Sunday, August 14, 2016

Farewell Talk

Good morning brothers and sisters; today I was asked to speak about forgiveness and my preparation for a mission. As you may or may not know, I was called to serve in Tahiti. This is a wonderful opportunity and I'm humbled to have the blessing of serving for two years, but, as far as preparation goes, it didn't start the day I received my call. No, it started long before that… Growing up in the church, going on a mission was encouraged at a young age. I can remember singing in primary, “I hope they call me on a mission, when I have grown a foot or two…” It was always something that I should've sought to do and eventually it put me in the mindset that serving a mission was what I should be doing, without me truly stopping and thinking if this was something I wanted to do. It wasn't until it came close for me to have to decide what I wanted to do after high school that I started to question my worthiness, or if I even wanted to serve. I started to ask if this was something I truly wanted and I decided it wasn't for me. It didn't feel right... Why should I give up what I have now…The concept of serving didn't feel like it fit what I wanted…I thought I should follow what everyone else was doing and go to college and for a while, I was happy with this decision. I thought everything was finally making sense. I told my parents and they agreed, but quickly things started to fall apart. My happiness turned to sadness and then to depression… I was confused, I had my whole future planned out? In all of this, I had the urge to pray one day, and as I kneeled down, alone in my room, I asked God, “What is it that I should be doing?” “How come I am so unhappy…?” During this prayer, I had the prompting of a mission. But even still I doubted, thinking of how unworthy I was and how bad I was, etc. But there was a reason I prayed that day and I was not left alone to drown in my doubt. I was comforted and I realized I had to forgive myself… the part of me that fought against a mission, the self-doubt and flaws that I let hold me back. I had to realize that my own negative thoughts and the thoughts that others have placed upon me do not define my self-worth and do not make me an unworthy person. I’d like to read a scripture from (Isa. 1:18), “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” This made me think of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, how He suffered for the sins of the world, for every single person, for me- so we may not suffer for our own sins. The sacrifice He made was His forgiveness to us. Every week we partake of the sacrament, to repent and to receive forgiveness for the sins we have done. He wouldn't want me to hate and punish myself for what I've done; he has already done the suffering for me so that I can forgive myself, renew myself, repent, and tell myself that I am worthy enough to serve a mission. Now that I am here, two days before my departure and being asked if I am prepared to serve a mission... No, I don’t think I am fully ready to serve a mission. But I have the desire to serve and that's the first step. Not wanting to go but going anyways ruins the opportunity for yourself and the people you could be helping; preparation comes from self-desire, not by being book smart and learning the language or being a great speaker or teacher. It starts with a desire, without that why even serve? Brothers and Sisters, I bear my testimony that if you can find that desire to serve the Lord with all your heart, might, mind, and strength then everything else will fall into place, and if you find that you are in the same place that I was and you are struggling with forgiveness, just remember why we take the sacrament. Remember Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, and through repentance, He will forgive you and your sins will be remembered no more. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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