Last week I wrote about Sam, a teen in the Book of Mormon who doesn’t get enough credit for being a quiet hero. Today I’m going to introduce you to a girl who doesn’t get enough credit for being a quiet hero. Her story is also told in the Book of Mormon, but we tend to get sidetracked by Ammon, the great missionary hero. However, what Ammon did worked in part because of what Abish did.
Ammon, a missionary, was serving the king for a while as a shepherd. At the same time, Abish worked at the castle as well. She had converted to Christianity after her father had a vision, but no one else in her community or in that castle (or whatever the king lived in) was Christian. It wasn’t like it is today, so she had to keep quiet about her beliefs.
It can be pretty hard to live a good Christian life when you have friends and family around you who share your beliefs. It is even harder when you’re doing it all alone, privately and without anyone to encourage you. She couldn’t even go to church to get a dose of strength each week. She wouldn’t have had scriptures to read either. Her religion was whatever was in her head. In spite of all of that, she held on to her testimony and kept growing it stronger and stronger.
Ammon saved the king’s flocks from enemy attackers and the king was so impressed he asked to see Ammon. Ammon, being the good missionary he was, managed to work things so the king let him teach the gospel. The Holy Ghost became so strong in the room during this unexpected missionary lesson that the king passed out. He stayed unconscious for several days and in fact, most people thought he was dead. Only his wife, who knew him best, believed he was still alive. She called Ammon to come see her and she told him she was sure he was still alive because he didn’t stink yet. She asked Ammon to check it out.
Ammon went to the king and he agreed. The king was not dead. He prophesied that the king would, in fact, wake up the next day and then he asked the queen if she believed him. She said she did. She hadn’t been a Christian (or what would be known as a Christian someday), but at that moment she gained a testimony of prophets and of God. Ammon praised her for this. Again, the Holy Spirit became really, really strong. This time the queen and even Ammon passed out. (Passing out is not a normal reaction to feeling the Holy Spirit. These were unusual circumstances.)
Now we get to Abish and her moment of fame—the decision that put her in the history book. Remember, Abish already believed in God. She knew the reason people were passing out was because of the power of the Holy Ghost, which she, as a believer, could feel. She sensed that miracles were about to happen. Because she had so much faith, she wanted other people to see the miracles. This was a great moment. It might convert other people!
She ran and spread the word to everyone she could find. But things didn’t go quite the way she planned. People did gather but they started yelling nasty things about Ammon, calling him a Nephite monster. Calling people names is a popular way to get people to ignore truth or to think about an issue and it was as common then as it is now.
Abish was heartbroken. She cried, hating that they were calling this good man of God names and that they were there to do it because of her. She went to the queen and took her hand, hoping the queen would wake up. This worked. The queen, filled with her new testimony, called on Jesus Christ to have mercy on her wicked people. Then she took her husband’s hand and woke him up also. The king, a brand new convert, began to teach his people what Ammon had taught him.
Now Abish was getting her miracle. Some of the people—not all, but some—stopped yelling and actually listened. Of course, some people didn’t want to be converted and they left, but the others stayed and some were converted. The newly converted people also began to teach the gospel. Those who were converted asked to be baptized.
Many people were converted that day, all because a young servant girl had kept her testimony all those years when it wasn’t easy and because she had enough faith to bring people to witness the miracles and hear the preaching. Not many people pay attention to Abish. She’s a quiet hero, not quite as noticeable as Ammon, but none of the people would have been converted if it hadn’t been for Abish, a quiet hero.
In what ways are you a quiet hero for Jesus Christ?
Read the story of Abish in the Book of Mormon.