Sunday, July 24, 2011

Elder Pellegrini's Farewell Talk

The closing speaker at a stake conference was a General Authority. He had talked for about ten minutes when all of a sudden, from way back in the chapel, came a five-year-old boy strolling down the aisle. The boy was all dressed up by his mother for the occasion in gray slacks, a white shirt, and a red bow tie, and his hair was sticking up in the air with a lot of "greasy kid stuff." This dapper young man came down the aisle and stopped right in front of the pulpit. He looked up at the speaker and said, "You talk too loud." Then he turned around and went back to his mother.
Now the speaker hoped there would be no further interruptions. But, lo and behold, after fifteen minutes there came the boy walking down the aisle again, and he stopped for the second time in front of the speaker. This time, he looked up and said, "And you talk too long."
The speaker, however, did not react and continued to finish his talk. Then there was a beautiful congregational closing hymn and the benediction to finish the meeting, followed by the usual socializing and shaking of hands. The mother of the five-year-old boy also came to the stand and said, "Elder, I hope you did not pay too much attention to my five-year-old boy because he was only repeating what other people were saying."
Brothers and Sister I hope that we don’t have an experience similar to this today.
3 Nephi 15:9
Behold, I am the law and the light. Look unto me and endure to the end, and ye shall live for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life
I have been asked about enduring to the end today.
In 2 Nephi 31 as Nephi talks about enduring to the end he tells us that we endure to the end once we have been baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. In order to do this we must first have faith in Jesus Christ and that faith must lead us to repentance. So in my mind this means that in order to be at the point in our spiritual progression to endure to the end we must be members of the church.
The church is here on the earth to help us endure to the end. It helps us learn to become more like Jesus Christ and helps us to put off the natural man and become saints through the Atonement of Christ the Lord. The Church has given us a 3 fold mission that if we focus on will help us become more like the savior they are:
1.       Perfecting the Saints
2.       Redeeming the dead
3.       Proclaiming the gospel
Perfecting the Saints
Here is a story that is from April 2010 General Conference President Monson’s talk.
Two weeks ago I received a touching letter from a father of seven who wrote about his family and, in particular, his son Jason, who had become ill when 11 years of age. Over the next few years, Jason’s illness recurred several times. This father told of Jason’s positive attitude and sunny disposition, despite his health challenges. Jason received the Aaronic Priesthood at age 12 and “always willingly magnified his responsibilities with excellence, whether he felt well or not.” He received his Eagle Scout Award when he was 14 years old.
Last summer, not long after Jason’s 15th birthday, he was once again admitted to the hospital. On one of his visits to see Jason, his father found him with his eyes closed. Not knowing whether Jason was asleep or awake, he began talking softly to him. “Jason,” he said, “I know you have been through a lot in your short life and that your current condition is difficult. Even though you have a giant battle ahead, I don’t ever want you to lose your faith in Jesus Christ.” He said he was startled as Jason immediately opened his eyes and said, “Never!” in a clear, resolute voice. Jason then closed his eyes and said no more.
His father wrote: “In this simple declaration, Jason expressed one of the most powerful, pure testimonies of Jesus Christ that I have ever heard. … As his declaration of ‘Never!’ became imprinted on my soul that day, my heart filled with joy that my Heavenly Father had blessed me to be the father of such a tremendous and noble boy. … [It] was the last time I heard him declare his testimony of Christ.”
Although his family was expecting this to be just another routine hospitalization, Jason passed away less than two weeks later. An older brother and sister were serving missions at the time. Another brother, Kyle, had just received his mission call. In fact, the call had come earlier than expected, and on August 5, just a week before Jason’s passing, the family gathered in his hospital room so that Kyle’s mission call could be opened there and shared with the entire family.
In his letter to me, this father included a photograph of Jason in his hospital bed, with his big brother Kyle standing beside the bed, holding his mission call. This caption was written beneath the photograph: “Called to serve their missions together—on both sides of the veil.”
Jason’s brother and sister already serving missions sent beautiful, comforting letters home to be shared at Jason’s funeral. His sister, serving in the Argentina Buenos Aires West Mission, as part of her letter, wrote: “I know that Jesus Christ lives, and because He lives, all of us, including our beloved Jason, will live again too. … We can take comfort in the sure knowledge we have that we have been sealed together as an eternal family. … If we do our very best to obey and do better in this life, we will see [him again].” She continued: “[A] scripture that I have long loved now takes on new significance and importance at this time. … [From] Revelation chapter 21, verse 4: ‘And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.’”
We need to try to be perfect in all that we do, but no one is perfect we are all going to mess up, that is the reason that the Atonement was necessary. That’s why I’m so thankful for the atonement in my life for what Jesus did for us in Gethsemane and he died for us on the cross at Calvary so that we could return to live with our father in heaven.  We need to have faith in God, and remember that no matter what obstacles we have we will be able to overcome them with his help we need to find ourselves on our knees more getting a better relationship with our father in heaven because he loves us and he wants to be a part of our lives, he wants to help us get back to him we just have to let him help us, and let him in to your heart through prayer.
Redeeming the dead
                Elder Dallin H. Oaks once said
We should understand that in the work of redeeming the dead there are many tasks to be performed, and that all members should participate by prayerfully selecting those ways that fit their personal circumstances at a particular time. This should be done under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord and with the guidance of priesthood leaders who issue calls and direct the Church-administered portions of this work. Our effort is not to compel everyone to do everything, but to encourage everyone to do something.
We are blessed to have a temple so close to us, only a forty minute drive, and we can easily spend at least one afternoon a month there, if not more.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland recalled seeing the importance of the temple to some saints. He said:
The Punta Arenas Chile Stake is the Church’s southernmost stake anywhere on this planet, its outermost borders stretching toward Antarctica. Any stake farther south would have to be staffed by penguins. For the Punta Arenas Saints it is a 4,200-mile round-trip bus ride to the Santiago temple. For a husband and wife it can take up to 20 percent of an annual local income just for the transportation alone. Only 50 people can be accommodated on the bus, but for every excursion 250 others come out to hold a brief service with them the morning of their departure.
Pause for a minute and ask yourself when was the last time you stood on a cold, windswept parking lot adjacent to the Strait of Magellan just to sing with, pray for, and cheer on their way those who were going to the temple, hoping your savings would allow you to go next time? One hundred ten hours, 70 of those on dusty, bumpy, unfinished roads looping out through Argentina’s wild Patagonia. What does 110 hours on a bus feel like? I honestly don’t know, but I do know that some of us get nervous if we live more than 110 miles from a temple or if the services there take more than 110 minutes. While we are teaching the principle of tithing to, praying with, and building ever more temples for just such distant Latter-day Saints, perhaps the rest of us can do more to enjoy the blessings and wonders of the temple regularly when so many temples are increasingly within our reach.
I hope that everyone realizes how much of a blessing it is to live so close to a temple, and I hope you will take advantage of it as much as possible because I know that people in the spirit world are being blessed for the work were doing here on this earth today and that they will come to you in the second coming and thank you for what you did for them giving them a chance to receive their sacred ordinances.
Proclaiming the Gospel
Elder David A. Bednar
In our customary Church vocabulary, we often speak of going to church, going to the temple, and going on a mission. Let me be so bold as to suggest that our rather routine emphasis on going misses the mark.

The issue is not going to church; rather, the issue is worshipping and renewing covenants as we attend church. The issue is not going to or through the temple; rather, the issue is having in our hearts the spirit, the covenants, and the ordinances of the Lord’s house. The issue is not going on a mission; rather, the issue is becoming a missionary and serving throughout our entire life with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength. It is possible for a young man to go on a mission and not become a missionary, and this is not what the Lord requires or what the Church needs.

Thomas S. Monson said
To all the young men of the Aaronic Priesthood and to you young men who are becoming elders: I repeat what prophets have long taught—that every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service is a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much. Young men, I admonish you to prepare for service as a missionary. Keep yourselves clean and pure and worthy to represent the Lord. Maintain your health and strength. Study the scriptures. Where such is available, participate in seminary or institute. Familiarize yourself with the missionary handbook Preach My Gospel.
A word to you young sisters: while you do not have the same priesthood responsibility as do the young men to serve as full-time missionaries, you also make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome your service.
When I first decided to serve a mission I was alright at reading my scriptures every day praying morning and night but if you’re preparing to serve a mission you need to set these things as a priority. Like Elder Bednar said the best thing you can do to prepare to become a missionary is to become a missionary long before you go you can’t just get your call not read your scriptures pray once a while you need to live the life of a missionary I try to do this daily by reading my scriptures by myself in the morning or at night. I read talks from past general conferences I love the gospel my testimony has grown a large amount over the past five months I love this church I love my family I love all my friends that have been great examples to me over this past five months and over my life time I’m grateful for my parents serving a mission and showing me the way the lord wants me to live my life. I’m grateful for my brother he is my best friend and truly the best example I have I want to be just like him I hope that I can be as good of a missionary as he was. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.


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