The Mormon Third Eye, with the awesome social media power of the blogsophere, is continually striving to shine the spotlight on the remarkably important yet seemingly minor acts of gospel courage that can define us. This week the MTE is highlighting the unsung heroes of missionary work strewn throughout the scriptures.
We frequently hear about the magnificent missionary exploits of Ammon, Alma, and the other sons of Mosiah. Abinadi was bold and Amulek was powerful in their preaching. Moroni's invitation to “come unto Christ and be perfected in him” is an invitation to explore the Gospel of Jesus Christ that continues to have impact spanning thousands of years.
But what about the nameless army of everyday missionaries hidden in scriptural accounts of heathens turning their hearts towards God? One of my favorites is the nameless young Israelite maiden who appears out of nowhere in 2nd Kings 5. She was the war booty of a successful Syrian foray into Israelite territory, a captive brought back to serve as the handmaiden of Naaman's wife. Naaman was deserved of such an honor, for he was the captain of the Syrian army who had served his king well. While Naaman was a “mighty man of valor,” he was also.... a leper.
The young Israelite maiden, obvious aware of her master's husband's challenge, innocently issued the following invitation to follow that day's prophet: “Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.”
The rest is history. The King of Syria arranged via the King of Israel for the leader of his armies to visit the prophet Elisha, who instructed him to wash himself in the river Jordan seven times to be healed. After some initial soul searching, he did what he was told and it worked! Naaman now knew that “there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel.”
I still don't know the young Israelite handmaiden's name, but I have been motivated and inspired by her story. I also know that in our days, there is an awesome army of valiant Israelite handmaidens of all ages in church-wide missionary, Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary organizations, who soften hearts and open doors to the gospel for those that they serve. I only know a few of their names- my wife, my daughter, my daughter-in-law, and certain women I remember from home wards in North Carolina and Maryland.
If they all act in the tradition of a nameless young handmaiden in 2nd Kings 5, the church has nothing to worry about.