November 9, 2012 by FHElessons
Last week we talked about some lessons that young men and women preparing to serve a mission can learn from the Army of Helaman. To see the first part of this lesson, including some hymn ideas, click HERE. Let’s continue to compare the Stripling Warriors and missionaries today.
Read Alma 53:20-21 and list the characteristics of the 2,000 Stripling Warriors found there:
- Exceedingly valiant
- True at all times in all they were entrusted (trustworthy)
- Men of truth
- Men of soberness
- Kept the commandments
- Walked uprightly before God
Looking at that list, I’d say it certainly describes our missionaries today, wouldn’t you? And it is definitely a list of qualities for which prospective missionaries should strive! Here are some more ways that we can develop those qualities and be successful missionaries:
4. Be Strictly Obedient.
When the 2,000 young men came together to form their battalion, who did they choose to be their leader? The prophet! (Alma 53:19)
Alma 57:21 – They did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness.
Not only did they choose the prophet for their leader, but they obeyed his every command with exactness. A missionary’s call comes from the prophet, but during the mission, his/her mission president will be the leader that will stand in for the prophet and, consequently, for the Lord. Every former missionary I asked included obedience in his or her counsel to prospective missionaries:
Melinda A.: Be obedient.
Bruce P.: My mission president stressed, “The mission rules are not flexible.”
Amanda C.: Be strictly obedient.
Barton F.: Obedience and hard work bring the Spirit.
Christopher L.: Obedience is the key to success. The Lord wants to bless you and He will bless you and make you mighty but you must allow him to do so. Any mission rule no matter how small you think it is should be obeyed without question unless the Spirit prompts you to do otherwise.
If you read last week’s lesson, you’ll know that this lesson idea was sparked by the song We’ll Bring the World His Truth. Here are a couple more lines from the song:
We have been taught, and we understand,
That we must do as the Lord commands.
On a mission, we not only need to do as the Lord commands but as our mission president commands . Missionaries who are strictly obedient will possess the qualities of the Stripling Warriors to be true at all times in all things in which they are entrusted, to keep the commandments, and to walk uprightly before God.
5. Pray for the Gift of Love.
The story of the Stripling Warriors begins with the conversion of their parents to the gospel of Jesus Christ. One reason that Ammon was able to convert them and keep them strong in the church is because he had “exceeding love” for them (Alma 53:11).
Missionaries today also need to have love for the people they teach and continue to show that love to those that they convert. They also need to have love for their companions. And, of course, they need to love the Lord.
Helaman called the 2,000 warriors his “sons” (Alma 56:10). Why do you think he did that? I imagine that one reason is because he loved them. I also imagine that they loved each other and were close to one another as fellow soldiers frequently are. Missionaries would do well to develop this same closeness with one another and to fill their hearts with love for all with whom they come in contact. Here is some advice from former full-time missionaries:
Christopher L.: Love your companion and pray for him daily. Members and investigators alike can sense a great companionship. The hallmark of a great companionship is love; (1) for God; (2) for one another; and, (3) for the people you are called to serve.
Amanda C.: As a missionary put the needs of your companion first, even before investigators. You can’t teach effectively without your companionship being strong so focus on having a healthy relationship.
Bruce P.: Pray to feel and possess true love.
Christopher L: Show respect to everyone, their beliefs, their customs and their culture. Build on common ground.
Bruce P.: Play down your own achievements and make a big deal of others’.
Ldsmissionarymoms.com: Encourage your missionary to abstain from participating in Mission Gossip. We need to let our missionary know that this type of behavior is not conducive to the Spirit and can cause serious rifts in the fabric of a mission family. Being a peacemaker means being quiet about information that shouldn’t be spread around.
Bruce P.: Give of yourself. Your ledger should be empty by the end of the day. Pray, and the Lord will fill it for the next day.
Christopher L.: Teach people not lessons. Sometimes we become too concerned with getting through the lesson, when we should be concerned with whether or not our message is being understood and received by the person being taught.
The lesson I’m getting from the advice above is that when you love your companion, you allow the Spirit to accompany you fully. When you love the people you teach, they will be more receptive to your message and will also be able to feel the Spirit. Also, when you give of yourself in service, your mission and your life will be more enjoyable.
6. Be fearless!
Alma 56:34-47 – The 2,000 Sons of Helaman have led away from the main battle the strongest army of the Lamanites. Knowing that this army is too large and too strong for them to defeat, the Army of Helaman continues to flee in a straight course, hoping to aid the Nephites by leading away the strongest army, yet not daring to turn to the right or the left lest they themselves be slain. Suddenly, the pursuing army is no longer pursuing. Is it because another battalion of Nephites have come to their aid or is it some stratagem of the Lamanite army? If they go down to battle against them, will they be helping the Nephites or will it just be a suicide march?
Not wanting to put his young “sons” in danger, Helaman asks them, “Will ye go down to fight?” The Stripling Warriors had never fought before, yet they did not fear death (vs 47). They trusted that God would deliver them, and they were fearless. What was their immediate answer? “Let us go forth!”
Alma 57:20 – Next chapter. Next battle. The Nephites attempt to take the city of Antiparah. The fighting is fierce on all sides. The remainder of the Nephite army is about to give way before the Lamanites, yet the 2,000 Stripling Warriors are “firm and undaunted.”
What is it about these young men that allowed them to be so fearless? They trusted in God and went about their work, knowing that He would protect them. Missionaries need to go about their work being fearless as well. Here is some advice:
Christopher L.: Be fearless. As an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ you have nothing to be ashamed or afraid of. Don’t be afraid to share your testimony with everyone. There are more with you then against you.
Melinda A.: Talk to EVERYONE. Don’t start out your conversations with, “I’m a missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I have a message I would like to share with you.” They can see that from your tag. Just be friendly. Talk to them about anything–compliment them, talk about something they are interested in–just let them see that you are sincerely caring and interested. Then have a prayer in your heart that you will know if there is something related to the gospel that you can share with them. If your conversation ends without discussing the gospel, then they will hopefully remember that one of our missionaries was a wonderfully friendly young adult and will have felt your love. You don’t have to “sell” the gospel. Remember that most people’s conversion starts long before they have ever met you. The Lord prepares people to accept your message before you enter the story. If you will talk to everyone, then you will find those that have already been prepared to accept your message.
Bruce P.: Give blessings. Offer to give them. Don’t be afraid.
Like the 2,000 Stripling Warriors, missionaries today must be courageous. They must be strong, active, and exceedingly valiant. They must pray for the gift of true love and be strictly obedient to the prophet and to their mission president. Remember the words of the song:
We have been saved for these latter days
To build the kingdom in righteous ways.
We hear the words our prophet declares:
“Let each who’s worthy go forth and share.”
The third and final part of this lesson can be found HERE!