Alma 17 and 18 talks about the sons of Mosiah, specifically Ammon in his missionary work as he works to defend the flocks of King Lamoni. I'm going to take bits and pieces from the story and tell you how our mission president interpreted it and how it relates to missionary work.
21"And thus Ammon was carried before the king who was over the land of Ishmael; and his name was Lamoni; and he was a descendant of Ishmael"
25-27" But Ammon said unto him: Nay, but I will be thy servant. Therefore Ammon became a servant to king Lamoni. And it came to pass that he was set among other servants to watch the flocks of Lamoni, according to the custom of the Lamanites.
And after he had been in the service of the king three days, as he was with the Lamanitish servants going forth with their flocks to the place of water, which was called the water of Sebus, and all the Lamanites drive their flocks hither, that they may have water
Therefore, as Ammon and the servants of the king were driving forth their flocks to this place of water, behold, a certain number of the Lamanites, who had been with their flocks to water, stood and scattered the flocks of Ammon and the servants of the king, and they scattered them insomuch that they fled many ways."
7 "Now it was the practice of these Lamanites to stand by the waters of Sebus to scatter the flocks of the people, that thereby they might drive away many that were scattered unto their own land, it being a practice of plunder among them."
So lets look at the symbols here
Ammon/ a righteous servant= righteous servants, missionaries, anyone who is serving God
Lamoni/ the king= The King, God
Flocks= those who are seeking truth, Christ, nourishment
Water= Christ, often referred to as the Living Water
Enemies= Satan and his minions
As servants of God our job is to help bring the flocks to water--to Christ. However we see from the last verse that it's the practice of these enemies to hang out by the water. As we try to bring others closer to Christ, Satan is going to try to stop it and take the flocks for himself. It's something he does consistently. So with that knowledge, what is our responsibility as servants of the King? Well, we probably ought to warn those we teach that Satan is intent on their destruction and do our best to protect them and prepare them for opposition so that they can come and partake of the water.
This blew my mind when I first heard it. I've read that story a million times and never looked at it that way. Look at all the insights and symbolism that can be found in the Book of Mormon. You find something new every time. It's so important to keep reading it.
In other news. We had interviews with President this week and he has a lot of energy coming in. President Mortensen has a great vision for where he wants this work to go and how to get there. So when we came into interviews he sat us down, talked with us for a minute, and then proceeded to commit each missionary individually to invite 25 people to learn each day, every day, for the rest of our mission. I feel like I'm a pretty decent missionary but that was a huge jump for me to make. President promised miracles like we had never seen before and promised that as we do this that our entire mission would change and the work would take off in a way it hadn't before. I really felt like an investigator with an addiction (if my addiction was not talking to people as much or being lazy) sitting there being asked to commit to change. I had so many thoughts and concerns running through my mind.
I'm in a YSA ward and I'm driving half the day. It's harder to get 25 than somebody on a bike. What if we're so focused on getting the 25 that we neglect other things. What about other things we're trying to do.. are you sure this applies to me?
Then as I'm sitting in the position of investigator, the things that I would say as a missionary kept coming to mind. "First you obey, then you understand." "If any man will do His will he shall know of the doctrine, whether I speak of God, or whether I speak of myself." (John) "Faith is a principle of action. Show your faith and then you can see the blessings."
These are all things that I tell the people I teach every day and then when it was asked of me, it was kind of hard! I had enough faith to realize that even though I didn't understand all the reasons why President was asking this of me, and even though I thought he didn't fully understand my circumstances, I said yes and committed to invite 25 people a day, every day for the rest of my mission. Let's just say it's kind of funny reading my journal entries over the past few days and watching my heart change.
Entry 1: reluctant, resentful, worried, trying to figure out how this is going to happen
Entry 2: attempts at being humble and renewed commitment to obedience, realized I was acting like Laman and Lemuel and wondering if Nephi ever complained a little. still got 26 though!
Entry 3: relapse into lower amounts of invites, but renewed focus and turning to Christ
Entry 4: lots of prayers to change my heart and will to be God's will. It doesn't do me any good if I'm doing it but hating it all the while. That doesn't change me, that's not the purpose. And it doesn't do other people much good either. Miracles happen.
Sister Nielsen and I felt very similar at the beginning and we've been growing together and motivating each other. The things about being in a YSA is that most of the people we contact aren't for us, we don't end up teaching them, we pass them on to somebody else. So we went tracting in a random neighborhood last night and found someone golden! He was so willing to listen to us on his doorstep atat night. We got home and called the elders who were over that area and were happy we found someone for them! Then we got a text from some sisters in The Woodlands saying they found us someone for us to teach!! Miracles happen guys.
So that definitely built my faith that God knows what he's doing, that He will bless us for our efforts, that President is inspired, and that I need to kick it up a notch. It was a good learning curve for me this week. I needed someone to make me commit so I would do it and look what happened!
Hope y'all aren't afraid to put your faith to the test. Miracles happen. God keeps His promises. Blessings will come.
Love you all!!