Monday, August 15, 2011

Service With a Smile

Members are the best kind of missionaries. That is especially true in a Utah mission. Unlike in Virginia, everyone has an opinion of the Church. Those outside the Church usually get their information from nonmembers and therefore are uninformed. As such, it's hard for us to get in the door on our own. However, when members have a service-oriented mindset, give to their neighbors, are warm and inviting, and invite nonmembers to learn more about the Church, miracles happen.
As I was reading the book of Alma this week, I stumbled over a familiar story. It's the story of Ammon and King Lamoni. It starts at Chapter 17 and goes onward. Here's what I noticed and theorized.
When Ammon met King Lamoni, he was offered one of his daughters to be his wife. If Ammon accepted, he likely would have had much of the wealth and prominence that comes with royalty. Instead, he decided not to take advantage of King Lamoni but offered to be his servant. After tending his flock and saving them from enemies in dramatic fashion, all the other servants rushed back to brag to the King about what had happened. Did Ammon expect anything in return? Nope! Ammon continued working, and in Alma 18: 9, we see that while the King was learning about Ammon's feats, Ammon was "feeding (his) horses". He still kept serving even after doing a great act of service.
After such selfless dedication, we see in Alma 8: 12 that "the countenance of the king was changed". Ammon's selfless acts warmed the King to the message that Ammon truly wanted to share. That was the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Ammon shared the message and King Lamoni was converted unto the Church.
Amazingly, it doesn't end there. King Lamoni then allowed Ammon to teach the Gospel around the city and many others were converted. Finally, Ammon was able to secure the release of his three brother missionaries so they could continue preaching the Gospel. Ammon's service, many thousands of hearts were changed.
The same can be true for us as members of the Church. If he will seek out opportunities to be friends, neighbors, and service-oriented people to those outside the Church, they will notice. Over time, the walls of misinformation will come down and they will wonder why we're different from everyone else. As this happens, their hearts will be softened to the Gospel. If this happened across the Church, imagine how many more people would be baptized! The Church could double its missionary efforts!
Members truly are the best missionaries - and the best way to preach the Gospel is to serve others and invite them to learn of the fruits of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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