If you've ever read my blog, you probably didn't need to here my talk.
But for those who wanted it/missed it- here is the original version:
"The topic I was given today required me to reflect a lot. I’ve been asked to speak about why I am going on a mission, how I prepared and how I recognized personal revelation.
It was hard to write this talk, because I feel like there are a thousand pieces that came together to direct me to that decision.
Elder Uchtdorf put it this way: “[Those who diligently seek to learn of Christ] will personally receive a divine portrait of the Master, although it most often comes in the form of a puzzle…Eventually, after enough pieces have been put together…we see that the Savior had indeed come to be with us—not all at once but quietly, gently, almost unnoticed.”
So I’m going to share a few of those “puzzle pieces” from within the last year of my life that helped me prepare for a mission.
I didn’t plan on serving a mission, but after a conversation with a close friend I started to think about whether or not I should serve.
It started simple. At first, I didn’t get an answer of whether or not I should serve a mission. Instead, it started with confirmations of very simple principles of the gospel.
3 Nephi 26 says “Yeah, even babes did open their mouths and utter marvelous things” You’ll understand why I cited that in just a moment.
I’m going to read bits and pieces of my journal to give a more accurate recollection.
“Sunday September 18, 2011… [After we] put Hailey to [bed]… I stayed and talked to her. I asked her about Jesus and she said something like ‘yeah, he loves us’ and she said He talks to her and I asked her what He says and she said ‘just he loves us!’ and I asked her about God and she said Jesus told her He loves us… when I asked what she knows about heaven she said “I love Him”. What a great lesson from a 3 year old…”
The foundation for my testimony has always been rooted in the Love of God. Which is good, because it’s the first missionary lesson J. That moment with my niece reminded me that I had a testimony of the love of God. Why not go on a mission if I could remind others that God loves them?
A couple weeks later, I focused more on finding out whether or not I should serve a mission. I got an answer, but I was not listening at first. Elder Uchtdorf in his talk “Waiting on the Road to Damascus”, points out that some people expect a grand gesture of revelation and “Instead of taking small steps of faith on the path of discipleship, they want some dramatic event to compel them to believe.”
I was kind of waiting for that dramatic event, but then I realize that, as Ether 12:6 says”ye receive no whiteness until after the trail of your faith”. So I decided to have faith and do as we always had been told and fast, pray, and meet with my bishop.
Preach my Gospel quotes Elder Packer who warns that some spiritual experiences “are to be guarded with care and shared only when the Spirit itself prompts you to use them to the blessing of others” So once again, I’ll quote from my journal, but just enough to give you an overall idea of my experience.
“October 9, 2011
I prayed about it and thought about it and listened at conference…Even though I already had my answer; I [wasn’t confident]... So I set up an appointment with the bishop and today I fasted that he would know what to say. So today I met with him and [emotion over-came me] and he pointed out that it was the spirit, I need to prepare for a mission and…I should stop second guessing myself…he [said he] could feel the spirit too... At the end he asked if we could kneel and pray, so we did and he prayed for all of the concerns I needed. [which I hadn’t told him about]…”
So that’s how it really began. Personal revelation for me, started with prayer, continued with fasting, persisted by counseling with a leader and concluded with the Spirit.
That was a year ago though, and it wasn’t easy to remember the feelings and confidence I had the day I met with my bishop. I should have trusted those original feelings, but I’m grateful for a loving Father who had patience with me.
I’ve realized throughout my life that you can be inspired by any good thing, as long as you chose to let it inspire you.
Morni 7:12 Says “Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God…”
I feel like revelation for me came through very diverse ways- songs, scriptures, friends, service… but ultimately it was delivered through the Spirit every time. As preach my gospel says “[The Holy Ghost] is the Comforter, who the Savior promised would teach His followers all things and bring to their remembrance all things that He had taught them”.
So I’m going to give just a small sampling of my experiences with that.
The first example came because President Monson quoted a Disney Movie.
This came when I was reluctant to change my life for a mission. I said a quick prayer before a BYU Devotional that he would say something relevant to me. President Monson came to speak to us about how we needed to be examples of the believers. To do this, he quoted the Lion King. Mufasa tells Simba “you have forgotten who you are, and so forgotten me. Look inside yourself… You are more then you have become… Remember who you are!”
If I truly was a daughter of God, I needed to show that by being more than I had so far become. In that same talk, President Monson also told us that “when you chose to follow Christ, you choose to be changed”. I needed to let myself, my plans and my life change the way Christ would.
Personal revelation for me oftentimes also came when giving service
President Uchtorf once said “Often, the answer to our prayer does not come while we’re on our knees but while we’re on our feet serving…By becoming the answer to someone’s prayer, we often find the answer to our own.”
As I prepared for a mission, I was concerned with whether or not I'd have the ability to serve people the way Christ would have me serve. It seems like no amount of hardwork is ever enough to fully help people.
But then, I realized that sometimes what people really need are the simple things. I learned that by seeing the joy in a little girls face as someone read to her in Spanish while we were in Mexico; I learned that in Iceland when I realized how much it meant to Atli that I would offer to wake up just an hour early to bring in the cows so he could sleep in; I learned that when our adopted Grandma at the rest home took out her teeth so that she could sing Christmas songs with my friend and I. And I also learned that on the opposite end of things, as I remembered the little boy who served me by handing me a half-melted bag of M&Ms because he felt bad that my Camera was stolen while I was in Fiji.
In Alma 7:12 it says “…and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to his people according to their infirmities”
Any kind of service is good. But I learned that Christ knows what his children need more than we do. Those experiences and more helped me realize that Christ would teach me how to help his children if I trusted him by serving on a mission. And as one of my favorite quotes from President Monson says “You can Never Love the Lord until you serve him by serving his people”
Several times personal revelation has come in very simple, primary song sort of ways.
As I prepared for a mission, I wanted a stronger conviction of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, so I had prayed about it right before going to the temple. I was sitting in the Celestial room and nothing had really hit me yet. But as I sat there, I realized a song was running through my head that I hadn’t been paying attention to. The lyrics that were on repeat were: “The spirit will guide and deep inside I know the scriptures are true”. Sometimes prayers are answered but we have to have enough patience and reverence to notice.
And then in preparation for my mission, personal revelation came for me because of what I had written in my journal for about 12 years.
In Elder Scott’s talk entitled “How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for your personal life”- He quotes from D&C 6 “Behold, thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did enlighten thy mind...” And then Elder Scott goes on to say “If you feel that God has not answered your prayers, ponder these scriptures—then carefully look for evidence in your own life that He may have already answered you.”
My roommate once asked me something to do with my testimony. So I started a project that I called “The Evolution of a Testimony”. I knew I had kept a journal so every day for 60 days I typed up a journal entry that I had where my testimony had grown. It started before I was baptized with very simple things, then “Line upon line and precept upon precept” it evolved because of family, friends, school, church, nature and basically every aspect of my life.
By going back through these journal entries, I realized how God had been a huge part of my life and I realized I do have a testimony. It had just come in a sunrise sort of way- little by little where you can’t really tell where night became day.
Even after these experiences and after I had turned in my mission papers, personal revelation continued.
I was at stake conference and I kept getting this feeling of “Your mission call is coming”. I pushed those thoughts aside, because I didn’t think my 120 days were even up so my papers probably hadn’t been submitted yet. But that thought wouldn’t leave me alone- so much so that I wrote the words “It’s coming” in the margin of my notes. The next day we were told the call had been issued the Friday before. I received my call that week.
Now, to close, I want to back up. I said before that I had never planned on going on a mission. When in primary they would preface the “I hope they call me on a mission” song by asking “Who is going on a mission??” I was the only one not to raise my hand. But then came an experience at the temple: (again quoted from my journal)
"January 20, 2012
Today I went with… a girl I visit teach to the temple… The temple president came down…And he said something that really stood out.
Remember how I talked about … how I hadn't raised my hand in primary when they asked who'd go [on a mission?]- well the temple president said something like- 'I'm going to remind you of your pre mortal life- we were all there when Christ said he would go and you raised your hand to support Him. You agreed to do the work'. I don't remember the exact phrase the president said, but what I remember most is that I raised my hand. I did agree to do the work…I need to be more willing to raise my hand again and say 'I will go and do'…”
You volunteered to be here. You already told Christ you would support him and do his work.
I guess the point of my talk today is that I am going on a mission because I know, through personal revelation, that that’s what God wants for me. I want to serve and I want to share God’s love. The point of my talk is that God loves you, he knows you.
Personal revelation comes in various ways, but you have to be listening and you have to be living in a way that you can accept it. It comes when you are ready to follow God’s will, His timing, and His higher knowledge. And then, after you have received that revelation you have to trust Him and follow through.
I haven’t learned a lot of Hungarian yet, but one of my favorite phrases that I’ve learned (Thanks to the Hungarian version of the Prince of Egypt) Is “CSAK BENNE BIZ!” which means “Just Trust in Him”.
I feel very humbled by my call to serve. I feel probably a lot like Elder Nelson did when he said: “…I remember praying, “Heavenly Father, how can I serve a mission when I know so little?” ... As I prayed, the feeling came: “You don’t know everything, but you know enough!”
I feel very much like a child when I realize how limited my knowledge is. But I know that the spirit will guide, and deep inside I know the scriptures are true. I’m grateful for a home that is blessed every hour by priesthood power and I’m grateful for a mother who has taught me to love to see the temple. I’m grateful that I can feel the savior’s love and I’m so grateful to have been called to serve.