Saturday, May 26, 2012

Jaclyn's Mission

This was Jaclyn's homecoming talk I thought you both would love to remember how she felt and her amazing experience. I bet you are feeling so many similarities now!

Canada was incredible.  I will start with that.  Serving a mission has meant everything to me, especially in regards to my relationship with Heavenly Father and The Savior. 

My whole mission I served in the Young Single Adult program and with single sisters.  What a blessing it was to be able to learn the gospel to prepare for people I could relate to.  Teaching girls who they are, how knowing Christ can help them be confident in themselves and how to be a woman that God trusted.  It is amazing to see girls realize, change, and move upward.  Jacki Rach is probably the best example of that.  Jacki was born with fetal alcohol syndrome.  She was given alcohol as a baby, and continued on to hard core drugs and alcohol abuse.  There was point in her life when she was pregnant, on the streets, and completely oblivious to reality.  She was introduced to us by her best friends who had just been baptized.  I am all about member referrals so when we asked these guys which of their friends needed the gospel most at that time, they both laughed and said, “Jacki! But you’ll never be able to do anything with her.”  We began teaching Jacki.  She would meet us at the church with a cigarette in her mouth, blasting Metallica, and we just knew that the gospel was what she needed.  She had a really hard time coming into the chapel during sacrament because of social anxiety, but the gospel began to change her.  Because of the design of Preach My Gospel we began to cater the lessons to help her visualize what she could be, or rather, who she really was.  One lesson we had taken pictures of her as a child and played I am a Child of God and talked to her about the Atonement and how it helps us realize that connection we have to a Father who is constant, loving, and completely devoted.  These were things she had never experienced.  Jacki was baptized on the 27th of October and is still active.  She has introduced her whole family to the gospel and we had the opportunity to teach her mother in the last area I served.  IT WAS FANTASTIC!!!

Stories like this happened frequently in hopes to help these women understand the love Heavenly Father had for them.  What I came home with was just that.  I had always known that Heavenly Father loved me, but when serving Him as a full-time representative I realized how He loves everyone.  That was the key to the success I had on my mission.  LOVE.  Loving everyone.

My last area I served was a little different.  My president decided to have sisters serve in family wards and I was placed for my last four weeks with a member to serve with in a tiny area.  10 minutes top to bottom and really wondering who on earth we could find in so little time and so little space.  Knowing Heavenly Father has plenty for me to do I went to Him and said, “Please help me be where they are.”  We began finding like crazy.  Everyday a new investigator.  It was amazing.  One day it snowed pretty hard so we decided to get some shovels and go find.  Six sisters would pile out of their cars and run to help everyone we saw.  It was probably quite the scene.  One house in particular I will never forget.  Lou Therrien.  We knocked on his door; asked if we could shovel, “Swell!”  he says.  We finished and he agreed to have us back later that night.  He began to investigate the church.  This 87 year old, Roman Catholic, began to read the Book of Mormon.  I completely fell in love with him.  He was darling.  He reminded me so much of my own Dad and so being with him was fabulous.  We’d teach and then he’d tell us stories.  The reason I had him in my life was because his stories helped me see the relationship I had with the Savior.  How he knew what to say was because he is very sensitive to the spirit.  One story in particular is one that has really helped me understand the relationship I cultivated Christ.  Lou was the Regional rep of Kirby vacuums. “Selling Kirby’s is an art girl.  It takes skill, dedication, and hard work.”  Lou Therrien would travel all across Canada in hopes to find the most “worthy” of sellers for his company.  He would have recruiting meetings where he would pitch the most attractive terms known to man.  Boy could he pitch.  By the end of his presentation he would have every man lined up out the door with the desire to sell or him.  20 men from each presentation are chosen.  Lou would have his top sellers pick and then those men would be called in to begin training.  They would start the training process and by the end of the week they were out in the field.  Top sellers would teach and even Lou himself was a huge part of the training.  He had to be.  He was the best.  One fellow was chosen for training.  Robert Chassen.  He was cross-eyed, pigeon-toed, and stuttered like most of the cars in Winnipeg do during the winter.  How on earth was this man supposed to sell?  “He’ll never make it!”  Lou remarked as Robert struggled through training.  The week ended and the men were to the field.  They would return with 4 sells, 5 sells, and the top dogs would come home with nearly ten.  Robert came back with nothing.  “Well, Robert I am sorry, but we can’t employ you.  You’ll have to leave.”  “Please Mr. Therrien!  One more week?  I promise I can do it!  I know I can!”  “Alright, one more week, but that’s it!”  Robert trained with the next recruiting group only to return from training with no sells.  “Bob, I can’t pay you if you aren’t making any money.  You’ll have to go.”  “Please Mr. Therrien!!  I have to have this job.  I know its what I am supposed to do.”  Lou looked at his calendar.  “Training ends Bob.  No recruits come in next week.  They are all in the field selling.”  “You could teach me.  I’d be willing to learn from you.”  Lou looked at a pathetic Bob and back at his calendar.  “Bob I will train you.  Side by side we’ll do this work, but you have got to listen to me.  You do exactly what I say, you follow me exactly.  I will teach you how to be a master seller, but you must follow the master exactly.”  The most extensive training began.  “Don’t stutter.  Walk straight.  Look them in eye.”  They seemed like such small things.  Robert was Robert!  He can’t change who he is.  He has been that way too long, but it didn’t matter, rules were rules and he had to follow if he was to stay.  Lou would return home exhausted.  Bob even more so and yet they pushed.  Training completed and Lou sent Bob to the field.  He returned with 4, 5, 4, 5.  “Something told me he could do it.  I never thought it would happen, but he did it.”  Robert became Kirby Vacuum’s top seller and when Lou retired he sold to Bob. 

This was my mission!!!  I went to the MTC to train to be a missionary.  So many times I felt like I was so unprepared to serve.  I would say to myself, “This maybe isn’t for me?”  But I just stayed in hopes that the Lord could do something with this very unprepared daughter of His.  I would go to class and open my scriptures and nothing would happen.  Nothing was clicking.  I knew the stories, I knew the drill, but was I really going to be able to be an instrument for Christ?  One night I prayed and just begged Heavenly Father to just teach me.  “Please Father, I will do everything you ask me to do.”  And so it began.  My willing heart was ready.  That was the key.  I began to learn by the Spirit, side by side with the Savior, a place that, for me, will forever be the most comfortable, the most fulfilling, and the happiest.  The people of Nephi dwelt in the manner of happiness because of this willingness to do exactly what the Father required of them. I began to live the mission standards.  Weird rules seemed so insignificant.  No gum in public, in the apartment at nine, up at 6:30, 30 minutes of exercise, but you do it.  You do it because that’s the only way the Lord will help you find. They are already prepared,  I had to be prepared for them.  Canada is fabulous.  I love it so much.  It may be freezing in the winter, but the people are warm and if I was to find those wonderful people I had to obey. I understood that.  The Spirit taught and I understood.  So I obeyed.  Sometimes I’d be late, but I’d repent.  It seemed so little, but the Lord promised “that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.”  So many times there were situations in which my obedience was tested.  I always found the most reward in obedience.  The greatest reward in being my relationship with the Savior was growing and strengthening.  I began to understand what it meant to have a Redeemer.  Redeem means to convert into something of value.  Unwillingness isn’t of any value to the Lord and I knew that.    How?  Because I would read, I’d pray, and I’d work.  That was the only way I could gain this relationship that my spirit so desperately desired.  I’d study my scriptures everyday.  I would drink in everything.  Ezra Taft Benson has taught the power of the Book of Mormon that I have felt…
The Book of Mormon brings men to Christ through two basic means. First, it tells in a plain manner of Christ and His gospel. It testifies of His divinity and of the necessity for a Redeemer and the need of our putting trust in Him. It bears witness of the Fall and the Atonement and the first principles of the gospel, including our need of a broken heart and a contrite spirit and a spiritual rebirth. It proclaims we must endure to the end in righteousness and live the moral life of a Saint.  Second, the Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and lays down contention. (See 2 Ne. 3:12.) It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time.”  And might I add the new trends that seem to be sweeping the world like a plague.  Man has began to search for a relationship with that which is carnal to satisfy a part of them that really is only natural to mortals.  We were first spirits. 

This is real life and I learned that.  My favorite scripture in Helaman illustrates how obedience will bring us to celestial progression.  “Yea we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery…and land their souls…at the right hand of God…to go no more out.”  That is the promise that God has given us.  As we “lay hold” we “become” a man of Christ and can make it back home.  That is what we teach!!  It’s not about how many “Mormons” we can get in the world.  It’s not about tithing; it’s not about pointing out everyone’s faults, weaknesses, and shortcomings.  It is about teaching a covenanted people who they are, that they are to be obedient if they are to return to the presence of a Father they do know and love.  Mortality is the time for us to search for that kind of happiness.  I conclude with my testimony of the Savior and His infinite goodness.  The Lord reveals to the apostle Paul, and also through His prophet Joseph Smith the formula for all to become master teachers, or better the art of becoming.  “Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.”  Godliness is Obedience.  My favorite attribute of Christ is His remarkable obedience.  Let me lay aside the things I want, I feel I need, and give my life for what matters most to my Father.  That’s what we are here for.  The entire life of the Savior was His desire for us to know God like He does.  So what He did was He exemplified obedience.  The only way for anyone to every “know” Christ is to be like Him.  We may never understand everything the Lord asks us to do.  We may battle with our “natural man” frequently during our mortal probation, but we can be confident that with His help we can endure patiently until we become master.  Until we become, “joint- heirs with Christ; if it so be that we suffer with Him.”  I know that through our obedience we can be exalted.  It is so simple and my mission has taught me that.  It has taught me that obedience is the only way we can “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”  I promise that our obedience to Father will help us love ourselves and then we get to love everyone else.  This is what this life is about.  Becoming master sellers so that we can sell what we’ve learned.  I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth by Christ, Himself, through a humble servant, Joseph Smith who was willing to be an instrument.  I know that through this restoration gospel truths that are taught all over the world in many different denominations by the power of the Holy Ghost can now be lived fully in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I know that these truths are found in the Book of Mormon.  I love the Book of Mormon.  I know that the Lord is still revealing simple truths to man through the prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, so that we can become greater.  I know that as we live the gospel we can be together with our families forever.  The greatest happiness in your families will come as you obey the gospel.  My greatest happiness has come from that and I say these things in the name of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.  

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