“Do you think I could ever be a mighty missionary like Ammon?” ten-year-old John asked his mom as she tucked him into bed. They had just finished family home evening, and John’s mind was spilling over with all Dad had said and read from the Book of Mormon about Ammon and his mission to the Lamanites.
“I’m sure that you’ll be an excellent missionary, John,” Mom said. “The Lord needs fine young men like you, and when you’re nineteen, He’ll call you to serve a mission somewhere in this big, wonderful world. And it will be exactly where He needs you the most.”
She kissed him goodnight, and John was alone with his thoughts. Just think—me, a missionary! Boy, that will be neat! I wonder where I’ll go. It could be anywhere! He began to think of all the places he’d heard about. His Primary teacher, Brother Phelps, was a returned missionary and loved to talk about different countries. He had even been teaching them greetings in different languages.
Maybe I’ll be like Brother Phelps and go to Mexico on my mission, John thought. I would be brave, like Ammon.
He began to imagine himself and a companion walking toward a ranch and saying to a vaquero (cowboy) on a tall horse, “Buenos días, señor (Good day, sir). You are a chosen people, and the Lord has many blessings for you. I have come to tell you about them.”
Or, John thought, I might cross the ocean and go to Hong Kong! A picture of him at a little street-side food stand, like one he’d seen in a book at school, filled his mind. He remembered his Cantonese greeting as he turned to talk to a Chinese man lunching there. “Nei hou ma (How are you)? May I come to your house tonight and tell your family how you can be together forever?”
Hmmm, John thought. That would be a nice place to go—but so would Germany!
In a flash, there he was, talking to a cute little German grandma who was scrubbing her cobblestone sidewalk. His teacher had said that the German people were clean and neat and that in some of the small towns, they still wash their sidewalks on their hands and knees.
“Guten Morgen, meine Frau (Good morning, ma’am),” he said to the woman. “I am a Mormon missionary, and I have come to brighten your life.” He imagined himself handing her a Book of Mormon. Remembering how Ammon had served the king, he saw himself scrubbing her sidewalk while she examined the book.
The more John thought about being a missionary, the more excited he became. Maybe I’ll even be sent to Russia! He had seen a lot about Russia on the TV lately. At last the Russian people were allowed to learn about Jesus. Just last week his teacher had taught him how to say hello in Russian.
He cleared his throat and, to imaginary people standing with him in the square in Moscow, said, “Zdrastvweetyeh (Hello). This pamphlet in my hand holds good news for all of you. There really is a God. Joseph Smith saw Him and His Son, Jesus Christ, with his own eyes.”
“Wow!” John said right out loud. He could just see himself bringing the truth to people who were really hungry for it. Then his mind flashed to a different part of the world, and he thought, I might even be sent to Africa, where they speak Zulu!
“Sawubona (Hello)!” he said to a group of men in an African village. Holding up the Book of Mormon, he said, “This book tells of a power greater than any on earth. It’s called the priesthood. You, too, may have this power if you learn and keep the commandments of the Lord.”
Then John remembered Ammon again and how he had brought the gospel to King Lamoni. That’s what I’ll do if the Lord sends me to England!
Suddenly there he was, armed with his scriptures, in front of the queen, bowing and saying, “Your Royal Highness, Jesus Christ, the King of the whole earth, will return again to rule and reign forever. We must be ready. This Book of Mormon will help you and your people prepare for His coming.”
John’s thoughts shifted to another great nation of people who must be waiting to hear his important message. Maybe he would be chosen to teach the American Indians!
In his mind, he saw a little Sioux boy carrying a load of firewood. “Hau, koda (Hello, friend),” he said to the boy. “May I help you with your load while you take me to your father and mother? I want to tell them about your great-great-great- grandparents.” In a moment, he was teaching this Indian family all about Samuel the Lamanite prophet.
As John thought about where else he might go, the idea came to him that he could be called to serve among his own people. Why, he might even be sent to the area where his Aunt Harriet lived! His mother had told him about “dear little Aunt Harriet,” and he had always wanted to meet her. She wasn’t a member of the Church. His mother had said that Aunt Harriet just hadn’t had the right opportunity to learn the truth yet. John thought, Maybe I’ll be the one to teach her. That would be terrific!
He could see himself sitting there in his missionary suit and tie, saying, “Aunt Harriet, I would love to be in the celestial kingdom with you. Let me tell you how we can make it happen.”
At that happy thought, John yawned and snuggled deeper into his covers. In only a minute he was sound asleep.
The next morning he was awakened by the bright sunlight shining through his window. He jumped out of bed and quickly dressed. A marvelous idea had come to him. I know exactly what I’ll do. Grabbing a pair of ice skates from a shelf, he ran out the door.
Good! There was Paul, a nonmember friend, just as John had hoped. “Hey, Paul,” he called, running to his side. “Thanks for letting me borrow your skates.” He took a deep breath and added, “Now there’s something I want to share with you. It’s not something to play with, and it’s really important. More important than anything I own. It’s my church. I want you to go to Primary with me. My teacher is really cool—you’ll like him. How about it? I’ll pick you up Sunday at ten o’clock, OK?” He stood there smiling and hoping.
Paul looked at him curiously and said, “I think so. I’ll ask my mom.”
The next Sunday Paul was sitting in Primary next to John, who was being more reverent than he’d ever been. Wow, he thought, it’s great to be a missionary!