Sunday, July 19, 2015

Farewell Y'all!

I can’t believe that this day is finally here! Actually I cannot believe I am here having my farewell talk in general. For those who knew me growing up I was always the girl who said she would NEVER go on a mission, yet here I am. I guess we truly never know what the Lord has in store for us. And for those who do know me really well know how terrified I am of speaking. I was taking a mission preparation class at the Institute building and on the first day we had to share our biggest fears about going on a mission. Everyone was giving the typical answers like the language, the culture, and not being able to answer a question; mine however was the farewell talk. Nothing else scares me more. So hopefully I can make it through this. 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are a covenant people. From the day of baptism to our marriage sealing and forever on we will make promises or in other words with God and He makes promises with us. He always keeps His promises, but it is a crucial test in our lives to see if we will make and keep our covenants with Him. Ordinances and Covenants are an essential part of our religion. Without them we would not be able to have the necessary things that will be required to enter into our Father’s presence once again. 

The first ordinance we encounter in our lives is the ordinance of baptism. When we are eight years old we are given the choice to enter the waters of baptism and be cleansed of all our sins and become an official member of our church. Every member has made the covenant in the waters of baptism to be a witness to God. So any call to bear witness and to care for others is not a request for extra service; it is a blessing designed by our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. This years’ youth theme is D&C 4:2 which reads, “Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day“. Service truly is a blessing in our lives and fills our souls with joy every time we participate in acts of service no matter how big or small they may be. Standing as a witness to God is as simple as answering a question a friend may have about our church to serving a mission and teaching people about his church. For the young women in the ward in your young women theme it says in the first paragraph to “Stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places“ how wonderful is it that our leaders find this important enough to include it into the young women theme. 

After our baptism we are given the gift of the Holy Ghost and that allows up to have a spiritual guide with us at all times. With this gift we will be able to uphold our covenants and ordinances easier. 

For men the next ordinance in their lives is receiving the priesthood, more specifically pertaining to the Melchizedek Priesthood. I was reading on the church website when I came across this quote and I am sad because it did not say who it was by however it states, “...Priesthood is the power and authority of God. It has always existed and will continue to exist without end. Through the priesthood, God created and governs the heavens and the earth. Through this power, He exalts His obedient children, bringing to pass “the immortality and eternal life of man”. How amazing it is to think that this world was created through the priesthood and how amazing it is that our men have the ability to have that wonderful power. All of our ordinances are given to us through the authority of the priesthood. Some of these ordinances include our saving ordinances and without them we would not be able to be with our Heavenly Father once again. I am grateful that I have a worthy priesthood holder in my family and I am thankful for his faithfulness and the numerous amount of fathers blessings at the beginning of the school year. 

To worthy members of the church we will have the opportunity to go inside the temple and receive an endowment for ourselves. The endowment received in the temple is a gift, if fact that is what is means. When we take out our endowment we must remember that we are making very sacred covenants with the Lord and we must uphold our promises. Each temple ordinance “is not just a ritual to go through, it is an act of solemn promising” ( President Brigham Young said, “Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, … and gain your eternal exaltation.” When I was interviewing with my stake president to gain my temple recommend for my endowment he asked me this question and it was one I hadn't really thought of before. It was “why do you think the leaders of the church want you missionaries receiving your endowments before you leave on your missions?” I will admit I was stumped, I had never thought about it before I just knew you had to do it. After thinking about it for awhile I realized it was because we needed to know for ourselves the sacred things that happen inside of the temple. We could not preach how wonderful it is to be sealed to our family when we ourselves have not witnesses the feelings inside the temple. The temple is truly the house of the Lord and I invite you all to go and learn of the things inside. You will never go wrong when you make time for the temple.

Inside of the temple there is another ordinance that takes place and that is the marriage sealing. “A man and woman who love each other deeply, who have grown together through the trials, joys, sorrows, and happiness of a shared lifetime, can live beyond the veil together forever with their family who earned that blessing.” That was a quote by Richard G. Scott from the 1999 Spring General Conference. It is relieving to know that our church is so highly centered on the family and the fact that families can be together forever. Though we will lose special people throughout our lives we can have the satisfaction that we will see them again beyond the veil and that truly is a plan of happiness.

We should decide now to receive the ordinances of the temple and to receive them at the appropriate time. Also we should not let anything change our goals to enter the temple. The endowment and sealing ordinances of the temple are sacred and we should take special time out to properly pondering their meanings and symbols. These symbols provide a lifetime of learning and understanding. Our church also has the blessing of letting us go back again and again to learn of the temple by doing ordinances for the dead. Our ancestors will have the opportunity to receive these ordinances and covenants for themselves because they were not able to in their lifetime, and because we are able to do these things for the dead our family can all live together beyond the veil. 

Every girl dreams about her wedding day but I love that I get to be with the man I love for an eternity, and that there won’t be a day he won’t be my husband and eternal companion. That in itself is beautiful. These ordinances and covenants we make with the Lord throughout our lives are sacred and very special to each and every single one of us. I am grateful to have a temple so close to us and for all the opportunities I have had growing up and presently to enter into the temple. I can promise you that when we make and keep our covenants it will only bless our lives and make our lives rich in happiness. In D&C 82:10 it reads “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye will have no promise”. The Lord will always keep his promises but it is up to us to keep our promises to Him. I am ecstatic to go and serve my mission in the city of New York, in American Sign Language in fact. You can truly know that the gospel will truly to taught in all languages even when those people can’t hear. I know that this gospel is true with all my heart and I will invite anyone to learn of it and gain a testimony for themselves. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and I am grateful for the courage he had to go and ask God for himself what he should do. Without his faith we would all not be here today. I am grateful for this gospel and that I can be with my crazy family for all eternity and that I can have my own personal family sealed to me for forever. I love you all so much and I can’t wait to share all my adventures with you from New York.

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

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