~Home Ward Version~ Only a couple sentences different in YSA version
Good Morning Brother and Sisters
Exactly 7 months, a week and a day ago my older brother Brandon stood in my exact same position, giving his farewell talk, before he left to serve the Lord in the Philippines. It feels like so long ago yet so short as well. It is hard for me to imagine that I too will be soon giving 18 months to the Lord. “ This is my work and glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of men.” And that is what I plan to do.
If you ask my old Young Women leaders, they would tell you i decided to go on a mission long ago. Ever since I was a young girl in primary and my dad told me that girls could go on a missions I knew that was what I wanted to do. I’ve always felt that serving a mission is something that I will do. When family asked me, I’d deny it just in case it never happened, but deep down I had a strong desire to serve. This was something I could not ignore.
You know that old tale that if you say that you don’t want to go some where on your mission, or can not go some where on your mission it will come true. Well I am living proof of this. When I turned in my papers the very first place i checked off as “ not going” was Brazil. You can imagine my shock when I read the words;
“Dear Sister Wilson, you are hereby called to serve as a missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you are assigned to labor in the Brazil Curitiba Mission.”
When the words left my mouth I knew without a doubt, this is where the Lord needs me.
As a missionary I will be called of God with a purpose, 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 gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end”
This is something that I will strive to do through out my mission as well as the years to come afterwards.
The very first thing missionaries teach is of the Restoration, and since i know for sure there are people here that have never heard about the restoration i will explain it. It’s a simple message, that God is our Father. He loves each and everyone one of us. No matter what we do, say, or think. He will ALWAYS love us. With God being our father that makes us His children, He is part of our family just how we are part of His.
From the beginning of time Heavenly Father has shown his love for us in many ways, but one very noticeable way is that he sends Prophets to reveal the gospel of Jesus Christ, Prophets like Noah, Jonah, Moses and even Jesus Christ Himself taught of His gospel, established His church, Jesus Christ even went through the Atonement for us. When the Children of God distort or disregard true doctrine and ordinances of the Gospel, God takes His authority away to administer the Church.
But the question that is often on many minds at this day in age, is this. Does God change?
The answer is easy. No. And because he doesn’t change, he will do the same now as he did in the days of old. If he called Prophets then he will call prophets now.
Because of this love, one day, in the spring of 1820, he did just that. the 1820’s were full of religious ideals being the second great awakening there were many churches all teaching similar things yet proclaimed that all others were wrong, but no one can retell the story better than the young boy it happened to.
During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.
9 My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others.
10 In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?
11 While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
12 Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.
13 At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to “ask of God,” concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.
14 So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.
15 After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
16 But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
17 It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
18 My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
Much like the other prophets of the Bible, Joseph Smith was called of God to be a prophet, to restore Jesus Christ’s TRUE church to the earth, and since the time of Joseph Smith we have always had a Prophet to lead and guide the world. Through Joseph Smith God directed the Book of Mormon to be translated and to become a companion to the Bible. Neither replacing the other. As one reads the Book of Mormon they can find out for themselves the truthfulness of it’s words.
“And it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall commence his work among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, to bring about the restoration of his people upon the earth.” (2Nephi 30:8)
This ward has seen all four Wilson children go on missions, Sacramento California, Lima Peru, Tacloban Philippines, and now Curitiba Brazil. You can tell my oldest brother is the odd ball of the family. Many of you have been with me from Nursery all the way to where I am now, and have shaped me into the women I am becoming and I thank you for that. I thank you for never giving up on me and keeping me surrounded by your love.
I also thank my friends who are not part of the church, who are here supporting me, and have been with me every step of the way. I can’t tell you how much you mean to me. How much I desire you to find happiness, for it is through the love that you give me I can see the love of Christ. You might not know it, but each of you are examples to me of how I can love more and be a better friend.
I will miss you all so much, and you have to promise to email me weekly.
To end this talk, I will read a poem. Then my testimony, something I wish I could bear in Portuguese, but I guess you will hear that in 18 months.
As I prepare to leave this place behind
My thoughts are turned above
To my Father and Redeemer
I feel Their fervent love
The time is getting closer
When I’ll set out on my way
I begin to count the weeks
The hours and the days
The beginning of a journey
A tale I’ll soon convey
Of the struggles and the joys
I’ll feel along the way
I’m sure the work’s demanding
And the hours will drag on
As I face the taxing task
of Teaching ‘till the sun is gone
There are days I’ll be discouraged
And nights I’ll miss my home
My heart might just feel empty
I may feel utterly alone
Although concerns surround me
I must always face my fears
And know that through my trials
My savior will be near
I’ll study scriptures daily
pondering the words I read
I know that if I do this
The Lord will take the Lead
When my heart becomes discouraged
I know that I must kneel
And utter words unto the Lord
His love for me is real
For I know I am His daughter
He sent me here to earth
To preach of His true gospel
And learn of my great worth
In my life He’s never left me
And I’m sure He never will
Through trials I will face
I must listen and be still
If I make sure my heart is open
And I’m faithful, kind, and true
I’ll hear the Savior’s words ring out
declaring, “I love you!”
So as I serve His mission
I know He’ll be my guide
and if I follow in His ways
He’ll be right by my side.