Saturday, January 17, 2015

Missionary Comparisons

This Map is called Paul’s first Journey and is from from the New Testament Institute Student Manual. It traces Paul’s first mission and includes places such as Antioch, Salamis, Paphos, Perga, and Lystra.  Paul (also known as Saul) and Barnabas journeyed over 1400 miles on this first mission.

Paul was a great missionary. From him we can learn some great things to help our missionaries in the field who may feel discouraged:

  • Paul was called by prophets to serve his mission, as are missionaries from the LDS church today. 
  • Careful prayer and fasting was used to select the missionaries and to choose where they would go, as well as following impressions from the Holy Ghost.
  • Missionaries are blessed and set apart by those in authority to help them on their way.
  • The Holy Ghost dwells with the missionaries as they serve the Lord.

Barnabas was Paul’s missionary companion. He sold all of his possessions and gave the proceeds to the Apostles . He basically vouched for Paul to the Apostles. He was called by the Apostles to help Paul serve a mission. He was known as a good man who was full of the Holy Ghost. He acted by faith.  Though he was not one of the Twelve Apostles, he was regarded as an Apostle.

In Acts 14: 8-18 Paul heals a cripple who has never been able to walk. The people of Lystra at this point are shocked and say “The gods are come down to us in the likenss of men.” They give the missionaries/apostles the names Jupiter and Mercurius (also known as Zeus and Hermes). They want to give sacrifices for them. Barnabas and Paul assure them that they are just men that are testifying for and of Christ. They stop the people from doing the sacrifices.

In the same chapter verses 19-22 we read that these men were treated completely different by certain Jews from Antioch and Iconiym. They stoned Paul and pulled him out of the city thinking that he was dead. The Apostles gathered around him and he rose up and went back into the city and then left the next day with Barnabas to continue their mission. Paul pointed out in verse 22 that “we must [go] through much tribulation [or adversity and tests to] enter the kingdom of God.

Both of these examples of what happened to these missionaries while they are doing the Lords work are examples of this principle (that we must go through tribulation to enter the kingdom of God). Obviously being stoned and cast out of the city is a trial, but also being treated as a god and having to stop people from being sacrilegious is a test as well.

Today missionaries serve throughout the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and although they are not being treated as gods, or being stoned or travelling on foot 1400 miles, they are sacrificing a lot for their Father in Heaven. I believe that missionary work is of the Lord. I believe that the Lord sends the Holy Ghost to guide these young men and women (and sometimes older men and women as well) to go where they should go.

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