One prophet whose story is told in the Book of Mormon is that of Ammon. Ammon was a missionary but found himself working as a shepherd to the king for a time. During this time, he saved the king’s sheep, which brought him to the attention of the royal family. Naturally, he took advantage of the situation to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the king, who was so overcome by the spirit he fainted and did not regain consciousness for several days. With the exception of his wife, everyone thought he was dead. His wife called for Ammon and said she believed her husband was still alive. Ammon went into the king and agreed, promising her through revelation that he would awaken the next day. He asked her if she believed him and she said she did. She had a new-found testimony of the gospel and Ammon praised her great faith. The Holy Ghost was so strongly present during this experience that both the queen and Ammon also fainted.
Witnessing all of this was a servant named Abish. Abish was a Christian, converted by her father. However, she lived far from her people and there had been no other Christians where she lived. She was forced, by law, to keep her testimony a secret and had managed to retain her faith despite having no other Christians around and no opportunity to study her religion or to attend church. Now, of course, with the king and queen converted, she saw the potential for change. She might have an opportunity to be openly Christian.
Abish was inspired that miracles were about to happen. She felt that if others could witness the miracles, they might be open to conversion as well. She wanted to share her faith, so she ran and began telling everyone she saw to come to the castle to see what was happening.
Things didn’t work out the way she probably imagined it. Instead of being excited about the forthcoming miracles, they reacted with anger. They called Ammon a monster, possibly thinking he’d killed the king and queen. They began shouting and saying awful things about him. Abish burst into tears and knelt beside the queen. She took the queen’s hand in her own and the queen awakened. The miracles were beginning. The queen began praying, asking God and Jesus Christ to have mercy on her wicked people. She then went and awakened her husband, who began to preach a
sermon to the onlookers. In time, Ammon also woke up and joined in the preaching. Some people listened and were converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Others left, not wanting to hear the sermon. Those who were converted were baptized.
Without Abish’s contribution to the events of that day, only the king and queen would have been converted. Her great faith and her willingness to risk danger and ridicule by bringing others to the castle led to the conversions of many, many people.
One lesson to be learned from Abish is that sometimes the people up front—in this case Ammon—are not always the only important people in the story. In our own lives, we may not be the leader, but our smaller contributions can make a powerful difference in the world of those around us and in God’s kingdom.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.