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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Farewell Talk (September 14 2014)

I love quotes, a lot. So there's going to be an abundance of quotes in this talk. Probably because my brainstorming was scrolling through Pinterest.
So I'm going to start by sharing with you one of my favorite quotes, it's probably in like my top 10 favorites. I love it because it can be used in almost any talk, and it's still amazing.
I actually have it memorized, so here we go…
"With great power, comes great responsibility."

As Latter-day Saints, we have great power and we have a great responsibility. We have the power of this wonderful gospel in our lives, we have the power of the Priesthood, the power of the Scriptures, the Power of Prayer, and so much more. With all of this gospel power that we have in our lives, come a great responsibility to be examples and to follow what the Lord has asked of us.
A lot of what the Lord has asked of us requires us to sacrifice some of our time and parts of our lives and our incomes. Each of us make sacrifices every day. We give of ourselves to help and bless others. In doing so, we receive blessings that we need in our life. As we voluntarily give our contributions, we are provided with the resources necessary to build up the Kingdom and to help perform miracles every day.

M. Russell Ballard said that “Sacrifice is a demonstration of pure love. The degree of our love for the Lord, the gospel, and for our fellow man can be measured by what we are willing to sacrifice for them. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ manifested the supreme example of this love . . . Through His personal sacrifice, He provided a way for us to have our sins forgiven and, through Him, to find our way back into the presence of our Heavenly Father . . . Today we are called to live, foster, and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is our privilege to invest our means and our time to bless others.”

There are many sacrifices that we as Latter-day Saints make, and whether it is finding time to read our scriptures daily to magnifying our callings, we are blessed beyond belief.  I testify to you that sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.

We have been asked of our Heavenly Father to give one-tenth of what we earn to the Church for tithing. The Lord has promised, in Malachi 3:10, that “He will open the windows of Heaven and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”  I testify to you that this is true. I had the amazing blessing of getting a well-paid job for the summer as a caretaker and as I paid my tithing on what I earned, I watched my savings increase and I now enough money to pay for my mission. There are so many blessings that are given to us when we pay our tithing and the Lord is watching out for us.

We are also asked to serve those around us and as we take the time to center our lives around Christ, our testimonies grow. As we strengthen ourselves spiritually we want to make greater sacrifices for the Lord. A place in our Heavenly Father’s kingdom is worth any sacrifices we have to make of our time, talents, energy, money, and lives. 

As Latter-day Saints we are asked to dedicate our lives to building up the Lord’s kingdom and serving his children. Although there are many sacrifices that come with it, missionary work plays an important role—we can serve a mission, help the missionaries, be member missionaries, and we can share this wonderful gospel we have been blessed with.

President Gordon B. Hinckley says, "This precious and marvelous gift of faith, this gift from God our Eternal Father, is still the strength of this work... Faith underlies it all. Faith is the substance of it all. Whether it be going into the mission field, living the Word of Wisdom, paying one's tithing, it is all the same. It is the faith within us that is evidenced in all we do."
When we take our time to serve those around us and follow through on our commitments to do what the Lord has asked, we are expressing our love and gratitude to our Savior; we are showing the strength of the faith that we have in Him. 

When we take the time to do what the Lord asks and when we sacrifice some of our time to be obedient and strengthen His kingdom on earth today, our testimonies grow and we become all that the Savior wants us to be.

Sometimes the Lord has something planned for us that we don't even know about yet.

I came back from BYU just for a summer break at home and I ended up putting my mission papers in and now I am going to serve in California and this was not part of any summer plans of mine. I was not expecting it, but when my parents asked me to think about a mission, I couldn't let such an amazing opportunity pass by.
Between putting my papers in and then heading to the MTC soon, there have been some days where I am overly excited to be going on a mission and then there are some days where I feel worried and have some doubts. And throughout all this I've learned some pretty important lessons and I've  strengthened my testimony in many ways, and I haven't even left yet.

I testify to you that the Lord is always there for you and when you pray, you will get an answer. The Lord's timing is perfect.
After I had sent my mission application and was just waiting for my call, I was starting to feel a little down and I remember waking up for work one day and I just had no motivation really and I knelt down for my prayer and I asked just for a reminder, even if was something really small, just something to remind me that a mission was the right choice and that I would find the motivation to prepare for a mission. Later that day, I actually got my mission call, I had only been waiting for 11 days and it came right when I needed it most. What better reminder could I have than the call itself!
The Lord's timing is perfect and He knows how to answer our prayers, even if it may not be how we are expecting it, He knows how to help us. Our Savior is watching out for us and He loves us so much.  When we trust in Him and follow what He asks, we will be blessed through the eternities.

I also testify to you that when you read your scriptures daily, and I know how difficult that can be, but when you take that time to read the Book of Mormon, you're whole day changes for the better. I usually read mine in the morning, but there are some days where I just decide to sleep a little longer and I'll tell myself I'll read my scriptures later…and then my morning won't go so well and I take a moment and I stop to read my scriptures like I should have done earlier because when it changes my whole attitude for the day. Richard G. Scott says, "Scriptures are like packets of light that illuminate our minds and give place to guidance and inspiration from on high." I know that's true, and my testimony grows the most and my whole attitude changes when I am reading the scriptures daily.

I'm also going to share with you one of my favorite scriptures, Mosiah 2:41, it's when King Benjamin is speaking to his people, and he says:
"I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."

As Latter-day Saints we give so much, but we are also promised that we will receive so many blessings. And I don’t know about you, but "never-ending happiness" sounds like a pretty good deal to me. When we sacrifice our time to do what the Lord has asked of us, when we "holdout faithful to the end," and as we strive to become better, we show the Savior how much we love him.  As Spencer W. Kimball says, "As we give, we find that sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven! And in the end, we learn it was no sacrifice at all.

Brothers and Sisters, I know these things are true. I am so grateful for this gospel in my life and I know, with all my heart, that it is true. I am so excited to be serving a mission and I can't wait to share this gospel of Christ with those around me. Our Savior has so much love for us and He is always there for us. He has given us His wonderful Atonement so that we can return to him and He has blessed us with this amazing gospel in our lives. I know that this church is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and I know that Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet of the Lord. I have prayed about these things and more and the Spirit testifies to me that they are true. I have joy and peace abounding my life, and you can have that too thanks to our wonderful Savior and this gospel.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

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