Farewell talk #2: Hope

This talk was given in my lovely Young Single Adults ward.

Hope || September 29, 2013

  • “Of the three [faith hope and charity], Faith may be the most well known and popular, the one whose companionship is sought most often. She’s active and energetic, definitely the can-do type. Faith can move mountains, if necessary.I picture Charity as being modest and refined, beautiful and gracious. In her presence you feel genuinely loved and accepted. She’s unfailingly kind and generous, patient, empathetic, aware of every need, and responsive without being asked. How could you not want the companionship of someone like Charity?Then there’s Hope, who seems to have a problem with the way people perceive her. It may be her name and the way it’s commonly used: “I hope the car passes inspection.” Or, “I hope the weather will be nice for the wedding.” Used this way, the word hope is the verbal equivalent of keeping your fingers crossed. Consequently, many seem to think Hope is unsure, even fickle—she may or may not grace you with her companionship.” (

    Larry Hiller, Hope: The misunderstood sister)

  • Hope defined: An abiding trust that God will fulfill all of his promises to us.
  • Hope is an anchor to our souls:
    • Ether 12:4 says: Wherefore, whoso believeth in God with surety hope for a better word, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men which would make them sure and steadfast always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.
    • “Everybody in this life has their challenges and difficulties. That is part of our mortal test. The reason for some of these trials cannot be readily understood except on the basis of faith and hope because there is often a larger purpose which we do not always understand. Peace comes through hope.” James E. Faust
    • When we anchor our souls to God and the Lord, Jesus, we have the abiding trust and peace we need to make it through trials.
    • President Faust goes on to say, “Few activities are safer than serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
    • Missionaries are literally in the hands of the Lord. We wish that all of them could be kept totally out of harm’s way all of the time, but that is not realistic. Missionaries, their families, and leaders trust fully in the Lord’s watch care, and when a rare tragedy strikes, they are sustained by the Spirit of Him whom they serve.”
    • As I have been preparing to leave, it is through this hope that I haven’t had a full scale meltdown.
  • A perfect brightness of hope:
    • 2 Nephi 31:20: “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a asteadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of bhope, and a clove of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and dendure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eeternal life.”
    • “While weak hope leaves us at the mercy of our moods and events, “brightness of hope” produces illuminated individuals. Their luminosity is seen, and things are also seen by it! Such hope permits us to “press forward” even when dark clouds oppress.” Neil A. Maxwell
    • A perfect brightness of hope is remembering that our God is a fourth watch God, even when we are wishing for help in the first watch.
    • God has promised us that he will never abandon us. We must trust he will keep this promise. THIS is a perfect brightness of hope.
    • Hope is not pretending that troubles don’t exist. It is the hope that they won’t last forever; that hurts will be healed and difficulties overcome; that we will be led out of the darkness, and into the sunshine.
  • A more excellent hope:
    • Ether 12: 32 says: “And I also remember that thou hast said that thou hast prepared a house for man, yea, even among the mansions of thy father, in which man might have a more excellent hope; wherefore man must hope or he cannot receive an inheritance in the place which thou hast prepared.”
    •  Moroni 7:41 “And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.”
    • The ultimate hope that can carry us through the very depths of hell itself is hope in the atonement of Jesus Christ.
    • Ezra Taft Benson promised, “I promise you … in the name of the Lord whose servant I am that God will always protect and care for his people. … With the gospel of Jesus Christ you have every hope and promise and reassurance. The Lord has power over his Saints and will always prepare places of peace, defense, and safety for his people. When we have faith in God we can hope for a better world—for us personally and for all mankind.”
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Farewell talk on testimony

Today was farewell talk #1 of 2! While I added a lot of stuff in after, here are the notes I read off!

Testimony Talk  ||  September 22, 2013

So for any of you who don’t know me, I’m Devon and Lynette Romney’s second child, first daughter. Its totally okay if your thinking, “I didn’t know they had another daughter” because I’ve spent the last year and a bit in our Stake’s Singles Ward, while attending Eastern Washington University. Also, if you’re really out of the loop, I’m leaving on October 9 to serve the lord in Singapore and Malaysia. Because I’m leaving in 17 days, pretty much everything in my remarks will be turned around and applied to missionary work.

In the culture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the word testimony is one that is said frequently and used by everyone, even the young children. Every month we have a fast and testimony meeting where anyone who wants can stand at the microphone and bear their testimony. Children as young as four or five even get up and start their remarks with “I’d like to bear my testimony.”

Defined secularly a testimony is just a written or spoken statement. For Example, the defendant gave his testimony of the crime scene in court.

By our church: A testimony is a spiritual witness given by the Holy Ghost. For example, I have received a witness of the truthfulness of this Gospel, therefore, I have a testimony of it.

O Leslie Stone said: “a testimony of the truthfulness of the restored gospel is the most precious possession [you] can have. It cannot be purchased. No one can give it to [you]. It can only be secured by prayer, by study, by faith, by repentance, by righteous living, and by listening to others bearing their testimonies, and through the manifestation of the Holy Ghost.”

We have so many accounts of latter-day prophets having to lean on their testimonies in times of trial. I’m sure that we’ve all known people who say such things. Some of us in this congregation may have had experiences were we’ve relied on our testimony more than any person in our lives.

While a testimony cannot be touched and felt in a tangible way, we can still see it in ourselves and others. We can build it, we can share it, and we can break it, just like any home or building.

But first, why should we want gain a testimony?

  • You cannot gain a testimony if you do not want one.
    • This is key to missionary work, because those who aren’t seeking with never find.
  • You cannot teach a principle if you cannot testify of it.
    • As a missionary, all I’m going to do is teach principles of the gospel and then testify of them. I cannot testify without a testimony.
  • When you understand and have received a spiritual witness of a principle of the gospel, hard choices in life become more black and white.
    • This is not to say that all hard choices are eleviated, but we are better equipped to make a righteous decision.
  • Above all, testimonies bring peace to broken souls because of knowledge and faith.
    • A lot of investigators mention that they feel guilt for their sins. By introducing them to the atonement of Jesus Christ, not only can they be relieved of their guilt, but they built their testimonies on it.

A testimony is built on interactions with faith.

So once you have a desire for further knowledge and testimony, President Stone gave us these:

Ways to grow our testimony:

  • Study our scriptures.
    • To study means to read intelligently. Just reading and forgetting is not studying.
  • Keep the commandments.
    • The scriptures say “if ye love me, keep my commandments.” If we turn this statement around, by not keeping the commandments of God, we are saying we don’t love him.
  • Attend church meetings.
    • While some people say they can have religion and a relationship without God without organized religion, we attend church meetings not only to take the Sacrament but to be lifted up by those around us.
  • Have good friends who lift us up.
  • Stay away from evil.
  • Repent.
  • Pray.

These line up almost perfectly with the challenges given to investigators through out their teaching process. I think this just goes to show how even members of this church are investigators of sorts when it comes to chasing after knowledge.

One way to lose a testimony is complacence. O. Leslie Stone also said that when a testimony is not getting stronger, it is getting weaker. However this is a slow descent to oblivion.

In my opinion, the fastest way to banish a testimony from the soul is through blatant disobedience to the Lord’s commandments. When we are unrighteous, the spirit abandons us. The whole point of a testimony is that the spirit of God witnesses to us of truth.

Now I want to address the youth of this ward. You teenagers are on the horizon of adulthood. Give it a few years and you will be away from Mom and Dad and out of the comforting arms of this ward. And heres a little secret for you. Just because you get old doesn’t mean you magically acquire a testimony and all the tools you need to withstand the harsh conditions of the secular world. I echo the prophets and apostles when I plead with you to be firm in the gospel now! Today! If you haven’t begun your journey to apostleship then commit to starting right now by repenting of your shortcomings and asking for strength to be what the lord needs you to be. If you procrastinate it any more than you will miss out on the ideal time to grow your testimony.

My final thought on testimony is one by C.S. Lewis. Said he, “I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun; not because I can see it, but by it and everything else.”

How to clothe a missionary…

Missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are literal representatives of Jesus Christ. As such, they are expected to dress in “professional, conservative clothing that is consistent with your sacred calling and that will clearly identify you as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” according to the dress and grooming guidelines set by the Church. For women missionaries, or Sisters, skirts are to extend past the knee while standing and sitting. Conservative shirts or blouses are to be worn that look professional when untucked and tucked. No part of the outfit should draw attention to any particular part of the body. For a full list of missionary guidelines, the church website is here.

As for MY clothing, all I should have to say is that my clothing is hiding deep in a drawer underneath all my other missionary stuff so I don’t wear it. It is so cute that my mother won’t let me wear it, lest I ruin it. Take a look

DSCN0314 DSCN0313 DSCN0317 DSCN0316 DSCN0315 DSCN0318 DSCN0319 DSCN0321 DSCN0323   

Pass[on the]port.

Image

Whoever decided you need a passport to travel has probably never applied for one. Anyone who has and said it was easy also had a the foresight not to use any sort of *-mart* or *-ko* ended shopping outlet for any reason. 

The process is simple enough: Fill out the paperwork, snatch up your documents and go to the nearest passport processing site. However, they did not factor blondes into that equation. 

After two trips into “town,” an oath in a post office, and $229 fee for a two week processing instead of four to six, I left the Veradale Post Office my passport work off to the Department of State by Terry, the nice Post Office lady.

Called to Singapore

June 13, 2013 was a day to remember for me. Exactly 10 days after turning in my mission application, I received the happy big envelope containing the life changing assignment.

My mom called my work to inform me it had arrived. The rest of my shift couldn’t have gone slower…time seemed to have stopped.

After phone calls to everyone I wanted there (and maybe some I didn’t), we opened my call at seven o’clock. My pulse was racing and for a fleeting moment, I actually thought about not opening it and just staying in this awkward limbo. I was so scared, because one piece of paper held my future.

“You are assigned to labor in the Singapore Mission.” One sentence has never meant so much to me in all my life. I was prepared to go anywhere the Lord needed me, but Singapore hadn’t even crossed my mind. I mean, where is Singapore?

After some extensive research by my dad and best friend, we learned a bit about my mission.

First of all, my mission covers not only Singapore, but Malaysia as well. However, since I’m called to speak English, there is a real chance I won’t leave Singapore proper.

Singapore is a City-State made up of 63 islands all clustered together off the coast of the Malay Peninsula. It is the fourth leading financial center of the world and it is hot. All. The. Time. Below is the climate of Singapore. Long story short? Its in the upper 80s all year long. This for the girl who came from the frigid clutches of Canada only to move to Spokane and sweats at anything hotter than 75 degrees? Yeah. This’ll be interesting.

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Singapore is also reported to be the number three safest city in the world. It also has the second highest execution rate. Funny how those two correlate, huh?

Overall, Singapore is clean and in good health, even if it does have a few odd laws, most centered around the afore mentioned public heath.

Some challenges I’m anticipating in my preparation? Finding clothes that will be of missionary standards AND be cool enough for me not to roast in. I’m also counseled to bring “wash and wear” fabrics…so that rules out a lot of professional choices. However, the Lord will provide! Onward and upward!