I surprisingly did not read my talk word for word, so this
isn't exactly what i said, but you get the jist of it.
It was a tear jerker :)
INTRODUCTION: I am kind of new to the ward, and haven’t formally introduced myself over the pulpit. In fact I have never spoken in sacrament ever. Leave it to Bentley to volunteer us to speak J
I’ve been living in slo for 3 years now. I moved here to go to Cuesta and complete my Associates degree which I did last year in Liberal studies. I stayed an extra semester after that to take courses in ECE to get my associate teachers permit. After I got that, I taught preschool for a little while, and am about to start my new job, tomorrow actually, Monday will be my first day at CL Smith as a para-educator in a SDClass. Special day, special ed, there a few differences, basically I get to hang with the coolest kids on the playground. I love preschool age, but I am leaning more towards special education as I get closer to obtaining my credential but we shall see, I am open to a lot as far as education goes.
Speaking of school, that is where bent and I met. We met at Cuesta in January 2011 in our Vocal Jazz class, and then again that week in intermediate voice, and then again! At a guitar class at a music academy here in SLO called Modern Music Academy MMA for short. Not to confused with mixed marshal arts J obviously we have similar interests, we are both passionate musicians. To this day we cannot believe that our paths had not crossed before that semester, and then all the sudden it was literally every day of the week. I even joked with him about whether or not he was stalking me…. And the rest is history! I was inactive in this county at that time. I went to church when I was home with my mom in Yosemite and I had called the missionaries here, but couldn’t seem to set up a meeting with them for a bunch of reasons. So there was no way we could have met via church.
What makes it truly remarkable that we met that month is not only was I inactive at church here, the month before that jan. my dad had fainted while walking down the hallway in my parents house and broke his neck, it was a total freak accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. He once was a chiropractor and now he is a very responsive quadriplegic, with an incomplete injury meaning there is A LOT of hope for him to regain mobility in his legs and arms some day. He can move his shoulders bend his ankles but it is definitely not the same, they are followed by intense muscle spasms. He is a full time job for my mom now. I hate to say it like a JOB but there is A TON of little thing you depend on others to do for you when you are in a wheelchair. She stays home with him, dresses, feeds, caths, bed rolls him, and baths him. She was his receptionist at his chiropractic office before the accident so they have always worked in close quarters, but definitely nothing like this. That being said, I almost did not come back to SLO after that December. I was worried about how my family would transition into this new lifestyle we are all still getting used to. However it was my final semester for my Associates Program and my dad insisted that I hit the books, stay concentrated and finish strong. So painfully and with many weekend trips home I did. And here I am now 2 years later, married to an amazingly sweet handsome young man, hard work paid off and I just got into Cal Poly, I am working in the school district, and fortunately today, giving this talk.
I was asked to speak about SERVICE in and out of the church. Service within the church is a great way to express your love and appreciation, give back, keep busy, stay connected and build relationships within the ward but most of all I believe it keeps us active. I mentioned I was inactive well that lasted for about 7 years and the things I missed most were service related projects my family was involved in through the church. I have always been service minded because of how I was raised. It was a life style for my family; nearly every weekend we were doing something outside for the community or my school, family home evenings were normally geared around how we can help our friends and family in and out of the church. Even though we were inactive my mom still upheld the same standards and expectations she always had. Serving with in the church can be as classic as accepting a calling and teaching a class, leading music or taking part in an Eagle Scout project. But I think service amongst members when we don’t know we have done a greater service for someone are the most insightful. I would like to share a few examples of this, I don’t mean to put the following people on the spot, but it’s all in the name of service.
* * For example sister Slade shared her testimony in January. If you were here you heard her share with us that while their family was trying for a very long time to figure out where to start her husbands practice. It was a difficult and trying time for them, so they decided to fast every Sunday until they something worked out, or answers were abundantly upon them. And I cannot explain how great of a service that was for me. Their resolve to fast was the answer I was looking for. The year mark for my dads fall had just passed, and I had been praying so hard for an answer to how I could serve my family from here, in some way, other than prayer and supportive phone calls. Since then Bentley and I have been fasting for him and specifically his mobility every Sunday. The last time I was home my dad almost did a full sit up in bed on his own. The idea to fast had surprisingly not crossed my mind, even after our ward fasts for the families in need during the tough economic times and mission work.
* * And then at stake conference sister Walwork stood up at the Saturday evening session and shared with everyone that she fasted every Wednesday and Sunday for her children that are inactive just reconfirming and solidifying to me again that I can do something to serve my family from here, miles away. We are here to serve each other as family members within our ward. standard canned food drives, helping a member move, relief society service projects, or going to a park clean up are great ways to serve don’t get me wrong but I think the services we don’t know we have to offer are often the most significant and treasured by the individual on the receiving end. When we are simply conversing and spark an interest or uplift someone with a comment or smile. When we listen to each other it’s often not recognized as an act of service, but we all need to be heard. Its not always the easiest thing to do if you feel like someone is rambling, but its not always about us either, and they might genuinely just need to be heard in that moment. Or perhaps it is about ‘us’ and heavenly father is using them as an instrument to get his words to you. We just need to be open minded.
DC 63:1 Hearken, O ye people, and open your hearts and give ear from afar; and listen, you that call yourselves the apeople of the Lord, and hear the word of the Lord and his will concerning you.
My favorite quote on service is….
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
In high school during my most inactive years in this gospel I attended a Presbyterian, Christian church. My involvement with that church enabled me to go to Guatemala every summer for a few weeks to serve. I worked at a preschool one-year, and a hospital for mentally disabled and handicapped after that. Somehow every year I found myself talking about the book of Mormon with my friends, peers and Guatemalans who had heard my history in this faith and had questions. They mostly questioned my inactivity and I think were hoping for a juicy story. I shared with them what I could for what I knew of this gospel was not much at that time. With out fail, every year I was fascinated how it always came back to this, always back to this gospel. I realized that I seriously needed to read for myself and really find out why I had fallen away from the gospel that I credited my morals and values to. The answer I came to, no matter how long it took me, is hopefully obvious as I stand here in front of you today.
When we serve we really do find ourselves in everyone around us, we are a hand, we are ears, we are loving, caring, and giving and we are as Christ like as it gets on this earth.
John H. Groberg said at general conference in 2004: “The more we obey God, the more we desire to help others. The more we help others, the more we love God and on and on.”
The more we serve the happier we are, service brings true joy. And that is all heavenly father wants for his children, to be happy and joyful.
Another scripture applicable to service that I really like and think plays a major role in the way we serve is …. DC 59:15 inasmuch as ye do these things with athanksgiving, with bcheerful glad chearts and countenances—
If you do something as an act of service begrudgingly you will not gain the reward or see the fruits from your work whatever that reward may be. Serve with a smile; love what you are doing because you who you are doing it for.
**In close I would like to thank you for listening to my talk this morning and thank you for your acts of service. My testimony of this gospel has done nothing but grow through service in and out of THIS church. I am so thankful to have come back to the basics. I am so thankful to be in such a strong and loving ward full of wonderful examples**