Good morning brothers and sisters, whenever I think of Missionary work one person always comes to my mind first and that is Jesus Christ. Throughout the course of His earthly life he was the perfect missionary ever. He was always looking and striving to find ways to teach people the gospel and to share with them the amazing message that he carried. Always saying exactly what needed to be said right when it needed to be. So how was it that Christ was able to so effectively spread the gospel? (other than the fact that He was the only begotten of the Father).
In Doctrine and Covenants section four it gives us a list of the attributes that we need to have in order to accomplish this work,
“5. And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.
6. Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.”
All of these attributes are things that Christ excelled at, he showed forth these qualities wherever he went, and so I wish to talk about a few of these attributes and why they are so key to this work.
First I want to focus on the love that Christ so magnificently showed forth to all who came seeking. To me in missionary work one of the most important things that is needed in order to be successful is that we have to love those around us. In Doctrine and Covenants Section 12 verse 8 it reads:
“8. And no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care.”
Love is an essential characteristic that is needed when we do missionary work. I have a friend who, prior to her being set apart as a missionary, was told by our Stake President that we will truly become successful when we love those that we serve. Since I have come on my mission the word love has taken on an all new and deeper meaning to me, prior it was a word that I hardly ever said, and when I did say it - it was to very few people. Now to me though, to love someone is to truly desire what is best for that person and to care for them. And as a member of this church I know that what is best for people is for them to partake of this gospel, we as members just need to make others see that as well. Christ did just that by showing love to everyone, he showed his love when he talked to the Samaritan woman; a group of people who were so hated ****THIS PART OF TALK WAS CUT OFF****to enter their country, yet our Lord and Savior showed her the same love that he did to everyone else and taught her. He showed forth his love when he forgave the woman who was taken in adultery and when he taught his disciples and the Pharisees that the second most important commandment, behind only to loving God, was that we are to love our neighbors as we do ourselves, and again in Doctrine and Covenants 112:11 when he said;
“I know thy heart, and have heard thy prayers concerning thy Brethren, be not partial towards them in love above many others, but let thy love be for them as for thyself: and let thy love abound unto all men, and unto all who love my name.”
And lastly he showed forth his matchless love for all mankind when he allowed himself to be taken and crucified, so that we could all eventually return to live with Him some day.
I would like to read the first and fourth verses to Hymn 220,
“Lord, I Would Follow Thee.” “Savior, may I learn to love Thee, walk the path that thou hast shown, Pause to help and lift another, finding strength beyond my own. Savior, may I learn to love thee – Lord, I would follow thee.”
“Savior, may I love my brother as I know thou lovest me, find in thee my strength, my beacon, for thy servant I would be. Savior, may I love my brother – Lord, I would follow thee.”
This has always been a favorite hymn of mine, because learning to love as our Savior does is so very important. In the very last discourse that our Lord gave while mortal to his disciples, right before his suffering in the garden and his arrest, was recorded in John 13:34-35:
“34. A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
So far I Have struggled with this for my whole mission, to be able to love someone that is nice or kind or who is my friend is easy, even sinners can do that, but to love everyone, even those who hate us and persecute us is very difficult. In his Sermon on the Mount Christ taught on this very same thing, he said:
“44. But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. 45. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:…….”
For me to love those who yell and curse me, who slam their doors in my face, or who threaten me is extremely hard, but as we follow the example of our Lord and walk the path that he has shown and show that same love to our fellow brothers and sisters, they will come to recognize us for what we truly are, and that is disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, and their hearts will be touched by the Holy Ghost and softened so that they will desire to hear our message. Our previous mission president told us a story of two Elders who, one cold winter night knocked on a man’s door, who told them off. As they were walking away one of the Elders put his arm around his discouraged looking companion and told him that it was okay, the Lord will help us. The man watching from his house suddenly called them back saying, no one who shows love like that can be that bad, so he let them in. So as we show love to everyone people will notice and desire to know why.
Next I want to talk about something else that was very key to the character of our Lord, that was his attitude of service. In Matthew 20:28 it reads:
“Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
In the dictionary it defines to minister as to give help, so the greatest being to ever live, came down to this earth to give service and to help out everyone. He came down and he “took upon himself the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7). He came down here and “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). Prior to his arrest our Lord took water and washed the feet of his disciples. In Mosiah 2:17-18 King Benjamin in his address to his people says:
“17. And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.
18. Behold, ye have called me your king, and if I, whom ye call your king, do labor to serve you, then aught not ye labor to serve one another?”
The Savior taught the same thing while on the earth, in Matthew 25:34-40 he teaches us:
“…. and the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me.”
“A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief”, verse 7 reads,
“then in a moment to my view the stranger started from disguise the tokens in his hands I knew; the Savior stood before mine eyes. He spake and my poor name he names, of Me thou hast now been ashamed. These deeds shall thy memorial be, fear not, thou didst them unto me.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does just as we are taught by the savior. We have a huge humanitarian program. The church is often one of the first groups into an area after a natural disaster giving out food and supplies to those who are poor or needy.
Elder Dallin H. Oakes, in the last session of General Conference, said,
“During the last quarter century we have assisted nearly 30 million people in 179 countries. Truly the “Mormons” know how to give to the poor and needy.”
We as members also help out each month by fasting and donating at least the amount of the meals missed to help those in need. We as a church have taken the Saviors teaching to heart and magnified what was asked of us. An experience that I had with service was when I was a Sophomore in high school, Alabama was devastated by over a hundred tornadoes that in the course of a single night caused thousands of people to lose everything they had. So the priesthood of my ward packed up everything that we needed and made the four hour trek to help with the clean-up. I’ll never forget the experience of going and helping these people to clear the debris and trees that had caused so much damage. The gratitude that these people had for what we did for them was beyond belief. For me, it was just one weekend not much but to them it was everything. The Lord often answers our prayers through the actions of others, so as we serve and help others in every way that we can, even if it seems small and insignificant to us, may be everything to that person, an answer to their prayers. And though by serving we may not see a result or a conversion, we are planting seeds for future generations to harvest.
In conclusion I will read one last story from Christ’s life in John 1:37-46 “…..” As we follow the Savior’s example our friends and family will notice and as they do be ready to , as Peter says, give a reason for the hope and light they see in you and invite them to come and see and find out for themselves what it is all about. Lastly I would like to bear my testimony.