Thank you to all those who where able to make it to my farewell! Also, here is my farewell talk, if you didn't get a chance to come you can read what I spoke about.
Good morning! I am so excited to speak to you today, and I’m so excited I have the opportunity to serve a mission. I have been called to serve in the Denmark Copenhagen mission. I report to the Provo MTC Aug. 10Th ( 10 days!) and I preach the gospel in the Danish language. I will spend around 2 months in the MTC learning Danish and studying the gospel.
A little bit about my mission, the Denmark Copenhagen mission consists of the country of Denmark and it also includes the countries of Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe islands. There aren’t any missionaries in Greenland or the Faroe islands, and from what I’ve heard they only send elders to Iceland, so I will most likely be staying in Denmark. Lots of people in Denmark also speak English, so I will teach in both English and Danish.
I was really excited when I opened my call and realized that I would be going to Denmark. We believe that missionary assignments are not just made by chance or picked randomly. There is a reason the Lord assigns each person to their particular mission. I am thrilled to know that for some reason, the Lord wants me to go to Denmark. I have a desire to serve him, and he has chosen a place where he specifically wants me.
There is a really cool story that kind of goes along with calls being inspired that I wanted to share.
The following even took place in a ward in Salt Lake City in 1974. It happened during Sacrament Meeting and it was told by a representative of the Twelve Apostles who was in the meeting. A young man, who was just about to depart for his mission stood up in Sacrament and shared in essence the following testimony:
"Brothers and Sisters, as you know during the last few weeks I have been waiting for my mission call. During the time in which I was waiting I had a dream. I know that it wasn't an ordinary dream. I dreamt that I was in the Pre-Existence and was waiting for my calling to go to Earth. The same emotion and anticipation that I had before I received my mission call filled me."
"In my dream I was speaking with my friend; he was a very beloved friend and I felt a special closeness about him, even more than I had known in this life. While we were speaking, a messenger came and gave me a letter. I knew that it was my calling to go to Earth."
"With great emotion, my friend and I opened the letter. I gave it to him and asked him to read it out loud. The letter said: 'You have been called to go to the Earth in a special time and a special country. You will be born in the true Church and have the Priesthood of God in your home. You will grow with many blessings and advantages. You will be born in an abundant land, a land of Liberty. You will go to the Earth, to the United States of America.'"
"My friend and I rejoiced while we read my calling and while we were rejoicing, the messenger returned. In this occasion he brought a letter for my friend. We knew that it was his calling to go to the Earth. My friend gave me the letter to read out loud. The letter said: 'You have been called to go to Earth in circumstances of poverty and conflicts. You won't be born in the true Church. A lot of suffering will come to pass in your life. Your country will be involved in political and social difficulties, which will hinder the work of the Lord. You will be born in Costa Rica.'"
"We cried, my friend and I, while we read the calling. And my friend looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, 'When we are down there on Earth, you in your chosen land and me in Costa Rica, my friend, please come and find me.'"
Then this young missionary, with tears in his eyes said: "Brothers and Sisters, I have received my mission call. I'm going to Costa Rica."
One year after this Sacramental Service the Bishop of that ward received a letter from the missionary in Costa Rica. The letter had only one piece of paper and written in big letter were the following words...
I FOUND MY FRIEND!
I just love this story, and I can’t wait to go find my friend in Denmark.
It’s not ideal for a 19 year old girl who has just had one of the most fun years of her life at college, to decide she wants to “pause” her life for 18 months and leave her family and friends, but that’s exactly what I have chosen to do. When I was younger and the mission age was 21 for girls, I used to secretly hope I would get married before 21, so I didn’t have to make a decision on whether or not I wanted to go serve. But as I got older, in fact, during my last 2 years of High School, I’ve felt a growing desire to serve a mission. When the mission age for girls changed to 19, I had no doubt that I would go.
I remember one year when I was at EFY, which is a youth church camp, a speaker showed us a video that really touched me. I don’t remember what the video was called, or even what it was about, but I remember that during that video I had the strongest feeling come over me that I needed to go serve a mission and share the gospel with others. I thought about the gospel and how it has played such a huge role in my life. I decided that because I have been so blessed to know The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the happiness it brings, I need to go share it with other people.
We are taught that we should go and share the “good news” of the Gospel. Actually, the Greek word for Gospel means “good news”. The good news is that Jesus Christ has made a perfect atonement for mankind that will redeem all mankind from the grave and reward each individual according to his or her works.
The Gospel is centered on Jesus Christ and his Atonement, and because my purpose as a missionary will be to “invite others to come unto Christ” I felt like the perfect thing to focus my talk on today would be Christ’s Atonement.
“The Atonement is the sacrifice Jesus Christ made to help us overcome sin, adversity, and death. Jesus’s atoning sacrifice took place in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross at Calvary. He paid the price for our sins, took upon Himself death, and was resurrected. The Atonement is the supreme expression of the love of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.”
The “good news” is that Christ did this for everyone! There is not a single person who has lived or will live on this earth that will not be blessed by the Atonement. The good news is that death is not the end! We all will rise again and have the opportunity to live with our Father in Heaven. The good news is that even though every person on this earth has sinned, we can be forgiven for our sins. That is Great news.
I know that many people today are really lost spiritually. Many people question whether there is a God and if this life even has a purpose. I understand that secularism and even atheism are very prevalent in most parts of Europe. Because of this, there are many people who have little understanding of really who Jesus Christ was and what he did for us. What a great opportunity I will have in Denmark to share the good news of the Gospel!
I look forward to be able to teach others, that through Christ we have the opportunity to be forgiven of all our sins. When we are baptized, all of our sins are washed clean. That is the reason missionaries teach the baptismal discussions.
But, how many of us have resisted sin and temptation perfectly since our baptism? I know I haven’t. That is why the atonement is so important. God knew that we would mess up and continue to sin throughout our life. But because Jesus Christ already paid the price for these sins, through our sincere desire and repentance, we can be forgiven. Each week we have the opportunity to partake of the sacrament. Partaking of this bread and water helps us remember and renew the promises we made when we were baptized, and allows us to receive the cleansing blessings of our baptism. It is exercising the Atonement in our lives.
In Mathew 5:48, it says, “ Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father which is in heaven is perfect”. God has commanded us to be perfect, but we are bound to make mistakes. That is why the Atonement is continuous.
There is no rule that says, “ you can only use the atonement and be forgiven once, so use it wisely.” In the book The Continuous Atonement by Brad Wilcox, it says, “Perfection is our long term goal, but for now our goal is progress in that direction…. continuous progress that is possible only through the continuous atonement”.
In fact, honestly that is the reason for Church. Christ did not institute his church for perfect people….. He formed his church for all of us imperfect people so that we could come and work on becoming perfect. That is a principle I look forward to teaching. I’ve heard people say “I can’t come to church…. The walls would fall down if I go in there” meaning they are sinners. I’ve also heard people criticize folks who go to church as being hypocritical because they sin during the week and then go sit in church on Sundays.
I hope to teach the people of Denmark that Church is for all of us sinners so that we can work at becoming Saints!
I know that if we have a sincere desire to obtain forgiveness of our sins and make a change, then God will forgive us. And even though we will probably mess up again and again, he is there for us, however long it takes for us to make that change.
I also know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ will help me personally on my mission. I know that Jesus felt all things. Every feeling that we have, every sadness, every hurt, everything! I know that He will know how best to help me. Missions are definitely a hard thing. In fact, just being a member of the church and living the gospel is difficult with the world that we live in.
Elder Holland gave an amazing talk titled “Missionary Work and the Atonement” in June 2000. At the end of this talk he said, every missionary will come to a point in their mission where they ask, “Why is this so hard? Why don’t we have more success, or why aren’t things going better?” Elder Holland says, “You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.”
I loved this phrase because anyone who has ever tried to share or live the gospel knows it’s a hard thing. But you have to go through hard things to get great rewards. Salvation is so worth it, and so taking that journey to take upon ourselves the name of Christ and share His gospel with others will not be easy.
Elder Holland also said in his talk, “The Atonement will carry missionaries…When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
I know that every struggle I have and every pain I feel on my mission, the Savior has felt. I know that he can help me through every trial I face while serving.
I am so grateful for Jesus Christ’s Atonement. I look forward to being able to learn more and teach people about the Atonement. Because of Christ’s atonement I have the opportunity to teach others that they can be forgiven of their sins, and they can live with God and their families again.
So I just realized that I didn't take any pictures at my farewell.... Whoops! I guess I will just post some of the mission pictures My friend Rachel Hillyard took because I love them so much :)