Monday, March 31, 2014

We Talk of Christ

This past month I was able to give 2 talks at church.
One was for Stake Conference and the other was for my missionary farewell the week afterward. 

Here are some highlights from those talks :) 

March 15th 2014 - Annapolis Stake Conference 

One thing I have learned is that every missionary experience, no matter the result, is still a missionary experience. Out here in Maryland you run into non-members on a daily basis whether they are your co-workers, your neighbors or your friends. Don’t be afraid to let people know who you are and what you stand for. Elder Holland spoke about our role in missionary work when he said “This is [the Lord’s] work and [you are] only the instrument. [You are] on the pencil, but [the Lord has] got to do the writing.”

It is not our responsibility to convert people. Our responsibility is to bring people to Christ so that Heavenly Father can do the rest.

At BYU there weren’t tons of missionary opportunities, at least not as much as I had in high school. I was discouraged and I was hurt and I thought that what I had shared with people was not good enough. There is, I have learned, a quick fix to this ailment: to stop thinking about ourselves. When President Gordon B. Hinkley was dispirited while serving his mission his father wrote “Forget yourself and go to work.” Like Elder Holland said, this is the Lord’s work and we are just his tools. As long as we forget our fears and our doubts, trust the Lord and open our mouths, we can truly do anything.  

Joseph Smith said: “After all that has been said, our greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel.” 

God wants ALL OF YOU in the mission field because all around you IS the mission field. Open your mouth today, brothers and sisters, take that chance.  Pray for opportunities then take those opportunities. I know that you will all be blessed for it.  

D&C 18:15-16 15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one asoul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! 16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the akingdom of my Father, how great will be your bjoy if you should bring many csouls unto me! 

I know that missionary work is for everyone. It’s for those who need it and those who provide it. I know that no matter how scary opening your mouth is, it will never be as great as the joy we will feel. This is God’s work and His glory. He will be with you every step of the way if you allow Him to.

 March 23 2014 - Farewell 

 As members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we all have a call that goes something like this:
Dear righteous member of the church, You are hereby called to serve as a representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are called to labor on the Planet Earth mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of a lifetime.  
When we sing “Called to Serve him heavenly king of glory, chosen ever to witness in his name” we are speaking about ourselves, not just those with nametags on. We are all called to serve wherever we are. And our preparation for that starts today.  
Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke about this in a New Era article saying: “Attitude is the key. Young people need to commit themselves early in life to the idea of a mission. That way, when they get older and begin to face some of the world’s temptations, those temptations will be less likely to penetrate their hearts or minds. They will resist the temptations because they are focused on becoming a servant of the Lord.” 
While this is talking about the youth I think this applies to all of us no matter the stage in our lives. If we are always focused on becoming servants to the Lord no matter our situation we can resist temptations and our hearts and minds can be made strong.
When we make Christ the center of our lives we can truly be blessed as it says in  
Helaman 5:12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon thearock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your bfoundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty cstorm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. 
Ballard then goes on to say: “Missionaries (and I’ll add members as well)  need to understand the doctrine, and they need to know how to share it. You can’t take water out of an empty bucket. When missionaries know the gospel and how to teach it, they don’t want to do anything else. They know they can teach anybody, anywhere, anytime, under any circumstances, using their own words accompanied by the power of the Spirit. They have self-confidence and inner strength. There’s great power in that kind of preparation.”  
Elder Neal A Maxwell talked about gaining a better knowledge of God’s doctrine when he said that this knowledge “produces in us, not a woeful countenance, but a disciplined enthusiasm to work righteousness. We need this, week after week and day after day”
Lastly, our mission here on the earth would not be complete without having to learn a language.  
At the most recent CES Devotional in March, Sis. Linda K. Burton likened learning to listen to the Spirit to learning a language when she said “Just as learning a language is a process, learning the language of the Spirit is also a process, one that is vital for everyone to learn. It is through recognizing the voice of the Spirit that individuals are able to act and do what the Lord would have them do.”  

Even In primary we learn that: 
Through a still small voice, the Spirit speaks to me - To guide me, to save me from the evil I may see. - If I try to do what's right, he will lead me thru the night, - Direct me, protect me, and give my soul his light. - Listen, listen. The Holy Ghost will whisper. - Listen, listen to the still small voice. 
If we can learn to hearken unto the Holy Ghost then we can speak a universal language that everyone can understand. This is especially prevalent to me seeing as I know very little of a language that I will soon have to teach with. I am going to be relying on the Holy Ghost in everything I do because with it, the gospel can touch hearts.

One of my favorite scriptures is D&C 11:21 
Seek not to adeclare my word, but first seek to bobtain mycword, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my dSpirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the econvincing of men. 
Preparing spiritually for a mission is a lot like preparing for eternal life. We can always learn and grow and be strengthened. Muscles that aren’t constantly being used start to diminish over time. Our spirituality is the same. We must always keep pushing and working and leaving our comfort zones.  
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said: “I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him?”   
I challenge you all to go to the spiritual gym this week. Spend some quality time not only reading the scriptures  - but studying them. Not only pray but pray with a sincere heart. Not only invite the spirit but listen to the spirit…. all in preparation for not only the work of salvation but for your salvation as well.  

No comments :

Post a Comment