What’s the Use?

“What’s the Use?” New Era, Feb. 1997, 10

What’s the Use?

What was I doing in a faraway country, soaking wet? Ammon had the answer.

It had been a long, disappointing day, and now Elder Cooksey and I were walking through the rain of Puerto Montt, a city in the Chile Osorno Mission. We had lost three families from our investigator pool. Two were unable—perhaps unwilling—to commit to keeping some of the commandments, while the third family felt they couldn’t leave the pastor of their current church, a man who was this family’s close, personal friend.

We knew that all three families had testimonies of the gospel, yet they were no longer interested in listening to our message. I was in the depths of despair. As we walked through the cold rain that night, I thought, What’s the use? We were struggling to share something that no one wanted to hear. I wondered what I was doing. I was in this strange country, far from family and friends, and now to make matters worse I was soaking wet.

As I dried myself after arriving home late that night, I crawled into my bed, ready to do battle with fleas. I opened the Book of Mormon at random and glanced at a page. The words of Ammon helped me find the answer to my despair.

“And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again.

“And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some” (Alma 26:29–30).

This passage brought me back to reality, and I had the answer I was looking for. That was why I was in a foreign land, and that is why we serve missions—that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul.

Illustrated by Keith Larsen