December 8, 2013
My first Sunday here I was asked to give a lesson in Relief Society on Missionary work. The following Sunday I was asked to speak in sacrament. Her is the talk that I prepared . Hopefully you’ll find it interesting. Also, I thought it was funny because my companion pointed out a man in the congregation who looked exactly like John Schmidt. The entire time I could not stop staring at him after that, and now I’m convinced that he was John Schmidt.
A Sacrament talk based off of Elder M. Russell Ballard’s conference talk.
Intro-I am Elder Jensen, I’m the newest missionary in the ward and I am excited to serve here. I must say, I feel very inadequate to serve alongside so many wonderful, faithful, God-loving people. Today, I’ve been asked to review Elder Ballard’s talk from this last conference titled “Put Your Trust In the Lord”. In this talk Elder Ballard stressed that “there is an urgency for each one of us to be engaged in sharing the gospel. Elder Ballard reminded us that missionary work is a commandment “from which we...cannot escape”. Not only is sharing the gospel a responsibility that all of us share, but it is one that comes with somewhat of a deadline. Time will continue on regardless of how we utilize it. Our neighbors will move, our hobbies, jobs, and friendships may change. During the time that I have spent on my mission, there is one thing that I have been convinced of time and time again, and that is that missionary opportunities very well can be missed. I am not doubting that God will provide future opportunities to an individual to hear the gospel, if I never invited them to church. However, from personal experience I have seen that once I let someone slip by me on the street without talking to them-I will probably never have an opportunity to see them again-much less witness miracles as they take the opportunity to access the Atonement in their life.
I am a missionary because I love to see miracles, and I don’t want to miss out on any of the miracles that the Lord has in store for me. The funny thing about miracles is that they always come on the Lord’s time table. Sometimes that requires us to wait, while other times that means that we are about to receive blessings a whole lot sooner than we might want them.
Since we don’t really understand the Lord’s timetable perfectly, I think we had better be prepared by following the advice of Joshua who counseled “Choose you this day whom you will serve...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”(Joshua 24:15)
Brothers and Sisters, I believe that all of us have already chosen to serve the Lord. And since all of us are on the Lord’s side, surely we will give heed to the Prophet Thomas S. Monson who recently said, “Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together...(and) labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him”.
Elder Ballard and Thomas S. Monson both remind us that “The Lord is Hastening His work”. The question arises: “Do you want to be a part of His work?” If so, the the time is “NOW”. Surely “this” is the “day” that Joshua spoke of.
In his talk Elder Ballard points out that the two greatest enemies of missionary work are fear and misunderstanding. Elder Ballard mentioned that “many members do not even pray for opportunities to share the gospel, fearing that they might receive (them)”. I would like to share the experience of Brother Graham-who received such an opportunity.
One morning as Brother Graham was conversing with his friend just outside his home, he was approached by his “crazy-weird” tattoo covered neighbor, Craig. Craig asked to borrow a garden hose to fill up his backyard swimming pool. Being the great neighbor that he was, Brother Graham let him borrow his hose. When Craig was leaving, he asked “Hey, I see you heading off to church every Sunday, what church do you go to?” Brother Graham hesitated then said, “...uh...I’m a Mormon”.
“That’s cool. Do you mind if I come with you sometime? Craig responded.
To which Brother Graham reluctantly answered “sure”.
Then Craig added: “Also, do you think that you could send those guys on the bicycles over here as well?”
To which Brother Graham responded:
“Really? Are you sure? Okay...”.
Over the next few months, Brother Graham joined the missionaries in several lessons with Craig. Some of the lessons went well, while others didn’t go so well. But in the end, not only was Craig fully converted, but Brother Graham’s own conversion was strengthened.
This last September I had the opportunity to witness Brother Graham Baptize Craig. I also had the opportunity to witness Craig bless the sacrament and to participate in Temple Baptisms with him. Over these last few months Craig and Brother Graham have become best friends. In addition, they have both been actively engaged in sharing the gospel with their friends and family. Countless blessings have come from this one simple experience.
From this experience, I am convinced that the Lord does not ask us “to do unrealistic things in our relationships with friends or neighbors”(Ballard),
Elder Ballard promises us that “fear will be replaced with faith and confidence when (we) kneel in prayer and ask the Lord to bless (us) with missionary opportunities”. He adds “surely those opportunities will come” and “they will flow as a natural result of our love for our brothers and sisters”.(Ballard)
I want to take a moment to talk about the Lord’s command to “Feed His Sheep”(John 21:16). In a letter that my mother sent me a couple of months ago, she advised, “There are opportunities everyday to serve and teach, or in other words “feed” others. We have the opportunity and obligation to “feed” and to “be fed”...though it is necessary to be fed before we can feed others, it is not necessary for us to be stuffed full like Thanksgiving dinner before we can “feed others...all we need is just a simple testimony, not 50 scripture references, 12 conference talks to be able to “feed” someone else... All that is required is that the love we have for the Lord, and feel from the Lord, be shared with all His sheep. They simply need to know that He loves them. And the best way for them to know this, is for them to see the love through you.(mom)
In closing, I want to extend to you the same promise that was extended to me in my mission call: “Greater blessings and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you humbly and prayerfully serve the Lord in this LABOR OF LOVE among His children.” (Thomas S. Monson)
I know that missionary work truly is a “labor of love”. It is inspired by love and it spreads love. Because of this, I know that it truly is the Lord’s errand. And Elder Ballard has said, that “It is impossible for us to fail when we do our best when we are on the Lord’s errand”.
I know these thing to be true, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
~Elder Kyle Jensen~
*Mom's Note: When he quotes me I am actually quoting a talk by Brother Brian Smith in the Murrayhill ward Sacrament meeting, he made the reference that I clamped onto about being "Stuffed full like Thanksgiving Dinner".