Monday, October 28, 2013

My Farewell Talk

Yesterday I gave my farewell talk ,and I wanted to post it here for all those who wanted to come, but couldn't make it.  Of course, this is exactly what I said, as a lot of it is quotes, and I would put them in my own words or paraphrase, and add comments to while I was talking, but here is what I wrote and went off of.  

I’m so grateful to be able to speak to you today.  I’m leaving for my mission to Bolivia.  I report to the Colombia MTC on November 6th.  And I’ll be learning Spanish.
I’m excited to share with you some thoughts from a conference talk, and some thoughts of my own. I will be mainly referring to President Uchtdorf’s talk from the October 2011 general conference titled “You Matter to Him”.
He starts off by saying how after God appeared to Moses, he said “I know,” he said, “that man is nothing.”
“The more we learn about the universe, the more we understand—at least in a small part—what Moses knew. The universe is so large, mysterious, and glorious that it is incomprehensible to the human mind. “Worlds without number have I created,” God said to Moses.
Given the vastness of God’s creations, it’s no wonder the great King Benjamin counseled his people to “always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness.”
But even though man is nothing, it fills me with wonder and awe to think that “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.”
And while we may look at the vast expanse of the universe and say, “What is man in comparison to the glory of creation?” God Himself said we are the reason He created the universe! His work and glory—the purpose for this magnificent universe—is to save and exalt mankind.8 In other words, the vast expanse of eternity, the glories and mysteries of infinite space and time are all built for the benefit of ordinary mortals like you and me. Our Heavenly Father created the universe that we might reach our potential as His sons and daughters.”
I think that this is amazing.  Heavenly Father created all of this for us… for us to reach our potential as his children.
“This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God. …We have the incomprehensible promise of exaltation—worlds without end—within our grasp. And it is God’s great desire to help us reach it.”
He wants to help us, and he gave us the tools we need- families, the scriptures, a prophet, the gospel, etc.
With all things good, there comes opposition.  Satan appeals to us sometimes using pride, like we see in the Book of Mormon time and time again.  But in our day, I think he more often uses discouragement.  Instead of puffing us up, Satan tries to tear us down…
“He attempts to focus our sight on our own insignificance until we begin to doubt that we have much worth. He tells us that we are too small for anyone to take notice, that we are forgotten—especially by God.”
Uchtdorf shares an experience when he was at a pilot training far away from home.
He said he often felt “insignificant, unknown, and quite alone. Even so, I never once wondered if the Lord had forgotten me or if He would ever be able to find me there. I knew that it didn’t matter to Heavenly Father where I was, where I ranked with others in my pilot training class, or what my calling in the Church was. What mattered to Him was that I was doing the best I could, that my heart was inclined toward Him, and that I was willing to help those around me. I knew if I did the best I could, all would be well.  And all was well.
This gives me comfort that although I’ll be in a place far from home, and I might feel small and alone, I know that God won’t forget me. 
President Utchdorf says it perfectly: “The Lord doesn’t care at all if we spend our days working in marble halls or stable stalls. He knows where we are, no matter how humble our circumstances. He will use—in His own way and for His holy purposes—those who incline their hearts to Him.”
“God knows that some of the greatest souls who have ever lived are those who will never appear in the chronicles of history. They are the blessed, humble souls who emulate the Savior’s example and spend the days of their lives doing good.”
You Matter to Him
“… it may be true that man is nothing in comparison to the greatness of the universe. At times we may even feel insignificant, invisible, alone, or forgotten. But always remember—you matter to Him! If you ever doubt that, consider these four divine principles:
First, God loves the humble and meek, for they are “greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”17
Second, the Lord entrusts “the fulness of [His] gospel [to] be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world.”18 He has chosen “the weak things of the world [to] come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones”19 and to put to shame “the things which are mighty.”
This is also comforting to me, knowing that he trusts us, the weak and simple, to teach the gospel.  He trusts these young 18 and 19 year olds to teach His gospel.  It shows how much faith he has in us.
Third, no matter where you live, no matter how humble your circumstances, how meager your employment, how limited your abilities, how ordinary your appearance, or how little your calling in the Church may appear to you, you are not invisible to your Heavenly Father. He loves you. He knows your humble heart and your acts of love and kindness. Together, they form a lasting testimony of your fidelity and faith.
Fourth and finally, please understand that what you see and experience now is not what forever will be. You will not feel loneliness, sorrow, pain, or discouragement forever. We have the faithful promise of God that He will neither forget nor forsake those who incline their hearts to Him.21 Have hope and faith in that promise. Learn to love your Heavenly Father and become His disciple in word and in deed.
He mentions that 3 times, so I think that must be important, that we need to incline our hearts to Him.  He loves us so much, and we need to return that love to him.
Be assured that if you but hold on, believe in Him, and remain faithful in keeping the commandments, one day you will experience for yourselves the promises revealed to the Apostle Paul: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”22
Brothers and sisters, the most powerful Being in the universe is the Father of your spirit. He knows you. He loves you with a perfect love.
Not only is God this powerful being, he is also our father.  With this perfect love he has for us, he gave us the universe.  He gave up his son, which provided for the atonement, so we can return to live with Him.   He restored the gospel on the earth today. And the list goes on.
God sees you not only as a mortal being on a small planet who lives for a brief season—He sees you as His child. He sees you as the being you are capable and designed to become. He wants you to know that you matter to Him.
 “May we ever believe, trust, and align our lives so that we will understand our true eternal worth and potential. May we be worthy of the precious blessings our Heavenly Father has in store for us”
I know that Heavenly Father loves and cares about us.  This gospel is centered around love.  I want to share a quote from Elder Holland’s talk from this past general conference.  He addresses how to respond to mental and emotional challenges, but what he says can be applied to everyone:“Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend. As President Monson said: “That love never changes. … It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve [it]. It is simply always there.” Never, ever doubt that, and never harden your heart.” 
Just remember never to lose faith, because Heavenly Father loves us, and he will always love us.
I want to share a scripture that a missionary shared with me: Isaiah 41:10
10 aFear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
I know that the Lord is always with us, and He strengthens us.  And I know that Lord has been preparing me.
Heavenly Father knows what I need.  I know that He has a plan for me, and I’ve only been able to see a tiny glimpse of it. There’s a reason for everything. 
There’s a reason I took Spanish in high school and college.  There’s a reason I went to BYU. My testimony has grown so much there. There’s a reason I went to mission prep, even though I wasn’t planning on a mission at the time.  There’s a reason I have the family that I have.  There’s a reason why I’ve been blessed with the friends I have, and the good examples they are to me.  He has put people into my life that I needed for me to love and to love me, and all these people- family, friends, leaders, have blessed me in so many ways. He’s been preparing long before I had any idea I would be serving a mission.  He is ever aware of us and what we are going through, and what we need to prepare us for the future.  His plan for us is perfect, because his love is a perfect love.
I’m excited to be able to feel his love for his children while I am serving them.  I would be lying if I said I’m not scared or that I don’t have my worries and fears, but when I think about the love I’ll have for the people, all of that melts away. 
Thank you for all your love and support.

© Jennifer Tijerino and Mission Adventures in Bolivia, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material and posted photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Tijerino and Mission Adventures in Bolivia with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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