Monday, July 1, 2013

Fare Thee Well!

Yesterday was my Farewell Address.

And WOW. Can I just say that I am theeee luckiest girl in the entire world?

I have SO MANY people who love and support me- I was completely overwhelmed yesterday. Sitting up on the stand and overlooking the congregation in that chapel took my breath away because all the people I loved were sitting there in one room. It was amazing :)

Thanks to everyone who came to support me speaking and then those who came to the house afterwards. It was such a special day.

For those of you who don’t know, I have been called to serve in the Nebraska, Omaha mission.

·      Omaha is the 42nd largest city in America.
·      Nebraska is known for their sunsets, and for those of you that know me, know I LOVE a good sunset. Emily and I used to sit out on the corner and watch the sunset and wave as many of you would drive past.
·      Nebraskans LOVE their sports. The college World Series is held annually in Omaha and the cornhuskers have had 11 undefeated seasons.
·      Kool-aid, and TV dinners were invented in Nebraska
·      Spam is produced in Nebraska.
·      Famous residents include Warren Buffet, and Thurl Ravenscraft- who is the voice of Tony the Tiger
·      Nebraska is home to the world’s largest porch swing- fitting 25 adults.
·      Donut holes may not be sold – it’s illegal
·      As of right now, there are 16 girls that have their calls to Nebraska, 5 of which leave to the MTC the same day as me.

So this is where I will be spending my next 18 months and I’m excited to be able to call it home.
I’m going to start this off by addressing the first half of my topic, which is “Following the Prophet”

October 6th, 2012 was a day that has now changed many lives. In the Saturday Morning General Conference session, President Monson announced that boys may serve missions at age 18 and girls at 19. That day happened to by my 19th birthday.

I remember it very well. My mom woke me up, my dad made omelets and after I heard the news, my whole view for the future had suddenly changed. I remember crying hysterically all day and I didn’t quite know why, but I couldn’t stop.
Growing up, I never thought I would go on a mission. I figured it was the boy’s job and I would be focusing on dating and marriage by the time I turned 21. However, I remember having a talk with Scott Park before he left and thinking to myself “gosh, I wish I could just leave the world for a while and focus on the gospel”. I thought similar thoughts when my brothers left as well. But I never thought that it would ever happen.

After the announcement, I was amazed at the response from my friends about the age change. Instantly, so many of them were making plans to leave.

I like to relate this to Joseph Smith’s day. When Joseph received the command to move the saints across the plains, people dropped everything to follow his instruction.
The same is true today. I have seen friends put off education, quit jobs and drop full ride scholarships to follow this instruction from our prophet.

In my student ward up in Logan while I was attending Utah State this last year, we had over 75 people who received mission calls. Just in my ward
And in my stake? We had over 500. Just from these last 2 semesters.
You can imagine the missionary spirit and influences that I had up there.

It took me a while to receive my answer though. I went through a personal journey of a lot of hardship and tears. Questioning everything I thought I new to be true.
I would get frustrated so much because I felt like Heavenly Father wasn’t answering my prayers. But looking back, every one of those prayers was answered.

All these challenges made my testimony stronger then ever though
A quick trip to the temple gave me my answer.
My roommates and I went to do baptisms early one morning before class and after returning to the dressing room, I turned to my roommate and without really even thinking, I said “I need to go on a mission” and she replied with a big smile saying “I knew you would say that”. And an overwhelming feeling of relief and comfort came over me.  Along with A LOT of fear because I knew that I now had a big responsibility.

But as the Lord says in D&C 38:30 “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.
Bishop has also asked me to speak on preparing for a mission. I was going to stand up here and tell you what kind of shirts to buy, the stores that give discounts to missionaries and great brands for luggage, but I figured that isn’t really what he wanted.

I’m going to give you some numbers
I found a website that gives the count of how often certain words appear in the Book of Mormon.
Words representing “Preparation” occur 155 different times.
With 531 pages in the book of Mormon, dividing this up means that preparation occurs about every 3 pages.

So obviously preparation for ANYTHING is super important. Especially a mission.

With this huge influx of missionaries heading out in the field that has resulted because of the age change, there has been and still is major preparation going on.

With the opening of 58 new missions, calling of more mission presidents and the adding on to the MTC’s, the church has had to prepare and organize like crazy. Last Sunday, they even announced new methods of missionary work including Internet based contacting, and giving tours of our church buildings.

So the leaders of the church are preparing a lot for missionaries.

 Everyone’s view on missionary work has changed in the last 10 months.

I remember in seminary, I would sit in class and when our teacher gave the missionary lesson, he would advise the women to just sit back and listen and would speak directly to the boys.
While getting this talk ready, I read through my old seminary notes and I really never took notes on missionary work, I maybe just stuck in a quote or two.

This generation has also been prepared and this new announcement was inspired for us.

In the missionary broadcast just this last Sunday, L. Tom Perry said
“Surely the lord, and you parents have reared up a special generation to serve in this special day when we need and the opportunity to teach the gospel has never been greater

M Russell Ballard in the famous “raising the bar for missionaries” talk said:

“What we need now is the greatest generation of missionaries in the history of the Church.
We expect you to have an understanding and a solid testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We expect you to work hard. We expect you to be covenant makers and covenant keepers. We expect you to be missionaries to match our glorious message.

My whole life I have tried to be someone that The Lord would be proud of. I had made a goal to someday enter into the house of the Lord and through taking the steps to achieve THAT goal, I have been getting ready for a mission without even realizing it.
I have had the opportunity to share the gospel with many people in my life and to be able to share the happiness that the gospel brings into my life with others, and to see them light up from the truth, is so special and something that I have always sought to do. It makes me so happy to share.

Preparation for a mission doesn’t just start when you receive your call. It’s not just getting shots, and buying clothes (although I really didn’t mind that) But it starts when you are growing. When our children go to primary singing “I hope they call me on a mission”. When they can recognize a picture of Christ. When they’re influenced by their friends to do right or wrong. When they make goals to get to the temple and work to achieve them.

About a year ago, 3 friends and I took a senior trip to Park City.

On one of the HOT July days we were up there, we decided to go hiking.
We started the morning with scripture study, we each packed 1 bottle of water, and just a few granola bars, brought our cell phones, and we even turned back to the condo to grab sunscreen before we headed out.
The 4 of us trudged up the mountain and when we got about half way, 2 of my friends decided to turn back and wait for us at the car.
Rachel and I kept going. Eventually getting to a fork in the trail and were lost as to which path to take.
We decided on the left one, but after following it for about 5 minutes, we felt it was heading in the wrong direction and turned back to take the other path.
This path was better, but only at first. Eventually it started to get more and more faint and grown over. But we kept going knowing that it had to lead somewhere.
We said a prayer that we would be safe and make it back with our friends.
We kept in contact with the other 2 because, by some miracle, we still had cell service.
5 hours and 3 mountains later, we made it to the side of a freeway.
We CAREFULLY crossed the freeway to a lodge on the other side where the receptionist refilled our waters and we waited for our friends to drive to our location.
We were so hot and sore, but we had the chance to sit and think about all the miracles that had happened. We never ran out of water, our phone batteries never died, and we never gave up hope.

The Lord watched over us, made sure we were prepared, and even when the path got rocky and hard, we had faith that he would lead us to where we needed to be. And he did.

Looking back on where my life has taken me, it feels as though my life has been laid out for me. I have been faced with decisions that although I might have struggled with certain ones, through prayer and my relationship with my father in heaven, I have made correct decisions. Experiences and positions that I have held in the past have made me ready for things that I would face later on.

Even though I haven’t prepared and planned my whole life to serve a mission, the Lord has prepared me without me even realizing it.  Everything is just in his timing.
One thing we shouldn’t forget though is that the Lord is preparing others receive His gospel as well.

Alma 32:6-- this is when Ammon is teaching a group of poor people
"..for he beheld that their afflictions had truly humbled them, and that they were in preparation to hear the word.

Neil L Anderson, in this last general conference stated:
“Brothers and sisters, as surely as the Lord has inspired more missionaries to serve, He is also awakening the minds and opening the hearts of more good and honest people to receive his missionaries.

There are people in Nebraska who are ready for us, and people all over the world who are ready.

The second coming is near, brothers and sisters. The time is NOW.
I have a friend who just recently left on her mission to Reno. In her last letter, she shared with me this scripture and I would like to share it with you.

Jacob 6:2
"And the day that he shall set his hand again the second time to recover his people is the day, yea, even the last time, that the servants of the Lord shall go forth in his power, to nourish and prune his vineyard; and after that, the end soon cometh."

Missionary work is important, this is crunch time.
An army of missionaries are flooding the Earth. And I will be fighting at the frontlines. This message is important and I encourage all of you to share your testimonies with the world, council with Christ and be examples to those around you.

Henery B. Eyering in Ensign, May 1997.

“Every time that I have listened to the counsel of prophets, felt it confirmed in prayer, and then followed it, I have found that I moved toward safety. Along the path, I have found that the way had been prepared for me and the rough places made smooth. God led me to safety along a path which was prepared with loving care, sometimes prepared long before.”
I truly heed to President Eyerings words. I can testify that if you follow the prophet, and listen to the spirit, that you will be directed towards righteousness and you will be prepared for the future and READY to meet Christ again. I have witnessed this in my own life and witnessed it through those around me. I have done the best that I can do, and I am proud of who have become. Although I still have many challenges and weaknesses, I know that with God and through making decisions with him and keeping him in my heart always, I will have weaknesses made strengths so that I will be prepared for the future.

I do know that the Lord places certain people in our lives to help us. And I have been so blessed to have such great leaders and examples.

This ward really is the greatest and so many of you are amazing examples to me. I have told my parents many times how I thought that moving here was one of the best decisions our family has ever made. The impact that all of you have made in my life is greater than I will ever be able to express.

Growing up with the youth in this ward was such a blessing. I adore the young women and love them with all my heart. I have made so many life long friends from this ward.

I don't know how I got so lucky to have the friends that I do. They have always been such amazing examples to me and always pushed me to do my best. It has been such an amazing opportunity to go through this time together. To receive our mission calls together, go through the temple together, and to now be serving all at the same time. It gives me chills to think of the impact that we will have. I love them so much. And as I have seen so many of my friends already leave, and so many still yet to leave, I couldn't think of any better people to go out and preach and teach the word.

My family means so much to me. I am so grateful for them and the sacrifices that they make for me every day. I'm grateful for my 3 older brothers and the example that they set for me as they have gone on missions and married terrific women. I'm grateful for my dad and the sacrifices that he has made for our family and my mom for the decision she made at age 19 to join this church. I love them so much and am excited to spend eternity with them. That is one of the things I am most excited to teach, because having that knowledge brings me so much joy and comfort. 

 I have been so blessed throughout my life, but because I have been given much, I too must give

As I prepare to leave this place behind
My thoughts are turned above,
To my father and redeemer
I feel their fervent love.

The time is getting closer
when I'll set out on my way.
I begin to count the weeks
The hours and the days.

The beginning of a journey,
A tale I'll soon convey
Of the struggles and the joys
I'll feel along the way

I'm sure the work's demanding
And the hours will drag on
As I face the taxing task
Of teaching 'til the sun is gone

There are days I'll be discouraged
And nights I'll miss my home.
My heart might just feel empty,
I may feel utterly alone.

Although concerns surround me
I must always face my fears,
And know that through my trials
My savior will be near.

I'll study scriptures daily
Pondering the words I read.
I know that if I do this
The Lord will take the lead

When my heart becomes discouraged
I know that I must kneel
And utter words unto the Lord
His love for me is real.

For I know I am His daughter
He sent me here to Earth
To preach of His true gospel
And learn of my great worth.

In my life He's never left me
And I know He never will
Through trials I will face,
I must listen and be still

If I make sure my heart is open
And i'm faithful, kind and true
I'll hear the savior's words ring out
Declaring "I love you!"

So as I serve His mission
I know He'll be my guide
And if I follow in His ways
He'll be right by my side.

Brothers and Sisters, I know this church is true and that it blesses peoples lives. I wouldn’t be going on a mission if I didn’t know. I know that the Lord has prepared me for this mission and that he loves each and every one of us. I thank you all for your love and support throughout my life and I’m excited to see what the Lord has prepared you for 18 months from now.

I say these things in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Soooo much food!:)

My family is the cutest:)

Eat it up!

"sign me" pillowcase and "write me" pictures

Happy Day!


Dano is going to Omaha with me! Except he leaves in October:)
Pre Mish pics:)
Wyatt! Love this kid since elementary:)
My lovely ladies!

My awesome friends this Summer :) These kids are so fun.
Cuzzy picture. These kids are the greatest. <3

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