10 December 2013

Letter Home: From a speech given in church

I’m Sister Breksa. I’m from California. I love fencing, backpacking, playing the piano, singing, learning, listening, and spending time with my family. I am the oldest in my family with 3 younger siblings.

I have been called by a prophet of God and set apart by His power and authority to represent His Son, Jesus Christ.

This is my 3rd transfer, each transfer lasting about 6 weeks. I’ve had the opportunity to serve in Okinawa, Miyazaki, and now here. This will be my first time giving a talk in English as a missionary and I’m not a very good speaker – so please silent prayers for me as I speak that we can feel peace from the Holy Ghost and that we can learn together.

My topic today is serving with and through Christ. Today I would like to look at what it means, how we can, and the consequential blessings that follow serving with and through Christ.

To find what it means, let’s look at Doctrine and Covenants 84:77.

And again I say unto you, my friends, for from henceforth I shall call you friends, it is expedient that I give unto you this commandment, that ye become even as my friends in days when I was with them, traveling to preach the gospel in my power;

To me, serving with Christ means we are friends with Christ. How do we become friends with Christ? John 15:14 reads:

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

We serve with Christ when we are sharing the Gospel of Christ. We also must, as stated in 1 Peter 3:15,

…sanctify the Lord God in [our] hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh [us] a reason of the hope that is in [us] with meekness and fear.

Too look at how we serve through Christ let’s look at Matthew 14. There we read of Christ feeding the multitude.

 And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.
 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.
 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
 He said, Bring them hither to me.
 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

Let’s put that together. We know that when we serve with Christ we are keeping the commandments. We share the Gospel. We also know we are not perfect.

And many times it seems as if we cannot do it.

The truth is, we cannot. We cannot feed the multitude with our own meager 5 loaves and 2 fishes – our resources of talents and abilities alone.

We can through Christ.

When we serve through Christ we serve with power. We are able to do more. The Lord revealed to Joseph Smith that a member of the church named Oliver Cowdery was called to preach the Gospel,

 And at all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth and declare my gospel as with the voice of a trump, both day and night. And I will give unto him strength such as is not known among men.

I have seen this in my own life. The scriptures are also filled with examples of being given strength to do more. Ammon, a great missionary spoke of how he and other missionaries were blessed with the ability to do more than they could alone.

My brothers and my brethren, behold I say unto you, how great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla that God would have granted unto us such great blessings?
And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?
 Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites, were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work.
Behold, thousands of them do rejoice, and have been brought into the fold of God.

But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.
Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever. (Alma 26:1-4 and 11-12)

What are the consequential blessings of serving with and through Christ?

It is Joy. Peace. In talking to his son Helaman, Alma explains these blessings,

Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
 Yea, and now behold, O my son, the Lord doth give me exceedingly great joy in the fruit of my labors. (Alma 36:24-25)

This doesn’t mean life will be easy, or that we will not experience sorrow or pain. We will experience the cold foggy mornings. But when we focus on serving with and through Christ – when we build and share our light – we can better see the hidden sun and feel its warm rays.