Monday, November 1, 2010

Farewell Talk

Morning Brothers and Sisters, in case you haven’t seen me in the past 19 years my name is Tyler Abbott. Happy Halloween everybody! I know it’s kind of a bummer to have Halloween on a Sunday, but look at the bright side; at least you don’t have to give a talk! Well, I finally made it here and I guess I’m still technically a youth speaker. I always knew this ward had a great sense of humor. But I’m just going to have to use that as an excuse to continue just reading my talks, considering if I look up and make eye contact with anyone on the front row, I’ll either crack up or get a little emotional. It could go either way with my family!

In case you haven’t heard, I have been called to serve as a Missionary in the Torreon, Mexico Spanish speaking mission.

Bishop Child (still getting used to that) assigned me to give a talk on D&C 4. Even though it’s only 7 versus long, it perfectly embodies why we go and serve the Lord on missions. You know what; it’s so short I’m just going to read the whole thing.

1 Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.

2 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.

3 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;

4 For behold the afield is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;

5 And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.

6 Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.

7 Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.

After reading that, the idea of dropping everything and leaving the life I knew behind suddenly becomes a lot less difficult. It is such an honor to think that I’m going to be a part of this marvelous work, doing exactly what Heavenly Father would want me to do. Honestly that’s one of the things I’m looking forward to most on my mission - the perfect knowledge that I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to do. I’ll know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is exactly what Heavenly Father wants from me, and in turn I know I will be blessed more than I’ll realize anytime soon. If I could just talk to the young men of this ward for two seconds, I would challenge them to look at everyone they’ve met that has gone on a mission and analyze their lives. Chances are they have a beautiful wife and are very happy, that is the dream boy’s. It has been very clear and evident to me that if we are willing and worthy to serve the Lord, he absolutely will bless us and give us the best life we could ask for. How cool is it to live in a completely different place with a completely different people. As exciting as The Land of Gracious Living is, we really need to go out there and experience the world. And just throwing this out there guys, my good friend once told me “your girlfriend might not wait for you, but your wife will.” Just think about that for a second.

Anyways, got a little side tracked there. I in no way mean to say that I’m excited for my mission for just personal gain, although that is going to be great. The true purpose is to share this truth we know with other sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. If you ever wanted to try doing something scary, think about your life for a second if you had no exposure to this church. If you lived your life without its guidance and assistance. I don’t know about you, but I’m positive I wouldn’t be half the person I am today. I have been given so much knowledge about the Plan of Salvation and it is a pleasure and a responsibility to share that knowledge. My good friend Peter Parker’s Uncle once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Brothers and Sisters, we have been given so much from our Heavenly Father, literally everything we have is because of Him. All he asks of us is to share his love with his other sons and daughters. He wants to bless us brothers and sisters; He wants to bless all of us. Heavenly Father knows each and everyone us, but not all of us know who He is. We have to do our part to have others reestablish their connection to Him and in turn share in this happiness we have. Remember brothers and sisters the words of Mosiah: “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”

Time for a story. By the way Sister Olson, I borrowed your book of Missionary Stories, I appreciate it. This one is called “The King’s Highway”:

Once a king had a great highway built for the members of his kingdom. After it was completed, but before it was opened to the public, the king decided to have a contest. He invited as many as desired to participate. Their challenge was to see who could travel the highway the best.
On the day of the contest the people came. Some of them had fine chariots, some had fine clothing, fine hairdos, or great food. Some young men came in their track clothes and ran along the highway. People traveled the highway all day, but each one, when he arrived at the end, complained to the king that there was a large pile of rocks and debris left on the road at one spot and this got in their way and hindered their travel.
At the end of the day, a lone traveler crossed the finish line warily and walked over to the king. He was tired and dirty, but he addressed the king with great respect and handed him a bag of gold. He explained, "I stopped along the way to clear a pile of rocks and debris that was blocking the road. This bag of gold was under it all. I want you to return it to its rightful owner."
The king replied, "You are the rightful owner."
The traveler replied, "Oh no, this is not mine. I've never known such money."
"Oh yes," said the king, "you've earned this gold, for you won my contest. "He who travels the road best is he who makes the road smoother for those who will follow."

No matter what our circumstances may be, we can always make others lives run a little smoother. And I know that our lives run the best they possible can when we are in harmony with the Holy Spirit. Above anything else, the best way we can help uplift and strengthen others is by sharing this gospel that others may have the peace of the Holy Ghost. By following the example of the elderly man in the story I know we’ll be blessed beyond our comprehension.

I can’t reemphasize enough how blessed we are brothers and sisters. I know personally when I look back at the impact this true church has had on my life, I’m amazed. I’ve somehow managed to get through my teenage years and not make too many mistakes, which for those of you who know me, that’s kind of impressive. But honestly, I couldn’t even begin to relate how happy I have been to grow up with a life centered around this church. Standing from here, I can see where I was blessed as a baby; I can see where I passed and blessed the sacrament for the first time, and where I was sitting when I watched my brothers and friends give their farewells. Brothers and Sisters I love this church so much, and I love all of you who are in it. I have so many priceless memories that have come from this church that are all big factors in why I am standing here today. Much of which I probably shouldn’t share from the stand as many of my former Priest and Priest Leaders would agree, looking at you Hoke.

One story I’d like to relate to you Brothers and Sisters, involves a little cave called E-Ticket. When I say little cave, I really mean a tiny tunnel our scout leaders made us crawl through on a campout a few years ago. No kidding, this probably half a mile long tunnel was a foot and a half tall and completely pitch black. Those of you who have been a part of this church for as long as I have can tell when a good metaphor is coming, and this is no exception. In the middle of that cave in the dark, I was pretty scared and at times didn’t even know if I was going in the right direction. I would scrape my knees and my shoulders on several occasions. I’ve got the scars to prove it. Right when things just seemed to be overwhelming, Brother Chang did two things for me after I asked for a little help. One, he gave me a light so I would feel less afraid and so I could finally see where I was going and prevent myself from getting those scrapes. And two, he told the young men to just sing a hymn and we would feel more comfortable. Within seconds we not only knew where we were going, we also knew the Holy Ghost was with us in the cave. Here’s the metaphor part. At times our lives can seem like that dark cave, feeling misguided and lost, as we experience many bumps and bruises along the way. However, we are very fortunate to have a Father in Heaven who loves us dearly and desires nothing more than to help us. If we follow the guidance in D&C 4 Verse 7 - Ask and ye shall receive: knock and it shall be opened unto you.” We just need to ask of our Heavenly Father to light up the cave that leads to the literal and figurative light at the end of the tunnel, the Celestial Kingdom.

Brothers and Sisters, I am so excited to serve the Lord on my Mission. I have been preparing for this all of my life, and I’m truly excited to share what I have been given with the people of Mexico. Truly the field is white and ready to harvest, and we get the great opportunity to do our part in this great and marvelous work. We just need to thrust our sickles for the harvest and bring Heavenly Father’s children back to him. Those of you who are parents would absolutely want the same thing if you lost one of your children, wouldn’t you? Well we can be the one’s who can reunite Heavenly Father with his children.

This is truly a great and marvelous work Brothers and Sisters, and we are an integral part of it. I found this poem by an Unknown Author that was really a motivator to me to become a better missionary. It’s called “Christ Has No Hands, but Our Hands”:

Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work today
He has no feet but our feet to lead men in the way
He has no tongue but our tongue to tell men how He died
He has no help but our help to bring them to His side.

We are the only Bible the careless world will read,
We are the sinner’s gospel; we are the scoffer’s creed;
We are the Lord’s last message, given in word and deed;
What if the type is crooked? What if the print is blurred?

What if our hands are busy with other work than His?
What if our feet are walking where sin’s allurement is?
What if our tongue is speaking of things His lips would spurn?
How can we hope to help Him or welcome His return?

While I’m here I just wanted to thank all of you who have played an instrumental part of my life. My wonderful parents who given me more than they could ever know, my brothers who I’ve looked up to for as long as I can remember, the several teachers and leaders who attempted to teach our class. I’d also like to take the opportunity to apologize to many of you who were forced to deal with me in my formative years. And also a special thank you to the mothers of this ward. Your sons are my absolute best friends and given me the best years of my life. Especially the ones who are currently serving on missions, they are such a great example to me.

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