Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Farewell Talk.

Buenos dias hermanos y hermanas. Well that's about all the Spanish you are going to get out of me so don't expect a Mason Orton here cause I am definitely not bearing my testimony in spanish today. I'm excited to be here with you today and I hope the spirit can guide me through this talk because I'll be honest, I'm freaking out. But, I was asked to speak on three basic principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which are the Power of Prayer, the atonement, and love.
              When I was a little girl it seemed like I always would lose my ballet shoes on Monday's right before class. I'd often pray in front of my closet and ask Heavenly Father to let me find my shoes so my mom wouldn't be upset for being late or losing my shoes. It definitely wasn't the correct way to rely on prayer but, as I grew older I learned how important praying really is and how we can receive answers in ways other than just granting us a shoe.
              Pretend there is a gift right in front of you and with it, you can be granted almost anything that you need. All you have to do is reach up, unwrap it, and you can have whatever is inside of it. This is exactly like prayer. Prayer is a gift to us from Heavenly Father. He loves each of us so much that he has given us a line of communication that can't be disturbed or cut off if we but only put forth the effort to use it. Isn't it wonderful that our Father in Heaven, being a supreme being in perfection, wants to hear from us weak, sinful, children of his? This demonstrates just how much he loves us! No matter how insignificant we feel, prayer is always there. I've heard so many times that people don't feel worthy to pray as I have felt this myself. The truth is however, when we feel that we aren't good enough to pray, is when we need it the most.  D & C 10:58 states; "I am the light which shineth in darkness and darkness comprehendth it not." Those darkest hours of our lives can bring us the greatest light through sincere prayer, faith, and hope. There are many ways that prayers can be answered but I'd like to focus on three of them.
           The first way is through other people. There was a 19 year old boy on his mission in Cancun, Mexico. His family had just bought a ranch and was struggling financially. They weren't exactly sure how they were going to pay for the mission that month and the father knelt down and prayed for an answer on how to do this. They found out that somebody had paid for him for the month and didn't find out until later that it was the Missionary's now wife's father. I am sure we have all had similar experiences where somebody says or does something for us that we needed right at that moment and we are in bewilderment and how they knew but, it is because of the spirit that we are able to receive this type of answer.
              Second way is receiving comfort through scriptures and words of prophets. Every six months we are given the opportunity to listen to Prophets and apostles speak to us and every time, there is something specifically for you and I to hear. Before one of my friends left on her mission she told me how a talk by Elder Holland had an effect on her life. She was struggling as she was just getting into college, had broken up with a young man she quite liked, didn't have many friends, and wasn't sure if she could keep going. A part of the talk said "  don't give up. don't you quit. you keep walking, you keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead. Keep your chin up, it will be all right in the end. Trust in God and believe in good things to come." With tears in her eyes, she explained to me how it had kept her going and was EXACTLY what she had needed to hear. When we aren't able to receive new messages from them at the moment, look up old ones in  times of need and read your scriptures. There are so many answers for us within the pages of the Book of Mormon, Bible, and Doctorine and Covenants. If we pray with a sincere heart before reading the words, I KNOW we can have answers and peace we need. And what a wonderful feeling it is when it comes.
              The Third and most common way is piece by piece. . In the April 2007 General Conference, Richard G. Scott said; seldom will you receive a complete response all at once. It will come a piece at a time, in packets, so that you will grow in capacity. As each piece is followed in faith, you will be led to other portions until you have the whole answer. That pattern requires you to exercise faith in our Father's capacity to respond. While sometimes it's very hard, it results in significant personal growth. This is the way that I had one of the biggest questions of my life answered. Whether or not I was to serve a mission. My first semester at the U, I really struggled. I wasn't living the way I should have been and participated in things I shouldn't have, I didn't like living in Salt Lake, I didn't have many friends, and I really was just miserable. When the announcement about young women serving at 19 came out, I allowed it to cross my mind but didn't think very seriously about it. Puzzle Piece #1 About a week later, I met Shalee and me, her, and Amanda became really close. Both girls were strong in the church and were examples of Christ-like people. They both helped me to stay out of trouble and remember my worth. They motivated me to get my temple recommend and were always an open ear or mouth. They would talk about how they had received their answers to serve missions and were always aiding in keeping it in mind. They became my little angels sent when I needed them most to get me back on the straight and narrow. Puzzle Piece #2 In january, I was driving home from work and I had a prompting to go to Temple Square. When I got there, I was just walking around and had a feeling to kneel down and say a prayer. I really did not want to pray at temple square so I tried leaving. I literally could not walk out of the gates so I turned back around and knelt down. I wasn't sure what I was even praying for but I asked my Father in Heaven if I was supposed to serve a mission. I didn't get an answer or feel anything so as I had learned from the scriptures, it was a stupor of thought so I needed to just forget about it. As I walked out the gates, two sister missionaries came walking by me. They were talking to me about how they had never seen themselves going on missions but were so happy they did cause it had changed their lives. Puzzle #3. I'd come across scriptures referring to missionary work, it seemed like every time I read. My scriptures are literally filled with dates of mission prompting #1-25. Puzzle Piece #4 February, I got my patriarchal blessing. (READ BACK 2 PARAGRAPH).  I made the decision to start my papers the next month and can honestly say, nothing has brought me more joy thus far in my life. I am so thankful I got my answer this way because without it, I wouldn't have half the faith I do now.
              As I stated earlier, prayer is a gift from God to us. But, there is another gift greater. This is the gift of the atonement which is the greatest gift of all. In PMG it is stated; " The triumph of Jesus Christ over spiritual death by his suffering and over physical death by his resurrection is called the atonement." He was the only person that could complete the atonement.  We can't fully comprehend all that our Savior went through for us.  The last while, I've been reading this book "Jesus the Christ" and in it, it helped me to understand what the savior went through PG 652 & 661- 662. How selfish are we if we don't partake of this great gift and allow all that suffering to heal us? Elder Holland reminded us all that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path alone, we do not have to. His  journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of the Beloved Son, the gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. If we reach out to the Savior for his help, it will be granted unto us. We also need to do our part for the atonement to work effectively in our life. Effectiveness of the Atonement can be sought out by praying to our Father in Heaven with real intent, for his forgiveness. We have to become as little children; humble ourselves and allow a change of heart to be within us. Jesus Christ can plea with him for us to be free because he took upon the sins of all who have lived and will live in the Garden of Gesthanime by bleeding from every single pore. It's not just a gift for me, or bishop, or the kid in El Salvador that made a mistake.  For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all that they might not suffer if they would repent. ALL. All can be cleansed and be free of sins if they repent and partake of the gift. The atonement is real and I absolutely positively without a doubt know that it can change us if we want it to and try to.
              Now, every little thing we are given is out of the Savior's love for us. The gift of prayer, the atonement, family, your best friend, education, trials, our breath we take each moment, Every single thing is because of his love. His love in unconditional to us, so why shouldn't ours be to him? We should want to do everything possible to repay our savior for what he has done for us. Some may ask how and it is simple. D &C 42: 29 states "if thou lovest me, thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments." We also know that when we are in the service of our fellow beings we are only in the service of God. Service is easy but, we have to remember that it must done with sincerity and love. A simple smile or compliment. Comforting those who are hurting. Physical labor that the weak and ill can't complete. Being a true friend. having a listening ear.  Being parents! Sharing talents with others something I am awful at but my sister, Kenzey is a great example at this as she has emerged herself into teaching dance to young girls. And sharing the gospel. That is the reason I am here today. I don't know how else I can repay my savior for all the love he has given me other than going to teach the people of Mexico the truth's of the gospel. I have a quote on my wall that says "Ye are eternally indebted to your Heavenly Father, to render to him all that you have and are."  It really didn't hit me until a few weeks ago that our small acts of service are wonderful and great but we are still not going to amount to what he has given us. And that's okay, as long as we are trying to show our love for him by serving, keeping his commandments, trying to make the world a better and more holier place.
                I'm thankful to my Savior and brother, Jesus Christ, for his great sacrifice so that we can return to our father's presence again someday. I know that he loves each and every one of us equally and wants us to succeed in all we do. I'm thankful to be blessed with the trials I have because without them, I wouldn't be who I am.  I'm especially grateful for amazing family who has cheered me on and built my testimony since day one of my life journey. I'm thankful to my friends who have been examples and rocks in my life. They might not ever know how much of an effect they had on my life. I'm so excited... and nervous but mostly excited, to go be able to go and serve the people of Mexico City and share the gospel to their receptive hearts. it might not be the best 18 months of my life but it'll be the best 18 months  for my life and luckily, i won't have to do it alone because the savior will be there. 
In closing, I'd like to share some lyrics with you.
Do you know that God designed you to glow and you hold the Father's promise in your soul?
You may be just a light in the sky but you are enough to light up the darkest night. Someone needs the light you have inside, so rise up high you were meant to shine and never hide. Spread your good works wide and far. Someone needs your star.  Someone needs one simple light to bring them hope. You may feel small but you hold more goodness than you know. Desperately someone's reaching to find a beacon of strength that they can hold on to tonight. Someone needs your star.
I challenge all of you to find the star within yourself and help somebody else find theirs by using the gifts and love God has given you. When you do find your star, be sure to hold on it and shine it brightly so all can see who you are because you are a beloved child of God.
And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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