August 2, 2016

my talk!

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

My name is Sister Fisher. I'm from Seattle Washington and I've been out 9 months. Yes I am half way there and I can't believe it's gone that fast already. I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission to learn and to grow, to meet all of you and to become more converted unto the Lord.

I haven't always wanted to serve a mission though. In fact a year ago I hadn't even decided that I wanted to go. It's cool though to look back and see how the Lord was preparing me to serve a mission. The experiences, trials and people I know have helped me to get where I am today. And of course I couldn't do it without my Savior.

But really I never thought about serving a mission too much growing up. Until Saturday October 6th 2012 morning session of general conference. I was 18 years old, a freshman in college. I was sitting in the conference room with my 5 other roommates. Everything seemed normal until the Prophet Thomas S Monson announced that sisters could go at age 19 now instead of 21. There was so much shock and excitement in the room. My jaw just kind of dropped and I didn't even know what to feel. I just started crying. I felt so confused because I felt right then that the Lord was telling me to go on a mission. But fear (aka Satan) was putting off that prompting.

The time passed and most of my friends left. I was excited for them and proud of the courage they had to go. I'm grateful for all of their examples. I just felt so much pressure to go. Every day I thought about it. Years went by always thinking of a mission. I was trying to convince myself I wasn't supposed to go. I told people I wasn't going. Of course if I told people I was going or even thinking about it, there was that much more pressure to serve.

I know that the experiences before my mission helped me get here and helped me be a better missionary today. I was in Africa for a couple months doing humanitarian work. I lived with all non-members and this was a really interesting experience for me. It was really the first time I had had to stand up for what I believed and answer questions about the gospel. I was talking to this one girl from Canada who didn't believe in God. She was saying how she doesn't understand how a world as beautiful as this could be created by anyone. When she said this, my heart broke. It really made me think of all the people who don't know God and Jesus Christ. After this experience I realized how much I want to share this gospel and how important it is to me. I don't know everything about the gospel but I do know that this gospel is true and that it makes me happiest.

I was reading a talk called "Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence" by Elder Holland. He says, "If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. Face your doubts. Master your fears. Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you.“Fear ye not.” And when the second and third and fourth blows come, “fear ye not. … The Lord shall fight for you.” Cast not away therefore your confidence."

I read that and I knew I was supposed to go on a mission. Heavenly Father was telling me this whole time. So three years after the age changed I faced my fears. I decided to have faith and I talked to my Bishop. We got the paper work done in less than two weeks. I got my call three weeks later. I got my call to Arizona and left five weeks later. It all happened so fast. I know that God's timing is perfect though. I didn't know why I needed to come on a mission but I am slowly learning why. I have learned more in these 9 months about the gospel than I have my whole life. The people I have met have truly changed my life. Being a missionary isn't easy but it is one of the most rewarding things. I knew I made the right decision to come on a mission right when I entered the MTC. Truly the best decision I have ever made.

So enough about me, I want to talk about you. And I know you all probably hear enough from us about missionary work but I'm gonna talk about it any way because I was asked to. How can we be missionaries without the tag?

First I want to talk about what motivates us to share the gospel? Why do we do it?

Have you ever found a really good chocolate chip recipe and you just want to bake and share the cookies for everyone because they are so delicious? Or if you have found a really funny cat video on YouTube? What do you want to do?! Share it!

We know how much happiness this gospel brings to our lives so of course we want to share it with others!

Howard W. Hunter said "What does the Atonement have to do with missionary work? Any time we experience the blessings of the Atonement in our lives, we cannot help but have a concern for the welfare of others."

We have had experiences with the Atonement. We know the Atonement changes lives. Someone once said that we are the gatekeepers of the Atonement. We know how to access it.

So now that we have the desire to share it, how can we do it? There are many ways. I'll just list a few...being an example is the biggest one. In True to the Faith it says, "The most powerful missionary message you can send is your own example of living a happy Latter Day Saint life." Okay great so if we are living the gospel we are doing missionary work. Cool.

We can also study the gospel so we are prepared to answer questions that others have for us. That was one of my biggest concerns about coming out on the mission, what if someone asks me a question and I can't answer it?! Well if that happens I just say I'm not sure but I would love to study it and get back to you on that. But I have seen it so many times on my mission where I didn't know what to say but my mouth was filled. This is a promise He gives to us.

Talking to your friends about the gospel is another great way to do missionary work. Testify about what you believe. We can also invite our friends to ward parties, church, dinner with the missionaries, to read the Book of Mormon and so forth. I know inviting can be scary. Like really scary. Cause what if they say no?

One of my favorite scriptures is D&C 84:88 "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."

Elder Merrell said something about this scripture, he said, "Satan doesn't want us to ask, He doesn't want us to invite and he wants those who are invited to say no to the invitation to come unto Christ. But we have the promise of angels to support us as we open our mouths to share the gospel and we invite, Angels encourage all to say yes to obtaining the essential priesthood ordinances that they already decided before birth to accept here in mortality. The invitation is for every soul to say yes to that which each person born into this world has already decided. The veil of heaven will be penetrated tenderly and the Holy Spirit will whisper to the one invited to remember from heavenly days the truths you speak. Heavenly Father will help the person feel the earlier heavenly decision and encourage him or her to say yes to your invitation. We are not alone in this work. This is gods work. We are his servants. He is our master."

Angels are helping us! We are not alone in this work! If we don't invite them then they do not have the opportunity to say yes and then they are missing the blessings of the Atonement.

President Eyring said, "One of the ways he goes before your face is to prepare the heart of the person he has asked you to serve. He will prepare your heart as well."

So he prepares your heart as well! He will and can give you the courage! We don't always know who is prepared but I do know that everyone deserves the gospel so why not give everyone a chance. Not everyone will accept our invitation and that is fine, they aren't saying no to us, they are saying no to God.

When I experience rejection, it is an opportunity to prove our commitment to the Lord. It's an opportunity to prove to the person rejecting our message that we are truly servants of the Lord. Rejection of any kind is a sure sign of the fact that God lives.

So why is missionary work so hard? I think Elder Holland said it best, he says, "I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy." This is one of my favorite quotes I read often on my mission.

It's hard but the joy is so wonderful. I'm gonna read you some of my favorite scriptures.

In D&C 18:10 Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
11 For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.
12 And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance.
13 And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!
14 Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people.
15 And 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!
16 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!

I can testify that the joy is so real. Some of these joys include when someone prays for the first time, when someone cries when you tell them their family can be together forever, when you see a family being sealed for eternity in the temple, a grown man feeling the love of the Savior as he repents, or a woman who wanted her records removed earlier is now preparing for the temple. Being a missionary and serving others is so special because we can feel God's love for these people. God sees the full picture, He knows who we can become.

David O. McKay said, "True Christianity is love in action, there is no better way to manifest love for God than to show an unselfish love for your fellow men. This is the spirit of missionary work."

This is what missionary work is all about. It's about love. I know that even when we reach out in the smallest of ways, hearts are changed. And one of the hearts will be ours.

Elder Nelson said, "If a missionary has only one convert during the mission, I hope it would be herself. Teaching the gospel is sacred work." Even if I don't convert one person on my mission, I know that I have been converted to this gospel and am still working on becoming more converted.

Howard W. Hunter said, "a great indication of ones personal conversion is the desire to share the gospel with others."

And I want to close by reading one of my favorite quotes from Sheri L. Dew. She says, "He recommended you for now, when the stakes are so high. The simple fact is that our Father did not recommend Eve or Moses or Nephi or countless other magnificent exemplars for this dispensation - He recommended you and me. Do you think God would have left the last days to chance by sending men and women he couldn't count on? A common theme of patriarchal blessings given to men and women your age is that you were sent now because our Fathers most trustworthy children would be needed in the final decisive battle for righteousness. That is who you are, and it is who you have always been."

We have been sent in this last dispensation because we are the strong ones. God trusts us to build up his kingdom when Satan is as real and powerful as ever. I know that this is the Lord's work and that we can all be missionaries. We are all important in God's eyes because we are His children. He is the good shepherd who said feed my sheep. I know that this is the most important work on earth and that there are hearts ready to hear the good word. I love this gospel and the happiness & peace it brings to my life.

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