Rembrandt_Christ_in_the_Storm_on_the_Lake_of_Galilee (1)

Rembrandt van Rijn, Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.


Mormon 9:15–20

For Younger Missionaries


  • It has been said that where faith and humility meet a miracle is born. How does this apply to missionary service?
  • What attributes of childhood make children so much better missionaries than most adults?
  • When was the last time you felt that God had put someone in your path? What would it take to make that happen now?


I learned an important lesson about becoming like a child in the context of missionary work. Long ago I had concluded that it was quite simple to administer the mechanics of missionary meetings, but I could not lead that work with passion and credibility unless I could speak in present-tense verbs and first-person pronouns about finding people for the missionaries to teach. I have learned to use terms that associate me with Mormonism in my conversations—comments about my mission to Korea, my children’s missions, my assignments in the Church, my having attended Brigham Young University, and so on. These comments open the door for a conversation about the Church. Most who notice that I have opened this door choose not to walk through it. A few do, however, usually saying, “So you’re a Mormon?” I then ask if they’d like to learn more about us.

In my attempt to lead by example a few years ago, I had set October 15 as a goal by which I hoped to find someone for the missionaries to teach. By mid-September, however, I had not been able to find anyone who expressed any interest. I was extremely busy with my employment and my Church calling and simply could see no way to meet any new people by my date of October 15. I began to feel that because I was doing all I could to serve in the Church, it would be OK if just that once I didn’t find someone for the missionaries to teach.

Rather than accept this impossibility, however, I felt impressed instead to follow the Savior’s command and seek the faith of a little child. I shifted the focus of my prayers and fasting, pleading that because I had no more time to find someone, I needed someone who wanted to know about the Church to cross my path. I pledged that when I met that person I would invite him or her to come to our home and meet with the missionaries.

On October 12 my wife, Christine, and I spoke at an institute fireside. A sweet, warm spirit was present. Afterward, a Harvard graduate student approached me and asked: “Professor Christensen, I understand that sometimes when someone wants to learn about your church they can meet with missionaries to take lessons. Is there any way I could do this in your home?” I stood there stunned. It was all I could do to not start crying. She had no idea how directly God had answered my pleadings through her.

When Moroni foresaw that many in the last days would believe God had ceased to be a God of miracles (Mormon 9:15–20), perhaps he had in his view not just those of other faiths but some of us as well. When we are doing all we can and our leaders ask us to do even more, miracles are the only option. That is why the Savior asked us to forsake the rational limits of our adult minds and employ the faith of little children instead (Clayton M. Christensen, “‘My Ways Are Not Your Ways’,” Ensign, Feb. 2007,


Patterns of Light:
Discerning Light


A Mission to the Lamanites


  • Do you think that the Lord has promised some of your friends that the gospel would be presented to them (like He did the Lamanites)?
  • Could you be the messenger the Lord expects to fulfill that promise?


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