And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel” (D & C 42:6). From ancient times, it has been a commandment of the Lord to go and preach the gospel to His children. Regardless of whether we have a full-time missionary plaque, or we are just a newly baptized member, when we were baptized into the Church, we made the covenant “to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that we may be in” (Mosiah 18:9).
God will put in our path prepared people with whom we can share the Gospel. The frequency with which these opportunities arise will depend on the preparation of our mind and our heart. The Lord has said that He will reveal the truth to our mind and heart through the Holy Spirit (D & C 8:2).
Nothing happens in missionary work until we find someone for the missionaries to teach. We can do this! We must do this! (Dallin H. Oaks, “Introductory Message” (talk given at the Seminar for new mission presidents), June 25, 2017, Church History Library, Salt Lake City).
The people we know will feel the love that springs from our long practice of keeping our covenant to “mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:9). It may not happen in hours or days as in the case of King Lamoni, but they will feel our love after testing our hearts, and when they realize the sincerity of our feelings, the Holy Spirit will be able to more easily touch their hearts and allow us to teach and testify to them.
I would like to tell the story of a young man named Ricardo and his friend, whom I will call Juan.
“I met Juan in my first year at a new school. During the course of the school year, I noticed that he was a very special young man, so I invited him to a mutual activity. He accepted the invitation and went to mutual. After the spiritual message, we played basketball. As we finished playing, I asked him what he had thought of it all and he told me that he would like to keep attending. My brother and I went with him two more times and then we invited him to Church. When the missionaries first began to teach him, it was a little difficult for him to understand the gospel because of his culture. His parents do not believe in God and never taught him to have faith in God or Jesus Christ because they are not Christians. So during the school’s free time, he would ask me, and I would answer, and we would spend time talking about God. As time went by, I was able to know that God does have a plan for him and his family. He could feel that this was the gospel of Jesus Christ so, along with the sister missionaries, we went to visit his parents to tell them that he had made the decision to be baptized into the Church. We knew it would be difficult for him to tell his parents alone, so we accompanied him to explain to his parents what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consists of. We spoke with his parents and we felt the Holy Spirit answering his doubts as he talked about the restored gospel. A few days passed, and his baptism was planned for Saturday. On the Tuesday before his baptismal date, after mutual and as he arrived at his house, he had a conversation with his father. His father asked him things about the Church, questions that he told me were intended to change his mind about his baptism. His parents forbid him from being baptized and returning to visit the Church. That night he expressed his feelings for the Church and I heard how crushed he felt, but that did not stop me from supporting him. I told the sister missionaries and they cried with sadness at the door of my house. So, the three sister missionaries and I fasted for him. Three weeks later, I got a message from Juan telling me that he had received permission to attend Church and its activities again, but he could not be baptized yet. With much prayer and a firm testimony that one day it will happen, we are waiting for the time when he can be baptized.”
Many people are waiting for us, as members of the Church, to open our mouths and share what is most important in our life, what has changed our nature to be more like God.
If we cannot feel and show sincere interest in the people we approach with the Gospel, they will be right to distrust our message. But, if out of fear of being rejected, we do not tell them what the Gospel means to us in our lives and what it could mean in their lives, someday we will share their pain. Whether in this life or in the life to come, they will know that we didn’t introduce them to the precious gift of the Gospel. They will know that accepting the Gospel was the only way to inherit eternal life and they will know that we received the Gospel with the promise that we would make it known.
Finding those who will listen to the message of the restored gospel is a daily exercise of faith. The apostle Paul said: “…faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1).
I bear my witness of how blessed we are as we share the gospel heart-to-heart and of the blessing of seeing changes in the lives of those with whom we share our testimony. The gospel is true and is the precious pearl that everyone should want to have in their lives to experience inner change, to make Jesus Christ their guide, and to light the path back to Heavenly Father.