The Apostles well understood the importance of this message, and they began to spread the gospel throughout the Middle East. Unfortunately, the same people who crucified Jesus Christ also persecuted his apostles by killing them, resulting in the age of darkness known as the Apostasy.
The Apostasy resulted in many people interpreting the gospel in their own way or according to their own understanding. And then in 1820, a young boy decided to find the true Church. In response to his prayers, our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him. This was the beginning of the restoration!
The same instruction given anciently by Jesus Christ regarding missionary work becomes much more important for us today. He said, “And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!” (Doctrine & Covenants 18:15).
This commandment motivates young men (and young women if they wish), and even couples to leave their homes for either 24 or 18 months as full-time missionaries to preach the same gospel and bring souls back to Christ. This duty cannot be fulfilled alone. Missionaries need the help of every member. It's pretty simple. We can start by a smile to a friend visiting Church, or a warm welcome. We can invite the missionaries to teach our friends in our homes, and also bear testimony of the gospel to our friends. As we live an exemplary life, we are striving to be a light for others.
Those of you who are full time missionaries, as you live a righteous life you will be an example for those who are seeking the truth, and the Spirit will lead you to those that are ready to receive the gospel. These people will be excited to receive answers to questions they have had for a very long time, and together you will both rejoice in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Remember that “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25).
I want to share with you a story of a sister whose example and attention are remarkable. When I was receiving the missionary lessons there was a sister (a returned missionary) who attended all the lessons with me. Once she came with what we called an “Etoile” (the predecessor to the Liahona magazine). After the missionary lesson we read a message together in the magazine. This message was so edifying that I asked the sister if she could hand me her copy of the magazine. I remember how appreciative I was when she gave me her Etoile. Then, when I went to return her copy, I let her know I was not done yet. She said “Oh, no, you can keep it!” I was really surprised that she gave to me something so precious. She then told me that this magazine was published every month. This was great news to me! It sparked a desire within me to learn more. And even today it still exists. My dear brothers and sisters, remember that the Church has many ways to involve us in this work!
Every time we bring our friends to Church we give Heaven an opportunity to rejoice! As Jesus Christ said, “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10). We now and forever are invited to do everything we can to participate fully in this great work.
I know his work and glory is to bring to pass to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39). I know Jesus Christ lives. He died, and lives again. I dedicate myself to be a tool in His hands so he can use me as he wants. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know Joseph Smith was a true prophet.