28 September 2014

Farewell Talk

Good morning Brothers and Sisters, I am so grateful to be able to call you that. The Lord has blessed me with a wonderful family. Brother Dallas Anderson and I get to speak today because we have been called to serve as missionaries for this, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. On Wednesday, October 1, we report to the Missionary Training Center at 12:30 to prepare to preach this gospel in our respective areas. I have been assigned to labor in the Japan Nagoya mission.
How exciting! I think we can agree that we have received an outpouring of loving support from our families, our ward and friends visiting today. Thank you for being generous with your love, morale, and advice.

I have wanted to serve a mission since I was pretty young and in Primary. Now that it is at last and yet all of the sudden here, I think I finally know why I want to go.  In 3 Nephi 27:21, Jesus is commands the people to be like Him: 21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do;   and then in 18:16 He iterated it clearly, Behold I am the light; I have set an example for you.
It’s nice to have light in a dark room, so you can see clearly your path and accomplish the tasks you are assigned to do. 
The Savior spent His earthly ministry teaching and serving people, and developing and full and pure love for each of us, His brothers and sisters. If I want a love similar to the Savior’s, I need to follow in His example by learning from Him and those around me whole exemplify His qualities.

I am grateful for the power of prayer, and the sacred spirit in the temple, through which I know that going on a mission is what I, personally need and get to do to progress further in becoming like the Savior.
In the scriptures we can find the attributes of Christ, and today I would like to highlight four of them, and share how I learned them from the great disciples  of Christ around me. 

First, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  First. Faith is our very first step in accomplishing anything spiritually. 
Last night in the Women’s Conference Broadcast, Jean A. Stevens said,  "Your choice to believe and keep covenants will leave a rich legacy of faith for those who follow you." 
Jesus Christ left us a legacy of faith by fulfilling His Father’s will without fault. We have been blessed with the agency to choose to have faith, and blessed with the Atonement to become better when we falter. As long and we have and act upon our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we can come back to Him, grow with Him, and become like Him. 

I love to observe the examples of others and they magnify their faith. At the meeting for the Ogden Temple Rededication last Sunday, as I watched Brother Ben Newbold carefully and lovingly bring his daughter Maddy into my heart filled all the way to the top. He made sure she could see the speakers and feel the spirit that was there. I am grateful for her mother, Emily Newbold, who has taught me in since she served in Young Womens how to be patient, how to help others, and how to love unconditionally. I know she gains these qualities through faith in her Savior. She is generous in sharing her spirit and experiences with us, we are blessed as a ward to have their family in ours. I admire the faith of their entire family as they live the life they have been given, and show faith in Christ every step of the way.

The next attribute is one that has been difficult for me to work on: Humility. It’s hard for me to find the balance between being bold and being meek, Although in my case I think “bold” just equivalates to “loud.” But the Savior was powerful in His ministry, and simultaneously humble, submitted to the will of His father and consistently praising Him. I hope I can be like the humble people in our ward, like Wayne Bott, my friend who is always willing to teach me something good. Or like Tara and Dustin Applegate, who are so receptive the the goodness of the gospel, and willing to do what is best for their family. I admire them so much and am so glad I got to meet them.
I think someone who displays Christlike humility is our lovely prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. Whenever He speaks, I never feel reprimanded.  I feel the love and command of Christ. He is never hesitant to share a story from his life, explaining how he grew, or made a mistake, or followed the example of the Savior to gain his great knowledge. He counsels, “To live greatly, we must develop the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and triumph with humility.” (President Monson: Each Soul Matters)

With faith in Christ and humility to follow His commandments, the Savior asked that we be diligent in enduring to the end. We know this one well, but in Doctrine & Covenants 58:27, Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
When I read this scripture, I think of the Rodriguez family, anxiously engaged in a good cause. Brother Rodriguez has served us as bishop, and in the stake presidency. He is now the ward mission leader. He is the epitome of “magnifying your calling.” Lisa blesses the Young Women and our ward with her testimony, bright spirit, and brownies. Karli has always been diligent in developing her multiple talents and helping others, Elder Rodriguez is on his mission, diligently and daily on the errand of the Lord. Stephani has grown up to be a great leader, diligently sets a great example for her many friends around her. 
I testify that blessings come when we are diligent in the Lord’s work like Jesus Christ is. He loves us, and He desires to continually bless us in and for our work. 

Love and Charity
Lastly is the attribute most important to my heart. We know from Moroni 7:47 that charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.” 
The Savior’s life was governed by His love for us. His birth, baptism, sermons, miracles, and Atonement. The whole thing was to let us know, personally, that He loves us, knows us, and wants the best for us. He is the light and He shows the way. To feel love, He gave it. I feel my Savior’s love. I feel it from Him directly, and from the abundance of love and charity I have received from you. 
I know you have noticed, my mother also fills her life with love and charity. She accepts her callings from the Lord, and infuses her loving efforts into them. She has been so charitable in raising me, and my sister. She prays every day, and never for herself. She thoughtfully includes everyone she feels needs a blessing. Then, she goes and loves people every day. She is an excellent and true friend. She is a smart, talented, strong, nurturing, fashionable, helpful and beautiful daughter of God. All of those things are true. I’m honored to have her as my mother.

I would like to share a short passage from a novel. This is called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling, the first in a series of seven. Harry, the main character, has just finished the first of many battles with the evil antagonist. The headmaster of his school gives him this answer, after he asks why he won the battle even though the odds were stacked highly against him: (page 299; “If there is...something good.”) We are protected by the love of our Savior, forever.