Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Farewell Talk

Almost a month ago I asked Bishop what my topic was for my farewell so I could get started but he never texted me back so finally on Sunday Brother Anderson gave me my topic so if it’s bad I blame them, if it’s good it was all Heavenly Father.

The topic I was given was what inspired me to go on a mission, or in other word whatever you want. I spent a lot of time deciding exactly what I wanted to speak on today and I finally felt prompted to speak on missionary work. I know what you’re all thinking “gosh Emily could you be any more mainstream?” Don’t worry I’m not going to stand up here and say you all need to serve a full time mission because that’s the commandment. I’m going to tell you what it means to be missionary.

So what’s very first thing you do when you are asked to give a talk on a specific topic? You look in the bible dictionary so that’s what I did and you know what it’s not there. So I decided to Google it. On Dictionary.com this is what the definition of a missionary is:
1. a person sent by a church into an area to carry on evangelism or other activities, as educational or hospital work.
2. a person strongly in favor of a program, set of principles, etc., who attempts to persuade or convert others.
3. a person who is sent on a mission.
4. pertaining to or connected with religious missions.
5. engaged in such a mission, or devoted to work connected with missions.
All my life this definition was parallel to my own personal ideas of missionaries. Someone who is called away from their families for a time to teach others the gospel. However the last description is what I want to focus my talk on today.
6. reflecting or prompted by the desire to persuade or convert others.
Let me read it again I don’t think you heard it (read again). Last time (read again)
If you are prompted or have the desire…Missionary work does not have to be done in some far away country. Missionary work is done wherever you are as long as you are prompted and have the desire.

Let me give you some examples of where missionary work can be done.

First, Missionary work can be done in the home:
My Dad has provided for our home financially insuring we had a place to live even if it meant working at Little Ceasers until he found another job. He has brought the priesthood to our home making me feel safe at all times and in all places.

My Brother Mark’s mission is served being a family man. He has three beautiful children and he is the best father for them. He will do anything he can for them to make sure they are always safe, know they are loved, and have the gospel in their hearts.

Missionary work can also be within your family.
For as long as I can remember my mom has always been there for her family every time they needed help. She has never once given up on them or stopped bearing her testimony to those that may have forgotten. With the help of her example one of my uncles was recently baptized and this this fall he and his wife will be sealed for time and all eternity.

My Sister-in-law Laci doesn’t need an excuse to bare her testimony of the Savior. While my brother is away at training or some other Army or Work related matter she keeps the spirit in her home burning strong.

Missionary work can be to those around you.
A few weeks ago my sister Jessica and I went to the movies. After she showed me this message she sent to a nonmember friend from back home. This girl was having a hard time and felt that she was missing something in her life. Jessica felt prompted to share her testimony of the gospel showing what it is that she needs to fill the empty spaces in her life. She has done this many times.

Missionary work can be done serving a full-time mission:
My brother in law James served a full time mission to the Dominican Republic. After my stake president interview he said to me, “if you fast and pray really hard you might get sent to the Dominican Republic.” He has a powerful testimony of this gospel and is the perfect eternal companion for my sister.

My brother Nathaniel served a full time mission to Mexico City. His mission changed his life and without his example this last year at school I would not be going on a mission. He continues to serve and live his mission today by being an example to everyone he comes in contact with.

Lastly my little sister Caitlin. She has always been my missionary. Every time I was doing something wrong she picked me back up and pointed me in the right direction. Her mission is served caring for her friends and loved ones and being my best friend.
Now I didn’t tell you all this to brag about how awesome my family is, although you should all be jealous because my family is the best. I told you this to show you a mission is not a one size fits all. If you have the desire to do anything whether it be for you family, friends, the world, anyone, it doesn’t matter who. By helping them, being their friend, being an example, providing service for them, or just giving them a smile every time you see them, that is missionary work. The purpose of a missionary is to, invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost and enduring to the end. If you are doing any of this you are being a missionary.

This brings me to my mission scripture. I stumbled across this a few days ago and I love it!
My scripture is Ether 12:4 "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God".

When you believe in God you hope for a better world. You want the world to see what you see and know. This is missionary work. Missionaries hope for a better world. So therefore if you hope for a better world you are a missionary.
At the end of the scripture it says faith makes an anchor which makes you sure and steadfast always abounding in good works. If you have faith you will forever be doing the work of God, Missionary work.

Because my topic is what inspired me to go on a mission I think I should probably tell you my story. What made me decide to go and why.  After learning all of this about missionary work I feel into a rut. My saying was I don’t need a nametag to be a missionary. I got super prideful and ignored all the promptings and signs that may have told me to go on a mission.

At the beginning of spring semester I hadn’t made the decision of whether or not I was going to go. All these deadlines were creeping closer and my stress kept rising. One night I was at Nathaniel’s apartment talking to him about what I should do just searching for answers. I had prayed, read my scriptures, fasted, everything I could think of and I still couldn’t find an answer. I left his house in a mess still lost and confused getting ready to give up. Two days later I got a text message from the executive secretary in my ward saying Bishop wanted to meet with me.
When you get a text message from your Bishop you kinda start to freak out, (sorry bishop) but your mind starts wondering like what does he want me to do this time. I already had a calling so I was wondering if he was going to give me a new one and this really scared me because I loved my calling and I didn’t want anything else.

When I sat down in his office that night he looked at me and said last semester you came to me saying you wanted to go on a mission but I recommended you wait another semester. It’s the start of this semester and if you want to go you can submit your papers in February so I just wanted to ask you were you were with that. (not a new calling) I instantly began to cry. He looked at me and said okay well I called you in here because I think you should go on a mission. For the next hour or so we sat and discussed all the reasons why I should go on a mission.

It may take a long time but Heavenly Father hears your prayers. He knows you’re having a hard time and going to lose your mind if you don’t get an answer now. I testify that he hears you. It took two years but I got my answer exactly when I needed it.  Me being me I was still really prideful and wanted to be different and not join the thousands of sister missionaries that are choosing to serve a full time mission. I started to think about going on a mission and I just felt so inadequate. I kept thinking I barely know the gospel. I don’t know what to say to people when I meet them. I’m terrible at baring my testimony. I cannot talk in front of people, my lip starts quivering and I shake like a Chihuahua.

Then I came across a few scriptures:
The first one was D&C 1:18-19 
"And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world; and all this that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets.  The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh".

Exodus 3:11-12
"And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?  And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain".

These started to make me think about all of the great leaders of the church. How many of them were great public speakers? How many of them could read and write? I learned something that day. You don’t have to be some great public speaker or have a knowledge of all things to lead nations, restore a church, to lead armies, or to go and preach the word of God. You can to anything through Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.

I don’t know why but this still wasn’t good enough. In my heart I was going on a mission but vocally it wasn’t. I still had not come out and said to anyone I was going on a mission. I went to mission prep every night and any chance I could I would sit and talk about the gospel. I bore my testimony on fast Sunday but I still would not say it. Then one night my friend looked at me and said, “You love this gospel, you talk about it all the time, you teach us and others, you’re doing everything you need to be doing, why aren’t you going on a mission.” The only thing I could say was I don’t know. I had run out of excuses. She then looked at me and very bluntly said, “I think you’re being prideful”. Obviously Heavenly Father really wanted me to go on a mission because he sent several people and scriptures to me, telling me I need to go.

A year ago when I wanted to go on a mission I had no purpose, so incentive, and no inspiration to go, just nothing. I was just doing it because everyone else was.
Today I stand before you as a current and future missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that there is someone waiting for me in Japan to teach them. I am so blessed to have this sacred calling to be a full time missionary. This gospel is the single most important thing to me. Without it I wouldn’t have the family that I do. I wouldn’t have this body to learn and grow in. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to live on this Earth at the time of the restored gospel. I wouldn’t have my Father in Heaven protecting me and showing me where it is I need to go in life. I wouldn’t have my Savior who provided a way for me to repent and become clean, who sacrificed his life so that I may live forever. I wouldn’t have anything without this gospel. This is my inspiration.

Why should I be the only one with this knowledge? I was called so the people of Hokkaido, Japan know what I know. That through the Holy Ghost the truthfulness of this will be shown unto them so they can learn for themselves.

I want to close with my testimony. Someone said something once that really impacted me. He said, “I love my testimony, it’s something I’ve worked hard for” He’s right, I love my testimony, I have worked hard for it and I never stop working like it never stops growing. I know that Thomas S. Monson was called of God and that he is the only living prophet on the Earth today. I know that my redeemer lives and that Heavenly Father has a particular plan for each of our lives. I know that Joseph Smith restored the gospel in our day. And I know that I am called to the Japan Sapporo Mission to serve the people will all my heart, might, mind, and strength.
I say these things in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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