Today was the day that I delivered my farewell talk! I cant believe it! I leave here so soon but feel like I have so much left to do! I love you all and please know you will be greatly missed.
I remember a few short months ago when I first opened my mission call thinking “Really? I have to wait 73 whole days to go on my mission!?” Now, with only a little over a week left I can’t seem to wrap my head around the idea of how fast time has gone by. Packing, shopping, and more packing went by and now I’m up here delivering my farewell talk. The decision to serve a mission for me was not an easy one, it wasn't something I woke up to one morning, and it wasn't something that I've dreamt of since I was a little girl. I remember hearing the mission age change thinking “Oh my gosh that’s so great- for the other girls. That is so cool- for the other girls who plan on serving missions.” But as time went by random thoughts kept entering my mind, “I’m gonna serve a mission.” Then I’d brush it to the side not thinking anything of it. Again “I’m gonna serve a mission.” I wouldn't even pray about it, because I was scared I already knew the answer. It wasn't in my plans.
The thoughts happened more and more and more so I finally gave in and prayed about it, I prayed harder than I ever thought I could. And you know what I learned? God’s plans aren't always the same as my plans. And since then I've learned that same principle again and again. The idea of a mission grew on me. I became more and more sure that it was the right thing to do and I became more and more excited about it. I knew that somewhere in this big scary world, someone needed me. Little blonde Megan, from Lakeville. Someone in this world was praying to God for what? help, comfort, and guidance? Cure to addiction? An end to loneliness? I don’t know. All I know is that by giving myself to the Lord for a small time, I could just be the answer to what someone is praying for.
Throughout his years as our prophet, President Monson has encouraged us as members to “Reach out to Rescue” Not only as missionaries but as church members, neighbors, friends, associates, families, and in all other aspects of our lives. He goes on explaining ways to do this such as service to others, inviting people to church, standing as an example, sharing your beliefs and many more. We can rescue friends of different faiths, members who have fallen away, and we can even help the friends and loved ones who have passed on through temple work. It’s a scary thing putting yourself out there. Risking embarrassment, rejection, ridicule, the list goes on and on. But just think how grateful that person will be when they come back to church after years being inactive and realizing how much they've missed it, or how about when your friend comes to church for the first time and feels a happiness and peace she’s never felt before, or even when your ancestors finally receive the blessings of the temple after years and years of waiting in anticipation. “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! 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!” (D&C 18:15-16)
As my mission has drawn closer I've received a few emails from my mission president in Guayaquil Ecuador. One email he sent talked about “Our Mission” and the people of Guayaquil. He states “too many of them have fallen away over the years, and so besides the great work of finding, teaching, and baptizing our Father’s children, we have the great opportunity to work alongside Him in finding and rescuing His lost sheep.” After reading that I realized something, I realized that the people in Guayaquil, thousands of miles away, in a different country, speaking a different language, have something in common with us. We all need help. We all need someone to reach out and rescue us. The people of Ecuador need someone to stop by and see how they are doing, invite them to come back to church, just like the people of Lakeville.
The idea of “Reaching out to rescue” will be present for me in many ways for the next 18 months. The first thing that comes to mind will be as I learn the Spanish language. My Companion will be rescuing me a lot, I am sure. Another one that comes to mind will be as I enter the MTC in Mexico, the support and prayers from my family and loved ones will rescue me as well as strengthen me. Lastly, as I lay in bed at night tired and discouraged thinking, what in the world am I doing here? Am I good enough to be here? My Savior, the only one who will know exactly how I am feeling, will reach out his loving marked hands and rescue me, little blonde Megan from Lakeville.
When we reach out to others, we can in part become a little more like our Savior. Offering a relief that only His gospel can give. By putting our imperfect selves out there, offering a perfect gospel, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will make up the rest. Even if the person we help is just a little “so-and so” from Lakeville, or Guayaquil, or anywhere else in the World they deserve a chance to be rescued. It’s just our job to offer it. “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (D&C 18:10)
My life has changed so much in the past couple years. I felt like someone has just hit the fast forward button and forgotten to press play again. I graduated, went to BYU in Provo, went to BYU in Idaho, my sister got married, I received a mission call, I have friends serving missions, getting engaged, perusing degrees and facing all kinds of “Grown-up” decisions and trials. I know that some of you younger kids are sitting in the pews eating cheerios and coloring and can’t quite yet think of such things. But they come, and sometimes it’s hard. I know some of you older folks in the chapel are thinking “Wow, I remember when I was that young. And I remember thinking that stuff was hard. It came and went, and it was hard but you face even harder things.” We all go through tough things in our lives, whether it be as a young kid feeling like you don’t have friends, a teenager who hangs with the wrong crowd, a young adult trying to face the world, or a grown up trying to raise and provide for a family. We all could use a little rescuing. We all need to be like our Savior and listen to our prophet’s call to reach out and rescue. And times will come where we are looking for someone to reach out and praying to God for an answer… and wondering to ourselves. “What in the World am I doing here, Lord, help me be good enough.” and we will feel like there is no answer. But be patient, the Lord hears your prayers. He sent a savior to this earth before we were even born to answer our prayers, to comfort us, to cleanse us, to guide us, and to rescue us.
President Monson continues his address saying “In this remarkable dispensation of the fullness of times, our opportunities to serve one another are limitless. We’re surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our comfort, our support, our kindness—[…] As we serve our fellowman, we serve the Lord. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these …, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40). May we ever be found performing such service.” He goes on explaining not only are we helping others by doing this but helping ourselves and receiving blessings from the Lord.
I know that President Monson is a Prophet of God, given to us for instruction and guidance in these latter-days. I know that his message to reach out to rescue is God sent. And by doing so we are becoming more like our Savior. A couple months ago I came across something in the ensign. To which sadly I couldn't find the direct quote for, but it said something along the lines of in a world where such sorrow and hurt are present its easy to become discourage and afraid. But we already know who wins the fight. We already know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, we know that God’s goodness beats evil in the end, it’s all just a matter of choosing which side we are on on. President Monson finishes his statement by saying “As we now go forward, may we follow His example. He left His footprints in the sands of the seashore, but He left His teaching principles in the hearts and in the lives of all whom He taught. He instructed His disciples, and to us He speaks the same words, “Follow thou me” (John 21:22). May we ever be found doing so.”
I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve. I know that this truly is Christ’s church. I know that Christ lives and his gospel still lives on this earth because of the effort and faith of Joseph Smith. I know that he was a prophet of God sent to deliver us the Book of Mormon. I know that all the lessons in church, early mornings in seminary, institute classes, and prayers from family and leaders have all pointed me here. They brought me here so that I could worthily go through the temple and that I can stand here today and thank you for supporting me as a missionary. I felt like the Grinch from Dr. Seuss’s “The Grinch who stole Christmas” because when I opened my mission call my heart grew three sizes that day. I love people I have never met, and who I’m going to struggle to communicate with for quite some time. I know with the Lord’s help all things are made possible and I know I am in good hands. I love you all so much. You will be greatly missed. I am grateful for my family and friends. They have given me so much and still give every day. I’m going to miss them dearly. But know that the Lord needs me, and I am just answering his call. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.