First off I would like to say Happy Fathers Day to all of you Father out there. I am especially grateful today for my Dad and so grateful to be able to say that he truly is my best friend. I have no doubt that I would not be standing here today if it were not for him - For his love, example, patience, and the way he has lead our family. I am so grateful for him and the blessing that all of you Fathers are.
But I am so grateful for the chance to speak to all of you today!!
I have been called to serve as a missionary in the England London South Mission. I report to the England MTC on July 9th. I am so grateful and humbled for this opportunity to go out and be able to devote all of my energy towards sharing something that brings me so much happiness. Knowing the truths of the gospel and of our Heavenly Father and Savior loves changes lives and I cannot wait to go out and share that with the people of England.
Today I have been given the topic of Missionary Work. Of course with me leaving to serve this topic is especially close to my heart right now. As growing up as a member of the church I feel like missionary work has always been pressed into my mind. As I thought about what a mission meant and what it meant to be a missionary, my thoughts immediately went to our Savior who was our ultimate example, especially in this area. All of our Saviors life was dedicated to doing the work of his Father on earth. Even when he was the young age of 12 he testified to his troubled mother who had been searching for him for days, “That he was simply about his Fathers work.” I’ve decided today to look over our Saviors example and see what traits and characteristics he had that made him the perfect missionary.
As I reflected over Christ life there were two traits that seemed to be constant all throughout his life. The first quality that I saw displayed over and over was that…
All throughout Christ’s life we see examples of him serving others.
1. He healed the sick
2. Cleansed the lepers skin
3. Caused the blind to see and deaf to here
4. Calmed the seas
5. Fed those who were hungry
6. Was a friend
8. And of course in the end gave the ultimate service to us of performing the Atonement. Making everything possible.
Our Savior’s whole life was dedicated to serving others! One of my favorite scriptures that describes the Savior so clearly and perfectly in this area is Acts 10:38, which states that he went about doing good.
President Spencer W. Kimball gave these insights of the Savior: “Never did the Savior give in expectation. I know of no case in his life in which there was an exchange. He was always the giver, seldom the recipient. Never did he give shoes, hose, or a vehicle; never did he give perfume, a shirt, or a fur wrap. His gifts were of such a nature that the recipient could hardly exchange or return the value. His gifts were rare ones: eyes to the blind, ears to the deaf, and legs to the lame; cleanliness to the unclean, wholeness to the infirm, and breath to the lifeless. His gifts were opportunity to the downtrodden, freedom to the oppressed, light in the darkness, forgiveness to the repentant, hope to the despairing. His friends gave him shelter, food, and love. He gave them of himself, his love, his service, his life. The wise men brought him gold and frankincense. He gave them and all their fellow mortals resurrection, salvation, and eternal life. We should strive to give as he gave. To give of oneself is a holy gift.” ( Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978, p. 2.)
I loved this quote!! I loved the line that stated that the Savior was always the giver. Seldom the recipient. Can we say that about ourselves? How many times are we the ones giving BECAUSE we have received. Or how many times are we serving in hopes of getting something in return? Whether that being praise or wanting help down the road. Our Savior set the example of serving because of love. Putting no conditions on it. He showed us how to serve with pure intent.
I also loved the “gifts “ that Jesus provided. He gave of himself. Full time missionaries are given the blessing of having the opoutunity to give of themselves to the service in a small way. They are asked to serve with all of their heart, might, mind and strength. Not to worry about the affairs at home but be fully invested in whom they are with and fully invested in sharing the truths we know. We do not have to serve full time missions to have this blessing though, as members we can apply that same idea. I believe one of the ways we can improve of giving of ourselves is putting away distractions. Giving of ourselves by being fully invested in whomever we’re with. Giving them all of our attention and love, not constantly checking updates on phones, texting another person, or looking over the e-mails from work. I have put this into practice and have seen the blessing of eliminating destractions. In the world we live in today we could all improve in this area. Serving like the Savior served by giving of ourselves. Giving of ourselves through our attention, time, and love will make all the difference. Especially in regards to missionary work. I have been taught and have seen for myself that the most effective type of missionary work is when it comes from love. And I don’t know of a better way to show love and value for a person than by giving them of ourselves. Loving and serving them as the Savior showed us.
The second area I wanted to focus on was that Just as much our Savior served he also…
Looking over his life I don’t think there was ever a time that Jesus wasn’t teaching in some way.
1. The scriptures show of Jesus gave many great sermons. Teaching others the truths of the gospel and how to become like his father!
2. At a young age he was found teaching in the temple.
3. He Spoke in parables to help us relate and understand.
4. He taught how to pray, fast, to love the temple, honor the Sabbath, how to serve, to love, and so much more.
Our Savior taught because he loved. He had the truth! He knew the way to gain true happiness in this life, how be with our loved ones forever, and how to become like our heavenly father and because of that love he wanted and felt the DESIRE to share those truths so that all of us for all of us could have the same oppourtunities and blessings that this gospel brings.
Brothers and Sisters WE KNOW THESE TRUTHS AS WELL!
We KNOW that not only that is God real but that he is our Loving Heavenly Father who is aware of us and is so involved in our lives. He LOVES us and has provided a plan of happiness that makes it possible to return and live with him.
We KNOW we have a Savior who loved us enough that he was willing to die for us. Making it so that death is not the end but we are able to continually progress. He has provided a way for us to live with those whom we love FOREVER. He took upon himself all of our sins and struggles in this life and paid for them in FULL. Because of that we can be forgiven of any mistake we have made as well as always have the perfect friend to turn to who truly knows exactly what we are going through. I am so grateful for a Savior who has provided me the opourutnity to not just have 1st and 2nd chances but 5th, 6th, and 7th if I need them.
We KNOW the priesthood has been restored to the earth and with that power are temples on the earth today that bind families forever, provide ordinances that bless us with additional power and knowledge and help us become more like our Heavenly Father.
We KNOW that because Heavenly Father loves us so much he continues to have living prophets on the earth who speak for him. He knew that life would be crazy with so many distractions and it being so hard to see the way back to him so how incredible is it that we have a mouthpiece of the Lord who tells us exactly what we should be doing! Along with that we have been given additional scripture, the Book of Mormon, that along with the bible, further testifies that Jesus is the Christ and helps us receive guidance and knowledge in the blurry and confusing world we live in.
We KNOW that Heavenly Father answers prayers, that there is a plan for each of us, and our father and savior’s love for us is endless.
WE KNOW THESE THINGS! We have been given the incredible blessing of being members of this church and knowing these truths but along with that we also have as great of a responsibility to share it. Like our Savior showed us so perfectly.
In Mark 16:15 Christ commands his apostles “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”
Joseph Smith stated, “After all that has been said, The greatest and Most important Duty is to preach the gospel.”
In 3 Nephi 26:19 It states, “AND THEY TAUGHT, AND DID MINISTER ONE TO ANOTHER…”
And to quote one of my favorite hymns, Because we have been given much we too must give.
In his conference address in April 1986, James Paramore talked of a man at Stake Conference who had years before fallen away from the church but then had been reactivated. He bore his testimony in that Stake Conference of the power that had come into his life because of accepting the teachings of Jesus Christ by those who had ministered unto him. He stated, “My gratitude knows no bounds. My life has been totally changed by the gospel and by the people who have truly loved me. I will need to spend the rest of my life ministering and teaching others as partial repayment for all that I have received.”
It was not an easy decision for me to decide that serving a mission was what I was supposed to do. It took months and months of praying and thinking things through but in the end I realized what Elder Paramore’s good friend stated in their stake conference was exactly how I felt.
My gratitude for this gospel has no bounds. My life has been totally changed by the gospel and by the people who have truly loved me. I will need to spend the rest of my life ministering and teaching others as partial repayment for all that I have received.
I know that this church is true. I have felt the love of my Savior and Heavenly Father. I have felt the happiness that comes from knowing that my family is forever and the safety from following the commandments. I have also felt the gilt that comes from sin but then the peace and hope that comes from applying the atonement!
I know I will never be able to repay my Savior for what he has done for me. But I want to do my best everyday to thank him for it. As scary as serving a mission is, I want to do this. Everything in my life that brings me happiness and joy I can relate directly back to the gospel and its teachings and I want to share that joy with others. I have always been taught that our ultimate goal in this life is to become like our Savior. And I cannot think of a better way to do that than to do what our Savior would be doing if he were here.
Brothers and Sisters I want to make it very clear, especially to you young woman in the congregation today, that as much as I know that a mission is right for me I have just as strong of a testimony that a full time mission is not for everyone. I am so excited to have the opportunity to go out and serve a full time mission, but missionary work is not and has never been only for those who receive a letter from the First Presidency in the mail. Missions are not when we leave our families for 18 or 24 months and when we go to some foreign place to teach people we have never met. All of our missions started long before this life when we decided to follow and trust in our Savior. To come to this earth and be tested, to have faith in him, apply his atonement, and do our best everyday to follow his teachings and then help others come to know of these truths as well. That is a mission. It has very little to do with the name tag, the number of converts, or the number of book of Mormons we’ve placed – as important as those are. Missionary work is all about being examples, loving others as Christ showed us, sharing the gospel through the way we live, living in a way that Christ is reflected through us, and in the times when we are prompted by the spirit, being willing to open our mouths out of LOVE for whom we are speaking to but also out of LOVE for our Savior. Every member truly is a missionary because we all accepted our calls to serve long before we can even remember.
I hope we all can strive to live up to our calling by being more like our Savior by always being about our fathers work. I know by following our Savior’s example and by being missionaries to those in need we will be blessed, we will be happier, our problems will seem smaller, and we will have the strength and confidence to tackle anything in the life.