Monday, April 29, 2013

Farewell Talk

I think I knew for a long time that I was going to go on a mission, but it took a long time for me to come to terms with that. I ultimately decided when I was in France on my study abroad in Paris.  I ran into my friend Zach Adams, who is serving his mission in Paris (the lucky kid). We got to talk after a church meeting where all of the speakers talked about missionary work and how much they loved serving. Zach told me that serving a mission was the best decision he has ever made and that I should seriously think about going too. I went home that night feeling unsettled, because I knew I would have to make up my mind about serving a mission soon.

After a series of unfortunate events, the next Sunday morning, my roommate in Paris and I missed our bus to the train station for church. The way the train schedules worked, we would be missing about half of the meeting by the time we got there. We sat on the bus and I stared out the window, just being grumpy. And then I decided to pull out my scriptures and read. And this is what came up on my little iPhone screen:
Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
John 6:68-69

I know that I'm not Simon Peter. But in that moment, I felt like I should be the one asking the Lord to whom I should go. Because I know for myself that he has the words of eternal life. I know and am sure that he is Christ, the Son of the living God, and that He lives. And in that moment, I knew that all plans I had made for my future not involving a mission didn't matter any more. All that mattered was that I knew that the lord wanted me to share the knowledge that I have of Christ, the son of the living god. I didn’t care if I was going to be “old” by BYU standards when I got back from a mission. I didn’t care that I would still have a few more years of school to finish when I got home. I didn’t care that I would be putting absolutely everything in my life on hold. I sat on that bus, driving past the park near the Eiffel Tower, and cried unashamedly in front of the French, who never show their emotions in public, because I felt so happy and at peace and relieved that I had finally listened to the promptings pushing me in the direction I needed to go.

With that being said, even after knowing that I should go on a mission, I wasn’t quite sure I knew if I wanted to go. I prayed for the desire to go on a mission, and to understand why it was that for 18 months I was willing to give up everything, move to a foreign country, learn Thai, and deal with the biggest bugs known to man.

There is a verse in the Book of Mormon in which the prophet Nephi says, “feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.”(2 Nephi 32:3)

I decided to do that, and do you know what I found, over and over again? Christ’s simple admonition to all mankind.

Come follow me.

Christ had complete control over his words. He knew the impact that this phrase would have, and as someone who loves words and languages, as my mom has already mentioned, it blows my mind that in three words, he was able to change a nation. These three words spread to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, and have changed the entire world for over 2,000 years. These three words have stood the test of time. While Christ’s words have not changed, they will continue to change the world, and us, if we let them.

By choosing to follow Christ, I have found more hope and happiness than I can even begin to describe. I know that He is my Savior. He is the Savior. He has suffered for each and every one of us. He knows us so personally, and loves us so perfectly, that He gave his life for us. It’s a love that I can’t even begin to understand, even though I have tried.

But it doesn’t matter how I know it, or if I understand all that happened in Gethsemane or on the cross completely. What matters is what I do with that knowledge.

So I want to serve a mission so that others can understand the happiness that I have, and so that they can have it for themselves. So that others can come to know their Savior personally and know that we are never alone. We are as close to the Savior and our Father as we want to be. They are always listening to us and they want to bless us. I am going to serve a mission so that the people I teach in Thailand can understand that we are all Children of our Heavenly Father and that He loves us. Individually, and perfectly.

I know that this gospel is true, and I can't wait to share it with the people of Thailand. I know that Jesus is the Christ, that He is my Savior, and that He lives. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he restored Christ's church to the earth, and that Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet today. I know that God loves each and every one of us, and I am so excited to be able to share my knowledge of this with others, every single day for the next 18 months.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

1 comment:

  1. So beautifully said. I am in awe of your testimony.