Well folks, I gave my missionary farewell talk today! I’ve only been waiting for this day my entire life. I remember so many farewells of the young men in our ward, and thinking they were so old and mature, and feeling like my farewell Sunday would never come. And it did! I felt so much love and support today, and I know with all my heart that the gospel I’m about to share is true.If you’re interested, I decided to post my talk. It’s kind of long, but you may read if you so desire.
Brothers and Sisters, Aloha!
The topic I’ve been assigned to speak on today is the power of faith, hope, and love through Christ. I’ve really loved studying it, and I’m excited to speak about it today, because the development of those attributes is what builds Christ-centered lives, making us true Disciples of Christ. When we become true disciples, we naturally share the gospel with others because it is such a part of our core, and that’s what I’ve been preparing to do my entire life.
The first principle of the gospel is faith, and it is the first and most fundamental step in becoming a true disciple of Christ. Moroni tells us in Moroni 7:33 that, “Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.” Isn’t that amazing?
Faith can also lead us to do good works, obey the commandments, and repent of our sins. We can overcome temptation, experience miracles and spiritual and physical healing through the atonement, and have strength and courage to endure trials.
Peter is one of my favorite scriptural examples, and I think the story of him walking on water teaches important lessons about faith. Although he became afraid after he got a little way out on the water, and the Savior had to reprimand him because of his little faith, he had just had the faith to walk on water! He was the only one of the apostles that even got as far as the edge of the ship, not to mention actually walking on water. Peter showed great faith just through his desire to follow the Savior, and we can do that too. We just need to take that first step into the water.
An example of faith from my personal life is my first Relief Society president my freshman year. Her name was Gana, she was from Mongolia, she was a returned missionary, and she was engaged. Things don’t get much cooler in a freshman’s eyes. What was more, she knew my name, and she would call me by name when she saw me on campus, as well as in church on Sundays. Because of how kind she was to me, I committed to be the kind of girl she was—friendly to everyone, including and especially those who are new or seem to need a friend, and aware of the individual. I also decided that if I were going to be like Gana, I would need to serve a mission. That was already long in the plan, but this added to the commitment. Towards the end of the semester, we found out Gana was very sick. Or bishop organized a ward fast, and the next day she passed away. At the funeral, mission companions and friends spoke of the example of a faithful, loving person she’d been, and I decided to try to carry on her legacy as best I could. I will never forget Gana, because she is an example to me of the missionary and example I hope to be. Through the love she showed to be, I have a greater ability to show that love to others.
There is a crucial addition to faith in the Savior and His Plan. It says in 2 Nephi 31:20 that “we must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.” It goes beyond faith. It’s possible to be faithful all your life, enduring every trial, plugging along faithfully, and really being miserable. Hope is the gift of the spirit. It is applied faith, not just enduring, but anticipating the joy and rewards at the end. Hope is what lets us feel not only will things are going to work out, but that things will work out great. In Ether 12:4, it says, “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the sols of men, which would make the sure and steadfast, always abound in good works, being led to glorify God.
One experience I had that taught me the power of hope happened during one especially stressful finals week. I had a huge credit load that semester, and I had a bunch of intense finals and performances. Monday morning I decided to go running on the beach, which is one of my all-time favorite activities. The whole run down to the beach I was thinking about all I had to do that week, and worrying about all sorts of things that in hindsight really weren’t that important. When I got to the beach and started running again, I prayed for the strength and courage to make it through the week without dying.
Shortly thereafter, I noticed the beautiful sunrise, and the way it reflected on the sparkling water, brightening the beautiful section of paradise I had the great blessing to live in. I stopped worrying about all that was going to happen that week, and thoughts of my many blessings came to my memory.
I realized that if I didn’t get a 4.0 that semester, or play as well as I’d like to, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Everything would be fine, because no matter what, I had a family back at home that loved me, a Heavenly Father who loved me, and a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel.
That blessing of peace, hope, gratitude, and assurance got me through that week with minimal scars. It also strengthened my testimony of the love my Heavenly Father had for me, and gave me a better perspective for the future. I am so excited to share that message of hope with those I teach!
The last step in becoming true Disciples of Christ comes from the combination of faith and hope. As we develop those attributes, we will feel the love of our Heavenly Father, and naturally want to share that love with others. This is the power of faith, hope, and love through Christ.
When Lehi partook of the fruit of the tree, which was the love of God, his first instinct was to look for his family, because he wanted them to share that experience. We know that we are true followers of Christ if that is the way we feel. Because of the wonderful people I’ve been surrounded by my entire life—my family, my teachers, my friends, this ward—I’ve been able to feel that love many times.
One powerful experience I had where I felt the love of God very strongly was in the hospital a few years ago, after a surgery. Once I had recovered enough to be aware of the other children in the neural trauma unit around me, I became completely overwhelmed with the trials they had, and how they would affect their entire lives in very significant ways. One night I was so distressed that I was just sobbing in my hospital bed, and praying to Heavenly Father for them. In answer to my prayer, He told me that although they couldn’t necessarily pray vocally, or do the kinds of things I could do, like go on a mission, or go to school, they could still communicate with Him and feel His love. At that moment, I committed to try to show that same love to as many as I could, because I had felt its great power and intensity, and I couldn’t keep it to myself. That is why I want to go on a mission.
Therefore, let us aglory, yea, we will bglory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his cmercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.