Saturday, June 2, 2012

Preparing for a Mission-Caleb's talk

Intro: I’m Caleb Lee, I’ve been down at BYU for the past year but this is my home ward. I’ve been called to the Portugal, Lisbon mission and leave next Wednesday. I’ll be speaking about missionary work, and preparing for a mission

A few days ago, I was cleaning my room and packing all the stuff up with my mom, and realized I had a lot of stuff. I found things like high school dance pictures, electronics, souvenirs, pocket knives, and books. My mom realized, though, that a lot of the stuff we found relates to things I’ve done to prepare for my mission. For my talk, I am going to explain how some of these objects helped prepare me, as well as what the prophets had said about it.

Found my arrow of light, scout shirts and badges. These were just basic things that taught me that it’s important to try and learn new things, and set goals. That is one of the main purposes of scouts, to teach kids how to set goals. For those who don’t know, the scout book has a bunch of requirements that you fulfill in order to get your awards and progress through scouting. Learning how to set reasonable goals is an important part of becoming a missionary. As a missionary, I will have to set goals of what I want to get done in the day; like how many people we want to talk to, copies of the book of Mormon I want to place, learn the language, or things like that. A successful missionary is one who achieves those goals that he sets, that the companionship sets, and that the whole mission sets. President Monson said “It is necessary to prepare, to plan, so that we don’t fritter away our lives. Without a goal, there can be no real success. The best definition of success I have ever found goes something like this: Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. Someone has said the trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never crossing the goal line.” I believe this; and that goals can help us see the successes in life, and will help me be a successful and motivated missionary.

Savings and tithing jar – As a kid I started saving for my mission, and have been ever since. Elder Ballard said “the missionary who has worked and saved and helped pay for part or all of his or her mission is a better-prepared missionary. Working and saving for a mission generates enthusiasm for serving and gives a young man or a young woman a good work ethic.” Growing up, my parents always encouraged me to save some of what I earned, because they told me it would mean more if I helped pay for it, like Elder Ballard said. When we’ve gone out and bought the things in preparation for my mission, I’ve realized that they are for ME and MY mission, because I helped pay for it, rather than just having everything bought for me. I had to sacrifice in order to serve a mission. A few years ago someone told me that it would be a tithing on my life, sacrificing 2 years out of 20ish I’ve lived. Dallin H. Oaks in a talk on sacrifice from the last conference says “The best-known examples of unique LDS service and sacrifice are the work of our missionaries. Currently they number more than 50,000 young men and young women. They devote from six months to two years of their lives to teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.” He then tells a story about a man who had to sacrifice, and also of how the families have to sacrifice. There was a boy in Brazil working to support his siblings after his father and mother had died, and he received a mission call. He remembered that his parents had taught him that they should always be prepared to serve the Lord. He accepted the call. Then his 16 year old brother took over the responsibility. He says “We are frequently asked “How do you persuade your young people and your older members to leave their schooling or their retirement to sacrifice in this way? I have heard many give this explanation: “Knowing what my Savior did for me – I feel privileged to make the small sacrifice I am asked to make in His service. I want to share the understanding He has given me.” Then he says “How do we persuadade such followers of Christ to serve? As a prophet explained, “We [just] ask them.”” I’m grateful that I have the Chance to serve the Lord as His representative.

Work clothes remind me of the work experiences that taught me the value of working hard and being busy. At age 11, I started working as a paper boy and have been working ever since. My parents have always encouraged me to have a job and be productive. They’ve done this to prepare me for my mission, and life after I get back.

In a talk by H. David Burton, he said “President Monson learned from his father how to work in business and began his first part-time job when he was 14, working in the printing shop that his father managed. President Monson relates that after age 14, there have not been many days in his life—other than Sundays—when he didn’t work. “When you learn to work while you’re young, the habit stays with you,” he says.” Along with working in jobs, my parents have given me jobs around the house, like vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms (which I hear you have to do at the MTC), mowing the lawn, and working in the garden. I’m grateful that they’ve taught me how to work, because I know it will be a lot of hard work on my mission. I’ve also learned that being productive feels great. After a day of going and going, I feel really accomplished. For example, when I was going to school at BYU I’d have days where I didn’t have any breaks. I’d go to work at 7:30-12, class 12-4, band 4-6, run errands, then do homework until I went to bed. I’d be exhausted at the end of the day, but feel extremely accomplished.

BYU stuff – shirts and hats and stuff I got there. I learned a lot of different things at school. I learned how to budget, because I had to keep track of where my money went and be careful with what I spent it on. About that, Hillary Holbrook in an ensign article said “Forming good money-management skills now, while you’re young, will enable you to find peace and security, and it will help you when you go on a mission, get a job, or go to school.” If I won’t have to worry so much about money on my mission, that will allow me to focus on the more important things. I also learned time management, because as I said earlier, I had busy days a lot so I had to plan out what I was going to do each day. For my job there I had to work with a partner, which I’m sure helped prepare me for a companion 24/7, if there were things that bothered me I either just had to deal with it or talk to him about it. I had to learn a lot of patience, which I struggle with. I also had to do a LOT of walking at school, which has helped me prepare physically. I had to walk to and from campus every day, I lived a ways away from campus, and walking in between classes. These are things that everyone planning on going on a mission can start doing now no matter how old they are, like knowing how to handle money, manage time, and be physically prepared.

A really cool thing that my mom did is she gave me a framed picture of a warrior, with a quote below it about the stripling warriors. Alma 56 verses 47 and 48 talk about the warriors. It says “Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the aliberty of their bfathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their cmothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their amothers, saying: We bdo not doubt our mothers knew it.” This talks about the faith of the sons in their mothers, and that their mothers had taught and prepared them well. Something that I thought was really neat was that on the back of the picture, my mom wrote a lot of little quotes or sayings about the gospel, or just life in general. She wrote stuff like “brush your teeth” and “say your prayers”, and “do your best”, but also other things about how to treat a future wife, or to pray to heavenly father when I feel down, or to get help from people when feeling sad. I’m grateful that my mom has done things like that, to help prepare me for my mission. Since I was little, my mom has also helped me had a desire to serve, she talked about it a lot. Because of this, I have always wanted to serve a mission, and I’m grateful for that. I hope mothers know what a big impact they have on the decision to go on a mission.

In my room, we also found MANY white shirts and ties, which relate closely to my priesthood duties. I remember when I was a deacon, teacher, and priest in the Aaronic priesthood coming to help prepare, bless, and pass the sacrament. I also got to fulfill my duties by doing fast offerings and home teaching. I did these things because I wanted to, but most importantly because it was my priesthood duty, meaning I was obligated to do it as a bearer of the priesthood. All of these duties have a purpose, it is to help others. I’ve personally seen this. TELL THE STORY ABOUT MY HARD NIGHT. – Having a really rough time with my programming class, didn’t know what to do about it, couldn’t drop it because I’d lose a scholarship – having trouble with friends – a lot of other things I can’t remember exactly. – Had the thought to ask home teacher for a blessing. – came over right away, and gave an amazing blessing. – He was able to bless my life by fulfilling priesthood duties; I’m glad he was worthy to do that. I know that if I fulfill my priesthood duties, like serving a mission, then I will be able to bless the lives of others. Missionary work IS a duty of priesthood holders. President Monson in a general conference said “every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service is a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much. Young men, I admonish you to prepare for service as a missionary. Keep yourselves clean and pure and worthy to represent the Lord.” If I fulfill my duty faithfully, I will be able to help others come unto Christ by guiding them to feel the Spirit and gain a testimony for themselves. Elder Ballard in an April 2003 talk says “we challenged our young men to better prepare themselves to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. We asked them to be worthy, qualified, spiritually energized missionaries. With the unsettled conditions that exist in the world today, they need to be “the greatest generation of missionaries in the history of the Church… We don’t expect them to be perfect, but they need to be anxious, willing, and committed to serve so they can reach new levels of spirituality as gospel teachers. I don’t think we just need to do our duties, we need to do them well and willingly, and out of love for the Gospel in order to get the blessings that come with them. So, we need to prepare to serve willingly.

Some of the other things we found in my room were pictures of the sacred grove and temple, and my scriptures. These things have helped me prepare by helping me gain a testimony. In my mission prep class my teacher stressed the importance of reading the Book of Mormon, because it holds up all other doctrines of the church. I’ve been able to read the Book of Mormon almost twice in the past year, and I feel like my testimony and knowledge of it have grown a lot. I’ll now be able to share what I’ve learned about the Book of Mormon and the gospel with the people of Portugal, and hopefully help them get a desire to learn also. D&C 11:21 says “Seek not to adeclare my word, but first seek to bobtain my cword, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my dSpirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the econvincing of men.” In the years leading up to our missions, we can prepare by obtaining the word, or learning for ourselves, in order to better teach it to others. I know that on my mission I won’t convert people by what knowledge I have or how good I am with words, because as you’ve probably been able to tell, I’m not that good with them. It’s about having the spirit with me, and helping the investigators and struggling members of the church to feel that same spirit for themselves, and gain a testimony that will keep them strong in the gospel. From when we’re young, I think we all can prepare for a mission and life by gaining a testimony for ourselves.

Then he said thanks to parents, family, leaders, and friends for helping to prepare to serve and challenged all boys to start preparing to be missionaries, it’s really important.
Then he bore testimony of the gospel.

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