We are probably all familiar with the story of the grest missionary Ammon. The sword wielding, stone slinging, sheep protecting missionary, who had great success in the land of Ishmael. There are lessons we can learn from his teaching style, especially as we lead discussions for “Come follow me” Who hasn’t asked a question in a lesson and waited for an eternity til someone responded, only to look at your watch and realise it was merely 30 seconds ?
Ammon demonstrates perfectly the skill of allowing lesson participants to take time to respond….
“Therefore Ammon turned himself unto the king, and said unto him: What wilt thou that I should do for thee, O king? And the king answered him not for the space of an hour, according to their time, for he knew not what he should say unto him” Alma 18:14
Allowing those you teach, time to ponder…. Teaching the fall to make people feel the need for the Atonement of Jesus Christ…. Serving with genuine desire thus earning respect – just three things we learn from Ammon.
As good of a full time missionary Ammon was, today I would like to write about member missionary work, and the very next chapter of Alma speaks of a Lamanite woman Abish who takes being a member missionary to the next level.
After receiving the “light of everlasting life” from Ammon’s teachings, King Lamoni awakes from his 3 day trance to declare the gospel of Jesus Christ. So powerful was the testimony of Lamoni, that the entire household, including Ammon fall into a trance with him…
Now, when the servants of the king had seen that they had fallen, they also began to cry unto God, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them also, for it was they who had stood before the king and testified unto him concerning the great power of Ammon.
And it came to pass that they did call on the name of the Lord, in their might, even until they had all fallen to the earth, save it were one of the Lamanitish women, whose name was Abish, she having been converted unto the Lord for many years, on account of a remarkable vision of her father Alma 19:15-16
Abish, although never before having shared the gospel, must have been a prepared and faithful follower of Christ, living right and ready to listen to the promptings of the spirit.
“Thus, having been converted to the Lord, and never having made it known, therefore, when she saw that all the servants of Lamoni had fallen to the earth, and also her mistress, the queen, and the king, and Ammon lay prostrate upon the earth, she knew that it was the power of God; and supposing that this opportunity, by making known unto the people what had happened among them, that by beholding this scene it would cause them to believe in the power of God, therefore she ran forth from house to house, making it known unto the people” Alma 19:17
How optimistic must Abish have been, that her friends and neighbours would behold the sight and accept the gospel, but it was not to be that easy.
Verse 19 shows that the people were not as receptive as Abish…
“And now the people began to murmur among themselves; some saying that it was a great evil that had come upon them, or upon the king and his house, because he had suffered that the Nephite should remain in the land.”
Some were angry at Ammon for thwarting their sheep rustling plans…
“And they were also rebuked by those men who had stood at the waters of Sebus and scattered the flocks which belonged to the king, for they were angry with Ammon because of the number which he had slain of their brethren at the waters of Sebus, while defending the flocks of the king.”
One even tried to take the opportunity to kill Ammon (not that it ended well)…
Now, one of them, whose brother had been slain with the sword of Ammon, being exceedingly angry with Ammon, drew his sword and went forth that he might let it fall upon Ammon, to slay him; and as he lifted the sword to smite him, behold, he fell dead.
Imagine taking a friend to sacrament and it working out this well! We would be put off member missionary work for life!! I think Abish took it hard too, returning from gathering even more neighbours, we read…
And thus the contention began to be exceedingly sharp among them. And while they were thus contending, the woman servant who had caused the multitude to be gathered together came, and when she saw the contention which was among the multitude she was exceedingly sorrowful, even unto tears.“
I perhaps would have walked away and having heard of someone being struck dead for approaching this group in a trance I may have kept my distance, but not Abish.
And it came to pass that she went and took the queen by the hand, that perhaps she might raise her from the ground; and as soon as she touched her hand she arose and stood upon her feet, and cried with a loud voice, saying: O blessed Jesus, who has saved me from an awful hell! O blessed God, have mercy on this people!
Was Abish a great member missionary because all the Lamanites were converted at this time. NO
But there were many among them who would not hear his words; therefore they went their way.
Abish was a great member missionary, because she knew that success is in the invite, it’s all we can do. We don’t convert people but we continually INVITE.
We are all free to choose, but how do our friends choose the gospel if they don’t know about it. Missionary work is about providing choices.