Art by Lauren Blair

Jacob had a son named Enos. But before we tell the story of Enos, we need to tell you a little more about Jacob. Jacob was getting old. Before he died, he had an idea. He wanted to send missionaries to the Lamanites. He called it Project Love My Brother, because, remember, the Lamanites were his brothers. They were the family of Laman and Lemuel, his two oldest brothers.

Missionary, a definition

Missionaries are people who teach other people about God. There are still missionaries today. Maybe you know some. They are all ages, shapes, and sizes. There are boy and girl missionaries. Some wear skirts or white shirts. Others, t-shirts. 

The missionaries that Jacob sent are a lot like the missionaries of today. Most people do not like missionaries, because most people do not like being told about God. Because God is complicated. And people do not generally have time to deal with something complicated like God. They are too busy living the lives that God has given them, which are also complicated.

The Lamanites were the same way. They did not like the missionaries. In fact, they really disliked the missionaries. “Missionaries,” the Lamanites said,  “We do not need you, we do not want you, and if you come here again we will hurt you. Please stay away and never come back.” And that made it really, really hard to be a missionary because they couldn’t teach anyone about God. And that’s what makes a missionary a missionary. Or so they thought. 

Enos, the son of Jacob, was likely one of these missionaries. Enos must have wondered if he was a bad missionary because he had no success. And then he began to wonder if he was a very good person. Maybe his mission wasn’t going so well because of him. Because he wasn’t good enough, righteous enough, trying hard enough. And in that sense, Enos wasn’t very different from most missionaries.

And then Jacob died. That must have made Enos very very sad. Nothing seemed right. He was feeling sad about his mission, and he was missing his dad, and wishing his dad was around to tell him what to do. His sorrows welled up like a big dark universe swirling around him, and Enos felt very small and weak and helpless. He felt so weak that he couldn’t even lift up his arms, so instead he dropped to his knees.

“Heavenly Father,” he said, “I am small and weak and bad. I try to do good, but everything I try crumbles up like sand in my fingers. I want to be good. Please help me be good.” And he prayed and cried and prayed for a day and a night. Have you ever tried kneeling for even one hour? I haven’t either. But it sounds uncomfortable. You would get creaky knees, and your feet would feel like there’s a thousand pins pricking them. But Enos kept praying because he thought that if only he prayed enough his words would stack and build up on top of each other until they reached all the way up to heaven.

And maybe he was right because eventually God spoke to Enos. “Enos,” he said. “I have heard your prayers. All of them. I know you are not perfect. But you are forgiven, and you are blessed.” Enos did not understand how it worked but knew it was true because he could feel the love of God. And so even without an explanation, he knew it was true. And so Enos prayed for both the Nephites and the Lamanties and God blessed them too. 

And Enos was filled with hope and joy and faith. He thought everything would be different now. And so went off to be a missionary again and tried to teach the Lamanties. But it wasn’t different. They hadn’t heard the voice of God and they didn’t have time for Enos to tell them about it.

But Enos would not give up so easily this time. He could not tell people about God with his mouth but it was not the voice of God that had given him hope, but the love of God. And so Enos could still be a missionary, he just needed a new definition. 

Missionary, a new definition

A missionary is someone who teaches about God not with their mouths but with their hearts. Because even people who are grumpy or sad or mean, or who just don’t have time to listen, can still feel God. If you tell a missionary, “I never want to see you again,” the missionary might feel down, sad, or unsuccessful. But if the missionary keeps loving, they are still a missionary. 

And Enos was a great missionary because he loved people. And he knew God loved people and was blessing them, even now. Even though they were too busy to notice.

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