Monday, January 13, 2014

What Christ has done for me. Farewell Talk

I gave my farewell talk on January 12! It went really well! I was really happy with it. Lots of people asked me to send it to them, so I promised I would post it here!

I was asked to talk about what Christ has done for me, and how my knowledge of that will help those that I teach on my mission.

I started planning this talk by writing out a list of everything Christ has done for me, when I couldn't think of anything anymore, I read some conference talks and searched the scriptures, and found more things, I was humbled by the length of my list, it was great evidence of how much Christ loves us. I know that if I asked each of you to add to my list, you would probably add things that I had never thought of, because we all have had different experiences in our lives and have felt and seen The Savior’s love in different ways.

Experienced Our Trials

We often feel completely alone in the world. We think that no one knows what we are going through, and how our trials affect us. This often feels alarmingly true. We may think that no one else has been through the exact same trials we have, no one thinks exactly the way we do, and so, it seems that no one can feel the way we do. These feelings of isolation are why the greatest thing that The Savior has done for me, is the Atonement. He did much more than suffering for our sins in Gethsemane. He experienced all of our trials. In experiencing our trials he felt our heartaches, fears, and insecurities, and in doing so He gave us the best confidant, Himself. When I feel as if no one else could possibly comprehend how I am feeling, it brings me great hope to be reminded, that this is simply not true! Christ suffered for us individually!

There is a song on the 2008 Especially for Youth album by Hillary Weeks titled One By One that has brought me comfort in the past.

I stand amazed that Heaven knows me,

He hears one by one,

Loves one by one,

When this crowded world around you,

Doesn't know your name,

He knows us,

One by one

He knows how you feel! He knows how you think! He knows your feelings and thoughts, because He too, went through the same trials you have. Because of this, no one knows you better than He does. It is so comforting to know when I am scared, hurt, and feeling alone I can turn to my Savior, and He knows exactly what I need to be comforted, whether it is a scripture, a quote, a loving gesture from a loved one, or just a reminder from Him saying “I know how you feel. I love you, ‘thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment.’”

I will be serving in the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission, the people in that area will have had very different life experiences than I have, and they have and will experience trials than I will never know or understand. Because the Savior knows us all individually, one by one, I know that when I struggle to understand how an investigator is feeling, how they need to be taught, or what I can say or do to

help them, I can turn to Christ. He knows them, He wants them to be happy and He wants them to come unto Him. I know that if I am patient and humble and willing to turn to Him for help, it will be made known unto me. I still might not be able to understand exactly how they feel, but I may be able to find a scripture, or a talk that speaks to them and offers comfort, or helps them understand a principle in a way that I, on my own, could not have expressed.

Suffered our Temptations and Sins

When Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He suffered for our pains and our afflictions, but He also suffered for our temptations. He knows exactly what Satan has, and will tempt each of us with, and, because He has experienced all that we have, and because He knows us better than anyone possibly could, He knows why each temptation is a struggle to overcome. He knows what Satan says to make it seem appealing. He knows the thoughts and doubts that might push us to fall to the temptation. Because Christ suffered our trials, He is the only one eligible to also suffer our temptations because only He can understand why it is really a temptation to us.

Gave us the Atonement

In suffering for our temptations, Christ also suffered for the sins we have made. In doing so, He made repentance possible. The scriptures state in several places, that “No unclean thing can dwell with God.”

This scripture often seems daunting, but it is also why the Atonement is necessary. Heavenly Father did not expect any of us to be perfect. He knew we would give into the desires of the world from time to time, and because He loves us, and wants us to return to Him, He asked for someone to suffer for our sins. Christ, our older brother, volunteered to take on the seemingly impossible task, because He too, loves us. So, Christ came to earth, and taught about His Father, He then experienced all of our heartaches and pain, our temptations, and our sins. He could not have done one without the other, if He had not experienced our trials, He would not have known why our temptations were tempting, or why we gave into those that we did. If He had not experienced our temptations and sins, He would not have experienced the pains that came from our iniquities.

Because of His sacrifice for us, He gave us the ability to repent of our sins. Because of this, when we mess up, we can ask for his forgiveness, and do our best not to return to that sin, but if we do return, we can ask for forgiveness again, and again and he will continue to forgive us!

This is something that I know I will teach over and over again on my mission. We all need the atonement in our lives, whether we were have known the church all of our lives, or if we have yet to find it. We all make mistakes, none of us can be made perfect without the atonement.

Gives Us Hope

In Matthew 8 Christ and his apostles are traveling on a ship. While He is sleeping, a great storm arises and the sea becomes a tempest. The ship is being thrown about and waves are overcoming it, filling the boat with water. I can only imagine the fear the apostles felt. I’m sure they thought death was just around the corner for them. The probably imagined the boat filling with water, then sinking, or possibly that a wave too large and too strong for the ship would crash into them and they would capsize. They woke their sleeping Master saying “Lord, save us: we perish.” Christ stopped the winds, and calmed the sea, and there was peace. The apostles were amazed! They wondered “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”

Sometimes it seems like we are on a little row boat, in the middle of the ocean, during a hurricane. We feel like our little boat will not make it and we will drown. We imagine it filling with water and sinking, leaving us with no protection, we see a large wave smashing our boat, and pulling us down to the depths of the sea. We think our end is near. But, if we turn to Christ and ask for help, “Lord, save us: we perish.” He will come to our aid. He will stop the winds, and calm the sea.

Our storms are rarely bad weather. We have much different storms in this day. Sometimes, our storms make us wish that we were on a boat in the middle of a sea during a storm because it seems like, that would be easier to survive. Fortunately, we have Christ on our side! If we ask, he will stop the winds and calm the sea, and we will be amazed. We will wonder, “What manner of man is this that even the winds and the sea obey him?”

On my mission I know I will meet people fighting and enduring their own storms. They will probably wonder if they will survive, or perish in the sea. As a missionary, I hope that I will be able to help them call to their Savior for help, so that he can stop the winds and calm the sea.

Loves Us

Christ has done so much for us, in so many ways. If you write it all down, it’s a very long list, but then each thing he does is a large task. Christ is the only one who could have survived Gethsemane, and even he asked “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me:”

Why did he do all of these things? Why did he suffer all of our trials, physical pains, temptations and sins? Because he loves us. It’s that simple. He love us. How wonderful is that! He loves us purely and unconditionally! No matter what! He wants us to return to live with Him, because He loves us!

Christ suffered for my sins, He knows what I’ve done. But it doesn’t change the fact that He loves me! He sees all the good things about me, even the things that I don’t see, or might not recognize as strengths. Jesus Christ sees the good in every single one of us. He wants us to be happy, and to see the good in ourselves that He sees in us.

He was willing to suffer in Gethsemane because He wants us to return to live with him. He is willing to stop the winds and calm the sea because he wants us to have peace. Everything Christ has done for you and me is simply done out of love.

This is the biggest message that I hope to share on my mission. We are all Children of a Heavenly Father, who loves us so much that he sent his Only Begotten Son to suffer for all our heartaches, temptations and sins and to die for us. And That Son loved us so much that He did suffer and die for us! He loved us so much, that he was willing to give us a way back home, no matter how hard it would be for Him. I genuinely hope, that every person I teach, weather they get baptized or not, at least gains a testimony of the great love that their Heavenly Father and Savior has for them.

I know Oklahoma isn't the most exotic place to be called on a mission, but that's not why I'm serving a mission. I didn't choose to serve a mission to see the world. I chose a mission because I want to serve the Lord! I know that I will meet wonderful people during my mission, people that I wouldn't meet anywhere else.

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