I tried to go to bed on time, but I had too many people to thank, too many things to remember, and I need to write it all down.
Today I gave my farewell talk in the Greenfield Young Single Adult Ward. I was surprised, touched, and incredibly grateful to see so many of my dearest friends in the congregation, and to have so much of my family present! As I saw the chapel quickly filling up with people I love, the reality of my mission finally hit me.
“This is it… It’s really happening. This is my farewell.”
I’ve been praying throughout this week as I was preparing my talk that I would have the Spirit—that he would help me to tailor my words to speak to those who were not members, or who were struggling in their testimonies or their faith. The Lord absolutely answered that prayer. There could not have been a more perfect Sunday or a more perfect topic for this purpose than to speak on the Atonement of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. I’m only now realizing how incredible this timing really was. A few minutes ago, I had a chance to sit and talk with my younger sister. I shared with her how grateful I was that I had the Spirit with me, and how important it was for my purpose that I did not deliver a scripted speech, but that I studied and prepared and then allowed the Spirit to direct my words. I was amazed by what I learned today, and by what I experienced as I spoke. I was reminded of a quote shared by President Ed J. Pinegar’s “Missionary Essentials”. He says, “I always know when I’ve spoken by the Spirit, because I learn from what I’ve said”. As I shared this with her, she made a connection to two times in the past when she has experienced this exact principle. To see the excitement in her eyes as she remembered and shared, to hear her testimony of the Spirit, meant more to me than I can express.
Prior to my talk today, I was blessed to hear the remarks of 4 departing missionaries, each of whom spoke on some facet of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, including Karlie Harrison (KaLee’s cousin, who has been called to the Norway Oslo Mission) and Spencer Warner (a missionary heading to WVCM who reports the same day I do). As an added tender mercy, I was able to hear “Come Thou Fount” twice, and “Savior, Redeemer of my Soul” today, which are two of the hymns I hold close to my heart.
After church, I had an open house in my parents’ home from 6-8 pm. Again, I was so surprised and touched by who came to support and send me off. I truly need to say, to all of you who have supported me today, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. To those of you who have given me monetary aid or gifts to use on my mission, to you who have given me time and helped me develop my talents, and to the family who has pledged to support me financially through my mission: I can never thank you enough. I promise to go forth in my mission as an obedient and faithful missionary, and to bear testimony of the truth of the Gospel at all times, and in whatever ways I can. Each of you has become part of the Lord’s work through your sacrifices, and I promise to be faithful to that work forever. I pray for each of you, that the Lord will bless you for the sacrifices that you have made for me, for Him, and for all those whom I will serve on my mission and in the life that follows.
There are others; each of you who has supported me, prayed for me, taught me, and loved me throughout my life, you have helped me become who I am today. Recently, I knelt and prayed for the Lord to bless each of you who has helped me reach this point. I spoke each person’s name as I remembered the impact you have had on my life. I was overwhelmed by gratitude as I did so. The list was long, and I know that there are many I have forgotten. But the Lord knows you, and I have prayed for you.
D&C 18:15 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!
Through your love, your prayers, and your examples, I bear you my witness that you have brought one soul unto Christ.
“I go now to share that love with the world.”