Last week I had my farewell!
It was a blast and I loved seeing all of my family and my friends who are still around :)
Yes... I am leaving on Oct 21.
And yes... My farewell was last week :)
This Sunday was General Conference
(LOVED it, by the way!)
Next Sunday is Fast Sunday.
And the Sunday two days before I leave is a primary program.
So my farewell was 3 weeks before I leave...
Please don't forget that I'm still around for the next two weeks!
Let's hang out sometime, yeah?
Anyway. Here's my talk :)
I'm no good at public speaking, so I wrote all of it down beforehand.
Like most of you already know, I’m leaving in 2 weeks to serve in the Peru, Cusco mission.
And in case you were wondering...
YES I’ve watched The Emperor’s New Groove about a thousand times since I opened my call.
Now, be prepared. I’m much better at writing my thoughts into somewhat coherent sentences and posting it on my blog rather than standing up and speaking in front of a large congregation
(and wow, there are a lot of you. That makes me nervous.)
I was asked to use the talk Love and Law by Dallin H Oaks from Oct 2009. I found a plethora of quotes and references, and had a lot of my own thoughts to add to it, so let’s hope this jumbled up mess of a talk doesn’t confuse and/or put you to sleep.
Something that you may not immediately put together in your mind, but ABSOLUTELY goes together like peanut butter and jelly, is God’s love for us, and His commandments.
Some have the view that the commandments are limiting and impossible to follow,
and that if God loved us, He wouldn't really care if we followed the commandments or not.
This simply isn't true.
One of the ways God shows His love for us is by giving us commandments to help us grow into the amazing people He wants us to be.
And the way we can show how much we love Him is by following those commandments.
In Matthew chapter 22 when the Savior was asked what the greatest commandment was...
he didn't hesitate.
“Thou shalt 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. The second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
In Dieter F Uchtdorf’s talk The Love of God from Oct 2009, he says this.
“Because love is the great commandment, it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do in our own family, in our Church callings, and in our livelihood. Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk.”
The first and great commandment is to love God with everything that we are.
Now, God doesn't NEED our love.
His power and glory are not changed if we do not love or follow Him.
Another quote from President Uchtdorf’s talk explains what I mean and feel more adequately than my own words could: “No, God does not need us to love Him. But oh, how we need to love God! For what we love determines what we seek. What we seek determines what we think and do. What we think and do determines who we are - and who we will become.”
This past year, I was living in Logan and going to school at Utah State. I've always cherished and strived to live the gospel as much as I could.
But when I had been living on my own for several months, I decided to dedicate myself even further to the gospel.
I realized I could do a bit more.
I looked for missionary opportunities on campus, I tried to befriend and serve more people, I delved even deeper into the scriptures. I put every ounce of myself into living the gospel and following the commandments.
And, If you had talked to me about serving a mission prior to the beginning of this year, I would have adamantly said, “Oh, no no no no no, that’s not for me!”
I loved and respected missionaries, and the work they did, and I was never against serving a mission myself, I just honestly didn't see it happening.
But when I rededicated myself to living the commandments as much as I was able, and I was STRIVING to be an every day missionary, I became closer to my Heavenly Father.
And as I recognized promptings from the Holy Ghost on a daily basis, something changed.
Starting in February, for almost two months I would receive prompting after prompting, on a daily basis too, that was basically saying
“Hey, Keni. Pay attention. You need to consider a full time mission.”
You REALLY can’t believe how stubborn I am.
So one day after classes, I sat on my bed and I prayed.
I prayed harder than I think I’ve ever prayed before in my life.
I fasted the next day, and I studied my scriptures like there was no time to even think about anything else. I came back here for the weekend, and that evening as I was driving back to my parent’s house, I continued to pray.
And I received my answer.
Put into words, my answer was this:
“Keni, the gospel is the most important thing in your life. It has held you together through trials you would never wish on anyone else. You’re already actively seeking missionary opportunities. You already know the answer you’re looking for. You WANT to serve a mission. And it’s what you’re supposed to do. You’ll be able to handle it, and you’ll never be alone.”
Because of God’s love for me, and because I was following the commandments to bring myself closer to Him, I received promptings to help me realize what I wanted to do.
And when you’re as bad of a decision maker as I am, that’s an incredibly loving and helpful thing.
I knew I wanted to help people come to the gospel.
I just didn't know how to go about doing that.
And now, I’m 100% in love with a country and a people that I haven’t even met.
I love them more than I can explain.
I want them to be happy and I believe with every fiber of my being that this gospel is true and it’s the way to achieve pure joy. I can’t wait to teach them. I can’t wait to explain God’s love and His commandments, and you know, everything else too.
I feel like it may be confusing to some, how rules and commandments are an example of God’s love. Just like speed limits are to keep us from getting into dangerous car accidents, our parents giving us chores before we were able to efficiently complete them were to teach us and help us grow - God’s commandments exist so we may stay safe and protected, so that we can grow, and that eventually we can make it back to live with Him again.
Dallin H Oaks’ talk explains how commandments are really a gift and an example of love to us.
This quote really stuck out to me:
“Joseph Smith taught that God ‘instituted laws whereby [the spirits that He would send into the world] could have a privilege to advance like himself.’ God’s love is so perfect that he lovingly requires us to obey His commandments because He knows that only through obedience to His laws can we become perfect, as He is.”
In Preach My Gospel there’s another quote similar to that one “God gives us commandments for our benefit. They are instructions from a loving Father in Heaven to help us have happy lives.”
Now, I could continue to quote scriptures and general authorities.
There's no end to quotes about God's love for us and how that ties in to His commandments.
But since that would take HOURS I'll just leave you with my testimony.
I know that God's love for us is eternal and unconditional.
He sent His Only Begotten Son to die for us.
I know that if we follow God's commandments and do our very best, we will make it back to Him.
I know that this is the true church and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet.
I know that we have living prophets today.
I believe in this gospel and it's teachings with everything that I am.
I can't wait to serve the people of Peru.
I can't wait to bring the gospel to those who are searching for it.
I know that I am serving in Cusco because that's exactly where I need to be.
I love this church and that I get to be a part of it.
Eagle Mountain peeps - I love you and I miss you.
|One of the most influential women in my life. Love you Sis Bennion!|
Oh, the Whitneys. One of my other families :)
Love you guys to death!
|Notice the BYU gnome?|
|Just me one of my other mommies crying our eyes out :) Love you Stephanie!|
|Another future missionary and great friend! So glad you could make it, Birlyn!|
Dear Juju, Phil, Adam, and Noah.
You guys are the best and I LOVE YOU.
|WHEN did Adam get so tall??|
|One of my coworkers and managers. He's a great guy!|
Thanks for coming, Cameron! It meant a lot!
|What kind of a day would it be without crazy selfies?|
|My sweet baby cousin Eli :) Love him to death.|
|Catherine :) She looks way too great to have just had a baby!|
|Marissa and her fiance Matt - love seeing childhood friends and their fiances! :)|
The last girls from our huge high school friend group who aren't serving missions :)
Aren't they cute?
We miss Rachel and Mallory!
Soon it's just Callie and Stephanie left from our group.
Don't get too lonely, guys.
Stephanie Beales, you're too great.
My best friend, Callie Hansen :)
My baby sister, Jaycie Hansen :)
My roommate Caitlin and her boyfriend.
It wouldn't be me and Bex without a crazy selfie.
|Somehow only two or so pictures of me and my family.|
|Like the only picture of me and Mum.|
Wow, this was a long one.
I understand if you didn't make it all the way through :)
Don't completely forget about me while I'm gone, k guys?
My mom will update my mission blog every week with my emails home.
(tab for my other blog is at the top.)
And I'll post my addresses soon.
I love snail mail.
But really. Snail mail is awesome :)