Monday, July 7, 2014

Wesley's Farewell Talk June 29, 2014

Let Your Faith Show by Elder Russell M. Nelson

I’m so grateful for everyone here today. I feel your love and support and I’m grateful for your examples to me in getting me to this point in my life today. My testimony of the gospel is what it is today because of my family, friends, and leaders. So thank you.
Elder Russell M. Nelson counseled us this last General Conference to Let Our Faith Show. I’m going to share with you my favorite definition of Faith: D&C 6:36- “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.” Looking unto Christ in everything we do is the only way we can show true faith. Christ tells us to “doubt not, and fear not.” The opposite of doubting is having confidence in something. And Elder Nelson teaches us “faith is the antidote for fear.” So when we are told to doubt not and fear not, we are taught to have faith and confidence in our Lord Jesus Christ. We can have that faith and confidence in him through what he promises us in the scriptures. D&C 98:3- “…and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory.”
I have truly seen this promise fulfilled in my life and I know that my trials have worked for my own benefit and have testified of the infinite glory of the Savior’s Atonement. Elder Nelson said, “ I will say that one of the realities of mortal life is that our faith will be tested and challenged.” And I’d like to share with you my trials of faith that have allowed me to let my faith show in serving a mission.

There are four principles that I’ve gained a strong testimony about that will let our faith show that I’ve learned through these trials.
1. Pray
2. Read Scriptures
3. Have Faith in Christ that everything will work out
4. Press forward serving others regardless of the circumstances

Many of you don’t know this, but growing up, I have struggled with anxiety. I had a hard time leaving my parents at all and I always knew that serving a mission would be difficult for me. My mom came to elementary school with me and would be in the classroom helping my teacher with work so that I wouldn’t have to leave her presence. I went through 7th grade struggling only a little to find out that I hit rock bottom during my 8th grade year. I came home crying every day and going to school each day was a struggle for me. Thankfully, my mom took me to a psychologist who was her mission companion’s husband. Looking back now, I’ve realized that I needed to go through what I went through. Talking to Dr. Paul saved my faith in Jesus Christ. The first day I went, he showed me a game. He drew 15 lines on a white board and told me that whoever crossed out the 15th line would win. You have the option of crossing out 1, 2, or 3 lines at a time, and then the other person takes their turn. No matter who started, he beat me every time. He then told me how to win the game and he told me to beat him. He told me to go home and beat five other people, and then to share with them how to win. When I went back the next session, he told me that just like he showed me how to beat that game, he was going to show me how to beat my anxiety. Instead of prescribing me to drugs and to things that would trick my body into feeling better, he prescribed me to the scriptures and he taught me how to overcome my illness with faith. I will never forget the scripture that he shared with me one of the first times I met with him.
 He pulled out the Book of Mormon from his bookshelf and read this scripture: “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” (Ether 12:27) Ether’s counsel to us was exactly what I needed to hear in my life. The promise that my weakness would become a strength almost seemed impossible but I knew that It could happen with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It has been an ongoing process for years, but I’ve seen throughout my life how my weakness has become a strength. The promise that “all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory” had and was being fulfilled. This trial had worked for my good because it was turning me to the Lord.
I relied on praying to Heavenly Father and studying the scriptures. I made it a daily habit and it was something that I wanted to do everyday in order to receive the comfort that I needed. Elder Nelson said, “The scriptures provide one of the best ways to find our course and stay on it… We can gain great knowledge from the scriptures and obtain inspiration through prayers of faith.” The first way I have let my faith show in preparing for a mission is by praying and reading the scriptures.

 Another trial that helped me show my faith was going through my foot injury. The reason it was so difficult for me was that it brought back my anxiety because I wasn’t able to be active and play sports. I was constantly worried that it would never get better. Through many months of pain, I still wasn’t sure what to do with my foot. The thought of foot surgery scared me to death. Just three days before Dallin left on his mission, I received a call from Dr. Faux, my foot surgeon, telling me the results of the MRI. He concluded that the results had been the same as they had been months earlier and that there hadn’t been much improvement. He gave me two options over the phone. First I could push through the injury and hope that it would get better (but that’s what I had been doing for 8 months) and he didn’t think it would get better OR I could have surgery on my foot, which would take out the bone with the inflammation, and he would fix the skeletal structure of my foot. He felt that surgery would be best but he warned me that it might result in me not being able to jump as high or run as fast. But he told me that no pain is always better than pain. As surgery came out of his mouth, fear filled my body, but only for a few seconds. Just as my fear and anxiety reached its max, a peaceful feeling filled my body. One that I can never forget and I felt the Spirit tell me that I needed to get surgery. As that week went on, I felt constant comfort. I did as Dallin left on Wednesday and I did as I got surgery on Thursday. I’m so grateful for the Priesthood blessing I received before Dallin left on his mission. I was promised that I would be healed through Dallin’s service in the Netherlands and Belgium. I felt the Spirit tell me that it will all be okay. Just a few weeks after surgery, I woke up in the middle of the night scared to death and full of anxiety. I called my mom in to my room and just started crying. I told her that I didn’t think that I could do it any longer. The physical and emotional pain was so overpowering at that point. My dad came in and comforted me. Even though he didn’t know exactly what I was going through, he told me about his injuries with his shoulders and how tough they were for him to get through. My parents encouraged me and promised me that they’d be with me every step of the way, regardless of what happened with my foot. That memory means a lot to me because it showed me how much the Savior loves me. He knows exactly what I am going through, and like my dad, He lets me know that He has been through it too. And I could feel His love and support every step of the way. I learned that when we have faith in Christ, everything will work out.
As I rehabbed with a lot of hard work, I returned to basketball and started playing. During the Christmas tournament, my other foot started hurting like my left one had months ago. It scared me. I didn’t know what to do because I wanted to play, but not if it meant that my right foot would get injured. Once again, however, the Lord blessed me. Driving to the hoop, I got knocked down and landed awkwardly on my wrist. I broke it. But it was a good break and I was only out for four weeks. I couldn’t play basketball until it healed and it gave my right foot time to get better. At this point, I didn’t care about playing sports anymore. I just wanted to be able to serve a mission with a healthy body. I received another Priesthood blessing from my father and Bishop Salmon. The Lord promised me through them that I “will be able to serve a full time mission when I turn 18.” Once again, I felt the comfort of the Spirit tell me that everything will be okay. When we have faith in Christ, everything will work out. And I can testify to you today that it worked out. I can testify that Christ’s Atonement is infinite in measure but specific to everyone’s needs and desires. He definitely cares enough about each of our struggles and desires to bless us.

 Bro. Rich
Someone who I look up to a lot that I can see has great faith in Christ is Patriarch Rich in our ward. He was diagnosed with cancer about 2 years ago. Since then, his circumstances have been difficult. Though most of us can’t see it, he is in a lot of pain. Yet his faith in Christ makes him happy. His testimony is one that I wish to have someday. He knows that everything will work out. He has been a great example of teaching me how to let my faith show. He has shown me how to press forward serving others regardless of the circumstances.
 My mom has always taught me that when I am feeling down and sorry for myself, that is the time when I need to serve others the most. She is one of the best examples of that. There is no better way to let go of selfish worries from our lives than by serving others. Serving others will fill us with the Spirit and help us feel love for everyone.

Onion Field- President Eyring
 A great example of this is a story told by President Henry B. Eyring. This is President Eyring’s account: “He was nearly 80 and had bone cancer [talking about his father]. He had bone cancer so badly in his hips that he could hardly move. The pain was great. Dad was the senior high counselor in his stake and he had the responsibility for the welfare farm. An assignment was given to weed a field of onions. So Dad assigned himself to go work on the farm. He never told me how hard it was but I have met several people who were with him that day. I talked to one of them on the phone and he said that he was weeding in the row next to Dad through most of the day. He told me the same thing that others who were there that day had told me. He said that the pain was so great that Dad was pulling himself along on his stomach with his elbows. He couldn’t kneel; the pain was too great for him to kneel. Everyone who has talked to me that day has remarked how Dad smiled and laughed and talked happily with them as they worked in that field of onions. Now this was the joke Dad told me on himself afterward. He said that he was there at the end of the day. After all the work was finished and the onions were all weeded, someone said to him, ‘Henry, good heavens, you didn’t pull those weeds did you? Those weeds were sprayed two days ago and they were going to die anyway.’ Dad just roared. He thought it was the funniest thing. He thought that it was a great joke on himself. He had worked through the day in the wrong weeds. They had been sprayed and would have died anyway. When Dad told me this story, I knew how tough it was, so I asked him, ‘Dad, how could you make a joke out of that? How could you take it so pleasantly?’ He said something to me that I will never forget and I hope you won’t. He said, ‘Hal, I wasn’t there for the weeds.’ “Now, you will be in an onion patch much of your life, so will I. It will be hard to see the powers of heaven magnifying us or our efforts. It may even be hard to see our work being of any value at all. And sometimes our work won’t go well. But you didn’t come for the weeds, you came for the Savior.”
 As we serve others regardless of our circumstances we will be able show our love for the Savior and let our faith show.

 I made a goal before I got my call to bear my testimony in the language that I got my call in. So here I go:

Yo sé que este evangelio es verdad. Me bendice mucho mi familia. Yo sé que José Smith es una profeta verdadera. Tenemos el Libro de Mormón por medio de él. Yo sé que el Libro de Mormón es un otro testamento de Jesucristo. Sé que Jesucristo vive, y Él padeció para mí y para todas las personas. Él tiene mucho amor para cada uno de nosotros. Yo sé que podemos tener la vida eterna a través de Jesucristo. Y podemos vivir con Jesucristo y nuestro Padre Celestial otra vez. Y yo digo estas cosas en el nombre de Jesucristo, amen.

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