I sit here today on my last Sunday as an unordained Elder, wondering what to tell my family and friends that I love so much. You all have been examples to me beyond what any of you know. Your love for me has gone beyond what I deserve and I can’t imagine how I would have turned out without you, it is a blessing I do not deserve. I’m excited to live another culture and speak Cantonese for two years! I feel it a great blessing that I have the opportunity to go on a mission. What an opportunity to serve the Lord and the Chinese people.
In a talk I listened to last night by a certain President Sargent, the analogy of the garden was used (by the way he did GREAT in the both the adult and general session). I thoroughly enjoy this metaphor for all the many avenues of thought that it opened up in my mind. There were so many different branches that the analogy had the opportunity to take. As gardeners we have never been extremely fruitful in all of our years trying to raise crop. We plant, water seemingly well, and weed when we feel desirous to (which is never, but I cant watch my sweet mother weed by herself). When the end of the season draws near we look forward to harvesting the fruits of our labor. We generally get more spaghetti squash then we could ever dream of eating and then a real mixture of everything else in various quantities that is never really up to par with what we were desirous to attain at the end of the season. Where do we go wrong? As my dad explained in his talk, the location, amount of water, and amount of love (generally expressed in weeding) all add up to determine the end result of your final crop. I sat and pondered on how I nourished the seeds in my heart. Where do I plant the seeds and are they seeds that bear good fruit? As we go throughout our lives are we planting seeds of faith and love in our heart that benefit us or are we saving the fertile soil in our hearts for seeds of unrighteousness? Do we water the young seeds with the words of our prophets and scriptures? Do we weed the garden of unclean things that choke out the good? We cannot, at harvest time, look to the Lord and say, “Lord, I weeded when I felt like it and watered when I had time.” No, this is not what the Lord expects of us. We are to study and nourish the seed that it may grow to its full potential that it may benefit the rising of the kingdom of our Lord and Savior. When I think of my goals for my mission I can only think of one. It is that I do not let down my Redeemer. That I do what ever it takes to serve him to my utmost capability. That is what I desire. I hope to love the people as my family and serve them in a way that they choose to hear the word. I strive to be clean so that the words of the Lord may flow from my mouth and that the Holy Ghost can bear witness to them that this Church is true, so that they may make the steps towards Gods Kingdom.
I know that this church is true. I know it with all of my being. The goodness and glory that I receive from it truly is overpowering to me. I know that Jesus Christ suffered and died for our sins that we may be clean of all of our unrighteousness. I know that he suffered that he may lift us up in all of our trials and enable us to do things we did not think possible. I love our modern day prophets and sustain them in their callings as seers and revelators as well as those of the past, especially the prophet Joseph Smith. I testify that keys of the priesthood, sacred covenants, the translation of the Book of Mormon and ordinances therein were all restored through his humble and willing hands. I love the Book of Mormon and testify of its truthfulness. What greater book has there ever been written? I have a firm witness of missionary work and the blessings that it lays upon those who are willing to listen and submit themselves to the will of the Lord and enter the waters of baptism. It can change lives. I know that as I assist in the planting of seeds in the hearts of the people I serve that they will have to agency to nourish that seed or let it become choked out or withered in the sun. I can’t wait to become a FULL TIME servant in the garden of the Lord.
I can’t wait to see you all in two years, but I am ecstatic for the work to be done prior to. I love you all with a magnitude that swells in my heart. I urge you all to participate in missionary work in your everyday lives. There is a work to be done all around us if we but open our mouths. What good can we do if we just share. We can share the blessings of temple marriage and forever families. We can share our knowledge of Christ and the opportunity to become perfected in him through the atonement. It is my fear that I will let the Lord down and say, “Lord, I did not open my mouth. For I was afraid, and I did not share the good word.”
Again I love and will miss you all,
I say these things in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Love, Elder Sargent