On his mission in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nathan Allen learned a lot of lessons about progress. Missionaries are often asked to track their progress. How many people are they teaching? How many people have they talked to? Are people accepting lessons and being baptized? Those are important things, but it is often the case that the most important things cannot be seen.
When the Lord chose David to be King in Israel, Samuel the prophet was confused. He saw before him a small, untested shepherd. But the Lord knew what resided in David’s heart. He knew of David’s acceptance of the Gospel and that he would go on to be a great leader in Israel. The Lord said to Samuel, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”
In Buenos Aires, there were different areas. Missionaries might serve in villages or in the city. In the villages missionaries would often meet and teach many people, while in the city they would only find a few. Nathan recounted how it was hard not to look at other missionaries and compare their successes. But he came to realize that those outward numbers didn’t matter as much as the inward dedication did. When it came to the numbers the ninety and nine were just as important as the one. And when it came to true, honest effort, the Lord looked on the heart.
Mission Report is a podcast created to help educate and inspire future missionaries. Each week a new Returned Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be interviewed about their missions, their advice, and the lessons they learned. You can listen to Nathan’s full interview here or by searching for Mission Report wherever you get your podcasts.