Today I gave my farewell talk in church. And what a miracle it was that it happened and I didn’t cry. I woke up this morning two hours later than I wanted to because my mom came in to wake me up. We had an hour before church started. I needed to shower. I needed to pack. I needed to start my laundry. I need to read my talk–I hadn’t even read it ONCE. I was an emotional wreck and so overwhelmed. I took my shower as fast as I could and got ready and with the fifteen minutes I had left, I printed my talk out. I read over it once only to find that I hadn’t finished writing one part of it. ARE YOU KIDDING ME. My eyes were red from crying and I was felt so unprepared to stand up in front of all these people and give this talk when I looked and felt like a mess. I got to church five minutes late, but luckily the service hadn’t started yet. All I can say is that the Lord really does work miracles. As unprepared and scared as I was, the Lord took over and helped me calm down. He brought me peace. And it was so comforting to look out and see my family’s loving, encouraging eyes. I gave my talk and even though I was shaking like crazy, I was able to collect all my thoughts and speak without stuttering (too much). I felt so at peace and comfortable–a feeling I was not expecting to feel. All in all, it was a struggle to pull that all together but I know that the Lord is by my side, helping me as I go through these struggles. And he helped me feel accomplished and loved afterwards with all the warm smiles and hugs of friends and family. I’m so blessed to be a part of this church. So blessed. Here is the talk I gave this Sunday:
Read 3 Nephi 9:19-20: This is when Christ visits the Americas and he gives them this advice. He says to sacrifice a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
Having a broken heart means that you are humble. Having a contrite spirit means you are willing to listen to the Spirit and be taught and act on the things that you learn.
Considering all that Christ has done for us, and sacrificed for us, this sacrifice he asks us to make seems very minimal. It is something we should be willing to do for Him. For the person who sacrificed himself—all that he had—for us. Each and every one of us.
President Hinckley described sacrifice beautifully in the book “Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley”: He said:
“Without sacrifice there is no true worship of God. … ‘The Father gave his Son, and the Son gave his life,’ and we do not worship unless we give—give of … our time, … strength, … talent, … faith, … [and] testimonies”
As I am leaving Tuesday for the Ecuador Quito North mission, I find it fitting to relate sacrifice to serving a mission.
Let’s go over each thing Gordon B. Hinckley says we should give as a sacrifice to our Saviour.
He first mentions our time. As a missionary, I will be dedicating 18 months of my life to the Lord. I will be serving and teaching and growing to love the people in Ecuador that the Lord will put into my life. 18 months may seem like a long time, but in contrast, it really isn’t much. That is only 18 months out of my entire life. I know that I need to put all my effort and time into serving and listening to the direction the Lord gives me on this journey. This is HIS time.
This leads me to the next point: Strength. I should be sacrificing my strength for the Lord. I will be walking all day and when I finally get home at the end of the day and I am tired and weary, I will continue to work. To read my scriptures, to plan out the next day, to counsel with both the Lord and my companion. And if my strength isn’t enough, the Lord will help me with the rest so I can do all that he wants me to do.
President Hinckley goes on to say that we should sacrifice our talent. Everyone has their own individual talents. One I will be exercising on my mission is the talent of being able to listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and act on them. To know when the Lord wants me to do something, and apply it to my life. Aside from serving a mission, I think that sacrificing talents is a huge part of this church. We come together as a family and find out what we’re strong in and when that thing we are strong in is lacking, we can step in and help. Everyone brings their talents together and help each other. This church is such a helpful, selfless church. Especially in this ward. Everyone is here to help each other and we all bring our talents together to help, which I find absolutely amazing.
Faith is the next thing Gordon b. Hinckley says is a sacrifice. It is a great sacrifice to have faith in the Lord and trust Him. To know he has a plan for you and to know that everything will be okay is a hard thing to do. But as we sacrifice what we want and what we think we need, and rely on what the Lord KNOWS we actually need, that is the great sacrifice we make through faith.
Lastly, he mentioned that we should sacrifice our testimonies. I think this is such a great point to make. Usually every first Sunday of the month, we have a fast and testimony meeting. We sacrifice two of our meals for the day and pray for whatever is of a concern to us. Then, we can sacrifice our money for what we would usually spend on those two meals and give it to people who are in need of the stability of having food by paying a fast offering. Following this, we spend the whole sacrament meeting by sharing our testimonies. I love that we all have the opportunity to come up here and express what we believe. It may be a scary step to take getting up here, but it is a sacrifice we make. We may not be necessarily strong in speaking, but we do it anyway because we can still touch people’s hearts with our testimonies.
I want to share a poem with you that has a lot of meaning to me. It really put things into perspective for me and I consider it to be part of my testimony. It’s called “The Dash Poem” by Linda Ellis:
The Dash Poem
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end
He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years
for that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real.
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
So relating to the dash, how we use our time in this life is directly reflected by how well we live with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. How well we can be humble ourselves and submit our will to the Lord. Submitting our will means to leave what the future holds in the Lord’s hands. If we do our part and do our best to live righteously, he will guide us and bless us and make sure to keep us feeling happy and at peace. I know this is true because I have experienced the ups and downs of this promise.
Through preparing to serve a mission, I have acknowledged that I am sacrificing a lot. Just like all the other people in this ward who are serving missions, I will be sacrificing the comforts of having my family and friends nearby and all the familiarities that are present in my life right now. I will be sacrificing my time, and effort. I will be sacrificing usual communication to draw closer to my Heavenly Father and closer to the people I am meeting and teaching.
There will be different customs, different environments, a different government, different foods, different smells. And although it may be hard to adjust to at first, I will come to love all of it. It is a scary thing stepping out of our comfort zones and putting all of our trust in the Lord by sacrificing our comforts and time. But, through sacrificing these things, the Lord will bless us.
Sacrifice comes in all forms in this life. Whether it be a person serving their country, and risking their life by doing so or someone sacrificing one meal a day so they can save up enough money to buy a car. Everyone makes sacrifices.
I believe that the drive behind making sacrifices is love. We sacrifice our time, effort, strength, talent, faith, and testimony for the Lord. God so loved the world, so he gave us his only begotten son. Jesus Christ, our Saviour, sacrificed his life for us because he loves each and every one of us. Think about when you sacrificed something and why you did it. It is usually because of love. And the pure love of Christ is charity.
If the pure love of Christ is charity, then charity must be the ultimate sacrifice. The Bible Dictionary definition of charity is:
“The highest, noblest, strongest kind of love, not merely affection; the pure love of Christ.”
It is the strongest kind of love. That being said, we should be showing charity by making sacrifices in our lives. Whether it be for our fellowman, or for our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Either way, we is serving the Lord and he will bless us for it.
In conclusion, I want to quote Gordon B. Hinckley once again when he said, “You will come to know that what appears today to be a sacrifice will prove instead to be the greatest investment that you will ever make.”
My heart is full today. As I have gotten closer to the date I leave, I have been feeling so much more love in my heart. I may not have even met some of you, but I feel an enormous amount of love for everyone here today. Our Heavenly Father knows every one of you PERSONALLY and he has an abounding love for each of you. I am getting just a small taste of how much he loves you all and it’s too much for me to handle. (half laugh, half cry) I just hope that as you all journey on through your lives that you trust the Lord and make sacrifices for Him because he has sacrificed more than we can even comprehend for us. I love this gospel and I cannot wait to share it with the people in Ecuador. It has brought and enormous amount of happiness and comfort to my life and I can’t wait to bring that to others.
I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.