Julie’s Farewell Talk: January 2010, Bayshore Ward
I came acrosse a quote by Ezra Taft Benson that said, “We are commanded by God to take this gospel to the entire world. That is the cause that must unite us today. Only the gospel will save the world from the calamity of its own self destruction. Only the gospel will until men of all races and nationalities in peace. Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvation tot the human family.” (The teachings of Ezra Taft Benson 1988, 167)
I thought of the story in Alma ch. 17-19 The story of ammon….truly gave himself to teaching and ministering unto the people for over fourteen years. He prayed that he might be an instrument in the hands of God to bring the knowledge of the truth unto the Lamanites, The king felt the power that Ammon possessed with the spirit…. It was through faith that he followed this commandment and made such a difference in so many lives. We have this power.
I found this to be so true throughout my life and what led me to decide on going on a mission. I have had countless experiences in my life that have proved to be and have taught me how I can fill my purpose as a missionary.
We as new Yorkers are surrounded by not just thousands but millions of people each day that have not had the opportunity to hear of the gospel. They need a sense of belonging and security which only comes from knowledge that they are children of God, members of his eternal family. They want to feel secure in a world of changing values. They want “peace in the world, and eternal life in the world to come” (D&C 59:23), but they are kept from the truth because they know not where to find it (D&C123:12). It is our purpose here to be an example and represent the Lord, to be the light that spreads the gospel throughout the earth.
We don’t need to have the little black name tag to make us missionaries of our Lords gospel, and we don’t need to be set apart to share of the blessings of the gospel. Each day is an opportunity to serve and to be an example of the Savior. We need to obey to be worthy of the spirit.
Like I mentioned earlier, I have had experiences that have led me in the direction to go on a mission, When I was in my Sophomore year playing Lacrosse, I had a weird/very strong feeling to quit the Lacrosse team. I loved lacrosse, and knew I could get a scholarship if I tried hard enough. However, the girls on the team became crazier and crazier every day. The coaches wanted us to be best friends; I had a very different perspective of morals and standards than they did. Though they were very fun, and extremely talented these were not the people I wanted to become best friends with.. I decided Track was the next best solution. The girls were more reserved and I always liked to run. It was rough, My dad did not really want or understand why in the world I would want to not only QUIT lacrosse but why I would want to join track something he didn’t think was even a “real” sport because it was individual. He came to understand, and I realized it was the best decision I ever made. My relay went to states 2 times and nationals 1 time. We traveled and made 1 of my best friends Erin Garvey to this day. Again, it was faith in the Lord that helped him guide me.
Last summer I took the missionary prep class, not knowing if I for sure was going to go on one.. I had always though about it, and decided to take the class. I heard it was really good. However the first week of class. He tells us we needed to read the BOM in 2 weeks! He thought it would be smart since he thought the work load wouldn’t be as much in the beginning, but so did every other teacher I was taking that semester. I remember him giving us the challenge and me being gung ho about it. I was definitely going to finish this . . . I had just started working at the library on campus and had a good amount of hours, I also had philosophy, my last English class, and a few of my core health science classes. Well…. Philosophy alone was giving me about 60 pages of reading a night with quizzes and tests due before the second week, English had essays and it just seemed my health classes gave all of the projects in the beginning instead of the end of the semester.
I remember sitting in the library around 10 pm, and thinking to myself exhausted from work and school work, this is impossible. I cannot finish the book of Mormon and finish everything else. There is simply just not enough time in the day. It was never going to happen. And then I thought to myself, No, I told myself that I Will Finish this. It is possible; its always hardest in the 3rd part of the race and I can finish it. This is just satan telling me I can’t do this. As soon as I had this thought, an overwhelming sense of peace came over me. That I will never forget, I could feel heavenly father presence. It was as if he was there. I know it sounds cheesy just like one of those stories, but I honestly read so fast and concentrated so thoroughly through all of my homework and finished way before I ever thought possible. I couldn’t believe it. It was a miracle, and I knew that it was faith that made it possible.
These experiences strengthened my faith that Christ does hear prayers and does without a doubt answer them. To help people come unto Christ we need to teach them the Atonement and what the Savior went through. The purpose of the gospel is to cleanse people of their sins so they can receive the Savior’s mercy at the day of judgment. Everything revolves around the Atonement. It is like a wheel that the pioneers used to pull their carts. The center of that wheel is the atonement, the spindles are things such as, temple work, the sacrament, receiving the holy ghost, baptisms and so on…if the center of that wheel is taken out then what happens to the rest of the wheel? It collapses and breaks. Without the atonement then no other function in the gospel would be complete. In 2 nephi 7 we read, “…he offereth himself a sacrifice of sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto ALL those who have a broken heart and contrite spirit;…”
He will forgive ALL of us because he knows that we are not all perfect and we all make mistakes. There are those who are finding their way back into the church that find this hard to believe. But in Moroni 10: 4-5 we read, “….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….ye may know the truth of all things.” He will make manifest to everyone and anyone who truly wants to have the desire to know. And they will get a feeling inside that is not like any other.
That to me is the purpose of a missionary, to be able to convey the spirit through feeling. Words can just be words to someone but if you are filled with the spirit then the person will be able to feel what you are testifying of is true. The Holy Ghost works in PERFECT unity with Jesus Christ. And with the Holy Ghost we can know the truthfulness of Jesus Christ
Helping someone make and keep commitments to the gospel can be difficult because they are now changing their life to obey new rules and to listen to the promptings of the spirit. President Hinckley said, ““Believe in yourselves, Believe in your capacity to do great and good and worthwhile things. Believe in the nature with you, the divine nature, that you are in very deed a son or daughter of the Living God. There is something of divinity within you, something that stands high and tall and noble. Get above the dirt and the filth of the earth and walk on a higher plane with your heads up, believing in yourselves and in your capacity to act for good in the world and make a difference.”
When I got accepted to BYU-Idaho. I cried, it was my last choice and not only was I going to the middle of nowhere, somewhere very very strict, I was going to be missing my summers as well. However, I was rooming w/ my cousin and I figured it would be ok. The first semester there I hated it. I told myself I was never coming back, it was miserable and cold. My second semester, I had roommates that were all older and had served missions and were very strict and abided all the rules. No shorts or even capris in 110 degree whether, no flip flops; little things that I would wonder every day why they were even in the honor code. . I grew to love the rules. By following the rules, you learn to love them, and grow every day because of them.
You learn to obey the higher law, and I believe it prepares people. I know that when rules and commandments are followed greater faith is gained, and when broken; satan uses it as a tool against you to be bitter and hate the rules or commandments even more. . People who follow the rules up there love it there, and people who don’t follow the rules, hate it there. It’s simple. I think it will be a lesson used all my life.
Why is it that we come to church week after week and know all of these principles are told to obey, to listen to the spirit, yet we always sin? It is our responsibility to pay attention and think about the testimony we have. Listen what the spirit is telling us and picture Christ as a person on earth watching, for he is watching and if we were to do die tomorrow, Every thought and action we ever did or have he knows. If we can grasp the concept of the real purpose of this earth, and the importance of it… I think it makes it a little easier to become more obedient. We are the light of Christ and people watch us and learn from us.
When you have a testimony and feel that the church is true, that the scriptures are from real prophets; Men, who had such a great and tangible knowledge that Christ lives that they left and wrote in the scriptures for us and guide or reach out to us every day. Think of how much we have to be grateful for at this time. We have everything at the tip of our fingertips, and almost all of it can be used for good or for evil. This is the time to share the gospel to the world. , . I truly have felt that this something that desperately needs to be shared to everyone on earth… when all this is realized, you understand how happy it makes you and can make others. The desire is there.
A quote that I have always loved is: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing it small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so other people won’t feel insecure around you. WE are all meant to shine, as children do. WE were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. AS we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Being the example is a great responsibility in this life. When we remember to keep the commandments and practice chosing the right on a regular basis. This is what gives us faith to keep going. And through faith anything is possible. I really believe that it is through faith that miracles happen. I know that going on a mission is something that is for me at this time of my life and there is no denying it. I heard words in my head time and time again when I was deciding; I have never been so sure of something in my life than I am right now.
With faith Heavenly father makes everything easier. People told me that before my mission things were going to be thrown at me in every direction to stop me from going. I could feel certain obstacles; but was always grateful that I have the testimony and had the inspiring answer to the lean back on. There was no reason to doubt that what I’m about to do with my life will not help however many I’m supposed to.
Alma 26:3 And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instrumentsin the hands of God to bring about this great work.
I bear my testimony that I know Christ lives. I know he hears and answers prayers. I know that the scriptures are true and the prophets who have written in the standard works wrote truth. I know that Joseph smith was a prophet of God who restored this Gospel to the fullness of times and that President Monson is a prophet who receives revelation from God. The atonement is real and it works in everyone’s lives. I know that as we chose the right we will be happier and will be the example to those around us. I love my family. I’m so grateful for my friends and for the gospel in my life. I say these things. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.