Monday, June 23, 2014

Farewell Talk June 22, 2014

Henry David Christensen
2035 East 3814 South
Holladay UT 84109

Dear Elder Christensen,

      Congratulations on your call to serve in the Taiwan Taipei Mission.  We are excited to have you.  We congratulate you on your willingness to serve the Lord among the Chinese people.  You will need to do the following in preparation to enter the Missionary Training Center:

       Please write if you have any questions.  Sister Day and I extend to you our love and pray that our Heavenly Father’s blessings will be with you as you prepare to serve Him. 

       Yours Sincerely,

       President David Day
       Taiwan Taipei Mission


Thank you’s to Lillie for speaking,
Thank you’s to Kristin, Lucy and Ford for playing,
Mention quickly a friends testimony on Hie to Kolob and how powerful verse four is verse 4.
There is no end to virtue;
There is no end to might;
There is no end to wisdom;
There is no end to light.
There is no end to union;
There is no end to youth;
There is no end to priesthood;
There is no end to truth.
I love that hymn. thanks again.
I was going to begin with that same line, but knowing you are all here to hear lillie and not me makes me less nervous so we’ll go with that. I would like to start off by telling you everything I know and everything you should know about Taiwan - it is hot and very humid. That’s all.
I was asked to speak on President Uchtdorf's conference talk titled “are you sleeping through the restoration.” He talks about ways to be prepared in this day of restoration of the gospel, mentioning that problems like addictions, selfishness, and competing priorities can make it difficult for us to focus on the work at hand. I would like to focus on one aspect of his talk, but instead of selfishness, I would like to focus on selflessness.  In the April 2013 General Conference David L. Beck gave a talk titled “Your Sacred Duty to Minister.” I am always moved by the story he tells about a girl named Chy Johnson.  
“When Chy started high school last year, she became the victim of cruel and thoughtless bullying. She was mistreated, shoved, and taunted as she walked to class—some students even threw garbage at her. You have probably seen people mistreated like this in your school too.
For too many people, the teenage years are a time of loneliness and fear. It doesn’t have to be this way. Fortunately for Chy, there were young men at her school who understood what it means to minister.
Chy’s mother had asked teachers at the school to help stop the bullying, but it continued. She then contacted Carson Jones, an Aaronic Priesthood holder and the starting quarterback of the football team. She asked him to help her find out who was doing the bullying.
Carson agreed to help, but in his heart he felt that he could do much more than just identify the bullies. The Spirit whispered to him that he needed to help Chy feel loved.
Carson asked some of his teammates to join him in ministering to Chy. They invited her to sit with them during lunch. They walked her to class to make sure she was safe. Not surprisingly, with football players as her close friends, no one bullied Chy anymore.
This was an exciting season for the football team. But even with the thrill of an undefeated season, these young men did not forget about Chy. They invited her to join the team on the field after games. Chy felt loved and appreciated. She felt safe. She was happy.
The football team went on to win the state title. But something more important than a football championship happened at their school. The example of these young men has motivated other students to be more accepting, more friendly. They now treat each other with more kindness and respect.
National news media found out what these young men had done and shared their story across the country. What began as an effort to minister to one is inspiring thousands of others to do the same.
Chy’s mother calls these young men “angels in disguise.” Carson and his friends are quick to say that Chy has blessed their lives much more than they blessed hers. That’s what happens when you lose yourself in serving others—you find yourself.” (Pause) Like I said, I love this story, maybe it’s because of my little sister Lillie or maybe it’s because the boys were star football players like me (pause for laughs). As I have prepared to leave I’ve realized that being selfless, like those brethren, is not so easy. Like everyone else, I have had a lot on my plate this year. While trying to prepare for a mission, while trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with my future, while going to school and work almost everyday, I fought the common teenage battle of trying to think about other people’s problems in addition to my own.
When explaining stress management to a class, a lecturer raised a glass of water to the crowd. Instead of asking if the glass was half full or half empty he asked, "how heavy is this glass of water?" Answers from the audience ranged from 20 to 60 grams. The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it."
"If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. "In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."
He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress. If we carry burdens from our faults all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on." This year should have been easy, and compared to the lives of many others, it probably was. But on a relative scale it seemed more stressful than it should have been. I noticed often that my competing priorities got the best of me.
I was sort of a slacker getting my missionary plaque ordered (you know, the one they put in the hall out there) -- I procrastinated with taking the picture because my mom didn’t like my hair and when I cut it, I shaved the sides for a sweet mohawk before our family trip to Lake Powell. (pause) So it took a while to have an acceptable haircut... But, I did choose my mission scripture a while ago when it jumped out at me during some personal study of the Book of Mormon. The verse, Alma 33:23 reads: “And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen.” Originally I just liked the simple message of attaining anything if you just will, that’s a pretty awesome promise. But then I received my patriarchal blessing, I found a more meaningful message. This was a great experience for me so I have shared it before, some of you are lucky to hear it twice. (pause) My junior year I became a debater, specializing in oratory/speaking. I really liked to speak. So I was excited when in my patriarchal blessing I was blessed with the power to speak to those I teach on my mission. But after I received that blessing, I got my call to Taiwan. Now, I like speaking well enough, but this really shocked me because I can’t speak more than a few words of chinese and I had a blessing to speak well to the people of Taiwan, in Mandarin. I cannot express enough gratitude for that blessing. Constantly I am asked if I am afraid to learn such a difficult language, and though I know it will be hard, but I feel calm. I know that if I will, I can do just about anything.
I am grateful for ... ( spend a little on each of these )
my call - the chance to go somewhere so great
my dad - helped me become a hard worker - still need work though hehe
my sisters - each one
    hannah for her strength to always stand tall
    adelide for her example of serving a mission
    lillie for her great talk, loving spirit and kindness to everyone.
my grandparents - both sides for support
my aunts, uncles and cousins for their love and support for me and for the several missionary examples
my friends - examples of strength and for keeping me mostly out of trouble
the gospel
the book of mormon - I was able to read it this year
the temple
for prayer
& patriarchal blessings...
There are so many of you who have blessed my life... but none have given so much of their time and care as my mother. MOM, I am grateful for you
Planting the seed is as easy as praying each night, but it’s my testimony that if you can lose yourself in service to others, and if I can lose myself in service to the people of Taiwan, blessings will come in force and the tree of everlasting life will spring forth.
In the name of Jesus Christ Amen

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