Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Lion and a Lamb

I just finished reading "A Lion and a Lamb" by Rand H. Packer. It is about Willard and Rebecca Bean, newlyweds who were the first missionaries to return to Palmyra after the Saints left. What originally was supposed to be a 5 year mission turned into a 24 year mission! It is an excellent book. Their main obstacle to overcome was the large anti-Mormon sentiment that the community had, and it is amazing to read how this was accomplished.
Three things stand out in my mind since finishing it. One, is how the Lord uses each of our unique personalities and abilities to accomplish his work. Willard was a former prizefighter, and therefore had a strong, fighting temperament. And yet he was still very Christlike and friendly. The Lord will make us mighty with what we have to offer. We don't have to try and be someone else. Second, is a quote from Willard in talking with a Methodist minister: "I have always felt that just because people believe differently, it doesn't need to make them enemies." Willard became a great friend to many in the community who were of other religions, and he was very respectful of their differences. Sometimes different beliefs can be such an obstacle to friendship, when it doesn't have to be. Third, is Rebecca Bean's patience with the people in the community. While she and her children experienced exclusion and hatred, she did not blame the people. She understood that they were trying to do what was right, based on the lies about Mormons that they had been taught. She knew in time, things would change.
Anyway, it's a great book. Willard gives some simple and beautiful explanations of the Gospel. The Beans lived in the Smith home during their mission, and I loved imagining what it would be like to live there. Their family would often frequent the Sacred Grove and visit the Hill Cumorah. What an opportunity!

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