We're in the final countdown to Andrew's missionary departure!
Here are some notes Andrew took for his farewell talk. He's so ready!
My Farewell Talk
Good morning, brothers and sisters! I just wanted to say I’m not going on a mission……..(He sat down right here as if he was done talking)... I am going to serve a mission. J Yes, my dad always said not to go on a mission, but serve your mission. I’m sure lots of people have said that phrase but he’s the first I’ve heard that from. There’s much wisdom in that different set of words, “serve” rather than “go on a” mission. “Go” implies the act of continuing on in a certain state or condition, while “serve” denotes an act that helps the betterment of others. This brings me to my topic, which is My Testimony Prompts Me To Act. (When I say act I mean it in the sense of serving, fulfilling a calling, whatnot).
This is such an appropriate topic for me since I am about to serve my mission fairly soon. I’m grateful to speak to all of you on this topic. I’m thankful for the words that were already spoken by Sister Ross and Sister Lorimer. I pray that the Spirit can be with us as I finish up the meeting. I told a few of you that my mission president told me not to prepare anything for my talk but go by the Spirit only. I actually reread the letter he sent me and it said “try not to read your talk verbatim but go by the Spirit” so I’ll try to do what he asks of me J. We’ll see how it goes.
I’d like to start off by referring to a talk by Elder Holland from this past General Conference. It’s called Lord I Believe. Elder Holland tells us a story about a father and his son who was sick and needed to be healed. They tried everything they could but no one could heal the son. Then Jesus came to them. The father said “If thou canst do any thing,” he said, “have compassion on us, and help us. “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
Elder Holland went on to say that he can’t read the words “If thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us” without weeping. The father is saying “our whole family is pleading. Our struggle never ceases. Can you help us? We will be grateful for anything—a partial blessing, a glimmer of hope.” Christ then goes on to heal his son.
My perspective is that this man is putting all his faith in Christ because he knows he will heal his son. He is showing his testimony by relying on his faith in Christ. He is acting by, as it said, “straightway” crying out Lord I believe. Without an instance of hesitation he knows he cannot deny Christ and he asks for help. I appreciate this story because it shows us so much. It tells us what Christ requires of us. He requires us to believe in Him and have faith in Him. And with these equipped, all things are possible. It tells us what kind of man the father is. He is the type of man who is willing to sacrifice everything in order to get his son healed. He is also not afraid to ask for help. Asking for help is the first attribute of My testimony prompts me to act.
The second criterion is one that I already touched on but I have a better example for it. In Mark chapter 4 starting at verse 18 it says
18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
So from this passage of scripture we can learn that the apostles straightway left their nets and followed Christ. It doesn’t say that they meandered about and said can’t we leave later? They immediately acted upon the will of the Lord. The father with the sick son, he also “straightway” said Lord I believe. I love both of these instances of action because they both demonstrate their testimony with much quickness. They determine what the right action would be and decide to act upon it with much haste. Their testimony prompts them to act with efficiency. Getting the job done straightway is the second attribute of My testimony prompts me to act.
The third point is one that might be overlooked but it is as essential as the last two points. In Luke chapter 17 it deals with the 10 lepers that Christ heals. After he heals them only one returns to give Him thanks at His feet. Christ then asks did I not clean ten? But where are the nine? Then he tells the Samaritan that thanked him to go and thy faith hath made thee whole. It was such a simple act to give thanks for this marvelous miracle Christ performed but Christ demonstrated further powers by making the Samaritan whole in return for thanking him. The Samaritan was humble enough to remember who healed him after he was cleansed and thus received further blessings. It is important that we remain humble as we are acting upon our testimonies much like the thankful Samaritan. He demonstrated faith and courage by washing himself clean of his leprosy. He also exemplified and acted upon his testimony by remembering and thanking Christ. His humility is a trait that we all can demonstrate when our testimonies prompt us to act. Elder Uchtdorf said this about humility: Some suppose that humility is about beating ourselves up. Humility does not mean convincing ourselves that we are worthless, meaningless, or of little value. Nor does it mean denying or withholding the talents God has given us. We don’t discover humility by thinking less of ourselves; we discover humility by thinking less about ourselves. It comes as we go about our work with an attitude of serving God and our fellowman. I couldn’t have said it any better than he could. Remaining humble is the third attribute of My testimony prompts me to act.
The fourth and final point is a tough one but with the help of the Lord anything is possible. We go to Nephi in the Book of Mormon chapter 17. Nephi deals with his murmuring brothers. It says And when my brethren saw that I was about to abuild a ship, they began to bmurmur against me, saying: Our brother is a fool, for he thinketh that he can build a ship; And this goes on for several more verses but then Nephi has the courage to say a lot of points that show that the Lord has helped them all this time. He even says Ye are aswift to do iniquity but slow to remember the Lord your God; which is hard for Laman and Lemuel to hear but it was necessary for them to hear it. Then Nephi gets filled with the power of God and shocks them. Sometimes we as members have to take initiative and have the courage to stand firm in the foundation of Christ. We must be prompted by the Spirit and our own testimony to act in defending truth and righteousness. The Spirit can guide our testimonies and it takes much courage to act upon those moments. We need to remember Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. President Thomas S. Monson said It is this sweet assurance that can guide you and me—in our time, in our day, in our lives. Of course, we will face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. Courage becomes a living and an attractive virtue when it is regarded not only as a willingness to die manfully, but also as a determination to live decently. A moral coward is one who is afraid to do what he thinks is right because others will disapprove or laugh. Remember that all men have their fears, but those who face their fears with dignity have courage as well. Standing firm and exemplifying courage is the fourth and final point in My testimony prompts me to act.