Fare Thee Well Talk

For anyone who wanted a recap, here’s my farewell talk. Enjoy!

Good morning Brothers and Sisters,

I am the 3rd generation and 6th person from my father’s side to stand at this pulpit and to bid farewell as I go on a mission, I am also the first missionary in the family on my mother’s side. I have been blessed with a wonderful heritage as a missionary and I hope to bear a strong witness as my family has before me.

I was asked to speak on testifying of Christ, specifically how I plan to testify of Him while on my mission. I was thinking about how I have seen and heard others testify and I noticed that throughout my life I have seen others testify of Christ through Small and Simple means (Alma 37:6-7) and that there is always Light and a feeling of goodness that accompanies the testimony.

A favorite primary song of mine is “Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam.”

The first verse says:

  1. Jesus wants me for a sunbeam,
To shine for him each day;
In ev’ry way try to please him,
At home, at school, at play.

Chorus: 
A sunbeam, a sunbeam,
Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.
A sunbeam, a sunbeam,
I’ll be a sunbeam for him.

I find it wonderful that the words of this simple song tell us exactly what to do to testify of Christ. “Jesus wants me for a sunbeam,” Jesus wants me to spread light.

In the Book of Mormon at the time of the crucifixion of Christ the land is covered in darkness for three days. Out of the darkness comes the voice of Jesus Christ proclaiming “I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” (3 Nephi 9:18) When we spread light we share of Christ, we testify that He is and that He loves us.

So, how exactly have I seen others share the light of Christ?

In Uganda, I saw how hard people there worked to make the world a better place, step by step, one child, one person, one family at a time. I met people who provided education to the children in the slums; I met a man who saw a need in his community and responded by opening an orphanage and gathering the fatherless to him so that those children would have a place and a future. I worked along side my teammates who wanted to see the world for what it was and then to serve others in their own way. Those teammates have gone on to continue to serve in their humanitarian, education, and medical aspirations and in their families. I have felt the glow of the light their influence brings.

In South Korea I attended a branch that became my family. They welcomed me into their homes and lives and showed me such incredible love. The missionaries that I met there have become valued friends. Their examples as missionaries has comforted and motivated me as I have decided and prepared to go on a mission. I cannot fully express how much the positivity and love I felt has changed me for the better.

At school I have been blessed to meet roommates, classmates, and friends that became a safe place for me. By knowing them I have discovered new interests and new ideas. Their light showed through their generosity of spirit and encouragement. I have met lifelong friends that know intrinsically how to spread light in the small actions of their daily lives.

At home, I have found that my family and friends are amazingly talented at spreading joy. I have felt the light of Christ by the support and acceptance from people that I have been blessed to meet at every stage and place in my life.

It seems to me that light is universal.

Elder Mark A. Bragg said that “…the Lord promises, ‘That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light growth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.’ We are children of God. Receiving light, continuing in God, and receiving more light are what we are created to do. From the very beginning, we followed the light; we followed our Heavenly Father and His plan. Seeking the light is in our spiritual DNA.”

I did not really want to go on a mission, it wasn’t something that I was against per se but it didn’t fit into my perfectly formulated life plan so whenever I asked Heavenly Father if I should go, in my heart I was also telling him to “please say no,” and he did the first few times I asked because He knew I wasn’t ready, that I still needed to decide to trust in his plan for my life. Eventually, after certain experiences I learned that the “no” he had told me before was really a “not yet, but it’s coming up so get ready.” As a result I have been called to serve in the China Hong Kong mission and called to testify in the Cantonese, Chinese language. I am excited for this opportunity to serve.

I grew up here in Salt Lake City learning and living the gospel, being here has strengthened me and taught me so much, now I have the chance to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people who are part of the culture that defines the other half of who I am.

I mentioned before the heritage I have been given as a missionary and I have found part of that heritage in a poem written by my grandfather Robert W Cook, titled: A Prayer.

Thanks oh Lord for letting me see what thou would have me strive to be.

With testimony flexing both weak and strong, learning through experiences the right and wrong.

The gospel ever singing true though those who accept be very few it grows stronger within me every day through.

Stumbling blocks and pitfall be sent my way. The goals are set though dim in view; the path is brighter leading back to you.

Mistakes are many try though I may to correct my life both night and day. Thou o lord are true to me.

Help me as true to thee to be. Weakness I’ve found only in men strengthen me Lord to the last day, Amen.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said “No matter how often or how far we fall, the Light of Christ ever burns brightly. And even in the deepest night, if we but step toward Him, His light will consume the shadows and reignite our souls.” Even a small candle or the warm embers of a fire have the power to penetrate and divide the darkness. It is hard to speak of the Light of Christ without acknowledging His Atonement. Elder Neal Maxwell said:  “Jesus knows how to succor us in the midst of our griefs and sickness because Jesus has already borne our griefs and sickness.  He knows them firsthand.  His Atonement remains the rescuing and reassuring reality.” I remember hearing in seminary to “live what you believe because if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.” Brothers and Sisters, I want my example to testify to you and to the people in Hong Kong that Jesus Christ lives, that he is the light of the world and that His Atonement is here ready to be used in the details of our lives. I have found such joy and peace from this gospel, it’s teachings speak to something that is deep in my heart. I am so grateful for the love and support all of you have given me, and for each of your personal examples. I couldn’t have made it this far without you. I say these things in the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

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