Monday, February 25, 2013
Kendall's Missionary Farewell Talk: February 24, 2013
Good Morning! I am so happy to be speaking today because how often do I get to speak about my testimony of this gospel to so many people that I love all in one room! It really is such a blessing and a miracle really! I’m so touched that I was asked to speak to you all about love this morning because all of you mean so much to me! I’m so blessed to have such great influences in my life who will love me and support me in all that I do throughout my life!!! Sunshine…I just feel so happy and so filled with love because I can feel all of your love for me and Heavenly Father’s love for me! Ultimately that’s the reason why I decided to go on a mission in the first place is because of God’s love for me!
Ever since I was about 13 or 14, it’s been in my plan to go on a mission. I had been taught and gained a testimony that I was literally Heavenly Father’s daughter, and I wanted to go on a mission to share with other people that they are God’s children too because I wanted to help others realize their true worth! As the time to go on a mission krept closer and closer, I had to really start to figure out…Is this really what I want to do? Is this part of my path in life? Last year, while I was going to school at BYU, I had really been praying a lot about whether or not this was what Heavenly Father wanted me to do. And one day, I was in a Book of Mormon class when my professor started going into some detail about the Atonement of Christ. He kind of illustrated what Christ really endured as he performed the Atonement, and he went into some detail about just how much Christ suffered for us so we could live with our Heavenly Father after we leave this life. It was during this lesson when it hit me just how much Christ loves me. He endured pain and ridicule and he went through every trial, every pain, and every sorrow that we will ever have. It just really hit me that THIS is true love. Christ loves us so much that he volunteered to do this for us, so that when we make mistakes in this life we can be forgiven and become clean so that we can one day return to our heavenly fathers presence. This was His main mission and purpose in His life: to save us! Before he even came to the Earth, (it’s kind of neat to think about) He had a mission call! His mission was to serve his brothers and sisters of the world by performing the Atonement and setting a perfect example of how we should treat others. In a much smaller scale, I also have a mission call and I, too, feel so much love for the people I am going to be teaching, and I haven’t even left on my mission yet!
… First of all, I had to wait 6 weeks to find out where I was going, and let me tell you, no 6 weeks could have gone by any SLOWER!!! I had no idea where I was going to go, but I knew that whoever was assigning me to a mission was going to be inspired. So finally the mission call came, and before I opened it, I just said a prayer that I would feel love for the people I was going to serve. I thought of a dozen different places and felt love for each different group of people that I pictured in my head as I prayed. Then I opened up the letter and it said: “You have been assigned to labor in the Poland Warsaw Mission.” Pause…I was shocked! In all honesty, I had forgotten that Poland was even a country! But the moment I read those words, I instantly knew, without a doubt or a second thought in my mind, that there was a specific person in Poland that needed to hear that God loves them. Every discouraging thought I’ve had about not being able to speak the language or not being a scholar on the scriptures goes away when I think of that single person who needs to be that God loves them. Now I hope to be able to get that message across to more than just one person while I’m away! …but if I can just find that one person and tell them and show them how much God and Jesus Christ loves them, I will consider my 18 months in Poland successful.
Someone I really look up to gave me a book recently called A Heart Like His. Something that it says that I think is so true is: “The love of God truly is the most joyous and delicious thing we can experience on this earth. It is so good that when we are filled with it, we are consumed with a desire that others should feel too.” I really like that quote because that is exactly what I feel! I feel the Lord’s love for me and it makes me so happy that I feel like I just have to share it with everyone I come in contact with and make them feel that love and happiness too! One of the things the Lord asks us to do is to “love thy neighbor as thyself”. We believe that we are all brothers and sisters – all Heavenly Father’s children. The least we can do for our own siblings is to show them love. Every year, we ask my mom, “Mom, what do you want for Christmas.” And she pretty much always says: “Awh, I just want my kids to get along!” And I’m sure this is exactly what Heavenly Father feels like! That the greatest gift we could give Him is to see His children reaching out to one another and treating each other with kindness. There was this video that I watched called the Civility Experiment. In it there’s a homeless man in New York and lives in Central Park, and he said something – without judgment – that touched me. He said: “[Love] comes from your heart. A lot of people think that it comes from your pocket…But it doesn’t cost a penny to be polite.” It makes you realize that everyone has a heart and everyone wants to feel love and kindness. In the New Testament, Christ teaches us that when “ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” When a person shows kindness to this homeless man in Central park, they are showing love for the Lord as well. When we show love to those around us, we are showing the Lord that we love him and by doing that it is easier for us to feel His love. Victor Hugo said in Les Mis: “To love another person is to see the face of God.” In each of the three times I have seen Les Mis…haha…the characters sing that line and I just get the goosebumps all over!! And it’s because it’s so true!! Loving someone not only allows YOU to be closer to God and for YOU to feel happier, but it also gives so much joy to the person you are showing love to. It’s such a privilege for me to be able to spread this love to a whole nuther part of the world! I get to feel and show God’s love to His children in Poland! What an incredible opportunity that is!! Our prophet Thomas S. Monson recently taught that the Lord entrusts us with His errands and gives us “the opportunity to be a blessing in the life of another.” When I heard this, I felt a sudden urgency that I needed to start living up to my potential so that I could be worthy of having the Lord’s trust! I am amazed that the Lord trusts me enough to teach the people of Poland His gospel! I mean, I’m 20 years old and have a lot to learn about life! But one thing I do know, is that I really can bless the lives of others if I, not only teach the gospel to the Polish people, but also if I open my heart to them and love them. I feel like gaining the Lord’s trust is such an honor and to act as His instrument as a missionary is such a privilege! I will be a representative of Christ as I wear a name tag with His name on it and go about teaching the things that He would teach if He were still on this Earth
But you don’t have to be a missionary to act as God’s instrument! Hymn number 293 has it right when it says: “Each life that touches ours for good reflects Thine own great mercy, Lord. Thou sendest blessings from above through words and deeds of those who love.” We can act as God’s hands in our daily lives by loving others. It really doesn’t have to be all that difficult! Opening your heart to someone can be as simple as sincerely inquiring about the day of the woman ringing up your groceries or helping someone who dropped a stack of papers. You don’t necessarily have to go out of your way, but allow yourself to love in the natural flow of your life.
I’ve been reading about a woman who experimented by trying to love in the ordinary tasks of her daily life. She began an experiment that wouldn’t take any extra time or effort on her part besides just examining her heart before she would interact with someone. I’ve been trying it out for the past couple of weeks and the results are out of this world huge!! Before I fake a friendly response to someone I don’t really know, I examine my heart…does it feel shriveled, deep in my chest, or closed off? If it does, I take a deep breath and roll back my shoulders and encourage my heart to be more open, soft, and full! Cracking my heart open a tincy bit more in conversations has helped me have some of the best and most genuine conversations with people! And it’s because I become more sincerely interested in their lives, and they can tell! I feel a genuine love for them, even if I don’t know them really well. I’m going to try to continue in this experiment as I leave on my mission. To Open my heart to every person I meet, become genuinely interested in their lives, and allow them to see into my soul. And to see that what makes me as happy as I am, is the gospel of Jesus Christ and the love that He has for me.
It’s His love that made me want to go on a mission – to serve Him and to act as an instrument in His hands. He has blessed me with so much: with a loving family, fantastic friends, a beautiful place to live, and most importantly with a knowledge of His everlasting love for me. I owe everything to the Lord and to Jesus Christ! That’s why I am willing leave behind my life, my schooling, and my loved ones. In my personal path, the best way I can think of for me to show my Heavenly Father how much I love Him, is to teach and to love His children in Poland. I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to be a blessing in the lives of the people there and to love them and to open my heart to them, and allow them to have a glimpse into my soul and see that what makes me feel the happiest is my Heavenly Father’s love for me. He loves each of us more than we can comprehend. Seek His love by showing it to others. Be the blessing in someone’s life. Allow your heart to be full of love and even when it’s hard, crack it open a little more than you normally would and I promise you that you will create relationships with those around you and create a relationship with your Heavenly Father like you have never had before.
Before I close… Examples of love in my life—
Lucienne: sweet and truly caring for me.
Nathan: supportive and taught me to give 100% of my heart to what I believe in.
Mom: generous and unselfish
I hope to combine all of these attributes that I have learned from my 4 wonderful parents to bless the lives of those in Poland.
I love each of you so much and am so grateful for your influences in my life and showing me so much love and support in all that I do and especially today!
I know these things to be true and say them in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.