This was Joe's Christmas present this past year.
This was Joe's reaction to his present. If you couldn't tell, he was surprised and pleased all in the same moment. Joe loves to hike and we shower him with hiking gear and gadgets any occasion we can find. He appreciates all of it. He usually hikes all over Southern California by himself, which has worried me. He takes his phone, but many places he hikes has no cell reception. He always carries a compass so he knows in what general direction to hike. He has shared with me that on some of these hikes, he'll explore trails and doesn't always know what's ahead. He has to worry about his location in relation to where he started. He has to keep track of the sunlight so he can make it back to his car before dusk. I've asked him many times if he could use a GPS unit on his hikes, but he has always thought they were too expensive and since he was very capable with a compass and maps, he'd be just fine with that to navigate himself. Tough guy.
We bought him one anyway. Then we were asking ourselves the question, "Where's dad?"
We couldn't find him anywhere because he was gone with his little GPS unit exploring the neighborhood! He absolutely loves it and doesn't know what he did without it. He didn't realize how much he needed it until he had it in his hands. He uses it all the time, and wants to share with us what he knows about it so we'll understand how cool it is! He can't understand how anyone wouldn't want or need a GPS unit!
Similarly, the 4 sons of Mosiah desired for the Lamanites to understand how much they needed Christ and the Atonement. "Therefore, this was the cause for which the sons of Mosiah had undertaken the work, that perhaps they might bring them unto repentance; that perhaps they might bring them to know of the plan of redemption." (Alma 17:16) These 4 brothers understood the Atonement and the need for repentance in order to be saved, but how would they teach that to the Lamanites? How could they get the Lamanites to realize that they needed this?
The Conversion of a King: Ammon understands that King Lamoni has great influence among his people and has an understanding of some divine being. If he can get the king to understand the need for repentance unto his salvation, then his influence will spread to his people. So Ammon begins teaching the king about the nature of God, which leads to a discussion on the creation. As the king is learning and grasping each concept, Ammon teaches about man (Adam), which leads to The Fall. Once the king understands the fall of Adam, he's then able to understand man's need for an Atonement and that repentance is required in order to access the power of the Atonement.
This knowledge changes his life and his outlook on life. He has been truly converted to Christ. He now knows who to look to for salvation, and his softened and changed heart will set the stage for a permanent change in his people.
Like Joe and his GPS unit, King Lamoni now realizes the importance of the Atonement, and the joy that it brings him. He didn't realize how much he needed it until he had found it. Now that he knows about Christ (and has seen him), he can't wait to share this news with others. It has changed his life to the point where he will never go back to not having it or using it.
Oh, and to bring us back to where we started, if you're ever hiking in So. Cal. and see this handsome man with a cool GPS unit on the trail, just know that he knows EXACTLY where he's been, where he's at, and where he's going. Exactly.