SO, I have two and a half weeks until I depart to the Provo MTC... como se dice, wut? I am so excited, nervous, anxious, happy, scared, stoked, etc, etc. My "Farewell" talk was today, and it went over pretty well. I copied and pasted it below so anyone who has the desire can read it. I believe every word I wrote and I can't wait to start teaching it to them kids in Mexico! Thank you everyone who came to support me. I love you all.
*(So I started my talk with the most awkward "HOLA" known to man. I'd say it went over well enough...)
President Eyring said this: “With all the differences in our lives, we have at least one challenge in common. We all must deal with adversity. There may be periods, sometimes long ones, when our lives seem to flow with little difficulty. But it is in the nature of our being human that comfort gives way to distress, periods of good health come to an end, and misfortunes arrive. Particularly when the comfortable times have gone on for a while the arrival of suffering or the loss of material security can bring fear and sometimes even anger.” I think what President Eyring is saying, is that this life can be hard. It can be really hard. I have personally seen this adversity in the lives of my loved ones. Divorces, deaths, unemployment, and struggles with depression are just a few. Challenges like this test and try our faith in Christ, our will to press forward, and our Spirit to stay calm. So why would we be given challenges and adversity in our lives if it causes pain, anguish, and struggling? President Eyring also answers this question and says, “The very opportunity for us to face adversity and affliction is part of the evidence of Their infinite love. God gave us the gift of living in mortality so that we could be prepared to receive the greatest of all the gifts of God, which is eternal life. Then our spirit will be changed. We will become able to want what God wants, to think as He thinks, and thus be prepared for the trust of an endless posterity to teach and to lead through tests to be raised up to qualify to live forever in eternal life.” In short, these challenges allow us to grow and learn to perfect our imperfect selves. And these challenges can lead us to seek after God, and his love and power, to bring us peace.
Adversity and challenges in our lives can cause different emotions and reactions. Sometimes we get angry or become confused, and we feel as though life is unfair. When we think this way, we have it completely wrong. It is false to think that if we do our best or always do the right thing that nothing bad will happen to us. Life isn’t fair, and it isn’t supposed to be. In order to receive the most comfort and support while dealing with trails, we need to understand and use the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives. In Alma 7 we learn that Christ suffered pains, afflictions, infirmities, sicknesses, and temptations of every kind so that we wouldn’t have to go through it alone. This also means that Jesus Christ knows our pains and our sorrows; He ultimately knows everything we have dealt with and everything we will deal with. ( Author Wayne Brickey puts it this way) “Christ absorbs the brunt of our mistakes, leaving just enough tragedy for our growth and learning… It just gives us time to decide to do right for the right reasons.” Christ has also supplied us with everything we need to get through these hard times. We know how to live healthy, happy, and righteous lives. We have tools such as the sacrament, the temple, and ward families to love and serve so that we can overcome the trial and not let the trial overcome us. We also have the commandments to follow. And I think that the Lord is testing us to see if we will follow his commandments not only in the good times, but also in the hard times. In the hard times we are more vulnerable and Satan will be waiting to tempt us and get in our head. This is why we need a firm testimony of Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father, as well as unshakable faith in them. With that faith we will have the power to resist Satan’s temptations and become better through the Atonement.
Regarding the atonement, there is something so special about the Hebrew words kafar and kippur. Kafar was part of ancient tradition in the Near East. It was a large and roomy garment or robe that was used in marriage ceremonies to envelop both husband and wife to signify their unity. When children were added to the family this garment was used again to signify the child becoming part of their family and becoming full heir to all that they had. This has beautiful symbolism to what our Savior does for us when we take on His name at the time of baptism and then as we make further covenants in the temple. We join his “family” and become part of the covenant House of Israel and are able to receive all blessings, rights, and privileges of that family. In Isaiah 61:10, it states, “He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness.” Jesus Christ becomes our partner and he envelops us in his robes of righteousness and offers us salvation. The Hebrew word kippur is closely related to kafar and means to cover, protect, carry, join, combine forces with, pay for, or rescue. When the King James translators saw the word kippur there was no English word equal to its meanings and so they coined the word atone or at one. The beauty of the atonement is that it allows Jesus Christ to cover us or rescue us from all that we deal with in this life. However, we must turn to Him and rely upon Him for it to take effect. Doing this, will allow us to overcome all that this life will throw at us.
But in order to accomplish this, we need to work on personal obedience. Here are four ways we can do this. 1) Feast upon the word of God. Set a personal goal to read your scriptures each day, and keep that goal. 2) Pray anywhere, always. This goes hand in hand with scripture study. When you study, pray to know if the words you read are true, or ask God what he would have you act on after reading His word. In 2 Nephi 32:3, it says once you read the scriptures, “Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.” When you receive those answers, act upon those promptings. Following this formula will only strengthen ones faith. It has been said that when you want to talk to God – pray, but when you want God to talk to you – read the scriptures. 3) Choose to be a full tithe payer. If we follow this commandment, we will be blessed abundantly. We need to remember that the blessing of keeping the law of tithing is that the windows of heaven will be opened to us. This is a blessing we need, especially when we are dealing with adversities. 4) Choose to repent and forsake of your sins. Sinning has awful effects on ones mind and happiness. The wonderful thing is that you can always repent, but the best time to repent is now. And each time we repent, we have the gift of the Holy Ghost immediately. If we follow this plan to become more obedient, we will be better prepared to face the adversity and challenges this life will throw at us.
Challenges are part of the plan. When the fall of Adam occurred, misery and woe became a possibility in all of our lives. Trials make us so much stronger – spiritually and physically. If you think about it, we are sent to this earth to learn all that we can so that someday in Heaven we can become Gods, like our Heavenly Father. It only makes sense that we are given hard things that test our faith so that we can use this knowledge from experiences to do greater things after this life. President Monson said this: “Mortality is a period of testing, a time to prove ourselves worthy to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. In order for us to be tested, we must face challenges and difficulties. These can break us, and the surface of our souls may crack and crumble – that is, if our foundations of faith, our testimonies of truth are not deeply embedded within us.” I have a testimony that this is true. I know that this life is not easy, but I also know that I have all that I need to overcome trials when they come. I am so excited and so blessed to live in Mexico for two years and invite my brothers and sisters to know Jesus Christ and learn of His Gospel. This will be the most difficult, humbling, and rewarding experience of my life thus far. I know that this is the true and everlasting Gospel. I know the happiness it brings in my life and that is why I am serving a mission – so that I can invite others to enjoy all that I enjoy. I am so blessed to have a Mother and Father that have raised me in this Gospel with such firm testimonies. I have learned so much from them and their example. I love my brother and sisters and will miss them. I am grateful for a ward full of amazing spirits that have too helped my testimony grow. I love my friends and am so thankful for their example in my life. I can’t wait to join so many of my friends in the field; the work is growing exponentially! Thank you everyone for coming and listening. The Church is true. I say this in the name of Thy Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.