Farewell Speech on February 24, 2013
I have been called to serve in the Los Angeles, California, Spanish speaking mission. I will report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on March 6th and will be there for a period of six weeks.
I was asked to speak about how we can become closer to the Savior through service. There are so many topics that could go along with this, so to begin I looked up service in True to the Faith. A section of it says, "As you strive to serve others, look to the Savior as your example. Even though He came to earth as the Son of God, He humbly served those around Him. He declared, "I am among you as he serveth (Luke 22:27). The Savior used a parable to teach the importance of service. In the parable, He returns to the earth in His glory and separates the righteous from the wicked. To the righteous, He says, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me." The righteous, who who are puzzled by this declaration, ask: Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?" Then the Lord answers, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
This is a great example of how the service we give to others reflects as serving the Lord. Missionary work is the perfect way to describe how providing service for others can bring us closer to the Savior. There is no other time in your life where you are able to put aside everything from the world and be able to fully immerse yourself in serving others, it is a time to focus on everyone but yourself.
When I received my call to Los Angeles, I had alot of people asking how I felt about it. Here is how I would answer them. Opening my mission call was one of the happiest feelings I have ever felt. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude that I had the opportunity to go on a mission. At that moment in time, I KNEW that that was exactly where I was supposed to go and that I had been called by men of the highest authority to serve these wonderful people. Before I turned in my papers, I so strongly wanted to go somewhere outside of the country. Once the process was over with and my papers had gone through, I realized that I didn't care where I went. I remembered the real reason as to why I wanted to go on a mission in the first place, I wanted to serve wholeheartedly to those who really need it. I wanted to look at others as our Heavenly Father looks at them. I wanted to have sure knowledge of this Gospel. We must remember that the Lord will qualify us in our service.
As I considered whether or not I should choose to serve a mission, I looked up many General Conference talks about missionary service. I came across one that changed my perspective and played a role in my choice to go. In the October 2011 Conference, Christopher Waddell spoke on the opportunity of a mission. He shared this story:
"A few years ago, Elder Javier Misiego, from Madrid Spain, was serving a full-time mission in Arizona. At that time, his mission call to the United States appeared somewhat unusual, as most young men from Spain were being called to serve in their own country. At the conclusion of a stake fireside, where he and his companion had been invited to participate, Elder Misiego was approached by a less-active member of the Church, who had been brought to the fireside by a friend. It was the first time this man had been inside of a chapel in years. Elder Misiego was aksed if he might know a Jose Misiego in Madrid. When Elder Misiego responded that his father's name was Jose Misiego, the man excitedly asked a few more questions to confirm that this was the Jose Misiego. When it was determined that they were speaking about the same man, this less-active member began to weep. "Your father was the only person I baptized during my entire mission." He explained and described how his mission had been, in his mind, a failure. He attributed his years of inactivity to some feelings of inadequacy and concern, believing in his mind, that he had somehow let the Lord down.
Elder Misiego then described what this supposed failure of a missionary meant to his family. He told him that his father, baptized as a young single adult, had married in the temple, that Elder Misiego was the fourth of six children, that all all three boys and a sister had served full-time missions, that all were active in the church, and that all who were married had been sealed in the temple.
The less-active missionary began to sob. Through his efforts, he now learned that scores of lives had been blessed, and that the Lord had sent an Elder from Madrid Spain, all the way to a fireside in Arizona to let him know that he had not been a failure."
Brothers and Sisters, the Lords KNOWS where He wants each missionary to serve.
Brothers and Sisters, the Lords KNOWS where He wants each missionary to serve.
When Christ was on the earth, everything He did was out of love and service. He did not portray Himself as being too good for others. I believe that a large part of service, is us, as members humbling ourselves. Once we can get to that point, we will be able to see better that there may be others struggling around us more. We must try and remember to put others needs before our own.
My Jr. year in high school, I remember feeling unhappy, so I took a step back to evaluate what I could do to make the situation better. I challenged myself to attend the temple every week and participate in baptisms for the dead. Afterwards, it became routine, and I notice a huge difference, and others noticed it too. I cared more about the way I talked and presented myself to others. I wanted others to know that I loved them. Doing service at the temple is one of the many ways to become closer to Christ. Through temple ordinances, we are able to give others what we have been blessed with. It is a testimony to me that in times of need and guidance, I turn to the temple and the feelings of peace that I receive there.
My brother, Bryan's mission opened up my eyes to how wonderful this Gospel is, and how important it is to put others before ourselves. One last story I want to share is from a letter we received from Bryan at the beginning of his mission to northern Mexico, in Monterrey. He gave reference to my older brother, Michael, who passed away almost 10 years ago. Michael was one who was full of love and loved giving to others more than himself.
Bryan wrote about his mission (and Michael): "There are too many things we possess that are highly taken for granted. Laundry takes a lot longer when you are basically doing it by hand. I'm enduring the greatest blessing of my life. Being here on my mission in Mexico poverty level: Living how they live. Food circumstances: eating what they eat. Communication: speaking what they speak. Lifestyle: adjusting to how they do things. Emotion: loving how they love." Bryan goes on, "From being here in Mexico and seeing the poverty and lifestyle of barely making it from day to day, my thoughts related to my brother, Michael. How when he passed away, he was found with 30 and some cents in his pocket. This story describes exactly who Michael was. A few days after my 10th birthday, Michael showed up at the house. With excitement and glow on his face, he asked me what I wanted for my birthday. We hopped in his car and headed toward a video game store in Cottonwood Mall. When we got there, just as any little kid would be, I was blown away by the amount of video games. I, being a little kid was filled with tremendous joy. Michael was about twice as happy as I was. Not because of the video games, but simply because he saw how happy I was. I picked out the one I wanted. It was a game called Gex. We got to the register and I watched him pay with every last dime he had. At a time you wouldn't think so, I watched his smile grow from giving everything he had to get that video game for me. He had a very special talent, in where his thoughts were never focused on himself. The things that made him happy were simply seeing the smiles on other people's faces. I know he still is, exactly who he was. Every time he sees us smile, his face lights up exactly how it did in that video store. I relate this story a lot to the people in my mission right now. How there are a few of them who give so much of what they have, simply to feed us lunch. I find these simple little things to have the most life-long lasting effect. My gratitude for this opportunity is beyond measure. I am so grateful for the life I have and especially for this time in my life that I can devote to the Lord. The things you learn on a mission are things that I can promise you, you won't learn anywhere else."
In closing, I'd like to share one of my favorite quotes by Elder Russell M. Ballard. He said, "May we show our love and appreciation for the Savior's atoning sacrifice through our simple, compassionate acts of service." We don't have to be going on a mission to continually serve others. I challenge you to look for opportunities to help someone who is in greater need than yourself. I have been so blessed to have such an amazing family who has such a desire to serve those around them, and I look up to them in so many ways. Share testimony.....
|Michelle and her childhood friend, Brooke. Love these two!|