Alma 17:1 - 17:5
Alma 17:1 And now it came to pass that as Alma was journeying from the land of Gideon southward, away to the land of Manti, behold, to his astonishment, he met with the sons of Mosiah journeying towards the land of Zarahemla.
Alma was now on another missionary journey heading towards the land of Manti from the southern town of Gideon, but who should be run into were the sons of Mosiah.
One could only imagine the joy Alma and the four sons of Mosiah felt as they met again after 14 years. Recounting experiences they had gone through to each other had to have kept them talking for hours.
Alma 17:2 Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.
These four sons, as one will recount, were with Alma when they were all visited by the angel for the first time. It was a joyful reunion, as one can imagine. What made the reunion even more joyful to Alma and I am sure to them as well was that they all were still faithful to the gospel. In addition, by their description of their experiences, it was evident that they were men who knew what was important and what was not. Even more evident was that they had become well acquainted with the scriptures and their application to the problems that beset as all.
Alma 17:3 But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.
By their descriptions of the events they had had in the land of Nephi, that they had fasted and prayed much to know what to do to overcome the traditions of the Lamanites. This fasting and prayer gave them knowledge as to what to say to the Lamanites. In addition, because of what needed to be done in the way of miracles they had special given to them that were unknown to the Lamanites.
Alma 17:4 And they had been teaching the word of God for the space of fourteen years among the Lamanites, having had much success in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, by the power of their words many were brought before the altar of God, to call on his name and confess their sins before him.
The brothers had been teaching the Lamanites for fourteen years and they had brought many converts to the Lord. The Lamanite converts were brought to know the of the foolishness to their own traditions so that they were willing to confess them as sins and repent.
The equivalency would be to get a bunch of murderous gang members to realize they were gross sinners and change their ways from wanting to kill their enemies to wanting pray and fast for them. This is in fact what did happen and it is something that could happen today. If these really gross sinners could repent so can the gangs of today.
Alma 17:5 Now these are the circumstances which attended them in their journeyings, for they had many afflictions; they did suffer much, both in body and in mind, such as hunger, thirst and fatigue, and also much labor in the spirit.
Now is an account of the journey of the four sons of Mosiah. There experiences in the Land of Nephi among the Lamanites could only be described as draining to both body and spirit. This was the result of experiencing hunger, thirst, mental and physical exhaustion. It was also a test to see if they would keep going in spite of setbacks and lack of success.
Certainly my experiences do not even come close to what the four sons or even Alma went through. I did suffer not ever suffer from hunger or thirst or mental and physical exhaustion while on my mission, but there were times when I had to push to keep myself motived to work in spite of seeing no success. And a no time, or at least I am not aware of my life ever being threatened.