Lately, I’ve been pondering on the passage of scripture that comes from Alma 29. Here, one of the great missionary examples that we have from the Book of Mormon, is earnestly desiring to share the gospel with those around him. He says:
Oh that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!
Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.
But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me…
Oh that I were an angel!
To me, this passage has always been a funny one. Not in a “haha” sense, but in a “that’s weird–what could possibly be wrong with Alma wanting to do more?” sense. After all, if we truly love the gospel and our fellow men, shouldn’t we want to share this with every one around us–nay, with all the earth? Of course! So what does Alma mean by “[I] do sin in my wish”? The more I think about this, the more I realize that this is not a chastisement of Alma for wanting to do something good, but rather a reminder that Alma, and we as missionaries ourselves, should not forget the many something goods that we already do have.
Last night, the young adults were lucky enough to be addressed by Elder David A. Bednar, apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife, in a CES Broadcast. (For those of you who may have missed the broadcast, you can find it here)
Elder Bednar addressing the YSA at a devotional held at University of Texas Arlington
His address, entitled “That we Might not… Shrink” pulls from Doctrine & Covenants 19:18, which reads:
Which suffering [the atonement] caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
Finally, the day has come. That large white envelope was in your mailbox, and now you are here, with family and friends, or perhaps just alone in your room. Waiting. Staring at the envelop, dying to open it, with a tiny ounce of fear that you aren’t going to like what you see. The excitement overcomes you, and you tear it open, quickly read, and come to three words you had not wanted to see.
Dear Sister Denison:
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Ohio Columbus Mission…
Now, to any who may live in Columbus Ohio, this is not meant to be any personal offense. I will admit, however, that I was disappointed to see those words.
Since many people find the waiting period to be the most frustrating part of preparing to serve a mission, and this is an experience common to all who choose to serve—regardless of where he or she is sent—I think it is a fitting subject for our first preparation post.
Not knowing where a missionary will be sent, when they will leave, or what language they will be speaking is enough to make anyone nervous. The inability to visualize and conceptualize the next eighteen months of our lives makes even the most patient people anxious. For the next eighteen months, we could literally be serving just about anywhere. Talk about ambiguity! (Speaking from personal experience, I just submitted my papers on Wednesday, January 23rd so I’m in the Waiting Club as well).
That being said, this is an incredible time. For the next three weeks, with papers finished and no call assigned, relish in knowing that you could be sent anywhere (anywhere!). For three weeks, the entire world is at our fingertips with limitless potential and unimaginable possibilities for us to discover. Once the call comes, all those other endless possibilities will come to a close. There will only be one place we are called to serve. Now, those three weeks don’t seem so bad, do they?