Alma 17:11 - 17:15
Alma 17:11 And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls.
The answer to their prayer and fasting was they did have the blessing of the Lord in their proposed mission to the Lamanites. However it was not going to be easy. They would have to endure persecution both mentally and physically. But if they were patient in their afflictions they would influence many to pay attention to their teachings because of their willingness to suffer for their convictions.
Alma 17:12 And it came to pass that the hearts of the sons of Mosiah, and also those who were with them, took courage to go forth unto the Lamanites to declare unto them the word of God.
This assurance from the Lord gave the boys and their associates the encouragement they need to go forth with enthusiasm and conviction of their cause.
Alma 17:13 And it came to pass when they had arrived in the borders of the land of the Lamanites, that they separated themselves and departed one from another, trusting in the Lord that they should meet again at the close of their harvest; for they supposed that great was the work which they had undertaken.
When they arrived at the borders of Lamanite territory, they divided up into teams. Each team went to different parts of the country hoping to meet again sometime in the future and share the successes they had in their efforts to bring the gospel to the Lamanites.
Alma 17:14 And assuredly it was great, for they had undertaken to preach the word of God to a wild and a hardened and a ferocious people; a people who delighted in murdering the Nephites, and robbing and plundering them; and their hearts were set upon riches, or upon gold and silver, and precious stones; yet they sought to obtain these things by murdering and plundering, that they might not labor for them with their own hands.
One cannot really appreciate the difficulty that these men had taken upon themselves. The Lamanites at this time in history were a very deadly and devoid of conscience when dealing with the Nephites. They would often kill them on site and take whatever possessions they had. The Lamanites loved valuables like gold and silver, but did not want to work to find these riches. They would rather steal what they needed or wanted rather than work for it.
There are groups of people in the middle and far east with this very same mindset. They would rather kill Christians and take their possessions rather than work for their own support. The moneys for weaponry and food is coming from what they are able to steal from westerners. They are not willing to work for these things but rather rely on others to provide for their needs. When the money dries up or disappears, you will see a drastic change of attitude. But again to reiterate, the boys going to try to convert the Lamanites is like us going to Afghanistan and convert the people to Christianity. This analogy is the only thing I can think of to be able to visualize the magnitude of the mission they were attempting to accomplish. Certainly help to appreciate the character and commitment of these brethren.
Alma 17:15 Thus they were a very indolent people, many of whom did worship idols, and the curse of God had fallen upon them because of the traditions of their fathers; notwithstanding the promises of the Lord were extended unto them on the conditions of repentance.
The Lamanites religious traditions consisted of idol worship and following other false traditions of their pasted down by their ancestors. This in spite of the promises made to them by the Lord if they would repent.
The Lord is a very patience man. He could just wipe out these folks and begin again with another group, but we all have to have a chance at accepting the gospel. That chance was now going to be given to them by the sons of Mosiah.