Saturday, October 6, 2012

a heightened desire to serve

"Only when our testimony transcends what is in our mind and burrows deep into our heart, will our motivation to love and to serve become like unto the Savior's. It is then, and only then, that we become deeply converted disciples of Christ and powered by the Spirit to reach the hearts of our fellow men."
-Russell M. Nelson (Afternoon Session)

I suddenly had the increased desire to do missionary work about a year ago. I say suddenly, but really, that was a step in my conversion. Many, many things, over the course of my whole life, led to my desire to serve others and to share the good news of the gospel.

It's why I started this blog. It was the first thing that popped into my head... An easy way to share my thoughts. Maybe not everyone will read them, but a few will, and if you can change the lives of even just a few... well, you've done your job right.

When I talk to my nonmember friends, it seems that that desire - that unexplainable need to do missionary work (what my friend Sydney would call a pulsing of the heart) - almost explodes inside of me. 

Those people are happy. You can live a happy life without the gospel. But can you live a fulfilled life? (haha... kinda reminds me of that post I did a few days ago... )

The gospel has brought me comfort. 
A true appreciation for sacrifice.
The belief in an Almighty God - One who loves unconditionally and would never forsake.
It's eased my burdens in an unspeakable way.
Taught me to hope.
Taught me to love.
Taught me to trust.
Given me a love for people.
Taught me that there is a balance in all things - a reason for every trial and triumph.
Shown me the beauty of humanity.
The goodness of the human spirit.
Taught me to marvel at God's creations.
Instilled in me the knowledge of who I am and what my Divine Purpose is.
Given me a sense of amazement and awe at what my Savior has accomplished.

The list truly could go on and on.

And if I can help just one person to partake of the glorious freedom and joy that the gospel has to offer... I will be the happiest, most successful person alive.

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

(-Emily Dickinson)

A strong desire to serve God's children came with the desire to share the gospel. The two are inexplicably linked together.

It's why I'm going to Fiji, although I am a strong believer that the most meaningful service you will ever do will be among your own peers.

I am still going to jump at the chance to serve people of another culture, though. The chance to see the world and interact with people that are living in such a different way from me will be an amazing experience.

The desire to serve is a strong one that has also been blooming and blossoming and maturing within me for a long time.

But never before has it been so strong.

The age change for missionaries announced today was maybe one of the biggest answers to prayer that I have ever had.

It was actually an answer to unspoken prayer, because although I have been worrying and wondering about a mission, I'm not sure I ever brought my thoughts to the Lord.
He knows my heart, though.

I'm pretty sure it's the only major announcement that the church has made that I can remember...

(I guess that it depends on what you would consider a major announcement, but I can't remember another that directly impacted me and affects me the way this one does.)

I've sorta briefly described my change of heart toward missionary work and service. For a while now, I have had the strong desire to serve a mission, but I've never totally known if I would.

I mean, you never know what I will be doing by the age of 21. Maybe I will want to get married by then. And I don't feel like putting a family on hold for a mission is a good choice for me to be making...

I wanted to go on a mission so bad, but it was always still kind of a maybe.

Well it is not a maybe anymore.

I freaked out when I heard that announcement, and I have been giddy with excitement all day.

Like every time it crosses my mind, my heart fills with so much joy - I can hardly begin to explain it.

And there is no uncertainty at all - not the slightest of a doubt in my mind - what I will be doing when I turn nineteen.

I am so excited and so grateful that I won't have to wait to leave or wait to make that decision.

One of my sweetest tender mercies.

And I think - because of the sweet miracle that took place for me in the first five minutes - this has been my favorite conference so far. Ever.

And the talks have been great. Have you tried taking notes?

I just thought of something that we read in seminary yesterday... (I took a picture of the following quote with my iPod so I could share it with you guys...)

Brother Brigham took the stand, and he took the Bible, and laid it down, he took the Book of Mormon, and laid it down, and he took the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and laid it down before him, and he said, "There is the written word of God to us, concerning the work of God from the beginning of the world, almost, to our day. And now," said he, "when compared with the [living] oracles, those books are nothing to me; those books do not convey the word of God direct to us now, as do the words of a Prophet or a man bearing the Holy Priesthood in our day and generation. I would rather have the living oracles than all the writing in the books."

This is of course not to say that the scriptures aren't important. The scriptures are the word of God and the prophets that wrote in them were Divinely called and their words apply to us today.

The Book of Mormon has been called the keystone of our religion, the most perfect book that exists today.

But even above those books, are the words of our Prophet and the apostles who are on the earth today.

I pray that each of you will tune in to conference tomorrow and listen to the amazing and essential advice that the Lord's disciples have to offer you. Whether you watch from the seats in the conference center, the pews in your stake center, the couch in your family room, or your spinny-computer chair...

I know that you will feel the Spirit witness to you that the words being said are true... that the amazing speakers you will listen to are truly conveying the Lord's will to you.

Click here to watch.

10:00-12:00 pm and 2:00-4:00 pm MDT.

You guys are awesome.

Happy Conference Weekend.


Anonymous said...

This girl right here can strengthen the prophet himself. No words can describe how absolutly beautiful she is. She strengthens me constantly with her words.

Haley Barton said...

Syd I have never met anyone who exaggerates as much as you do haha... But thank you. You are the best!


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