Sunday, 31 May 2015

Farewell Talk

Good Morning Brothers and Sisters, Friends and Family. I am so pleased to be here speaking for you today. I feel like this moment has taken forever to come but has also taken no time at all. I am so excited to serve a mission in Australia Adelaide. I have always wanted to serve a mission and I have worked very hard to get to this point. I have been studying and preparing myself the best I can. My Mum has called me an overachiever and my Dad says He thinks I am going to be the best prepared missionary ever (haha). I was talking to my Dad the other day about Gospel Principles I picked out in a TV show I liked. I found another one that I would like to share. Before I share, first thing you need to know is I am a big geek, which pretty much all my friends know already. This story is from Doctor Who, and the whole story line of the television show is extremely confusing so I am not going to attempt to explain much. All you need to know is that Clara and the Doctor are best friends. Clara was broken inside, desperate and hurt, this lead her to wrong the Doctor and betray him in a big way. But the Doctor was merciful.

Clara says: "You're going to help me?"

The Doctor asks, "Why wouldn't I help you?" 

"Because what I just did. I just..." Clara reponds.

"You betrayed me. You betrayed my trust, you betrayed our friendship. You betrayed everything I've ever stood for. You let me down!" 

Through teary eyes Clara asks, "Then why are you helping me?" 

"Why? Do you think I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?"

After that conversation between Clara and the Doctor I thought about us and the Saviour. We continue to disobey, betray His trust, betray everything He ever stood for. Yet He continues to love us unconditionally and will always help us no matter who we are and no matter what we have done. The Saviours love is without bounds, never ceasing and never ending. I find comfort in knowing that even when I do wrong, or I am disobedient that the Saviour will be there to pick me right back up again and help me on my way. That is true friendship, true love and true service. 

My theme today is caring for the poor, and what better example of caring than our beloved Saviour, Jesus Christ. Clara was poor in a sense, she was broken inside, in need of healing. Which is why she did what she did. There are many ways someone can be poor. To be poor you must be lacking in something. In the scriptures we are told to be poor in heart and have a contrite spirit, which is to lack pride, be humble before our God. But here we are talking about caring for the poor. Financially poor is the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word “poor”. But there are many other ways you can be deemed poor. There is a quote I like that says “If a man truly has nothing but money, then he is the most poor.” 

As a missionary I will be helping lots of people who are poor in a material sense, but I will also help those who are lacking in the spiritual department. From Elder Holland’s talk “Are we not all beggars” He says: “In what would be the most startling moment of His early ministry, Jesus stood up in His home synagogue in Nazareth and read these words prophesied by Isaiah and recorded in the Gospel of Luke: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives. and... set at liberty them that are bruised.” Thus the Savior made the first public announcement of His messianic ministry. But this verse also made clear that on the way to His ultimate atoning sacrifice and Resurrection, Jesus’s first and foremost messianic duty would be to bless the poor, including the poor in spirit.”

Today I want to focus solely on caring for the poor in spirit. I have heard countless stories from my friends on missions and others who have since returned of their investigators. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that they all were struggling. Everyone is battling something. I don’t think there will be one investigator I come across on my mission that won’t be poor in spirit. The gospel of Jesus Christ and his amazing atonement is there to help make those battles easier. Jesus loved the impoverished and disadvantaged in an extraordinary way. He always went out of his way to help people and that is what we all need to do. I will strive to be an obedient and steadfast representative of Jesus Christ on my mission and bring those who are not as fortunate as I relief in anyway. 

In another one of Elder Hollands talks called “Broken things to mend” he says: “The first words Jesus spoke in His majestic Sermon on the Mount were to the troubled, the discouraged and downhearted. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” He said, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”1 Whether you are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or among the tens of thousands who are not of our faith, I speak to those who are facing personal trials and family struggles, those who endure conflicts fought in the lonely foxholes of the heart, those trying to hold back floodwaters of despair that sometimes wash over us like a tsunami of the soul. I wish to speak particularly to you who feel your lives are broken, seemingly beyond repair.
To all such I offer the surest and sweetest remedy that I know. It is found in the clarion call the Savior of the world Himself gave. He said it in the beginning of His ministry, and He said it in the end. He said it to believers, and He said it to those who were not so sure. He said to everyone, whatever their personal problems might be:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”2
In this promise, that introductory phrase, “come unto me,” is crucial. It is the key to the peace and rest we seek. Indeed, when the resurrected Savior gave His sermon at the temple to the Nephites in the New World, He began, “Blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Those who are poor and seek after Christ will be blessed and their burdens made light. I have had struggles in my life, just like everyone has, and I am sure there are many to come. I have been blessed with the knowledge of the atonement. It has brought me peace, comfort and light in times where all I could see was dark. Christ has given me strength beyond what I thought was possible to achieve. 

As my brother said, there have been times in my life where I wish I would’ve done more. More to help those who do not have the bounties of this earth as I do. I wish I could heal every broken heart, I wish I could solve every financial problem, and mend every hurt or injustice that is done.  But as much as I wish I could do these things, I can’t for it is not my job. The work to heal in every possible way has already been done by our beloved saviour. My job is to deliver the good news (the gospel) that Christ suffered for us so that we do not have to. My job is also to as the Lord commanded: “look to the poor and... needy, and administer to their relief that they shall not suffer.” One may ask what can one man or woman do? I have wondered this myself, I am only but one young woman our of billions. How can I make a difference? How can I help those in need enough? 

Mother Teresa of Calcutta was questioned by a journalist about her hopeless task of rescuing the destitute in that city. “He said that statistically speaking, she was accomplishing absolutely nothing. This remarkable little woman shot back that her work was about love, not statistics. Notwithstanding the staggering number beyond her reach, she said she could keep the commandment to love God and her neighbour by serving those within her reach with whatever resources she had. “What we do is nothing but a drop in the ocean,” she would say on another occasion. “But if we didn’t do it, the ocean would be one drop less [than it is].” 

I think Mother Teresa makes a wonderful point that it is not the magnitude of the service act she is doing, but that she is in fact doing it. We are told countless times in the scriptures that if we do all we can, that Jesus’ atoning sacrifice will make up the rest. I also believe that Jesus just always wants us to do all that we can in every circumstance. If you believe that you have done all you can to help someone or a situation then you have done well. Jesus explains Mary’s act of anointing to an annoyed Judas of Iscariot, “She hath done what she could.” Think of yourself as Mary when Jesus describes you would you like him to say for example, “Bethany hath done what she could.” I know I would like Him to say that about me. Which is another reason why I am going to serve a mission. I want to do all that I can to do my part in the spreading of the gospel and the Lord’s work.

I have knelt with a heavy heart, puffy eyes and water soaked cheeks before my maker and cried for help. I have been broken and beaten down by what we call life and needed the love and peace of my Father in Heaven. I have wondered how in the world am I going to pay off my student loans. I have also felt discouraged, doubtful, confused, depressed, lonely, ashamed, ugly, stressed and so on. Many of these I ave felt recently and I know I am not mistaken when I say that everyone has at some point or will at some point feel this way.

To quote Elder Holland again: “Are we not all beggars? Don’t we all cry out for help and hope and answers to prayers? Don’t we all beg for forgiveness for mistakes we have made and troubles we have caused? Don’t we all implore that grace will compensate for our weaknesses, that mercy will triumph over justice at least in our case? Little wonder that King Benjamin says we obtain a remission of our sins by pleading to God, who compassionately responds, but we retain a remission of our sins by compassionately responding to the poor who plead to us.”

I strongly believe that it is our responsibility as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, as neighbours, as friends, as strangers, as humans that we uplift and love one another. That we do all we can to help those in need no matter what it is. We have all been there, we have all sought for some sort of help. I myself also believe that God still sends angels to us today. They may not often appear in a pillar of blinding white light, or with wings, but I do believe they appear in the form of a person. In the form of friends. I have had friends that have been my saving grace, that have uplifted me and loved me and been my angels. They have been a God given answer to a prayer and I am so grateful for that. Why not be someone else’s angel. 

Although I have borne my testimony all through this talk I would like to end with my testimony as well. I without a doubt know that this church is true, that Jesus Christ is our Saviour and that He lives. He is my best friend and I love Him with all my heart. I am going to serve for Him, and I will do so willingly and with a big smile on my face. It is going to be hard to leave my family and my friends. I love my family. They mean the world to me. I will be sad to not see my brother Graduate, to not see my Sister begin her first year of high school, and to not see little Benjamin grow up. I will miss my Mum’s loving and comforting words and my Dad’s wisdom and humour. I want to thank them for all they have done for me. Now as sad as this all sounds, I am happy to leave. I have always wanted to serve a mission, lots of that is thanks to my parents example of both serving, and I know that this is the best possible way I can spend my next 18 months and I do not regret my decision at all. 
I would also like to thank my beautiful friends. I have been blessed with friends who are active in the church and who are great examples to me. Most of them have served, are serving, or have their mission calls like I do. I would like to especially thank my “crew”, Leann, Jonathan, Johnggil and Kenrick. They have helped me the whole way to this point. I thank Heavenly Father everday for my angels. 
I also want to thank all the leaders I had growing up in the church, from Young Woman’s, to Brother Wilde, to the Bishop. 

My heart is so full, and I cannot wait to serve in the gorgeous Australia Adelaide Mission. 

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

A photo with some of my awesome friends after my talk.