Following is the text from my recent talk given in Church.
Many are familiar with the dramatic conversion of Alma and the other sons of Mosiah. These young boys were known to be rebellious, as they persecuted and lead church members astray. They didn’t understand the importance of God. They saw things through the eyes of the world, and not through the eyes of faith.
However, God had a plan for these boys, and it was His will that it be fulfilled. But in order for it to be fulfilled, their situation required divine intervention.
“…as they were going about rebelling against God, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto them; and he descended as it were in a cloud; and he spake as it were with a voice of thunder, which caused the earth to shake…saying: Alma, arise and stand forth, for why persecutest thou the church of God? For the Lord hath said: This is my church, and I will establish it; and nothing shall overthrow it, save it is the transgression of my people.” (Mosiah 27:11,13)
This experience changed Alma and the other sons of Mosiah for life. Their hearts had been turned, and these boys became powerful teachers and enjoyed great success as missionaries.
This is a monumental time in the history of the Church. The number of missionaries currently serving has increased exponentially in the last decade. Temples continue to be built and dedicated at a steady rate. The beliefs of the Church are not as unknown and misunderstood as they previously have been. It is clearly evident that the Lord has and continues to establish His Church, and as His prophet, Joseph Smith, declared. “…no unhallowed hand can stop this work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, and calumny may defame. But the work of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent until it has penetrated every continent, visited every climb, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, ‘till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the great Jehovah shall say, “The work is done.””
We are constantly reminded that we are a choice generation. Like the sons of Mosiah, God has a plan for us to participate both individually and collectively in building up His kingdom.
However, in order for us to join in, we need to be prepared, and the time to prepare is now.
When I began my mission, I had been a member of the Church for 13 months. The majority of the other missionaries around me grew up in the Church. Some of them had been attending all of their lives, some off and on.
One very important thing I noticed and learned early on as a missionary was that many of the other missionaries who had grown up in the Church had regrets. No, they didn’t regret serving. Not one bit. They regretted the mistake they had made in the lack of preparation for their missions. They wished they had paid more attention in Sunday School and seminary. They wished that they had attended mission preparation classes, or gone to the temple more often.
So far throughout my life I have learned to learn from the mistakes of others. Young men and young women who desire to one day serve a mission, or even just thinking about it and haven’t officially decided, start preparing now. The sooner you begin your preparation the more prepared you will feel, and you will enter the mission field with no regrets.
Whether you are preparing to serve, never had the opportunity to serve, or have been home for a few years, there are many options available to participate in hastening the work.
Regular scripture study is the foundational practice for anyone who desires to share the gospel. When we study the scriptures, we become closer to God. We can feel His influence more naturally in our lives.
The Internet has become a major catalyst and outlet for sharing the message of the restored gospel. Church leaders have made it clear that we should seek opportunities to share the gospel message online with our friends and family members.
About a year and a half ago I was invited to read The Power of Everyday Missionaries by Clayton Christensen. The book is a fantastic resource for members of the Church who are unsure of how they can be sharing the gospel. One of the points made in the book is to share the gospel online through blogs and social media outlets. He promises that, “If you write online through the power of the Spirit and love of the Lord, the new friends that you’ll meet will be able to feel that Spirit and that love—as if they were speaking with you face-to-face.”
I took that promise to heart, and created [this] website with the intention of sharing the gospel. It has become a very rewarding and gratifying hobby for me. At the end of the year I received statistics for my site, indicating that my posts had been viewed in over 80 countries over the past year. It’s humbling to know that as I share my views, opinions, and life from a gospel perspective, I can do missionary work literally across the world.
Most of us feel more comfortable conveying our thoughts and feelings online in comparison to face to face communication. Youth preparing to serve missions should seek opportunities to share the gospel online by means of blogs and social media. There is a great community of people online that do amazing work sharing the gospel and their sites can be used as a resource and example to help you get started.
Of course, the purpose of these online outlets is not necessarily to defend the Church, but to provide a glimpse into your life so people around the world can understand the joy that the gospel brings into the lives of active and faithful saints. As Clayton Christensen said, “We don’t need to ‘defend’ the gospel in a military sense. Rather, we should do with religion as we do with music, not defend it but simply render it. It needs no defense.”
Finally, the best way to share the gospel is to live it. The Savior said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14,16)
We are to be “an example to the believers [and non-believers], in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” As the Church continues to grow and becomes more visible in the public eye, it is our covenanted responsibility “to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in, even until death, that [we] may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that [we] may have eternal life.”
We are always on a mission, even if we don’t have a black name tag on our chest. The Lords name doesn’t have to be inscribed on a name tag for us to preach the gospel, it just has to be written on our hearts. Each of us are capable of being great missionaries, and the more we strive to share the gospel, the more God will bless of with such opportunities, knowing that we are capable of being His witnesses. We have no need to fear.
I witness of Jesus Christ. The restoration of His Church is a life-changing reality. God has prophets on the earth today. The Book of Mormon is an essential witness of the truthfulness of the Bible, and the reality of the restoration. May we all seek to do our part in hastening this work so that it can bless the lives of others as it has blessed ours.