Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Kenzie's Farewell Address

Kenzie spoke in church the Sunday before she left - she did a beautiful job & I thought I'd share her thoughts for anyone who wasn't able to be there. (Sue)


Good morning! I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be able to speak to you today. This ward has played such a huge role in my life and I’m so grateful to be here. This past November I received my mission call to the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo East Mission, Spanish Speaking. I report this Wednesday and I couldn’t be more excited. This couldn’t feel more right.

Today I’m going to be speaking on bringing others to Christ. So first of all, what does coming unto Christ mean? We’ve all heard this phrase said millions of times. In the final chapter of the Book of Mormon, Moroni exhorts us to “come unto Christ.” This plea is one of the last things he writes. In Moroni 10: 32 it reads “Yea come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and love God with all your might. mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God”

We live in the world that offers us many choices in who we should come unto. Different philosophies, religions, political groups, all clamoring for our attention and allegiance. Why Come unto Christ? Simply stated, because no other way leads to eternal life. Jesus made this bold declaration: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”.

Christ is extending his hand to each of us, but it is our responsibility to take those steps towards him. Some of the ways that we can come unto Christ may seem simple. We can learn of him by reading the scriptures and work to acquire the traits he showed. We can attend our church meetings on Sunday and try to focus ourselves on service to others. As we work to come unto Him we will be blessed. 
In Matthew 11:28- 30 it reads “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
The Savior extends His generous invitation simply because He loves us and He knows we need Him. He can help us and heal us. He understands us because of His own experiences. The scriptures report: “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind … , that he may know … how to succor his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:11-12). We want to come unto Christ because it is only in Him and through Him that we can return to the Father.
I, personally, know that I learn best through stories so I’d like to share one with you, It was given in the April 1998 General Conference by Margaret D. Nadauld.
“A simple thing happened many years ago that I have always remembered because it caused me to think about the Savior’s mission. Although it was just a childish incident, it has some meaning. It happened when our twins were only about five years old. They were just learning to ride their bicycles. As I glanced out the window, I saw them speeding down the street on their bikes going very fast! Perhaps they were going a little too fast for their level of ability, because all of a sudden Adam had a terrible crash! He was tangled up in the wreck, and all I could see was a twist of handlebars and tires and arms and legs. His little twin brother, Aaron, saw the whole thing happen, and immediately he skidded to a stop and jumped off his bike. He threw it down and ran to the aid of his brother, whom he loved very much. These little twins truly were of one heart. If one hurt, so did the other. If one got tickled, they both laughed. If one started a sentence, the other could complete it. What one felt, the other did also. So it was painful for Aaron to see Adam crash! Adam was a mess. He had skinned knees, he was bleeding from a head wound, his pride was damaged, and he was crying. In a fairly gentle, five-year-old way, Aaron helped his brother get untangled from the crash, he checked out the wounds, and then he did the dearest thing. He picked his brother up and carried him home. Or tried to. This wasn’t very easy because they were the same size, but he tried. And as he struggled and lifted and half-dragged, half-carried his brother along, they finally reached the front porch. By this time, Adam, the injured one, was no longer crying, but Aaron, the rescuer, was. When asked, “Why are you crying, Aaron?” he said simply, “Because Adam hurts.” And so he had brought him home to help, home to someone who knew what to do, to someone who could cleanse the wounds, bind them up, and make it better—home to love.
Just as one twin helped his brother in need, so might we all be lifted, helped, even carried at times by our beloved Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He feels what we feel; He knows our heart. It was His mission to wipe away our tears, cleanse our wounds, and bless us with His healing power. He can carry us home to our Heavenly Father with the strength of His matchless love.”
I love this story because it really shows what coming unto Christ is all about. Love. Our Heavenly Father loved us so much that he sent his beloved Son to die for us. We were given such a great gift and now it is our own responsibility to take advantage of that.
When we are given something so great, it becomes our own responsibility to share it with others. We must turn outward, reaching out to those around us and helping them to gain this same knowledge that each of us here has been blessed with. But I also feel that when our love for the Savior becomes so great, sharing it becomes our natural instinct. In Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life, when he partakes of the the fruit that represents the gospel, he immediately looks for his family and those people that he loves. He doesn’t keep it all for himself, he wants all to taste the fruit. I think this is truly what missionary work is about. It is not about recruiting or numbers, it is feeling our Savior’s love so greatly and feeling the blessings of the gospel that we want to give to all those around us. We can become an instrument in the Lord’s hands to help other’s come unto Christ and find their way home to our Heavenly Father.
In Preach my Gospel it states the goal and purpose of each missionary which is 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.”
But this work is not only for young boys and girls leaving their home for an extended period of time. We can each be member missionaries right here at home. In a way we can turn the story I told earlier and place ourselves in the role of the brother. That type of love and service brings such great joy.
Russell M. Nelson in his talk Be Thou an Example of the Believers expounded upon this saying:  “To each of us comes the mandate to share the gospel of Christ. When our lives comply with God’s own standard, those within our sphere of influence will never speak the lament, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”
The perfect Shepherd of souls, the missionary who redeemed mankind, gave us His divine assurance:
“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!
“And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!”
Of Him who spoke these words, I declare my personal witness. He is the Son of God, our Redeemer, and our Savior.
Something as simple as being a good example, living what you believe, performing an act of service, or answering a friend’s question about the gospel make you a member missionary. No matter what you or anyone else are struggling with the Savior has the ability to heal all wounds, lift our burdens and carry them for us, we can feel “encircled about eternally in the arms of his love”. And how could a message like that be difficult to share?
Surely it pleases the Lord when we, His children, reach out to one another, to give help along the way, and to bring another closer to Christ. He taught in Mathew 25:40, “[When] ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”. He wants us to “mourn with those that mourn[,] … comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:9), and “by love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13).  And what greater service can we give than to bless a life or a family with this gospel. With the knowledge that they can be together forever, the knowledge that someone else understands the things they are struggling with and wants to help them and comfort them.
I love Russell M Nelson’s testimony at the end of that same talk. he says “I pray that we will have the courage to extend the hand of fellowship, the tenacity to try and try again, and the humility needed to seek guidance from our Father as we fulfill our mandate to share the gospel. The responsibility is upon us, brethren. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
I add my testimony to that of Elder Nelson ...

(sorry this ends kind of abruptly, but Kenzie didn't write down her conclusion;
she spoke from her heart :-)

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