Song: Called To Serve (Hymns, 249; CS, 174)
Scripture: Doctrine and Covenants 18:15
And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
The Lord revealed the gospel plan to Adam: “And thus the Gospel began to be preached, from the beginning” (Moses 5:58). After Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden, they began to work to feed and clothe themselves. They also had a large family with many sons and daughters.
The Lord gave Adam and Eve commandments, and they obeyed them. They realized that their family was a blessing and knew that if they lived worthily, they would once again see Heavenly Father and be able to live with Him.
"Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and [taught] all things ... unto their sons and their daughters". They taught their children the gospel, to have faith in Jesus Christ, and to repent (see Moses 5:5, 10-12; 6:1)
Later, when people became wicked, Adam’s righteous sons were sent to preach the gospel to the others on the earth: “They … called upon all men, everywhere, to repent; and faith was taught unto the children of men” (Moses 6:23).
All the prophets have been missionaries. Each in his day was commanded to preach the gospel message.
- The Lord’s Church Is a Missionary Church
The Apostle Paul was a great missionary sent to the Gentiles. After he was converted to the Church, he spent the remainder of his life preaching the gospel to them. At different times during his mission he was whipped, stoned, and imprisoned. Yet each time he escaped from his persecutors, he preached the gospel as diligently as before (see Acts 23:10–12; 26). (Picture came from http://fathermead.blogspot.com/)
Missionary work began again when the Lord’s Church was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Today the Apostles and Seventies have been given the chief responsibility for preaching the gospel and seeing that it is preached in all the world. The Lord told Joseph Smith: “Proclaim my gospel from land to land, and from city to city. … Bear testimony in every place, unto every people” (D&C 66:5, 7). In June 1830, Samuel Harrison Smith, the Prophet’s brother, began the first missionary journey for the Church.
Since that time thousands of missionaries have been called and sent forth to preach the gospel. The message they take to the world is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our Savior. They testify that the gospel has been restored to the earth through a prophet of God (see David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 132).
- Missionary Work Is Important
Jesus Christ taught those who followed Him that they were “the light of the world.” He said that you don’t light candles and put them under baskets. When you light a candle, you put it on a candlestick so that it gives light to everyone in the room. He told us, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (See Matt. 5:14–16.)
What does that mean? It means that if you are a good example, if you “let your light shine,” then when other people see your good example, they will know that you love Heavenly Father and they, too, will want to honor Him.
How can you let your light shine?
Elder Henry B. Eyring’s friends call him “Hal.” He told a story in general conference about a friend he once worked with. His friend was a good person who loved his family. Elder Eyring never told his friend about the gospel and how families can be together forever. One day, he heard that his friend had died. Elder Eyring said that he sometimes wonders if he will meet his friend in heaven and his friend will say, “Hal, you knew—why didn’t you tell me?” Now Elder Eyring shares his testimony with people all over the world.
When we share what we know about the gospel with others, we are letting our lights shine.
We can be good examples. We can share our testimonies with others. We can be missionaries now and invite our friends to Primary and to Primary activities. Blessings will come to others and our faith in Jesus Christ will grow when we let our lights shine.
(Sydney S. Reynolds, “Sharing Time: Let Your Light Shine,” Friend, Oct 1999, 37)
“This is our first interest as a Church—to save and exalt the souls of the children of men” (Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, Apr. 1974, p. 151; or Ensign, May 1974, p. 104). Missionary work is necessary in order to give the people of the world an opportunity to hear and accept the gospel. They need to learn the truth, turn to God, and receive forgiveness from their sins.
As we teach the gospel to our brothers and sisters, we are preparing the way for the second coming of the Savior (see D&C 34:6).
- We Should All Be Missionaries
The sons of Mosiah willingly accepted their responsibility to teach the gospel. When they were converted to the Church, their hearts were filled with compassion for others. They wanted to preach the gospel to their enemies the Lamanites, “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). As the gospel fills our lives with joy, we will feel this kind of love and compassion for our brothers and sisters. We will want to share the message of the gospel with everyone who desires to listen.
• Why do we feel a desire to share the gospel with others when we are truly converted?
Story: And a Little Child Shall Lead Them - A true story
Kyle was in the fourth grade and took the challenge very seriously. When he asked his mother what he could do to be a missionary, she answered, “You have to find someone, be a good friend to him, and then wait and see what happens.”
When the new school year began, Kyle looked around at the members of his class. Pedro, a boy from Mexico, looked like he needed a special friend. Soon Kyle and Pedro were talking and playing together. Kyle invited Pedro to his home to play, and he often went to Pedro’s home.
Because Sunday was a special day for Kyle and his family, he and his brothers did not play in their neighborhood or have friends over to their home on that day. Instead, their family went to church and enjoyed family activities together afterward.
Pedro didn’t understand. His family didn’t have rules like Kyle’s family, and he could do whatever he wanted to on Sunday. Kyle’s mother suggested that he invite Pedro to Primary. Maybe then he would understand why Kyle’s family chose to do what they did on Sunday. Kyle told Pedro, “Come with me to Primary, and we can be together on Sunday mornings. You can ride with us, and we’ll take you home afterward.”
Pedro was interested. He asked Kyle to come with him to ask his father for permission.
When Kyle asked Pedro’s father, he answered, “If Pedro wants to go, then it is all right with me.”
The next Sunday found Kyle and Pedro together in Primary. The teacher was very kind and welcoming. When the class was ending, he gave an assignment to the class from the scriptures for the following Sunday. Kyle had his own copies of the scriptures and took them to Primary each Sunday. He was eager to do the assignment the teacher made. So was Pedro, but he didn’t have any scriptures of his own. He went to his father and asked if he could have a set. Even though Pedro and his family were not members of the Church, his father saw how much it meant to him to have his own set of scriptures. He decided that they were all good books and bought them for Pedro.
The boys continued to attend Primary together. One Sunday, the teacher gave the boys a list of scriptures to study and asked them to have their parents explain the meanings to them. He made new scripture assignments each week for several weeks.
As they studied, Pedro and Kyle became more and more interested in the gospel. They had a lesson on baptism and learned that the Lord requires it of everyone. They also learned how it is administered and by whom. As they helped Pedro with his reading assignments in preparation for his Primary class each week, Pedro’s family found this information new and interesting.
One day, Pedro asked Kyle, “Do you think my dad would let me be baptized?”
They decided that they would go ask Pedro’s father together. Imagine how surprised Pedro’s father was when they walked up to him and Kyle asked, “Can Pedro be baptized into my church?”
Pedro’s father said, “I’ll have to think about it before I give you an answer. I know a member of your church. I’d like to talk with him before I give my answer.”
Pedro’s father talked with his friend, who happened to be serving in Kyle’s ward as the mission leader. Soon an appointment was made for the missionaries to begin teaching Pedro’s family the gospel. The family studied and worked with the missionaries to gain testimonies. Pedro and his brother were ready to be baptized first. As their father and mother watched them enter the waters of baptism, the Spirit whispered to them that what was taking place was true and correct. They decided to prepare themselves for baptism.
As Kyle rode home with his family after the baptism of his friend, he told his mother, “Tomorrow Pedro and I will look around our class and find another person who needs a friend. Then we will invite him to Primary!”
Kyle was very happy to write to his grandma and grandpa in Switzerland and tell them of his experience as a missionary. He ended his letter by saying, “Everyone can be a missionary. You just have to be a good friend and then wait and see what happens!”
- How Can We All Be Missionaries?
1. We can show friends and others the joy we experience from living the truths of the gospel. In this way we will be a light to the world (see Matthew 5:16).
2. We can overcome our natural shyness by being friendly to others and doing kind things for them. We can help them see that we are sincerely interested in them and are not seeking personal gain.
3. We can explain the gospel to nonmember friends and others.
4. We can invite friends who are interested in learning more about the gospel into our homes to be taught by the missionaries. If our nonmember friends live too far away, we can request that missionaries in their areas visit them.
5. Prepare spiritually and financially to go on missions.
6. We can pay our tithing and contribute to the missionary fund. These donations are used for furthering missionary work.
7. We can invite nonmembers to activities such as family home evenings and Church socials, conferences, and meetings.
Our Heavenly Father will help us be effective missionaries when we have the desire to share the gospel and pray for guidance. He will help us find ways to share the gospel with those around us.
- The Lord Promises Us Blessings for Doing Missionary Work
The Lord has told us:
“If it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!” (D&C 18:15–16).
• Why is it important to bear testimony to the truth of the gospel?
• What blessings come from sharing the gospel?
Chapter 33: Missionary Work,” Gospel Principles, 211