Category Archives: Week Thirteen


Fransz de Grebber, Elisha Refusing Gifts from Naaman, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.


2 Kings 5:1–14
John 8:28–29
Alma 57:19–27
D&C 10:4–5; 58:26–33; 130:18–21

For Younger Missionaries


  • What example of obedience did the Savior show us?
  • How can Church members be “agents unto themselves” (D&C 58:28) and still be diligent, faithful servants of the Lord by obeying His commandments exactly?
  • What from your study of missionary work can you apply to being a more diligent visiting teacher or home teacher?



Diligence is steady, consistent, earnest, and energetic effort in doing the Lord’s work. The Lord expects you to work diligently—persistently and with great effort and care. A diligent missionary works effectively and efficiently. Diligence in missionary work is an expression of your love for the Lord and His work. When you are diligent, you find joy and satisfaction in your work.

Do many good things of your own free will (see D&C 58:27). Don’t wait for your leaders to tell you what to do. Continue until you have done all you can, even when you are tired. Focus on the most important things and avoid wasting time. Pray for guidance and strength. Plan regularly and effectively. Avoid anything that distracts your thoughts or actions….


As a missionary, you are expected to keep the commandments willingly, to obey mission rules, and to follow the counsel of your leaders. Obedience is the first law of heaven. It is an act of faith. You may sometimes be required to do things you do not completely understand. As you obey, you increase in faith, knowledge, wisdom, testimony, protection, and freedom….

“The discipline contained in daily obedience and clean living and wholesome lives builds an armor around you of protection and safety from the temptations that beset you as you proceed through mortality” (L. Tom Perry, “Called to Serve,” Ensign, May 1991, 3) (Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service, 2004, 121).


Please read and discuss the following video together as a family.

Naaman and Elisha


  • What happens to doubt if we just obey the Lords’ instructions?
  • Isn’t it interesting that Naaman was pointed the right direction by a very young servant girl?
  • Why do you think Elisha instructed Naaman to bathe in the river seven times? Do we sometimes need to invite seven people before one will listen? What if Naaman had given up at six baths?



Caravaggio, Sacrifice of Isaac, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.


Genesis 18:1–19

For Younger Missionaries


  • How do you avoid or overcome discouragement when it appears the job is too big to ever be accomplished?
  • Like Sarah, do we inwardly laugh at the thought of the gospel spreading to all people?
  • Do you realize that if every member of the Church were instrumental in bringing one person to the Lord every year, the entire world would be converted in just over eight years?

Wards That God Trusts: The Lamoille Branch

When serving as an Area Seventy I sometimes had the chance to “tour” a mission and meet with the missionaries, and I always asked the missionaries in private conversations, “Is there a branch or ward in the mission where being assigned to work in that unit is viewed as if you have died and gone to heaven? And what is it about that unit that makes it so attractive an assignment for the missionaries?”

When I was meeting with missionaries in the New Hampshire Manchester Mission, every missionary I talked to wanted to be assigned to the Lamoille Branch, which is right in the northernmost portion of Vermont, bordering Quebec, Canada. In each of the prior three years, more than thirty people had been baptized into the branch.

“What is it about the Lamoille Branch that makes it so attractive to you?” I queried one of the elders.

He responded, “I don’t know what it is. But if you can just get your investigators into the chapel up there, the members just wrap them into their arms and make them feel so welcome. It’s funny. Even door-to-door finding works better in Lamoille than any other place in the mission.” Tracting. Why did door-to-door finding work better in that place than any other in the mission?

Christine and I decided one free Sunday that we would drive from Boston to Lamoille Valley, about five hours northwest of Boston, to get a better sense of what made the branch work. I had learned from the stake president, Mike Sessions, that they had made the branch a ward a few weeks earlier. We interviewed many ward members and were repeatedly told how warm and welcoming the ward felt to new visitors. One recounted that the first time she attended church, a two-year-old girl came up to her with her arms outstretched—mimicking what she so often had seen adults do when someone new had walked through that door. God seemed to trust the Lamoille Ward to love and care for his children (Clayton M. Christensen, The Power of Everyday Missionaries, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013, 137–138).


This Sunday (and every Sunday after that), improve the warmth in our ward by asking yourself:

  • Is someone sitting alone? Greet them and (where not impossible) invite them to sit with you. In every meeting, in every class in our ward, nobody ever sits alone!
  • An unfamiliar face receives our first attention! Take visitors to class with you and ask if they have any questions about the meeting! Show them around the building and explain the art, missionary pictures, library, etc. Give them your contact information and invite them to call you. Invite them to something with you: dinner, a social activity, a walk, etc.
  • Are there investigators sitting with the missionaries? Go and meet them!
  • Who isn’t here that should be? Are all present or accounted for? The ones you visit or home teach, the ones you have served with, your children’s friends’ families? Find out why not and see if there is a need you can fill.
  • Ask the Lord who needs your love.

Remember that every soul who lives in our ward boundaries is in our ward! Perfect and apply each of the above in your neighborhood!


Abrahamic Covenant




  • Think of all the ways Abraham followed the Lord’s commandments. How was Abraham’s blessed for his faith?
  • Abraham was promised that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through him. How can nations be blessed by you?


Last Supper

Valentin de Boulogne, Last Supper, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.


Moroni 6:4–6
John 13:1–5, 12–15, 33–35
Matthew 5:46–47

For Younger Missionaries


  • How does partaking of the sacrament each week sustain us in our missionary responsibilities? What do we learn about missionary service by the image of Christ washing the feet of his disciples?
  • Do we really understand that we (who are sent) are not better than those to whom we are sent? How can our show of love toward others, in and of itself, be a witness of the truthfulness of the gospel?

Wards That God Trusts

If God cannot trust the members of the Church to invite these people to learn His gospel, why would He put them in our path? And if God can’t trust us to make His children feel loved and needed after they join the Church, why would God guide these people there in the first place?…

I believe the same principle is at work at the level of the individual. In almost every ward, four to six people find 80 percent of the referrals that their wards submit for the missionaries to teach, year in and year out. Is it the case that these few good member missionaries have just been blessed to live around and work with all of the “golden” potential investigators? And is it plausible that the people who simply aren’t engaged in missionary work have been cursed to live and work among those who have no interest in learning of the gospel?

I suspect that God might say about many “active” members of the Church today, “I know them, and I’m actually not sure whether they will do what I have commanded them to do in sharing my gospel with others of my children.” God has promised that He will answer the prayers of His children.

If He can’t trust us, then He must use other means to answer the prayers of others (Clayton M. Christensen, The Power of Everyday Missionaries, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013, 140–141).


Last Supper


First Sacrament


  • Did you notice how Christ served his apostles (washing their feet) before he taught them? Should we try first to serve others and then invite them?
  • How do we show others that we are followers of Christ?
  • Are you always able to remember that you are never alone when you are doing the Savior’s work?



Lorenzo Lotto, Christ Carrying the Cross, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.


Amos 8:11–12
Mark 8:34–38

For Younger Missionaries


  • How can we see the world not as “members and nonmembers” but as brothers and sisters all searching for happiness? Are you able to keep in your mind, as you look at others, that Christ suffered as much for them as He did for you?
  • How does Christ’s truly unconditional love model the attitude we need to have toward others?

It Has to Be You!

My husband often refers to the ward in which he grew up in a small Utah town. For years there had been the traditional two groups: the actives and the inactives. Then a new man moved into the ward, an out-of-towner, and he was immediately given many of the inactive members as home teaching families. Within a short period of time many of the inactive families became active. The story goes that “he didn’t know they were inactive!”

Although this interpretation is a good one, and supports the “as if” principle (treat a man as if he has certain qualities and he will develop them), I believe there is another possibility. It may be that this man looked upon his contacts as friends, as brothers, and not as the stereotype “inactive members.” It may be that his warmth and sincerity found a place in the hearts of his families where others, going through the motions of activating an inactive family, had failed.

Traveling from Virginia to Utah recently, we attended Sunday School in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The Gospel Doctrine lesson that Sunday was on the subject of love, and many thrilling and thought-provoking ideas were introduced. One woman in the class was very responsive, and as it looked like the teacher was running out of time she became anxious. Finally she raised her hand and said, “I’ve got to say this. Everything you have said here is true, and it’s beautiful. But there’s one thing about love that nobody has mentioned.

“You can’t say, ‘I’ll love my family,’ and ‘I’ll love the Church,’ and let it stop there. Either you are a loving person or you’re not. You have to care about the clerk in the supermarket, though she may be grouchy and sharp after a hard day. You can’t turn love on or off at your convenience; it has to be you!”

She was right! And I remembered what she said at every service station and restaurant between Cheyenne and Salt Lake City. I wasn’t surprised that not only did strangers react more positively, but as a result of my newly developed habit of caring about others, I discovered amazing improvements in our family relationships, too. Equally important, I learned that with an attitude like this, fellowshipping would be much more simple. If I could learn to shower warmth and love on everyone, I wouldn’t have to worry about who would be a likely prospect! (Afton J. Day, “So They Don’t Join the Church,” Ensign, Oct. 1977).


Nothing Can Separate


Signs of Christ’s Crucifixion


  • Do you see signs of Christ’s second coming?
  • What are you doing to prepare for that day?
  • Is it ever too late to repent?



Minerva Kohlhepp Teichert, Trial of Abinadi, BYU Museum of Art, Not for commercial use.


Mosiah 18

For Younger Missionaries


  • Why did Alma teach in secret? How does this apply to us?
  • Can you say, “O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart”? Note how that declaration brought the “Spirit of the Lord” upon Alma.
  • How had the listeners been prepared to receive the words of Alma? In verse 22, what is the connection between preaching the word of God and becoming the children of God?


The Lord has given us guides to know what to do to receive the blessing and joy of ever-increasing unity. The Book of Mormon recounts a time of success. It was in the days of Alma at the Waters of Mormon. What the people did in those difficult and dangerous circumstances gives us both a guide and encouragement.

Everything Alma and his people were inspired to do was pointed at helping people choose to have their hearts changed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. That is the only way God can grant the blessing of being of one heart….

And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.

And thus he commanded them to preach. And thus they became the children of God (Mosiah 18:17, 19–22).

That is why Alma commanded the people to teach faith and repentance. That is why my children came to expect in every lesson in family night that I would find a way to encourage someone to testify of the Savior and His mission. Sometimes the parents did it. On our best nights we found a way to encourage the children to do it, either by presenting the lesson or answering questions. When testimony about the Savior was borne, the Holy Ghost verified it. On those nights we felt our hearts being knit together (Henry B. Eyring, “Our Hearts Knit as One,” Ensign, Nov. 2008).


Abinadi Converted
One Soul


Stand As a Witness


  • How do you use your talents to fulfill your baptismal covenants?
  • Are you preparing your life to serve a mission?
  • Wouldn’t it be wonderful to feel that you had used every opportunity to share the gospel?



Minerva Kohlhepp Teichert, An Angel Appears to Alma and the Sons of Mosiah, BYU Museum of Art, Not for commercial use.


2 Nephi 31:14–21

For Younger Missionaries


  • What can we do to enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost more abundantly?
  • In some scenarios “endure” can take on a mundane or even negative connotation. How can we remain positive and progressive in living the gospel daily? In what ways did Jesus endure to the end in His mor

Endure to the End

Once we have entered the strait and narrow path by our faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and the ordinances of baptism and confirmation, we must exert every effort to stay on the path. We do so by continually exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting, making commitments, and following the Spirit.

Once we have been forgiven of our sins, we should try every day to remain free from sin so that we can always have the Holy Ghost with us. In the covenant of baptism, we promise our Father in Heaven that we will obey His commandments for the rest of our lives. If we fall short, we must repent in order to retain the blessings of the covenant. We promise to do good works, serve others, and follow the Savior’s example. In the scriptures this lifelong commitment is often called “enduring to the end.”

By following the gospel path, we can draw closer to God, conquer temptation and sin, and enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost more abundantly. As we patiently, faithfully, and consistently follow this path throughout our lives, we will qualify for eternal life.

Faith in Christ; repentance; making, renewing, and keeping covenants; and being cleansed by the Spirit become a pattern of living. Our actions in daily life are shaped and governed by these principles. Peace and joy come by following this way, and we gradually grow in Christlike attributes. Eventually, as we follow this way and “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ … and endure to the end,” we are promised, “Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:20) (Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service, 2004, 66).


Mountains to Climb


Oh, That I were an Angel!


  • Like Alma, have you ever wished you were an angel of God?
  • Do you realize that with the Spirit of the Lord with you, you are just like and angel?
  • Is teaching others about God the “desire of your heart?” How do you make it your desire?



Raphael, Christ’s Charge to Peter, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.


Alma 29:1–9

For Younger Missionaries


  • How do we develop Alma’s attitude of “glorying” in that which the Lord asks us to do? Are your glory and joy found in bringing a soul to repentance?
  • Is it possible that our eternal lives hinge on how we respond to the exhortation to “Feed my sheep”?

The Summer of the Lambs

The day school was out at the beginning of each summer, our family went to our ranch in Wyoming…. One year my father was waiting for us as we arrived. He said he had a big job for my brother Clay and me to do that summer. I was about twelve at the time, and my brother was two years older. Pointing to the field by the side of the house, my father said, “Do you see all of these lambs in that field? I’ll share the money we get for the ones you raise when we sell them in the fall.” Well, we were excited. Not only did we have a significant job to do, but we were going to be rich! There were a lot of lambs in that field—about 350 of them. And all we had to do was feed them.

However, there was one thing that my father hadn’t mentioned. None of the lambs had mothers. Just after shearing, there was a violent storm that chilled the newly shorn sheep. Dad lost a thousand ewes that year. The mothers of our lambs were among them.

To feed one or two baby animals is one thing, but to feed 350 is something else! It was hard. There was plenty of grass, but the lambs couldn’t eat the grass. They didn’t have teeth. They needed milk. So we made some long, V-shaped feeding troughs out of some boards. Then we got a great big tin washtub, ground up some grain, and added milk to make a thin mash. While my brother poured the mash into the troughs, I rounded up the lambs, herded them to the troughs, and said, “Eat!” Well, they just stood there looking at me. Although they were hungry and there was food in front of them, they still wouldn’t eat. No one had taught them to drink milk out of a trough. So I tried pushing them toward the troughs. Do you know what happens when you try to push sheep? They run the other way. And when you lose one, you could lose them all because others will follow. That’s the way with sheep.

We tried lining up the lambs along the troughs and pushing their noses down in the milk, hoping they’d get a taste and want some more. We tried wiggling our fingers in the milk to get them to suck on our fingers. Some of them would drink, but most of them ran away.

Many of the lambs were slowly starving to death. The only way we could be sure they were being fed was to pick them up in our arms, two at a time, and feed them like babies.

And then there were the coyotes. At night the coyotes would sit up on the hill, and they’d howl. The next morning we would see the results of their night’s work, and we would have two or three more lambs to bury. The coyotes would sneak up on the lambs, scatter the herd, and then pick out the ones they wanted and go after them. The first were those that were weak or separated from the flock. Often in the night when the coyotes came and the lambs were restless, my dad would take out his rifle and shoot in the air to scare them away. We felt secure when my dad was home because we knew our lambs were safe when he was there to watch over them.

Clay and I soon forgot about being rich. All we wanted to do was save our lambs. The hardest part was seeing them die. Every morning we would find five, seven, ten lambs that had died during the night. Some the coyotes got, and others starved to death surrounded by food they couldn’t or wouldn’t eat.

Part of our job was to gather up the dead lambs and help dispose of them. I got used to that, and it really wasn’t so bad until I named one of the lambs. It was an awkward little thing with a black spot on its nose. It was always under my feet, and it knew my voice. I loved my lamb. It was one I held in my arms and fed with a bottle like a baby.

One morning my lamb didn’t come when I called. I found it later that day under the willows by the creek. It was dead. With tears streaming down my face, I picked up my lamb and went to find my father. Looking up at him, I said, “Dad, isn’t there someone who can help us feed our lambs?”

After a long moment he said, “Jayne, once a long, long time ago, someone else said almost those same words. He said, ‘Feed my lambs…. Feed my sheep…. Feed my sheep’” (John 21:15–17). Dad put his arms around me and let me cry for a time, then went with me to bury my lamb.

It wasn’t until many years later that I fully realized the meaning of my father’s words. I was pondering the scripture in Moses that says, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of [all mankind]” (Moses 1:39). As I thought about the mission of the Savior, I remembered the summer of the lambs, and … I thought I could sense how the Savior must feel with so many lambs to feed, so many souls to save. And I knew in my heart that he needed my help (Jayne B. Malan, “The Summer of the Lambs,” Ensign, Oct. 1989).


Lovest Thou Me?


Ye Have Done It unto Me


  • When you serve others, do you feel you are serving God?
  • Can you think of people who need you? How can you bless their lives?