Sunday, June 22, 2014

Amanda's Farewell Talk

The fourth article of faith contains most of the Doctrine of Christ which is that all men everywhere must have faith is Jesus Christ, repent of their sins, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and Alma added that we must also endure to the end.

Following the Doctrine of Christ is the only way to be saved in the kingdom of God. It is the foundation of the Church and the central message of its missionaries.

Preach My Gospel defines a missionary’s purpose as being “to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.”

Now I hope you’ve been listening because I’ve just repeated the Doctrine of Christ a few times, but it is taught repeatedly for a reason.

Hyrum Smith said this, “Preach the first principles of the Gospel – preach them over and over again: you will find that day after day new ideas and additional light concerning them will be revealed to you. You can enlarge upon them so as to comprehend them clearly. You will then be able to make them more plainly understood by those [you] teach.

Yesterday I had the chance to see my youngest brother Dan be baptized. As I sat quietly, I thought about the investigators I will be teaching and reteaching (like Hyrum Smith said) as they prepare to be baptized. Dan I want you to know I’m proud of your decision to be baptized, because being baptized is the first step we must take to follow Jesus Christ. And I know that when we follow Jesus Christ we are blessed.

In True to the Faith we are taught, “when we experience the blessings of gospel living, we naturally want to share those blessings with others.”

I felt this desire in my life and read D&C 4:3 which says, “Therefore, if you have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;” After thinking it through, talking with my parents, and asking Heavenly Father through prayer and fasting I decided to turn in my mission papers. I know it will be tough and that not everyone I teach will accept the gospel, but I am comforted by the Lord’s promise of the joy that comes into our lives when we share His gospel and help others come unto Him. For he taught, “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;

For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.

And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance.

And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!

Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people.

And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!”

President Monson reminds us, “Right now, today, there are many caught in the current of popular opinion. Others are torn by the tide of turbulent times. Yet others are drawn down and drowned in the whirlpool of sin.

This need not be. We have the doctrines of truth. We have the programs. We have the people. We have the power. Our mission is more than meetings. Our service is to save souls.”

This is my motivation. I want to be in the service of saving souls.

“We best serve our Father in Heaven by righteously influencing others and serving them. The greatest example who ever walked the earth is our Savior, Jesus Christ. His mortal ministry was filled with teaching, serving, and loving others. He sat down with individuals who were judged to be unworthy of His companionship. He loved each of them. He discerned their needs and taught them His gospel. He invites us to follow His perfect example.”

In the October 2012 General Conference President Packer shared a story of a time he was in Samoa to reorganize a stake. He said, “The day we were to return, it was raining. Knowing the plane could not land on the wet field, we drove to the west end of the island, where there was a runway of sorts atop a coral break. We waited until dark, but no plane arrived. Finally, we learned by radio that there was a storm, and the plane could not take off. We radioed back that we would come by boat. None of us realized that a ferocious tropical storm had hit the island, and we were heading straight into it.

We arrived in the harbor where there was one narrow passage we were to go through along the reef. A light on the hill above the beach and a second lower light marked the narrow passage. When a boat was maneuvered so that the two lights were one above the other, the boat would be lined up properly to pass through the dangerous rocks that lined the passage.

But that night there was only one light. Two elders were waiting on the landing to meet us, but the crossing took much longer than usual. After watching for hours for signs of our boat, the elders tired and fell asleep, neglecting to turn on the second light, the lower light. As a result, the passage through the reef was not clear.

The captain maneuvered the boat as best he could toward the one upper light on shore. We could hear the breakers crashing over the reef. When we were close enough to see them with a flashlight, the captain frantically shouted reverse and backed away to try again to locate the passage.

After many attempts, he knew it would be impossible to find the passage without the lower lights. All we could do was try to reach the harbor 40 miles away. We were helpless against the ferocious power of the elements. I do not remember ever being where it was so dark.

I do not know who had been waiting for us at the beach. I refused to let them tell me. But it is true that without that lower light, we all might have been lost.”

Now I want to talk about how the Upper and Lower lights work…there’s an upper light set up on a hill and a lower light down near the shore. When those two lights are aligned that marks the safe passage. I like to think of Christ as the upper light and as members we are the lower lights helping people come unto Him.

Continuing from President Packer, “There is in our hymnbook a very old and seldom-sung hymn that has very special meaning to me.”

The hymn is titled Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy. This song has taken on a greater meaning for me as well as I’ve developed a closer relationship with my Savior and discovered just how much I must rely on Him and my responsibility to help others. The song goes like this…
Brightly beams our Father’s mercy
From his lighthouse evermore,
But to us he gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore. 
Dark the night of sin has settled;
Loud the angry billows roar.
Eager eyes are watching, longing,
For the lights along the shore. 
Trim your feeble lamp, my brother;
Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor,
In the darkness may be lost. 
Let the lower lights be burning;
Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.
As members of the church we all have the opportunity to help others come unto Christ. Jesus Christ is the light and the life of the world. As we fix our gaze on His teachings, we will be guided to the harbor of spiritual safety.

In the most recent General Conference Elder Scott said, “The promise of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Atonement is to take anyone who comes, anyone who will join, and put them through an experience so that at the end of their life, they can go through the veil having repented of their sins and having been washed clean through the blood of Christ.

That is what Latter-day Saints do around the world. That is the Light we offer to those who are in darkness and have lost their way. Wherever our members and missionaries may go, our message is one of faith and hope in the Savior Jesus Christ.”

Amanda and David Blake both spoke in Sacrament Meeting. David is going to the Chile Santiago East Mission.