Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu

Did you know that every time an atheist says "goodbye," they cease to be atheist?  "Goodbye" is an evolution of the phrase "God by ye," an Old English salutation of farewell.  So if atheists would have to stick with "see ya" every time if they don't wish to acknowledge the existence of God.  Just a fun fact.

I gave my two farewell talks last Sunday and the one previous, and in both instances I was given a topic like any other speaker.  The first was about repentance, with a scripture reference in Alma.  The second was about lessons learned from a favorite Book of Mormon story, and I chose the Brother of Jared.  At a lot of farewells I've attended, departing missionaries speak primarily about their decision to serve.  I mentioned it, of course, but didn't spend a lot of time discussing my reasons.  I like to think it was made clear by the two things I did include in my talk: my understanding of and appreciation for the Book of Mormon, and my testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  Heavenly Father desires all his children to know the blessings that come of both, and I desire to help take it to them.

It could be that all those other young elders who are asked to speak about their decision to serve a mission are given that topic so they have a chance to think seriously about it; it may be necessary to their future success to arrive at the conclusion that they are serving because they love the Lord, not just because it's the next step in the priesthood and it's expected of them.  The confident ones, though, played a major part in inspiring me to send in my own mission application.

Ideally, sister missionaries decide to serve because they are passionate about the gospel.  For one, we're very passionate creatures, and two, we have to think things through pretty thoroughly before making any decision, so by the time we arrive at one it's pretty set in stone with all pros and cons considered.  That's the hope, at least.  If I happen to get a companion whose behavior makes it evident that she joined the Army of Helaman purely out of peer pressure, I may cry.

But that's what I signed up for!  A challenge.  Between the time I got my call and now (I report to the MTC tomorrow), it was hard.  It was hard to put my work and my creative endeavors on hold.  It was hard to say goodbye to people I love.  It was hard, knowing I'll likely not be there for a number of weddings for friends and family.  But it was wonderful to go through the temple to make covenants with God.  It was wonderful to feel the Spirit's presence as I studied the Book of Mormon, and thought of those people that I would get to introduce it to as another testament of Christ.  It was wonderful to feel the love and support from friends and family both within and without the church, because they knew that I was doing something good by serving our Father's children.

So I'm not worried about everything and everyone I'm leaving behind for the next year and a half.  My goodbye is a "God by ye," or the French "adieu," which translates to "I leave you with God."

Let [them] continue to preach from that hour, and if they will do this in all lowliness of heart, in meekness and humility, and long-suffering, I, the Lord, give unto them a promise that I will provide for their families; and an effectual door shall be opened for them, from henceforth. {Doctrine & Covenants 118:3}

I just have to suffer the hardships to come and get the meek & humble part down and all will be well! ;) Wish me luck!  Talk to you soon!

Sister Valdez