Have you ever sat in church or had the missionaries come over to your house and are given a copy of The Book of Mormon? “Write your testimony in it and share your favorite scriptures,” you are told. Find a person that you can give This Book to this month.
Many times we are given this simple challenge to share The Book of Mormon, however over the past several months, I have created a new challenge, but before I go into that, I want to share with you the difference between sharing “this book,” and returning This Book.
Lost But Now Found
Have you ever left your scriptures under the pew at church and totally forgot about them? Days, weeks, or even months pass by and you search and search for them in your home and car, when finally you think did I leave them at church? You check out the lost in found and they are not there. Bummer, you think.
Later on at the end of church a sister comes up to you from another ward and asks you are these your scriptures?
See This Book of Mormon you have in your possession does not belong to you. You have your own set, “Who Does This Book Belong To? This Book, belongs to a brother or sister that has lost it. Your responsibility is to find its owner.
So how do we do this?
Seek Ye Diligently
First we must understand that the person This Book belongs to is a Son or Daughter of God, and as such He knows the things they need in their lives. He knows of their spiritual and temporal needs. He knows of their struggles and pains.
Second thing to understand is the process we are able to use to know our Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ. We are able to know them through sincere prayer and our diligent study of the gospel. Going to Church and the Temple are also ways we can come closer to them. Really you could name off those basic “primary and seminary” answers. But do we truly understand the impact they can make in our lives and the lives of others?
You see, just as we are able to know the attributes and characteristics of our Father in Heaven through these basic steps, we can also come before the Father and ask for His help in knowing these same things about one of His Children.
He can inspire us to know of the things to bear testimony of, he can help us know of the things to mark for the owner of This Book, and he can help us know and understand who they are so when that time comes we will know how to recognize them.
What an amazing responsibility we have!
Because of our diligence, He is preparing this person to hear His message to them, through us!
This Book no longer becomes an assignment given to us, it becomes a mission to find one of our Brothers or Sisters in the Gospel.
As a Missionary I use to respite My Missionary Commission by Bruce R. McConkie all the time. It says,
“I am called of God.
My authority is above that of kings of the earth.
By revelation I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is my master and He has chosen me to represent Him–to stand in His place, to say and do what He Himself would say and do if He personally were ministering to the very people to whom He has sent me.
My voice is His voice, and my acts are His acts; my doctrine is His doctrine.
My Commission is to do what He wants done; To say what He wants said; to be a living modern witness in word and in deed of the divinity of his great and marvelous Latter-day work.
How great is my calling!”
It is not by chance that you purchased or were given a copy of This Book of Mormon to give away, it is not by chance that you are reading this today.
You may not be a Full Time Missionary right now, but just as Doctrine and Covenants Section 4 says, if you have desires to serve, you are called to the work!
Someone was inspired to put This Book in your hands, and as a member of Christ’s Church on the earth today, you represent him!
Over the past 4 months I have been working on a program called The 40 Days and 40 Nights Challenge. It is a challenge designed to help people come closer to Christ to various activities such as, praying, reading, studying, service, church and temple worship, and other faith promoting activities.
Recently I was asked our Relief Society President to present this program during our next meeting. I was excited to have this opportunity because I have seen the experiences that this challenge creates as people apply it into their lives.
During the first challenge, I saw many miracles occur as people shared their experiences on our Facebook Page and Blog.
I heard stories of long time members reading The Book of Mormon for the first time, members experiencing hardships during the challenge and were able to find peace throughout their trials, non-members that just happened to come across the Facebook page, people who are dating members and wanted to know what The Book of Mormon was about, in-active members that felt like they needed to start coming back to church when they were invited to participate in the challenge, even non-members inviting members to do the challenge with them. Even last weekend someone was baptized because of seeing this challenge. In some way everyone had been converted.
Each 40 Days and 40 Nights Challenge has a theme to it, the first one was about preparing ourselves for those experiences our Father in Heaven wants us to have. Being Prepared to Serve!
When I was asked to share the 40 Days and 40 Nights Challenge I knew I needed to do something different and something new. I prayed to know what I should do to help my ward draw closer to our Father in Heaven and how to strengthen one another. I had the impression that I should create a new challenge just for this meeting. Then started a whole new series of prayers, what should it be on?
I wanted the sisters in our ward come closer to our Savior and Father in Heaven and to prepare themselves to have the opportunities to have spiritual experiences like the first challenge did….but what would be productive?
As I thought long and hard about this it was evident to me that I should do it specifically on Missionary Work!
The first challenge was a lot about preparing, but it was also about helping members realize the part they play in missionary work and that really there is no difference between members and missionaries except that they have been set apart in their calling. We each have a responsibility in Missionary Work!
Attending our Sunday Meetings is Missionary Work!
Holding Callings in the Church is Missionary Work!
Giving Talks is Missionary Work!
Going to Work or School is Missionary Work!
Being a Stay at Home Mom is Missionary Work!
Home and Visiting Teaching is Missionary Work!
In a nutshell, Living the Gospel is Missionary Work!
In the previous challenges people were encouraged to read the entire Book of Mormon, while it was not necessary to complete the 40 Days and 40 Night Challenge, it was a part of it. In this new Challenge, I found scriptures in each of the books in the Standard Works related to Missionary Work, and a quote from a talk, article or broadcast as it relates to Missionary Work and our responsibilities.
Having a quote gives each of us the opportunity to study the talks they were taken from. I found that many of these talks contained valuable information for each of us to study. We will each get more out of this program by immersing ourselves in the scriptures and quotes provided, along with many others we find along the way.
There is a big part of this challenge that people forget about. And it is the actual page that outlines the challenge. There are things that it invites you to do daily, weekly and monthly. This part of the challenge is crucial to get the whole experience.
One thing that this Challenge on Missionary Work asks, is for you to carry a copy of The Book of Mormon with you at all times. Doing this simple task along with the other things in the 40 Days and 40 Nights Challenge, will help you to better prepare for those opportunities to share the gospel. And now that you understand the importance of This Book, it will become easier for you to carry it with you.
I have actually been carrying mine for the past 3 months, and what I noticed is that This Book has the power to soften our hearts! I have noticed that the spirit is constantly rending me that I have This Book in my purse and that it belongs to someone. I am always looking at people as my brothers and sisters and feel the spirit prompting me to ask in a simple prayer, “Is this the person that This Book belongs to?”
It does not matter if you give This Book away today, tomorrow, ten days from now or ten years from now, what matters is that you are always praying to know who it may belong to, and preparing yourself for that opportunity to return it to it’s owner.
For those of you getting ready to serve missions, when you get to your apartment and see those cases of Book of Mormons sitting in the closets and trunks of your cars, know that each one of them belongs to someone! Each one of those books represents at least one person who is searching for truth!
I have always felt that there are people that we knew (maybe our best and closest friends) in the pre-existence that we promised we would find in this life when we both needed each other the most. To me this challenge is about finding those people, those people I made a promise to long ago, those people who will forever change my life as I will change theirs!
So next time you hold a copy of the Book of Mormon in your hand, thing of who it may belong to. Who is it that the Lord is preparing right now to hear the message of the Restored Gospel through you.
This is not just a book, it is a person, it is a family, it is brothers and sisters in the Gospel of Jesus Christ searching for what you now hold in your hands.
I hope each of you can accept this 40 Days and 40 Nights Challenge on Missionary Work, as an opportunity to draw closer to our Father in Heaven and Savior. That you can immerse yourselves in the work of the Lord and have joy of finding one of your Brothers or Sisters in the Gospel. It is an amazing experience to be a part of!
I know that Heavenly Father will bless each of us in our lives with opportunities to Serve as we prepare our hearts and minds for His will. I know that through prayer He will guide us to those that are searching for the Truths that we hold within the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that as we learn to love people and share the gospel through the Pure Love of Christ, that we are able to touch peoples lives. I know that this is a Gospel of Love!
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