Oops…two posts in one day, but HEY GUESS WHAT on my post “Returned with Honour”, I linked at the bottom a video my sister made of my homecoming. ENJOY! CIAOOOO
Nobody said it would be easy coming home! In fact, most people said it’s harder to come home from a mission than it is to leave home on a mission. I would say that’s very true. However, light always conquers darkness. It’s a rough adjustment because I feel like the people and culture and language I love are so far away…but I try and remember that God truly has a plan for me, just like He does for everyone else, and I am at a different stage now. The mission gave me life experience, taught me to feel pure love, or charity, for everyone I meet, and helped me strengthen my relationship with God and my testimony of Jesus Christ even more.
Just as I did in the mission, when I catch myself feeling down, I remember Jesus Christ. I especially love John chapter 21 where He is with His disciples and addresses the fact that they are fishing instead of preaching His gospel. Verses 15-17 describe what happens next:
15 ¶So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Can we imagine how we would feel? We might have stuttered. We might have second guessed our answer. We might have analyzed our lives and if we’re doing what we really should be doing. Jesus asked Simon Peter if he loved Him more than those fish. Fishing used to be his hobby and still was! He enjoyed it. It made him happy, although he didn’t have the best of luck sometimes.
Now let us put this into perspective and apply it to OUR lives. Do we love Jesus Christ more than parties? more than popularity? more than social media? more than sports? more than clothes and fashion? more than skipping church for any other event that may come up in our busy and daily lives? Do we TRULY love him more than any of those things that we love in life? If we sincerely love Jesus Christ more than we love any other thing in this world, we will SERVE him, we will LOVE others, we will JUDGE less, we will BE OBEDIENT to His commandments, we will PRAY to our Heavenly Father and THANK Him, we will HELP others, we will READ the scriptures, we will LISTEN to the prophet He has chosen for our days…If we love Him, He will be our priority in life; If we love HIM, then this GOSPEL (having faith, repenting, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) will become a LIFESTYLE, no longer a hobby or hobby in our lives. Church will not be a social event, rather a spiritually enlightening and uplifting experience. The scriptures will no longer be homework or unclear, rather a JOY and something that fills our souls with happiness, and the sincere desire to change and serve God. Prayer will no longer be an every day ritual for us, rather an enlightening conversation with our FATHER in Heaven where we may receive revelation or answers. The Spirit will be stronger in our lives. Trials will be easier to overcome. We will be happier on a day-to-day basis. We will be more loyal and honest in all things. Our lives WILL CHANGE…if we put Jesus Christ first. And that is the empowering and inspiring change that can take place in every one of our lives if we take the time to strengthen our relationship with God and come unto Christ.
Now when we take the time to FEAST upon the words of Christ, we will receive the desire, motivation and strength to change or better anything in our lives. Alma 5:7 testifies of this change: 7 “Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word;”
“Their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word”…that is what the power and light of Christ can do and THAT is how we are changed and purified. We cannot lose hope. We cannot ever say that God has forgotten us, because that is one of the biggest lies that satan uses as a trap to get us to distance ourselves from our loving Creator and Father.
He loves you. He has not forgotten you. You mean so much to Him and He does all He can so you can return to His presence again after this life. Now it is your responsibility to turn to Him, trust in Him, and do as He says–because He has provided us with the plan of salvation, which is also known as the plan of happiness. And it really is a joy-filled path if we are obedient to His commandments–they are there to protect us and to free us.
When we lose sight of what’s important and Jesus Christ is no longer our first priority, that is when we slowly distance ourselves from God which can lead us onto a very dangerous and imprisoning path. We must remember that whenever we do something against the commandments of God, we are only putting on the chains of guilt, remorse and bondage. And those chains can only be broken through faith on the Lord, Jesus Christ, second–repentance, third–baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, fourth–receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We must be strong, we must have hope, and we must act as true disciples, or followers, of Jesus Christ our Lord, Saviour, and Redeemer.
When we feast upon the words of Christ, truly seeking for guidance and tranquility in the scriptures, we will find it and we will want to become more like Christ. “Wherefore, I said unto you, 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)
Act on those impressions to read, pray, and go to church. That is inspired of God and you will never find a greater joy in this life. I have so much more I want to write but my mind is kind of allll over the place. I hope you all have a lovely afternoon and a great rest of your sabbath day! Till next time,
2 Nephi 31:
17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.
19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.
Well, folks…I’ve been home a week now. Haha not the easiest thing, but it’s a good change.
I got home at 10pm tuesday and was greeted with most of my family and friends…it was a really touching experience and I feel really grateful for them and all of their support!!
Some of the hardest things so far for me to adjust to have been the culture, music, and not having a strict schedule…you could say I miss Ecuador kind of A LOT. And SHOOT not wearing my missionary badge…that’s a rough one. Sometimes I wear it at night though, so it’s okay. hahaha
Coming home from the mission is harder than going ON the mission and anything I experienced during the mission. It’s a biiig change. However, I have come to find out that there are still so many little miracles every day.
I don’t know if I was just oblivious before or if I just didn’t have The Spirit as strongly as I should have before the mission, but I believe that even before the mission, God put many miracles and opportunities in my life each day to be happy, share the gospel, and to feel His love. I feel a lot more aware of it now.
Now, like I said before, this transition is not easy in the slightest. So, I want to write a few tips for those return missionaries that are struggling with this transition too. The points that follow aren’t anything I have mastered, but I am in the process of putting them into practice and I am seeing positive results. 🙂
ONE: READ YOUR SCRIPTURES. Do not stop that habit because it is one of the most important habits you will have in life; that is how you receive a spiritual and temporal protection because you also invite the Holy Ghost more into your life, and that is one way of receiving revelation from God–a way to receive answers to your prayers, decision, doubts, and/or questions.
TWO: STAY BUSY, BUT NOT TOO BUSY. Don’t keep yourself busy to the point that you’re overwhelmed or don’t have any down time. Make sure you have a good, healthy schedule where you get up and go to bed at a decent hour, and you have a few things to do every day. Spend time with your family and make sure you hang out with your friends as well…catch up on life and share stories that really impacted you from the mission. Learn from your friends and family and strengthen them as well with your testimony, experiences, and love.
THREE: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Do exercise. Eat well…of course eat those foods you’ve craved, but don’t get crazy!
FOUR: TAKE TIME TO STRENGTHEN YOUR CONVERTS. Keep in contact with your converts from the mission. Uplift and strengthen them! Let them feel and see your love for them in your words, AND actions. Which leads me to the next one…
FIVE: GO TO THE TEMPLE AND STAY WORTHY. You must be an example for your family and friends AND converts. Understand that the covenants we make in the temple are for a lifetime. The decision we make to follow Jesus Christ IS FOR A LIFETIME. There are no “breaks” for the Lord. You keep His commandments because you love Him, not because of “obligation”, and in turn you receive blessings and opportunities to strengthen and increase your faith through trials and challenges. Take time in the temple to converse with God about the future plans you have and ask Him if it is HIS WILL. If you receive the answer that it’s not, be willing to follow the revelation and council you receive in the temple.
SIX: WATCH TANGLED. Just watch that movie. You’ll feel happy and giddy afterwards…
SEVEN: WRITE IN YOUR JOURNAL. Take time to write out your thoughts and everything that has been going on. You will want to remember these moments…they are some of the most important experiences of your life.
EIGHT: FOLLOW THE SPIRIT. The other day, I smelled burning rubber in my dad’s work building. I thought that we should tell him, but for some reason we didn’t. Minutes later, four firetrucks showed up with a ladder and everything because I guess the elevator belt was burning slowly…FOLLOW THE SPIRIT WHEN HE TELLS YOU TO DO SOMETHING. MANY THINGS CAN BE PREVENTED.
NINE: BE ACTIVE. In allll senses. Go on hikes, runs, and bike rides. Go to church, activities, and institute. Take time to meditate and reflect on life and your future and write down the thoughts that come to mind as you ponder and ask God for advice because they are usually inspired thoughts.
TEN: PRAY AND FAST. In the real world we tend to get caught up in worldly things again and forget many important lessons we learned on the mission and other life-changing experiences. Praying and fasting is one way we become more humble, we become closer to God and we are more receptive to the Holy Ghost.
Anyway, for those of you who are NOT return missionaries, keep at it. Keep praying, reading your scriptures, and going to church. YOU. WILL. BE. BLESSED. I want you all to know that God loves you and that He is working small changes and miracles in your lives right now that will lead to really great changes and miracles in the future. Hold to the “iron rod” and don’t let go. Never. Strengthen yourselves and then strengthen everyone else you know and meet.
I will hopefully have better blog posts coming! But for now, this is all today. HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY FULL OF LAUGHTER AND DANCING!
video of me getting home: http://youtu.be/kcfQwX7p1GU
Cameron, Kelsey, Taylor, Delaney, me, Mandi, Shiloh, Caitlin, Shelby, Dylan, Brie
Shiloh, me, Mandi, Laney 🙂
SUMMER AND BRIE sisterrrrs
Brie, DAD, me, Summer, MOM, Paige, Kenzie
Aaand here’s the link to a video my sister made of my homecoming. enjoy!
I left this morning at 5:15 and had to be there at 3:15! My whole family came to see me off. I didn’t even cry, I was just excited for my adventure. I actually got to call my mom when I got to Dallas and talk to my sister too. I think another sister missionary was sitting at the gate waiting with me so that calmed me down a bit. I was feeling a little nervous. (these are things Madison said. This is her mom typing this of course) We’re so proud of her. She’s in Mexico City as I type this and hope to hear from her soon.
This is most everybody. We couldn’t fit everyone in but thank you soo much everybody for all your support!! You made my day.
Me and Crisi and the whole gang.
These are my beliefs.
Being Mormon makes me happy. The doctrine this church teaches brings me true happiness. I have never felt any happiness quite like this. Without belonging to this church, I wouldn’t be the cheerful person I am. Every principle this church has is designed to make us happy, and is inspired of God. All things joyful are inspired of God.
I believe that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. It was written by prophets who were chosen and inspired of God to write down His wise words. This book is an amazing history of the people on the American continent, but it is also scripture just like the Bible. This is because the Bible is the word of God given to prophets in the old world. The Book of Mormon is the word of God given to prophets on the American continent. I can sincerely say that reading this book has changed the way I look at life and my fellowman. It confirms to me that God loves everyone all over the world equally. I believe in the Bible as well.
I know that Jesus Christ atoned for my sins, as well as everyone else’s so that we may have eternal life like Him. He felt all the pain and anguish everyone has ever felt, and is ever ready to listen to our prayers. I know that He has unconditional love for every single person that has ever existed. I know I can go to the Lord in prayer and ask for comfort if I need it. I know I can talk to him and tell him everything that’s concerning me, and find solace. I love the Lord. Without Him, I would have no salvation.
I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God, that he restored the gospel to this Earth and translated the Book of Mormon with the power of God. I know that if the Lord is the same “yesterday, today, and forever” that he would never leave us without a prophet. He wouldn’t give a group of people in one part of the history of the world a prophet of God to help them, and then leave the rest of humanity in darkness with no revelation. I know that prophets receive revelation from God. I know that the priesthood is power that comes from God and was restored to this Earth. Not renewed. Restored.
I believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. I believe that they are “One” in purpose, but not literally one being. Matthew 3:13-17 shows to me that if Jesus Christ is being baptized, God is speaking from the Heavens above, and the Holy Ghost “descends as a dove” then there is no way that they could all be the same person. I know that the Holy Ghost is with me to help me choose the right. I also know the Holy Ghost is also here to comfort me, and touch me spiritually.
I know that everyone is a child of God. We are His children. He loves each and every one of us. I know that God is our Father and that He created us.
I know that literally every single thing that happens in life has a reason behind it. Everything has a purpose, and God doesn’t make mistakes.
I know that everyone has a chance before God. Even after this life. I don’t believe in a “heaven and hell”. I believe that when we die, our body stays on this Earth and our spirit goes to a place called “paradise”. I believe that everyone has the chance to hear about God’s gospel there. People are taught and converted as they please. They have the choice to deny the gospel, and the choice to accept it. Heavenly Father has given us free agency, so of course we have the choice. If someone has never heard of the gospel of God on Earth, it doesn’t make sense that they would go to hell for “not accepting Jesus into their life”. They get a chance too in Heaven, or paradise, after they die. I believe that Heavenly Father judges us and He is the One who places us in the degrees of glory (Heaven) or outer darkness (Hell).
I strongly believe that everyone deserves to hear this gospel and what it is all about. This gospel is a gospel of happiness. It is built as a support group. It is built for people to love one another, and to serve each other as the Lord wants us to. To love and worship and thank our gracious Heavenly Father. To admire the beauty He has surrounded us with on this Earth. To find a purpose to our lives, and better ourselves. To live a happy life.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our loving Saviour, amen.
If there is anything that didn’t make sense, you can click on the link on the right side of each page that says “what do mormons really believe?” which will take you to mormon.org. This website is run by my church and can answer frequently asked questions, and/or any other question that may come to mind. If you have a desire to learn more about this church, you can also click on any of the links that spark your interest which are on the right side of each page in alignment with “what do mormons really believe?”.
Moroni Chapter 10:
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
For those of you who don’t know, the purpose of an lds mission is to, “invite others to come unto Christ and provide service for others”. What I do is teach people about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Christ’s doctrine. I also serve people if there is an opportunity available or if someone tells me that they need help with something.
We don’t get paid. Missionaries actually pay monthly to serve a mission. A mission is seen as an opportunity, not a job.
If we don’t have a person to visit already, we may go door to door or contact someone on the street to explain a principle or teaching of His gospel. We also may have the opportunity to chat with people on mormon.org or over the phone if they have any questions about the LDS (Latter-day Saints) church. We set up appointments to teach people who are interested in learning about this gospel.
Girls serve for 18 months starting at age 19, and guys serve for 24 months starting at the age of 18.
We are always together with a companion. We are never alone.
One day out of the week we prepare for the rest of the week by doing our laundry, shopping, writing our families by email…and if we get permission we can even go sight see or play sports!
If you have any other questions about an LDS mission, you can go on mormon.org and find out or ask an actual Mormon missionary. 🙂
My name is Madison Amy Dunne and I am happy. :}
I grew up in beautiful Eugene, Oregon…
With two loving parents, and two obnoxiously fun sisters…
As well as lots of great friends and family.
I then went off to college at BYU-Idaho for a year and survived the negative 20 degree weather.
It went from this in September…
…to this by late October.
I also met some really amazing people! Here are some pictures of only a few of them…
Elder Christopher Esteves
My roommate Miss Talia Hansen
Elder Connor Schroeder, Elder Wesley Anderson, Elder Chris Esteves, Elder Peter Gregory, and Elder Orion Biberston
Elder Troy Prigmore and Elder Ryan Payne
Elder Kyle Schroeder, and…
Elder Wesley Anderson!
As you might have noticed…almost all of these people have the title “Elder” in front of their names because, well, they’re all on missions! And guess what?! I have exciting news…
I am serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 18 months in the Ecuador Quito North mission speaking Spanish. (Hopefully you knew this coming onto my blog in the first place…ha ha) If you draw a horizontal line across Ecuador right at Quito– what’s north of that is my mission from the coast to the mountains. I’m unsure what towns or cities I will be living in until I get there.
This is the most pivotal decision of my life, and I expect to grow a lot from this experience. I know this is something I will look back on the rest of my life, and I know this is something I need to do. I have prayed a lot about this decision to serve a mission, and although it may be very difficult at times, it will also be incredibly rewarding.
The first six weeks of my mission, I will be in Mexico getting trained in the Missionary Training Center; Learning how to teach, and learning the language. After October 8th I will head off to Ecuador. You can ask my parents for my new address once that happens.
After I serve a mission, I hope to get my dream job working for National Geographic and travel the world taking pictures. Enjoy life everyone, and treat everyone as you want to be treated!!
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.