Saturday, September 14, 2013

Farewell Talk

Due to me going all over the place and my home ward moving fast Sunday to the last Sunday in September  I will be giving my farewell talk this Sunday (9/15).

For those of you who don't know about Fast Sundays, usually we have Fast Sunday the first Sunday of every month. But in October, the first Saturday and Sunday are General Conference. The wonderful opportunity we all have to hear from the Prophet, Thomas S. Monson and other church authorities. You all should check it out! It will be broadcasted on BYUtv, on, and on the radio (I don't know the name of the station). Basically, you have options on how to watch General Conference. Take advantage of this amazing opportunity!

Anyways, I thought I would post my farewell talk on here. Hope you like it!

Good Afternoon my dear brothers and sisters,

I’m thankful to have this opportunity to speak with you today. It’s amazing to me that two months have already passed since my brother Zach was standing right here giving his own farewell talk. Who knows, maybe someone will give their own farewell talk in two months.

Since I got my call way back in May, there are two questions I get asked the most:
How did you decide to serve a mission? What was your reaction to being called to Norway?
I thought I would answer these two questions for you all today.

How I came to decide to serve is a rather fun story:

Both my parents served missions in their youth and loved their experience. As I came closer to the age requirement of 21, I was about 70% sure that I would serve a mission. Then in the last October session of General Conference, President Thomas S. Monson announced that women could serve at the age of 19. All of a sudden the decision to serve or not was thrown right into my face.

For a while the mission was on my mind A LOT. I was having crazy dreams about me serving in Paris and converting the Phantom of the Opera, many women from my young adult wards were getting calls, lots of excitement was happening.

I worked in the Missionary Training Center (MTC) cafeteria and got to talk with many of the missionaries. While it was fun talking with them and sort of experiencing part of the mission in the MTC, I wanted to make sure that I chose to serve because it was what I wanted to do. Not just because everyone around me was swept by the excitement.

A few months passed and the craze calmed down. Then that fateful day occurred.
It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very, bad day. Everything that could’ve gone wrong went wrong. Because of an accident with my bicycle, I had to walk to work. I cried my eyes out. I said a prayer in my heart to my God, “Please. Please let me know whether I’m suppose to serve or not. Even if you won’t give me an answer now, just please give me the strength to smile at work.”

When I arrived, I put on a smile and managed to get through the shift alright. But my fake smile didn’t fool everyone. While my crew was cleaning up, a coworker of mine told me I was requested by a group of missionaries. When I walked towards their table, I didn’t recognize any of their faces. Confusion hit me. I smiled and asked, “Can I help you with something?”
Then they all started cheering and clapping. More confusion hit me. One elder spoke up, “We just wanted to thank you for working so hard. We’ve all loved how kind and helpful you are and we just wanted to thank you before we leave tomorrow.”
They gave my a little napkin card that they made and all signed. The card read:

Dear Hana,
I don’t know what is troubling you but I feel horrible that you are troubled. Just remember that no matter what you choose to do throughout your life, trust Jesus Christ. He’ll help you through anything.
Best of luck and remember to smile!

It was the perfect way to end a day. When I got back home, I got down on my knees and prayed. Thanking God for those missionaries that comforted me. When I was about to end, I suddenly said, “I want to serve. I will leave for my mission.”
I closed my prayer and heard a quiet voice say, “Good. I will be with you.” An overwhelming feeling of joy filled my heart. And I slept incredibly well that night.

When my mission papers were submitted a few weeks later, everybody was guessing what Japan mission I would go to (Because my mom is from Japan and I’ve studied Japanese for two years). As much as I loved the idea to serve in Japan, I just felt that wasn’t where I would go.

Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t get a whole lot of mail from the prophet. And it came to pass that  one day in the month of May, he sent me a letter.

When my call arrived, I was coming back from a long double shift at the cafeteria. My mom sent me a picture message of a white envelope with the caption: It’s here!!!. For a moment I was like what? I zoomed in on the return address. When you read “Office of the First Presidency” on the return address, it causes several biological changes in your system. You get the chills, your heart races, and you hands shake with anticipation. I ran into my apartment shouting, “MY CALL ARRIVED” and my roommates freaked out along with me.
We waited for everyone to get home and we had a skype and phone conference session. As I read “The Norway Oslo Mission” on the computer screen, I started crying. Everyone went silent. “What? Could you repeat that please Hana” my grandma asked on the phone. “I’ve been called to Norway grandma!” Then everyone started cheering.

When I read “Norway Oslo Mission” I was like, “Whoa that’s random.” Then I got to thinking…. It wasn’t.

Joseph Smith said, “Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was. I suppose that I was ordained to this very office in that Grand Council.”

President Monson shares an experience he had with President Kimball:
On one occasion I remember having read the detail on a particular missionary candidate, and President Kimball indicated that the young man would go to, I believe, London, England. Then he said, “No. That is not correct. Send the young man to the Denmark Copenhagen Mission.” I looked on the form and noticed that I had overlooked reading a very important statement from the stake president. I said, “President Kimball, have you ever seen this form before?” “No,” he replied. “Look at what the stake president has written,” I continued. “The grandfather of this missionary candidate is an immigrant from the land of Denmark. He is our stake patriarch. The missionary was promised in his patriarchal blessing that if he lived true and faithful he would return to the land of his forebears, that he might preach the gospel in that particular land.” President Kimball nodded his approval and said, “The Lord’s will has been made known today.”

My ancestors do not come from Norway, but somehow I have a spiritual connection to Norway. Growing up I loved watching the movie, “The Polar Bear King.” I learned that this story is a famous folktale from Norway. My favorite author, Shannon Hale, expanded the fairytale “The Goose Girl” into the Books of Bayern series. This fairy tale also comes from Norway.
But the strongest link I have with Norway is through letters. I used to have pen pals in elementary school and missed the experience so I thought I would try finding another pen pal. I came to a website called “pen pals now,” filled out an ad application, and waited. A few days later, a girl named Amanda from Norway responded to my ad. This past July marked our fourth year of writing to each other. And last summer I got to visit her in Norway. None of this information was written in my mission papers.

Was my call inspired? I know it was.

Friends, family, and all you wonderful ward members, this is the true church. I wouldn’t be going on a mission to another country if it were not so. I owe my life to this gospel. Without it, I would be in a dark place, lost and miserable. As Sister Henry said in the Saturday session of stake conference, “Tribulation is mandatory but misery is optional.” This is a gospel of optimism. No matter what the adversary throws our way, we can always find a silver lining and we have the greatest strength you could ever need. Jesus Christ. Once you obtain this blessed knowledge, you really do become happy. I’m thankful that Zach and I both have the wonderful opportunity to share this gospel and the joy we receive from it.

In Alma 29:9 it reads:
“I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.”

In closing I would like to share some lyrics from a Disney song called “I’m A Happy-Go-Lucky Fellow” which shares my philosophy of the gospel:

Everyone keeps asking me
My recipe for livin'
It's simple as the ABC's
And hardly seems worth givin'
I've tried it out in every way
It always sees me through
It's made me what I am today
That's why I'm tellin' you

I'm a happy-go-lucky fellow
Full of fun and fancy-free
You can make the whole world seem mellow
If you take it in your stride like me

Don't cross a bridge or peek 'round the corner until you're there
Just learn to smile and in a while
You'll find trouble's a bubble of air
Get a happy-go-lucky feelin'
Keep it and I guarantee
That you'll find you'll end up livin' in the sun
Full of fun and fancy-free.

I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live. They love and know each of us individually. I know that Joseph Smith saw them in the sacred grove. I am deeply grateful for Joseph Smith's endurance so that we could have the gospel on this earth today. Thomas S. Monson is the true, living prophet of God today. He is inspired by God and will never lead this church astray. I'm thankful for our ward and stake leaders as well as our general authorities. I'm thankful for their love and service to each of us. I know that as long as we are commanded to do, and remember our abc 123s; read at least 3 pages from the scriptures, say our prayers twice a day, and attended our church meetings once a week, we can all return to live with our Heavenly Father in the Sun (or Celestial Kingdom). 

I say these things in the name of our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment