So like, you’re going to be teaching the gospel. Are you a little overwhelmed? If you were anything like the hundreds of thousands of missionaries that have anxiously awaited the transition from member to missionary, the answer is yes.
One of the things I was most nervous about was knowing what to say. I studied chapter three from Preach My Gospel diligently, but still didn’t feel like it was sticking. What if someone asked a question?! And heaven forbid, what if I didn’t know the answer? I was starting to think that if it couldn’t be answered with a drawing of the plan of salvation, I was in trouble.
I’ve mentioned this before, but let me clue you in on what is perhaps the best-kept-not-secret about missionary work. Let’s turn to some modern revelation given to two men who also had some concerns about serving.
In 1833, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon had been fulfilling their duties as leaders of the Church, which often times took them away from home for many days. Naturally, they started to feel some angst for the welfare of their families.
In Section 100 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord promised these men that their families were in His hands.
He then gave Joseph and Sidney some invaluable council as they embarked on their journey.
“Therefore, I the Lord have suffered you to come unto this place; for this it was expedient in me for the salvation of souls.
“Therefore I say unto you, lift up your voices and speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;
“For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say.” (D&C 100:4-6)
You will NOT be confounded. You will know what to say. The words will be given to you the very moment you need them.
There are countless examples from my mission of why I know this to be true. Today, I would like to share two with you.
1. “Open your mouths.” When the Lord called Ezra Thayre and Northrop Sweet on a mission in 1830, he promised if they opened their mouths, they would be filled. Entering the MTC, I thought that was like, pretty cool, but had never experienced it. I was going off of a very weak faith that the Lord would grant me the same promise.
The first day of the MTC was overwhelming. It ended with a group teaching session where nearly 40 missionaries sat together in a room and collectively taught a man acting as an investigator. The facilitator would stop the man as he told his story and give each companionship an opportunity to teach and testify.
“Alright Elders and Sisters,” he said. “What would you say to this man if he was doubting that he was truly a son of God? Teach and testify to your companion as if he or she was the investigator.”
Panic. Sheer panic. I didn’t know what to say. I knew with certainty that the man in question WAS a son of God, but how was I supposed to help him know that?
My anxiety was only kindled as I heard my companion, Sister Nielson, bear the most pure and beautiful testimony I had ever heard about our Father’s love for his children.
It was my turn, and I suddenly felt like I was sitting in the judgement seat. I took a deep breath, offered a silent prayer for help, and opened my mouth.
Words poured out of it. For the first time in my life I was able to say the things I felt in my heart eloquently and completely. I testified boldly that I knew the man was known and loved of God. Electricity surged through my body, and a soft burning was in my throat and eyes.
It was at that moment I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was called of God. The Holy Ghost testified to me of the truthfulness of what I was saying, and the divine call and authority I had been given.
I’ll echo that testimony today. Missionaries are called of God. Now get out there and open your mouths.
2. In my first area, we had a small family we were teaching. I loved them dearly, as you too will come to love their investigators. The husband asked a question about why we worship the Savior in addition to our Heavenly Father. It was one that I didn’t know how to answer. I offered a quick prayer that was two-fold- 1. that my trainer had taken the lead and 2. to be able to know what to say when my turn came.
A scripture came to mind that I didn’t feel was that related, but trusting the prompting I turned to it. It was in John 5. The verse that I had originally thought of didn’t answer the question, but my eyes quickly found a verse that was unfamiliar to me.
“That all men should honour the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.” (John 5:23)
It was perfect. I glanced over to my companion. Her Bible was opened to the exact same page.
Through the influence of the spirit, we were able to answer our investigator’s concern.
An additional promise was given to Joseph and Sidney.
“…the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say.”
The Holy Ghost can direct our thoughts and our actions as we humbly follow his promptings. We will be given what we need in the very moment.
So follow those promptings and go change lives — including your own.