My wonderful Sister-in-law Whitney took all my pictures for me. If you want to check out her photography go to Facebook at Whitney Hunt photography. Here are some of her pictures:) Enjoy!
Because I Have Been Given Much
In Luke chapter 12 verse 48 the Savior teaches, “Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” As members of the Church we all have been given much we have the truthfulness and fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So why shouldn’t much be required of us?
In talk given by James E Faust he says, “ We believe that the fullness of the gospel of Christ has been restored but this is no reason for anyone to feel superior in any way toward others of God’s children. Rather, it requires greater obligation to invoke the essence of the gospel of Christ in our lives- to love, serve, and bless others.”
We all have been given a gift why wouldn’t we want to share it with others?
When I hear this I think of the teaching words of one of my favorite hymns: Because I have been given much, I too must give Because of thy great bounty, Lord each day I live I shall divide my gifts from thee With ev’ry brother that I see Who has the need of help from me.
I shall divide my gifts from thee. What is our gift to give as members of the church? Silvia H. Allred of the General relief society presidency said Christ and His restored gospel is the most important gift you have to give.
I have personally grown a deep understanding of this my first year at BYU and receiving my answer to serve a mission. Realizing the most important thing I could do right now was to serve the Lord and bring people unto Christ.
I will never forget receiving my answer to serve a mission this past year at BYU. Even though every since the mission age change I had feelings and promptings and desire to serve a mission I felt I still had not received my answer. One day sitting in class my Professor was getting ready to end the lecture.Everyday my Professor would end the lecture by finding some way to relate what we were learning that day in class to the gospel. I don’t remember the lecture for the class but I sure do remember the message she gave the last five minutes of class. She was talking about sacrifice. How as members of the church at times we are asked to sacrifice something that means a lot to us. Or sacrifice our time as well. At the time I was debating putting off serving a mission because I was thinking of getting a job for money and doing more schooling. Thinking that what I was doing was more important.
My professor told a story of a student she had who had feelings she needed to serve a mission but did not want to delay her schooling or marriage opportunities. She felt a mission would get in the way. My Professor said she told the girl that if the Lord could sacrifice his life for us why cant you sacrifice 18 months of yours to do the Lords work. That is when it hit me I needed to serve a mission. I needed to stop thinking about myself and think of others and the happiness I had to give to others through the Savior. Its like I had know it all along but I needed someone to spell out for me clearly. One thing my Professor made clear was she was not saying all sisters should serve a mission but rather as members we need to be willing to give ourselves freely to the Lord and should all find ways to share his gospel. We all have a marvelous gift to share with others so why keep it to ourselves.
I later found this quote from Russel M. Ballard that reads,
“Every member can give his time and talents freely to the building up of the kingdom of God upon the earth. No member of the Church should miss this opportunity to exercise his faith and feel the spirit that comes from humble sacrifice.”
I think we can relate this quote to many of the talks we heard this last conference about becoming Disciples of Christ. One of my favorite talks was given in the women’s conference by Linda K. Burton as she talks about wanted hands and hearts to hasten the work.
She quotes Neal A. Maxwell who said, “ All the easy things that the Church has had to do have been done. From now on it’s high adventure, and followership is going to be tested in some interesting ways.”
She continues to say “ You have been sent to earth in this dispensation of time because of who you are and what you have been prepared to do. Regardless of what Satan would try to persuade us to think about who we are, our true identity is that of a disciple of Jesus Christ!”
She gives the example of Mormon who boldly declares who he is to the wicked children of Lehi
“Behold I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
We can all look to Mormon as an example he was not distracted by the evil around him. In fact he considered his calling to be a gift. Think if we all were like Mormon and thought as our calling as a daily gift to give to others.
I think of all I have been blessed with in this life especially now today as I look around and see church leaders, friends, and family who have shaped me into the person I am today. All you guys have helped me personally in lightening my burden you have given me the best gift you could have given me, a desire to be righteous and happy and to share this gift with others. Even more importantly though I think of my Savior and all he has given me. Time after time this year the Savior has been right by my side, helping me every step along the way. He has lightened my burden and let me experience the blessing of the atonement. I will not forget at the beginning of the year when I received my calling as Relief Society President in my freshman ward at BYU, I was shocked couldn’t believe they would want me to be Relief Society President. I remember how under qualified and overwhelmed I felt. I was just figuring out how to juggle college classes and studying. I didn’t know how I was supposed to do this. I immediately turned to my Heavenly Father in pray asking him for help. When I started working on everything I slowly felt my burden lifted by the Lord as Visiting teaching assignments worked out easily, how willing the girls were to help serve in callings or the help I received from my bishop and relief society supervisor. I turned to my Savior to thank him for all he had given me and asked what more I could do and all I felt was an overwhelming feeling of love for all my sisters. He wanted me to serve them and to love them. He wanted me to feed his sheep. As I served my sisters, my love grew for them everyday. I think of John Chapter 21 when the Savior sits with Peter and asks him “Lovest thou me more than these?” And peter saith unto him “Yea Lord thou knowet that I love thee.” He saith unto him “Feed my lambs.” The lord continues to ask him two more times Lovest thou me? And Peter responds each time yea lord thou knowest that I love thee. The lord answers back “Feed my sheep.”
The Lord told Peter not once but three times to feed his sheep. The Lord needs us to be willing members. He needs our hands and hearts to hasten the work. I recently found a poem written by missionaries in the field that helps me see it even more clearly how much the Savior needs us now to do his work.
I had been in that hole for a very long time
In the dark and the damp, in the cold and the slime.
The shaft was above me; I could see it quite clear
But there’s no way I ever could reach it from here.
Nor could I remember the world way up there
So I lost all my hope and gave in to despair.
I knew nothing but darkness, the floor, and the walls
Then off in the distance I heard someone call:
“Get up! Get ready! There’s nothing the matter.
Take rocks and old sticks and build up a fine ladder.”
This had never occurred to me– had not crossed my mind.
But I started to stack all the stones I could find.
When I ran out of stones, then old sticks were my goal,
For one way or another I’d get out of that hole.
So I soon had a ladder that was sturdy and tall
And I thought, “I’ll soon leave this place once and for all.”
I climbed up my ladder. It was no easy chore,
For from lifting those boulders, my shoulders were sore.
I climbed on up the ladder, but soon had to stop
For my ladder stopped short– some ten feet from the top.
I climbed back down my ladder and started to cry
I’d done all I could do. I gave my best try.
And in spite of my work, in this hole I must die.
And all I could do was to sit and think, “Why?”
Was my ladder too short? Or my hole much too deep
Then from way upon high came a voice, “Do not weep.”
And then faith, hope, and love entered into my chest
As the voice said to me that I’d done my best.
He said, “You’ve worked very hard, and your labor’s been rough,
But the ladder you’ve built is at last tall enough.
Do not despair. You have reason to hope.
Just climb up your ladder; I’ll throw down my rope.”
I climbed up the ladder, then climbed up the cord.
When I got to the top, there stood the Lord.
I couldn’t be happier; my struggle was done.
I blinked in the brightness that came from the Son.
I fell to the ground, His feet did I kiss
I cried, “What can I do to repay thee for this?”
Then He looked all about Him. There were holes in the ground
They had people inside, and were seen all around
There were thousands of holes that were damp, dark, and deep
The Lord turned to me and He said, “Feed my sheep.”
Then He went on His way to help other lost souls,
And I got right to work, calling down to the holes:
“Get up! Get ready! There’s nothing the matter.
Take rocks and old sticks and build up a fine ladder.”
It now was my turn to spread the good word.
The most glorious message that man ever heard.
That there’s one who is willing to save one and all
And we’ve got to be ready when He gives the call.
He’ll pull us all out of the hole that we’re in
And save all our souls from death and from sin.
So do not lose faith; there is reason to hope
Just build up your ladder; He’ll throw down His rope.
We all need to be willing to serve when the Lord gives us the call. To help others find the joy of coming unto Christ. He has given us all so much and now it is time for us to show our thanks unto him.
Lovest thou me? yea lord thou knowest that I love thee. Then “Feed my sheep.”
Ending with the words of a hymn Because I have been blessed by thy great love dear Lord, I’ll share thy love again according to thy word. I shall give love to those in need I’ll show that love by word and Deed, thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed
I am so grateful for this gospel and the light it has brought into my life. I am so thankful for the love the Savior has for each one of us and the help and comfort he provides us with. I could not serve a mission without the Lords help. I am so excited to serve my mission and bring the happiness the gospel provides to the people of Canada.
I have been called to serve in the Canada Montreal Mission, French speaking. I enter the Provo Missionary Training Center on June 25th.
I truly have never been happier in my life. I have such a strong desire to share this Gospel with the people of Canada. This Gospel has made me who I am today. I am so blessed to have such amazing parents, family, friends and those who have taught me and helped me get to this point in my life. God truly is aware of each of us and has a plan and purpose for us.