Sunday, July 24, 2016

Farewell Talk

I had my mission farewell yesterday. This is a copy of the talk I gave. This isn't a transcript because I didn't record it, but for the most part, I stuck to this. The testimony at the end however is written for this, as I always bear testimony as I speak. So I don't remember exactly what I said.

If you'll direct your attention to the right of the screen, you will see my contact information for the next two years. Please don't get crazy writing me, because my mission president won't like that and I won't like that.

Kind of a bitter-sweet moment for me, seeing a lot of my friends for the last time in a while, but oh well. No turning back now.

I've attached the scriptures as links to, so you can get what I'm talking about. I didn't want to type up all fourteen verses or whatever.

Here it is!

. . .

I was asked to speak today on Faith in Christ. In His life, the way Christ lived and the things he did taught His disciples to have faith in His name. So throughout my talk, I’ll be sharing stories from the New Testament from the life of Christ.

One lesson that Christ taught was that He has power to protect us from danger. In the book of Mark, chapter 4, (4:35-41). We have certain storms in all of our lives. Whatever they are, Christ has the power to calm these storms. We have no reason to fear our trials when we have faith that Christ is able to do so.

He also taught this lesson to Peter. In Matthew 14. (14:22-33). The adversary is constantly on the attack, wanting to drag us deep into the waters and destroy us. Notice how after Peter says, “Lord, save me”, the next verse mentions that immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand. He didn’t wait at all. Christ didn’t hesitate to save Peter the moment he called out. When we are getting pulled down, we can have faith that if we call out to Christ, he will immediately stretch forth his hand.

Christ also can comfort us in times of need. He taught in Matthew 11, (11:28-30). He is always standing with his hands outstretched, ready to comfort us. And as soon as we come unto Christ, He will give us comfort.

A couples years ago, I had a really rough few days. Everything, in my eyes, was going wrong, and I was putting more effort into not breaking down in public than into anything else. There was one day that when I got home, I broke down into tears because my life was going terribly. Soon I decided to kneel down and pray for comfort. And almost immediately, before I even stood up, I felt that comfort that I had just prayed for. It was a great feeling, especially compared to how I felt the past few days.Christ didn’t take away my trials from me, or even move me away from more. But from that first moment, I had faith that if it ever became too much for me to handle, Christ will comfort me.

Christ wants our happiness. Don’t forget that he made those same baptismal covenants as we did to mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.

Christ taught also that when we have faith in Him, and rely on Him, we won’t need anything else. He taught this in John 6:35. “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst”.

He also taught this to a group of five thousand. In John chapter 6 (6:5-14). Not only was five loaves and two fish not nearly enough to feed that many, but it definitely was impossible to have leftovers. However, that small amount of food feed them all, and the rest filled twelve baskets. It’s amazing how Christ can manage to take something that seems like not nearly enough, and make it, not only sufficient, but more than enough. When we rely on Christ and put our faith in Him, we’ll always have just what we need and just when we need it.

Christ has the power to heal us, no matter what our affliction is. But unless we have faith in His power, we can’t be healed. Those who exercised faith in Christ were able to have them and those around them healed.

In Matthew 8, it reads, (8:5-8,10,13). This centurion didn’t even feel that he was worthy to have the Son of God even in his house, something I feel many people share. However, Christ saw the faith of this man, and healed the servant.

Another story is found in Mark chapter 5 (5:25-34). This woman didn’t turn to Christ very first. In verse 26, it says that she “had spent all that she had, and nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.” She tried everything she could think to do. Turning to Christ was probably her very last option. And yet, even though she had given up all she had to be made whole, simply touching the clothes of the Savior was enough to heal her. This woman showed faith that Christ was not only to heal her, but that only touching his clothes would suffice. And notice what Christ told her made her whole. Her faith.

Not only are people physically healed by faith, but free from their sins too. In the book of Enos, after a long repentance session, Enos wrote, (Enos 1:5-8). So we had a servant who didn’t need Christ to be present to be healed, a woman who didn’t have to do anything more than touch Christ’s clothes to be healed, and now there’s Enos. Who was made whole before Christ was even born. They all were made whole because they had faith that it was possible.

It may sometimes feel as though our sins are too great to be made clean of them, but if we come unto Christ, with faith in Him, we can be made whole from whatever it may be. There is not a single person in this room that Christ’s hand is not stretched out to. He wants us to come unto Him to be rescued or comforted or healed. But if we don’t have faith that He can do so, and if we don’t come unto Him, we can’t have those blessings.

No matter what it is we need, whether it be comfort, or healing, or protection, Christ can provide. We only need to have faith that he is able to. Christ suffered for us out of pure love. He lives today and leads us through His Church.

And I say these things in His name: Jesus Christ. Amen.

. . .

Not much more to say except, I'll still be updating this blog from the mission field. So keep an eye out for those.

See ya'll in two!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What's Going On??!!??

On Friday, I went through the temple to take out my endowments. Now you probably expect me to get all teary eyed and bear a powerful testimony of how amazing the temple is. Go ahead. Expect it.

Or maybe not. I don't own you.

However, I can't do that. I mean, yeah, it was a cool experience, but nothing to mention on Fast Sunday. No, for the most part, the feeling was confusion. What's going on? What do I do next? Somebody please help me. I'm not ready to adult! Where can I go to cry?

Luckily the temple workers were very helpful. I'm sure they get this all the time, even from members who go through very often.

After I left the temple, my first thought was, "Jeez, Provo is hot". The second was, "Why didn't I feel like I probably should? I'm supposed to feel the Spirit hit me like a bus. What gives?"

It took me a while to find that out. And here's what I've discovered. I was focused too much on what was physically happening that I didn't notice all the symbolism and stuff. I can think of maybe one of two moments where I could feel something.

Now before you scoff saying that nobody can possibly be this dim-witted, all the while tromping away mumbling how your father will hear about this, hear me out!

I don't think that's a bad thing. And I don't think I'm just justifying being stupid. If I am, someone will let me know. If you're questioning if that's your job, it's not your job.

I don't think focusing on only what's physically happening is bad. I still have a pretty decent memory of the experience, and I've pieced together one or two things since. Not to mention the few things I felt from when I went. So I've definitely learned a bit.

Unlike in Political Science

But we can't just focus on the symbolism all the time. I'm sure anywhere who's been in some kind of advanced English class (or basic English class; I don't know what you peasants do in those) will know how studying a novel can give you a Dickens of a time trying to find out what it means. (I punned!!)
"Bah Punbug"

Before you can even begin to understand that Lenny is supposed to symbolize childlike wonder and innocence, you gotta understand what's going on first. You gotta read the book before you understand it. And SparkNotes ain't gonna cut it.

If you're thinking reasonably and like a normal person, you won't try to stock your mind-brain full of everything possible the very first time.

As mortal beings, we have very limited memories, and very limited minds. It's impossible to know everything about everything in this life. But that's okay.

While there's a lot we have to learn, we literally have all the time in the world to learn it. Knowledge doesn't die with us; it continues to grow and progress until it's perfect.

I suppose this revelation was a bit of a comfort to me in many other aspect. As I'm writing this post, I have a little over a week until I report to the Provo MTC. And recently I've been getting terrified. I'm not smart! Sure I've learned quite a bit from seminary and institute, but certainly not enough to go out and tell people that they ought to repent and join our church.

I feel like some people expect me to be totally ready to go on a mission. Whether that's true or not, I have no idea. But it doesn't change the fear I have. I feel pressure to be perfect and to have a perfect testimony.

But spoiler alert: I have no idea what's going on most of the time!!

Going through the temple kind of solidified for me my lack of knowledge of what is going on. However, as I've pondered and prayed, I've discovered that that's okay. Not only is it okay, but that's to be expected.

None of us is supposed to know what's going on! None of us is supposed to fit our own expectations. We are, however, supposed to be trying. We're supposed to be learning, and growing. Accepting that we're not perfect, but all the while striving to become that.

You won't become perfect overnight. No, that'll take a lot longer. But you'll grow throughout those little things. Each day, you'll learn a bit more, and grow a bit more. Eventually you'll make it. Don't fret. It'll all work out.