Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Tougher Mission

Alma 5 led me to think about some young men in my ward who are currently out in the mission field.   One is serving in Lima, Peru, another in Monterrey, Mexico, another in Montreal, Canada, and yet another in Ogden, Utah.  They're all over the place. The 3 young men outside of the country are all speaking foreign languages, have had to adjust their diet, and immerse themselves in a different culture.   They have had to really stretch themselves and grow.  In some ways, they have had it "tough".    Elder Bohne in Utah has had it tough in a different way.  His mom shared with me that it hasn't been an easy mission for him.  He's speaking his native language, food is pretty good in Utah, and he even has relatives there.  He's doing an amazing job, but he meets people every day who have already heard his message and are not open to hearing it again. 

This reminded me of Alma teaching the gospel to the members of the Church of God in the land of Zarahemla...........

while the 4 Sons of Mosiah were teaching the gospel to the Lamanites in the land of Nephi.

Alma's group has heard this message before.  This same message of the gospel is new to the Lamanites.  I don't know if it's fair to compare, but what do you think? Which of these men in the Book of Mormon have the "tougher mission"?

My class decided that although the sons of Mosiah have a more dangerous mission, Alma has the harder, tougher, rougher mission.   In Alma 5, he's asking the members of the Church to assess their spirituality.  Some of them have fallen into apostasy.   These saints have been spiritually born of God at baptism, but now Alma is trying to help them re-"member".   He wants them to recommit themselves to having a changed heart; to become a member again, to be born again, to have a spiritual conversion.   This conversion would be strong enough to effect such a mighty change in them that they "have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually." (Mosiah 5:2)  Alma is trying to help them "turn back to the Lord", to avoid apostasy.

 Alma asks a series of questions in this chapter.  I counted over 40. The questions are to help the saints do a self-evaluation of their spiritual state.  The way he poses these questions somewhat suggests where they should be spiritually. What I like about this is that it's as if he's asking each of us, personally.  Similar to a temple recommend interview, I suppose.  As we read the Book of Mormon, this gives us a chance to self-assess the conditions of our own hearts.  Ironically, those who are humble enough to take the time to do this self-assessment are probably those whose hearts are already changed; softened.   It's those who feel that their hearts are sufficiently changed, but need more softening, who will probably be the ones to overlook this chapter in Alma.

I feel like writing to some missionaries today.  Do I dare send them some fruitcake? 'Tis the season!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this lovely insight into missionary work.