The first of those, Preaching the Gospel, or "Missionary Work," is the topic of this week's post.
Have you ever come across something SO great, so wonderful, so fulfilling, that you just HAD to tell others about it - so they could share in that joy and find out for themselves how great it is? It's natural that if you've found something awesome that you would want the people you love to also be able to partake of it.
Lehi, the first prophet of the Book of Mormon and progenitor of the Nephite civilization, experienced a dream - or a vision - that spoke of that very feeling: tasting something spectacular and desiring to share it with his family. In his dream, he saw a tree, "whose fruit was desirable to make one happy":
"And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen. And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit."The whole story is found in 1 Nephi 8. It's a good read - check it out. It's one of the oft-referenced stories in the Book of Mormon.
Not only is sharing the Gospel something that one wants to do, it is also something that we are commanded to do throughout the scriptures. Jesus told Peter to "Feed my sheep" (and in case anyone missed it the first time, he said it three times in a row!). And he wasn't talking about giving grain to the livestock.
There are many ways to be a missionary. You can, of course, submit your papers (at the appropriate age), receive a call from the Prophet, and serve a full-time proselyting mission for the Church. Or you can get called as a missionary at the ward level, serving in your local community. As a home teacher, you can help folks return to church activity and the blessing of the Gospel by being their friend and providing them with Gospel messages when you visit. Or, more informally, you can reach out to people you know, give someone a Book of Mormon and invite them to church, or just be a good friend to people around you. Your example alone can go a long way. Sometimes people may just be interested to know more about your church when they see the clean, honest and upright way you live and how happy you are.
There are many opportunities to share your faith and your testimony with people. You just have to stay attuned to those opportunities, and then TAKE them when they occur.
When I joined the Church, I was 25. It was too late for me to serve a full-time mission for the Church. However, I will be able to serve a "couples" mission with my dear wife when we are older (retirement age), and in the meantime, I have this blog (and any of the aforementioned opportunities).
I testify that missionary work - sharing this glorious and wonderful gospel with those who are seeking truth - is a great cause in which every Latter-day Saint should be anxiously engaged in one way or another. It changes lives.
It is my hope that I can do some good through the missionary work of this blog.