Day 62: Unwearyingness

Helaman 10:4-12

I was so taken aback as I read these verses in Helaman 10 today. Nephi the former chief judge and now high priest over the church has just gone through an emotionally and spiritually wracking ordeal. The Lord speaks to him, blesses him, and asks him to continue his work. How does Nephi respond?

[N]ow it came to pass that when the Lord had spoken these words unto Nephi, he did stop and did not go unto his own house, but did return unto the multitudes who were scattered about upon the face of the land, and began to declare unto them the word of the Lord…. (Helaman 10:12, emphasis added)

My chief desire as an introvert is always to get home where I feel comfortable and safe. It blows my mind that instead of going home, Nephi goes back out to preach more.

Nephi’s example of unwearying service and missionary work reminds me of an experience from my mission. My companionship was out one night in January doing a special one hour of finding. We had planned the hour several days in advance and had prayed for direction where to go. We had already spent almost our whole hour and curfew approached. The promise of my warm bed and the safety of our apartment beckoned. We completed a row of apartments and my trainer asked if we should keep going or head home. I looked further down the street to see no lights on in any of the apartments, not even on doorsteps. I was tired, cold, and very uncomfortable. We agreed to go home.

The next morning was Sunday. We received a call from our district leaders to say a fax had arrived at the mission office with a note that a woman had recently been baptized and then moved to our city. I became a bundle of emotions when my trainer revealed this sister’s address: the very street we had given up on the night before. In fact, she lived just down and to the right of where we had, with weariness, stopped knocking on doors and headed home.

Oh to be like Nephi who boldly and tirelessly shared the Gospel with as many people as he could. Who, instead of going home to curl up in bed or have a meal, returned to the epicenters of his and other communities to “declare the word of God.”

We all have responsibilities in our lives that we could probably stand to fulfill with a little more unwearyingness. Whether it’s being a better mom, magnifying a church calling, or whatever else I need to work on, I can learn so much from Nephi’s diligence and devotion.

Day 33: Stand Fast in the Faith

Alma 1:24-25

Alma the younger was serving as the High Priest of the Church and as the first Chief Judge over the Nephites when the Church began facing a crisis of membership. Persecution, pride, sin, and apostasy began to take their toll and even “many [members] withdrew themselves from among them [the Church membership]” (v. 24). The emphasis on community and interpersonal relationships in this chapter suggested I pay attention to the family and friends who take part in and/or observe a loss of faith.

I have seen people withdraw from Church involvement in my own lifetime and noted what happens to the family members and friends who are closest to the individuals. As a youth I watched helpless as a friend left the church, only to be followed by her parents and siblings. Recently I have watched friends leave the Church, their spouses and young children remaining active for a time but eventually leaving the Church as well. I was a ministering sister to a couple who left the church years ago soon after three of their children “withdrew.” I sensed that my friends’ inactivity was a result of feeling hopeless: They wondered what they could have done more for their children but no longer saw a point in remaining active in the Church.

The response of the Nephite church members is instructive. “Now this was a great trial to those that did stand fast in the faith” (v. 25). I appreciate that the writer here acknowledges how difficult (heart-rending even) it is to watch members of your church community (friends and family likely) lose their faith and withdraw from participation in the Church. But pay attention to how they deal with their disappointment: “nevertheless, they were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God” (v. 25). In the case of my ministering family, I felt strongly that if they would renew their faith and be steadfast in keeping the commandments, they could bring so many blessings to their entire family. It would not be a hopeless case if they would keep the faith and honor their covenants.

I really believe that if we will honor our covenants, keep the commandments, be steadfast and immoveable, God will keep His promises to us, even to benefit and bless loved ones who have left the Church.