Sunday, 26 July 2015

10 Days!

10 days until I leave to serve a mission in England! This day has been coming for a LONG time. From the time I got my call to when I was supposed to leave, I had to wait 122 days which seemed like FOREVER but here it is! Only 10 days left and they will go by fast.

I want to post my farewell talk here, for those who weren't able to make it and because it pretty much explains WHY I want to go on a mission. I'm not going because its the thing to do, or because a lot of my friends are going. I'm going because I have been converted to this gospel and I want to share it with the world.

Here is my talk:

What is the “gospel” that we talk about? The word gospel means good news. In true to the faith, the gospel is defined as our Heavenly Fathers plan of Happiness. So…the gospel is good news that brings happiness. HOW is the gospel good news? How can we learn for ourselves what the gospel is and how it brings us happiness?

When I was about 14 I felt restricted by the standards we were asked to live. I wanted to do what I wanted…pretty much all the time. Most of the time what I wanted was within the standards but when it wasn’t I felt like I didn’t have a choice. (although really, we always have a choice). I went to church but felt bored almost with what we were learning….I felt like since I couldn’t do what I wanted, it just wasn’t necessarily for me.

Then, in the summer of 2012 I went to EFY, which is a church organized camp for a week. We get separated into groups on this camp, with two young adult counselors. One of my counsellors had been baptized into the church about a year before coming and being a leader at this camp. Every time she talked about the church and the gospel and about Jesus Christ, her face just lit up! She seemed so happy and content and almost excited about going to church and learning about the gospel, which was something I didn’t really understand, but that I wanted to understand. One day she was talking about her conversion, and about why she wanted to serve a mission, and she explained how she’d had an LDS friend for years who invited her to stuff and was just an example to her in the way that he lived. she shared a verse that really made her realize she needed to get baptized, its in Alma 32:16

 16 Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe.

As she read this verse and explained how she needed to learn to become humble, I thought about my own life. The main reason I was having issues paying attention in church or really putting in any effort to learn if it was true, was because I wasn’t willing to humble myself to try. So, as we got a challenge to read our scriptures every day that week, I decided I’d take it. Cause I might as well at least learn if the gospel was true. The difference I felt in my life that week was AMAZING. So when I left EFY, I stuck with the challenge, and read my scriptures every single day.  The biggest part of living the gospel, is doing the small and simple things. As Alma said to his son Helaman,

“Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
“And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls” (Alma 37:6–7).

So I just kept on reading. I felt a difference in my life when I was reading constantly every day, but still wasn’t sure if the church was true or not. I was starting to feel the happiness that comes from the gospel l, but didn’t quite have a testimony yet. But I wanted one…
In a talk by  Cecil O. Samulson, Entitled “Testimony”, he talks about how to get a testimony, and what it is.

“In our Latter-day Saint context, we refer to our testimonies as our sure witness of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
While a testimony is simple and clear in this defining declaration, arising from this declaration are several potential questions, such as: Who is entitled to have a testimony? How does one obtain the necessary revelation? What are the steps in obtaining a testimony? Is gaining a testimony an event or an ongoing process? Each of these queries and others have their own subsets, but the fundamentals of gaining and retaining a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ are straightforward, clear, and within the capacity of every person.”

how does one obtain the necessary revelation, and what are the fundamental steps to achieve it? The pattern has been clear and consistent throughout the ages. The promise given for obtaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon also applies generally:
“And when ye shall receive these things”—meaning you have listened, read, studied, and pondered on the question at hand —“ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true”—meaning you will pray thoughtfully, specifically, and reverently with a firm commitment to follow the answer to your prayer—“and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
“And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:4–5).

 The “question at hand” for me, was “how do I know if the gospel is true”. So I read my scriptures and started praying, and was attending Seminary (which is a church organized class). I did this for weeks, then a month, then a few months…..and nothing came. I still felt good when I went to church, but just wasn’t sure. Then one day in Seminary, my teacher, brother Eaton, was teaching a lesson about 2 Nephi 4.  He played a song (which is actually going to be sung after my talk)*, that uses the words from this chapter, and is set to the tune of Be still my soul. In this chapter, Nephi’s father, Lehi has just given blessings to his children and then dies. After his death, Nephi says “

 15  For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children.
 16 Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard

(talk about how I felt about the scriptures)

 17 Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.
 18 I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.
 19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins;

 (and then!! He says) nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.”

And who is it who Nephi has trusted? He says  in the next verse that “

 20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.

Later on in the chapter he kind of explains why trusting in god has helped him get through his trials…

27 And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
 28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
 29 Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
 30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.

Now, thinking back to my counsellor. She seemed to “rejoice” in the gospel as it says in here. In this moment, my heart was full of feelings and I was just crying. I could feel the joy that the gospel brings into my life, as I read the scriptures and studied and prayed every day. And in this moment I got the answer to my prayer, I knew that this gospel was true. And I still know, and believe with all my heart that it is true.

One you feel of the joy the gospel brings into your life, you just want to share it! I now understand why my counsellor wanted to serve a mission – because she had something in her life that brought her SO much joy and happiness, and she wanted to share it with anyone who wanted to listen. I wanted to do the same thing.

How can we share the gospel?

Dallin H. Oaks said “

As I have prayerfully studied and pondered over how we can share the gospel, I have concluded that we need three thing. First, we need a sincere desire to share the gospel. Second, we need divine assistance. Third, we need to know what to do.

If we are to become more effective instruments in the hands of the Lord in sharing His gospel, we must sincerely desire to do so. I believe we acquire this desire in two steps.
First, we must have a firm testimony of the truth and importance of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Second, we must have a love for God and for all of His children. In modern revelation we are told that “love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify [us] for the work” (D&C 4:5). The early Apostles of this dispensation were told that their love should “abound unto all men” (D&C 112:11).
I like to refer to missionary efforts as sharing the gospel. The word sharing affirms that we have something extraordinarily valuable and desire to give it to others for their benefit and blessing.
I hope no person we approach with an invitation to hear the message of the restored gospel feels that we are acting out of any reason other than a genuine love for them and an unselfish desire to share something we know to be precious.

We also need divine assistance to guide us in sharing the gospel. Just as our desires must be pure and rooted in testimony and love, our actions must be directed by the Lord. It is His work, not ours, and it must be done in His way and on His timing, not ours. Otherwise, our efforts may be fated to frustration and failure.
We know from countless personal testimonies that in His own way and His own time the Lord is preparing persons to accept His gospel.

When we have a sincere desire to share the gospel with others, and when we have sought divine assistance in our efforts, what should we do? How do we proceed? We begin by beginning. We should not wait for a further invitation from heaven. Revelation comes most often when we are on the move.

From this time on, I decided to prepare to serve a mission, and to share what I loved with anyone who wanted to listen. I did this in various ways, by attending the mission prep class, sharing quotes and pictures on facebook, and talking to anyone about my beliefs who wanted to learn. I also tried to be an example of what I believed by living the standards that we choose to live – not drinking, swearing, things like that. I feel that as I lived all of these standards and tried to do my best to become like Jesus Christ, I was about as happy as I could be. This doesn’t mean that it wasn’t HARD. As I have tried to share the gospel, I have had so much temptation and opportunities to change my mind about a mission, about the church, and about everything that has made me happy. However, I know that living the gospel is the one thing that can make you truly happy forever. 

Since the time when I started preparing to go, and now, I have since put in my mission papers, received a call, and will be leaving to serve in the England, Birmingham mission in 17 days. I could not be more excited for the chance I have to share what I love with anyone who wants to learn about it.


I would like to bear my testimony. I know the church is true. I believe there is a prophet on the earth today. He speaks to God. I believe the Book of Mormon is true. I know Jesus Christ died for us. He loves us and wants us to be happy. I love my Savior. He is my best friend. I am excited to be a missionary and teach the gospel. I love the gospel with all my heart.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

*Here is a video of the song that was sung*

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