Sunday, June 15, 2014

Farewell Talk (Father's Day)

June 15, 2014 (by mom)
It's been a whirlwind week for sure.  Joel was ordained an elder last Sunday, went to a family reunion during the week, went through the temple on Friday and now gave his Farewell talk in our sacrament meeting.  He was well supported by wonderful friends and family.  We are so grateful for the amazing people in his life.  And, I must say, he gave an AWESOME talk!  I was so proud of him and couldn't believe what a good job he did.  I told him he may have to be a computer engineer as well as a journalist because his thoughts were so well put together.  Since we weren't having any type of get together afterward, I had to teach my primary class but his "2nd mom" Momma Dalley, stayed and took a few pics of him and some friends.

Joel's Farewell Address
Glossophobia: The fear of public speaking. Research shows that approximately 75% of the World's Population suffers from this form of Social Anxiety. Although it was my original intention to walk up here and claim that I am part of the 25%, I fear that may no longer be true.
Now, you may be asking "Did he learn these few useless facts, just to make that joke?" Absolutely, I did!
Also, for those of you who were here a year ago for my sister's 45 minute talk, go ahead and put away your pillows and blankets- it doesn't run in the family. For those of you who Weren't here- count your blessings.
I'm just kidding, I love my sister. She can just be very passionate about the gospel sometimes, and shares it in a very thorough manner.
So, now that I've hopefully got you all in a good mood, I'll begin with "Magandang Tanghali" which is Tagalog for "Beautiful Lunchtime" or "Good Noon."
Within the next 3 weeks, I'll be residing in the Manila MTC, learning this language and preparing to share the Gospel with the Filipino people. In light of this decision to serve, I have been asked to speak on how my family and other leaders have helped influence and prepare me to for my mission. I felt the best way to do this is by sharing how they’ve acted as examples in my life.
My dad, brothers, and both of my brothers-in-law all served missions. Because of this, it had never been a question whether or not I would serve. I just always saw it as another step in my life, like high school, college, and starting a family.
It's by serving their missions that they have helped prepare me as well. All missionaries come home with something that nearly everyone enjoys and appreciates: stories; which is why I've pulled stories from Return Missionaries in my life to share how I've been prepared.
One of my dad's mission experiences has taught me to always be a representative of The Lord, even when no one's around to see-
He and his companion, Elder Dogget, were tracting along the snowy cobblestone roads in Norway when they came across a cat sunbathing on a shoveled porch step. My dad thought it would be funny if they could get a snowball close enough to the cat to scare it off the porch, so he and Elder Dogget went around the corner into an alley and tossed a snowball near the cat. As planned, the snowball exploded, showering the cat with frozen dust and it ran off hissing. As he and his companion stood laughing, they heard a window open and looked up to see a older woman looking out, scolding them.
"You call yourself ministers of The Lord, as you torment God's innocent little creatures!" she exclaimed.
In Mosiah 18:9 we learn from Alma to:
9 … Stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life--(Mosiah 18:9)
We don't know everyone who may be watching us in our lives, but we Do know our Father in Heaven is. If you wouldn't do it in front of your parents, spouse, kids, or even just a little old lady peeking out her 2nd story window, think that maybe you shouldn't do it at all.
My eldest brother, Erik, served in El Salvador, where he learned and passed on to me the knowledge that The Lord inspires people-
Few people owned cars in El Salvador, so the main means of transportation was by bus. On one occasion, my brother and his companion invited an Elderly Couple to come to church as investigators. However, due to the aggressiveness of the bus drivers who would take off the moment you set foot inside, they were too afraid to leave home unless offered a ride in a standard vehicle. As no one was able to transport them, they declined the invitation. Come Sunday, Erik walks into the meeting house with his companion and they see the couple sitting in the front row. After talking to them for a bit, the Elders learn that the couple felt the need to attend so strongly, that they braved the bus. They were eventually baptized.
On another occasion, an entire family of five, too poor to afford the bus fare, traveled together on a single bicycle to church, and home again immediately after the Sacrament meeting because of how long the journey would take them.
Reading 2 Timothy 3:16-17 we find that:
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.--(2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Our father knows his children and helps them to know him. As long as we put forth the effort to introduce them to our Father and Savior, we can have faith that they will be prompted and inspired to continue the journey, just as the Prophets and Authors of both the Bible and Book of Mormon were. .
A story from my other brother's mission has taught me that The Lord protects his Disciples- In the area of California Shaun and his companion, Elder Gilbert, were serving, was the highest murder rate per capita in the US, so they came across a lot of gated homes. In one instance, they walked up to the fence and shook it a few times to make sure there were no dogs out in the yard. No one came to greet them, so they opened the gate and walked up to the door. After they knocked, a great big German Shepherd appeared from behind the home, and walked up to them. It simply sat down at my brother's feet and watched the door. A woman answered the door and began panicking after seeing the dog, so she went and grabbed her husband. A man came to the door and began looking back and forth between the Elders and the dog before gruffly asking "What do you want."
After determining that the family was uninterested, my brother and his companion left the home and latched the gate behind them. Immediately after the fence was closed, the dog flew into a fit, barking and baring its teeth as the Elders walked along the fence line.
Matthew 14:25-31 says:
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him…
--(Matthew 14:25-31)
The Lord protects his disciples in many ways: Reaching out into the seas for a faltering apostle, taming a dog for two young men, or just by means of a whispered warning in your heart. Put faith in trust in The Lord and he will bless and protect us according to our actions.
My brother-in-law, Robert, shared with me an experience from his mission that showed him the true power of the Gifts of the Spirit.
While knocking on doors one day in Korea, he and his companion were approached by a woman who believed the missionaries to be lost. After they explained to her who they were and their purpose, they gave her a flyer, inviting her to church. That next Sunday, she arrived and attended the entire block with the Elders. In their Gospel Essentials class, they began discussing Gifts of the Spirit, including the Gift of Tongues. This Sister raised her hand, and explained that she had recently returned from some time spent in Japan when she saw these two young men on the street. Unsure whether or not they knew Korean, she approached them and began talking to them in Japanese. To her surprise, they responded appropriately in Korean. Their conversation continued in this manner, each of them speaking a different language. Because of this event, she had already gained a testimony of at least part of the church's doctrine, before even a single discussion.
We can learn of the many Gifts of the Spirit in Moroni 10:8-17.
8 And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many
9 For behold, to one is given by the Spirit of God, that he may teach the word of wisdom;
10 And to another, that he may teach the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
11 And to another, exceedingly great faith; and to another, the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
12 And again, to another, that he may work mighty miracles;
13 And again, to another, that he may prophesy concerning all things;
14 And again, to another, the beholding of angels and ministering spirits;
15 And again, to another, all kinds of tongues;
16 And again, to another, the interpretation of languages and of divers kinds of tongues.
17 And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will. --(Moroni 10:8-17)
The Lord's work will always push forward, regardless of any obstacles that Seemingly stand in its way. He provides gifts and tools to his disciples to allow us to jump even the most intimidating hurtles, such as a daunting language barrier, a sick friend in need of a blessing, or even in finding courage to stand for what we know is true.
Brothers and Sisters, as I began writing this talk, my sole purpose was to find absolutely Anything I could say that would put me just a Few seconds closer to meeting my quota for time. However, as I got closer and closer to finishing, I became more and more excited about what I was teaching. A popular phrase is that "The best way to strengthen your testimony is by sharing it." Well, I testify to you now that it goes further than that. From these many great and wonderful examples in my life, I have Already gained something from my own mission. That the best way to Learn something is by Teaching it. I am in No way Any sort of Gospel Scholar… yet.
I know now that these next two years of my life are designed to be as much a learning experience for me as they are for anyone I meet on the way.
I testify unto you that this Gospel Is true. That The Lord protects, inspires and presents unto his disciples Gifts for the purpose of bettering ourselves and others. That it is in our best interest to represent The Lord in all that we do.
I say these things in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen

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