Sunday, December 22, 2013

Farewell Talk

Good Morning Brothers and Sisters,
Well… if you would have asked me a year ago if I was going to serve a mission, I would have told you that it wasn't in my plan. If you know me well, you know that I LOVE to plan. I love to make lists, even lists of lists to be made. I love to set goals, and check things off.
If you would have asked me when I was about sixteen or seventeen about a mission, I would have said, “Can I go now?!” But as I began college, going on a mission just got pushed to the back burner in my life.
At no point were any of my family members pushy about me going on a mission. It was always purely my own choice. But before I turned 21, my Dad had asked me a few times… “So… what do you think about serving a mission.” I continually kind of brushed it off. It was my Senior Year at BYU, I was 21 and my Dad asked me again what I thought about serving a mission, with the key phrase “Did you Pray about it.” Honestly I think praying about it gave me added anxiousness, that I would get a yes. But I replied to him with, “Praying about going on a mission, would be like praying about Medical School, it’s not something I intend to do, so why pray about it?!” He took it as an answer, but I don’t think that he sincerely bought it.
I made the choice that I wanted to finish my last two semesters before a mission would ever come into play. So if people ever asked, I would reply “Well… I haven’t ruled a mission out, I for sure want to go on several Senior Missions.” Then a few months after I turned twenty-one at General Conference, it was announced that the ages for Missionary Work had been lowered. I was oddly relieved with the thought, “Ah… it doesn't HAVE to be me!” Which was the wrong attitude, it never HAS to be me.
Then I finally decided to pray about it, but I gave myself the answer of a no, before I prayed. Which fun side note, that isn't the wisest of things to do. If you stubbornly give yourself the answer of no for something, and then pray about, you don’t typically get a magical yes response as your answer. I gave myself the no answer, and then I prayed, and I knelt down… waiting… listening… And all I heard was the noise of crickets outside my window. So in my prayer I replied, “I hear crickets outside my window… I am taking that as a no.” Check check, I had officially prayed about a mission, I gave myself a no, I prayed, I heard crickets, no mission for me. I told my best friend, “Listen, I finally did pray about that whole mission thing, heard crickets, not going.” I felt that I was fully content with my “answer”.
So months passed… and I came to another crossing point in my life. It was a “What do I do next?” moment. So I took my options to prayer.
And again with these options I thought, “Hey, why not throw that mission option in there again.” During or after my prayer, the room didn’t shake, I didn’t hear a booming voice say “YES. SERVE.” An Angel didn’t come down and slap me, “Psh Psh, Get out there!”
I had just received my Bachelor’s Degree. And with my, what I thought were perfect planning skills I laid out my options for life in prayer. I decided that I was going to move to Salt Lake, accept an Internship offer and work towards career goals that I had set for myself.
But I did mention in my prayer that if my choice wasn’t the one that I should be making, that I would receive a stupor of thought. That I would know that it wasn’t the path or choice that I should be leading.
I moved forward with the plan that I had set for myself, that I thought was SO perfect, and nothing was falling into place. And then my attitude changed about a mission, I sat down and began to visualize the work and dedication that I could do as a Missionary. I know that it won’t be easy. But imagining giving all of my efforts to the Lord for a year and a half, brought me peace and happiness. It was what I had been searching for all along.
So I called to arrange a meeting with the Bishop for the very next night. There is opposition in ALL things. I contemplated cancelling that meeting SO many times within that 24 hour period. So many doubts flooded my mind. But when I met with Bishop Wilding he had no idea what I was there for, I imagined that was what a Confessional must feel like… I couldn’t look him in the eyes, my voice trembled as I attempted to stammer out what I wanted to convey. And then I just cried as I proclaimed… “I want to go on a Mission!” There, I said it. I told him that I was 90% there and 10% scared. The unknown always gets me, but I knew that it was what I needed to be doing in my life.
I finished my papers in about a week, I thought okay if I try to rig the system, I put my availability as the soonest I could, which was July 24th, then if I am lucky I will leave in September, more realistically October, November is pushing it, and December is psh… December is an unlikely after thought. Well, guess what, there is no such thing as rigging the system when it comes to God’s timing. I was called to the Hermosillo, Mexico Mission, to be leaving DECEMBER 18th. All things will come in Gods timing.
It was key for me to align MY WILL with GODS WILL.
I share this lengthy story with you, because it is a process. Prayer, Timing, Faith, and Action.
I’m here to tell you that you can do it, if you want to serve, you can. And I believe Mitch is here to tell you, that if you do, it is worth it. And as we all well know, there are many forms of missionary work. Every member is a missionary, and that was highlighted even more this past Conference.
In this past conference Elder Ballard’s Talk: Put Your Trust in the Lord, he said,
“The Lord knows us. He knows we have our challenges. I realize that some of you may feel heavy laden, but I pray that none of you would ever feel that reaching out in normal, pleasant ways to share the gospel would ever be a burden. Rather, it is a privilege! There is no greater joy in life than being anxiously engaged in the service of the Lord.
The key is that you be inspired of God, that you ask Him for direction and then go and do as the Spirit prompts you. When members view the work of salvation as their responsibility alone, it can be intimidating. When they view it as an invitation to follow the Lord in bringing souls unto Him to be taught by the full-time elders and sisters, it is inspiring, invigorating, and uplifting.
We are not asking everyone to do everything. We are simply asking all members to pray, knowing that if every member, young and old, will reach out to just “one” between now and Christmas, millions will feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. And what a wonderful gift to the Savior.”  End Quote.
I would like to echo what Elder Ballard has said, and… Good news, you still have an entire week and a half before Christmas. So as you are out shopping, or mingling at various parties. Don’t forget, that the best gift you can give this year is The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and sincere love like Jesus Christ.

First I know that serving will bless the lives of SO many people that the Lord puts in my path. But I also know that it is something that will bless me for the rest of my life, and my future family as well.

Goals for My Mission:

-         Wear out my knees from sincere and earnest prayer.
-         Be a TRUE friend to each of my companions.
-         Thank my Heavenly Father every day for the opportunity that he has given me to serve him. Thank him for my blessings, but especially thank him for my trials, because I know they will make me stronger and closer to who I want to become.
-         Don’t overlook the man sitting in the gutter. Meaning, every person I come in contact with deserves the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives.
-         Serve with a pure purpose, letting others know that the Atonement is real, and that it will change their lives forever.
-         Humbly obey mission rules, BIG and small.
-         Bring converts to Baptism, and lead them to the Temple.
My Testimony:
It isn’t just a hope, or happy wishes, My Testimony is KNOWLEDGE that I have gained.
-         I know… I know… I know…
-         God has a plan… Happiness
-         Jesus Christ & The Atonement
I feel it is an honor to join the Army of Missionaries to move this Gospel Forward. And I will take it as a privilege to wear Christ’s name upon me every day.
Here I am, Send Me.
I say these things in the name of our Beloved Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

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