Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hannah's Farewell Talk - June 23, 2013

Good morning Brothers & Sisters. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to speak to you today. I have been called to serve in the Colorado, Fort Collins Mission, Spanish speaking and I report to the Mexico City MTC on July 10th. I am so excited to go and serve the Lord! 

I would like to begin my talk by sharing with you a few experiences I had after opening my mission call. After I opened my call in front of my family & friends, I was overwhelmed with the spirit. My body was shaking & I could not even stand up. The spirit was SO strong! Putting yourself & the next 18 months of your life into God’s hands, is a wonderful, yet scary thing to do. I had no idea where I was going & I had just committed that wherever I was assigned, I would go. After I had time to process my call, I started getting a little nervous & honestly I was shocked that I was staying so close to home, but I was grateful to be learning another language. I then felt ashamed & guilty that I would feel this way. Soon after I realized that this is a normal way to feel & about 20 other people told me that they had felt the same thing when they opened their calls. But let me tell you about 2 experiences I had the very next day from when I opened my mission call that changed these feelings of fear into such gratitude, excitement, & made my testimony of the Gospel even stronger.

To begin this first story, I need to give you some background information. About 8 and a 1/2 years ago, my family lived in the Riverbottoms. My Mom’s really good friend, Tiffany, who was in our ward at the time, was on vacation with her husband in Mexico when he had a heart attack & passed away, leaving 6 children behind. The oldest was 16 & the youngest was 18 months old. Tiffany flew home from Mexico, where my Mom & others were at her home waiting for her. My Mom has often told me that it was one of the most spiritual experiences she has ever had. There was an undeniable spirit that testified everything was going to be ok and even Tiffany knew this was in God’s plan. About 2 and 1/2 years later, Tiffany remarried. Glen, her new husband, had lost his wife to cancer. He has 4 beautiful daughters. So now, between the 2 of them, they have 10 kids. They moved to Southern California & we have stayed great friends with them, such great friends, that I would consider them family. We go and stay with them in California every year, and they will come up here and spend some time too. I have been friends with Tiffany’s kids since they first moved into our ward in the Riverbottoms, but I have now become great friends with Glen’s daughters, especially the youngest, Ally. She came to BYU this last year. She & her brother would come over to our house every Monday night for Family Home Evening... Which I am ashamed to admit, consisted of watching The Bachelor. Ally turned in her mission papers a couple weeks before I did. While we were waiting to get our calls, we would joke around during our Monday night Bachelor Party, that we were going to get called to the same mission. My mom just looked at us like we were very naive & would sweetly tell us that it was very unlikely. Despite her realistic point of view, we continued to say we were going to get called to serve in the same mission. We could imagine ourselves as companions.

Well, Ally got her call in the mail about a week and a half before I did. But she wanted her family to be with her when she opened it. And because they live out of state, they were not able to come for another week and a half, so the envelope sat on her dresser in the dorms. As she waited, my call came in the mail. She came over to my house on Thursday night to watch me open it with her brother. The very next night, on Friday, her family came into town & she was able to open her call. I went with my family to watch her open it. She started reading her call & to everyone’s complete surprise she read that she has been assigned to labor in the Colorado, Fort Collins Mission! The screams in the room were deafening & I have a video to prove it! I ran up and gave her a huge hug before she was even able to finish reading. When she was finally able to continue, she read that she is preaching the Gospel in the Spanish language, & she will report to the MTC on July 10th. Believe it or not the screams got louder. I thought our parents were going to pass out. This is the same mission, same language, and same day as me. Brothers & Sisters, the spirt was SO strong that night. I cannot even begin to explain it. I knew right then that Heavenly Father had a plan for me. And that I am supposed to go and serve in Fort Collins, Colorado. My fear about going was gone, & I became overwhelmed with excitement to go and serve with Ally. 

In D&C 84:88 it says, “And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” I testify to you that God has a plan for each and every one of us. Sometimes his plan is not made known to us right away. Sometimes it takes a day, a week, a month, a year, and sometimes longer. But I know that if we trust in him, we will experience those miracles he places in our lives & His wonderful plan will be made known to us. 

I would like to share with you another experience I had that same day Ally opened her call, but just a few hours before. I was driving home in my car, still feeling scared to go to Colorado, & I was listening to my music, when the song, “Home” by Phillip Phillips came on. I would like to read the lyrics to you today. They were so powerful to me. 

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home
I wish this song could be our closing hymn today. As I listened to the words of this song I started to cry and I knew right then, that everything was going to be ok. I am preparing to travel down an unfamiliar road, but if I hold on to Heavenly Father, He will help me along & will make Colorado my home.  The second verse in this song is the one that really gets to me. “Settle down, it’ll all be clear. Don’t pay no mind to the demons, they fill you with fear.” At that moment I had been filled with fear. I just committed to leaving my family, friends and job behind to go and serve a mission. But I told myself right then, to stop being scared. Heavenly Father has a plan, and at that time, I did not know what that plan was. As Phillip Phillips said, “Settle down, it’ll all be clear.” And it was made clear to me that very night when I found out that I get to serve a mission with my dear friend, Ally. I am really hoping our Mission President makes us companions. We are 2 girls who have experienced a lot in our lives & I know our testimonies would combine together with great force. 
President Monson said, “If there is a design in this world in which we live, there must be a designer. Who can behold the many wonders of the universe without believing that there is a design for all mankind? Who can doubt that there is a designer?” I really love this quote. I just graduated from college in April, with my degree in Interior Design. My goal as a designer is to make my surroundings beautiful. I know that this was Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ’s goal as well when they designed and created this beautiful world we live in. I know that at times we may feel scared and alone, but we don’t need to because, like Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ created this earth, they also designed every last detail of our lives. They know the experiences we will face, good & bad. This thought gives me comfort & is a good reminder that everything will be ok. 
We experience many trials in this life. But I know that the trials we are given are given to us to make us stronger. I have gone through some tough experiences in my life already, and I know that when I have turned to Christ, he has helped me get through those hard times and has made my testimony stronger. Anything is possible through the Gospel. I don’t know how I could have gotten through some of my trails without feeling the love of Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ, and without knowing that there is a plan. I know that I will continue to face trials on my mission and through out the rest of my life. But I know that I can get through anything as long as I live worthily. And as I stay worthy, Heavenly Father will continue to place wonderful miracles in my life, like having such a great friend to serve a mission with. 
Missionaries have been a huge part of my families life. My Mom’s parents are converts to the church. A great member family in California introduced them to the gospel & sent the Elders to their house, where they taught them the lessons. I know that experience influenced my mom to serve a mission and it has me too. I am excited to be a part of this great work.
I would like to bare my testimony to you, that I know this Gospel is true and that Heavenly Father has a plan for each and every one of us. And His plan is beautiful. I testify to you that President Monson is the true and living Prophet on the earth today. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and if we read it, blessings will be poured upon us. I know the temple is a sacred and holy place. I took my endowments out at the Newport Beach temple a couple of weeks ago with Ally & her family & my mom by my side. That was a sweet experience. I am grateful that I have been able to attend it each week after leading up to my mission. I know that if we hold on to Heavenly Father, that he will never leave us alone. He has a plan, which in time, will be made clear to each of us. I am grateful for His unconditional love for me, and that He has for all of His children. I know that I am supposed to go and serve the people in Fort Collins, Colorado, and I am so excited to go and bring this wonderful Gospel to the people there. Thank you for all of your love and support. 
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

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