trying to scatter the King’s sheep. The servants as knew that if they lost the King’s sheep they could be put to death.
And how does Ammon respond? “My brethren be of good cheer” (17:31). What, how can he respond like that in such a dire circumstance? It’s because he saw an opportunity again to show faith and not fear. He decided to not give up on the Lord even when times already look bleak, hopeless, confusing, scattered, etc.
Don’t give up!
The next great missionary in these chapters is Abish, and her example of friendship. She saw and recognized the power of God in Ammon and went and told people what had happened. Unfortunately like some missionary experiences it didn’t quite go as she had hoped it would , for the people were not humbled but angry. She then goes to
her friend the queen to wake her up, “and as soon as she touched her hand she arose and stood upon her feet and cried with a loud voice, saying: O blessed Jesus…” (Alma 19:29). We can learn from Abish that we first must believe for ourselves in order to share the gospel with conviction and power. Then have the desire to share it with others even if
it doesn’t quite turn out the way we hoped it would. Then we must be a friend during times of fear, confusion, uncertainty and be there to uplift with Love so that our friends can come to know the Love of God.
Have you had any missionary experiences lately that you would like to share in the comments? And remember the examples of Ammon and Abish they can be so simple and often look more like being a true friend to others.