Mission Farewell Talk, October 23, 2016. Calico Ridge Ward, Henderson Nevada Lake Mead Stake:
Mosiah 18: 8-10
In this chapter, Alma, who was a former priest of the wicked king Noah, is teaching people who have followed him away from King Noah at the Waters of Mormon. He teaches them what the covenant of baptism is. In verses 8- 10 it says:
In this verse Alma explains that baptism is how we can show Jesus Christ that we will follow the example He has set for us. By making the covenant of baptism, we promise to serve Him and keep His commandments. Keeping the commandments and serving Him, by serving those around you, every day can be challenging. However, something that makes the covenant of baptism so great is that, as promised in verse 10, Christ will “pour out His spirit more abundantly upon you”. When we constantly have the companionship of The Holy Ghost to call upon, we can always have the strength and the peace we need to follow Him.
I didn’t always understand why baptism was so important. I knew that it meant that you became a member of the church and that it is a saving ordinance, but this scripture helped me to understand that baptism gives us more than just a title. It is Heavenly Father’s promise to us that as we strive to do what is right and just be good people, that He will guide and bless us in all of our endeavors. It is a step we take that gets us closer to eventually be worthy to enter the presence of our Father in Heaven again.
We learn more about the blessings of baptism in 3 NE 27:20.
My whole purpose as a missionary will be to “Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel by faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end”. This is what missionaries do all day and every day, but members should also seek to be sharing the gospel as often as they can with friends and acquaintances. Elder Quentin L. Cook of the quorum of the 12 apostles said, “missionary work is not just one of the 88 keys on a piano that is occasionally played; it is a major chord in a compelling melody that needs to be played continuously throughout our lives if we are to remain in harmony with our Christianity and the gospel of Jesus Christ”.
Missionary work not only blesses the lives of those we share the gospel with, but it blesses our lives greatly as we do it. PMG reminds us that, “Members who share the gospel experience joy and have the spirit of the Lord more abundantly. As we share the gospel, we appreciate how precious and meaningful it is to us, and we feel a greater love for God and others”. I have experienced this I think every time I have shared the gospel with someone. I’ll always remember one experience a year or so ago, when I went out to knock on doors with the sister missionaries in my ward to share our message with people.
One door we knocked on later in the night, a woman answered who was busy doing dishes and babysitting children inside. I don’t remember what exactly we talked with her about but she was going through multiple difficult trials in her life and she felt like there was nowhere to turn for help or relief. Our message of a loving God and eternal families caught her attention and she agreed to meet with the missionaries again to be taught more. At the end, we asked if we could say a prayer with her before we left. The sisters asked me to say it. I hadn’t contributed much to the conversation up to that point unless I was specifically called upon, so I was a little nervous but I just tried my best to listen to what the spirit guided me to say in that prayer. After, the woman thanked me and said that that was exactly what she had needed to hear. I was so thankful that I was able to be the means through which that woman could experience a moment of peace and hope and I was so grateful that I have the knowledge of this gospel so that I can call upon that peace and hope all the time.
In the most recent general conference of the church, Elder Dallin H. Oaks said: “success in sharing the gospel is inviting people with love and genuine intent to HELP THEM, no matter what their response”. This will be a blessing to friends and acquaintances you share the gospel with because, at the very least, they will be touched that you care enough about them to share what you believe can increase their happiness.
“What we call ‘Member Missionary Work’ is not a program but an attitude of love and outreach to HELP those around us.”
This is basically what Alma is saying in verses 8 and 9. That the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about being willing to “bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light…. Mourn with those that mourn; yeah and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places that ye may be in”.
In this verse, Alma’s son, Alma the younger points out that none of us receive any worldly reward for our missionary service so why do we do it? Because we rejoice in bringing the joy we have to our brothers and sisters who do not yet have that hope.
Sometimes, members and missionaries get discouraged with trying to share the gospel because they don’t see any good come of it right away. Even though we might not see the fruits of our labor in the moment, it always blesses someone. I have a testimony that no love given is ever wasted.
For example, the prophet Abinadi cried repentance to King Noah and his wicked priests, and taught them the truths of the gospel. As a result, the king was angry with Abinadi and sentenced him to death by fire. Abinadi might have wondered if his efforts and sacrifice even did any good. But he would later find out, after he had passed to the next life that his message had touched Alma, who became the means of baptizing 204 souls at the waters of Mormon, after he taught them what Abinadi had taught him.
We know that Abinadi was blessed for this because in D&C 18: 15-16