Alma's experience preaching in Ammonihah illustrates the adversity that seems to be the common lot of missionaries in all ages. The people there "withstood all his words, and reviled him, and spit upon him, and caused that he should be cast out of their city." (Alma 8:13.)
President James E. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency, spoke in the priesthood session of April general conference this year, giving 10 things he would want his son or grandson to know before he leaves on his mission. Among them was this:"You must know that Lucifer will oppose you, and be prepared for his opposition. Do not be surprised. He wants you to fail. Discouragement is one of the devil's tools. Have courage and go forward. Recognize that the gospel has been preached with some pain and sorrow from the very beginning of time. Do not expect that your experience will be otherwise.
"President Wilford Woodruff recounted the difficulties of early missionary work:
" `In my early missions, when preaching in the Southern States - Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky - I have waded swamps and rivers and have walked 70 miles or more without eating. In those days we counted it a blessing to go into a place where there was a Latter-day Saint. I went once 150 miles to see one; and when I got there he had apostatized, and tried to kill me. Then, after traveling 72 miles without food, I sat down to eat my meal with a Missouri mobocrat, and he damning and cursing me all the time. . . . In those days we might travel hundreds and hundreds of miles and you could not find a Latter-day Saint.' "
Notably, Alma did persevere with courage in his missionary labors. He obeyed the Lord's commandment and returned to Ammonihah. There he met Amulek. Together they experienced persecution and adversity but eventually brought souls to Christ and received the joy that comes therefrom.