Monday, March 3, 2014

Stake Conference Talk

Stake conference

Good evening brothers and sisters
I am Sister Balero and am serving as one of your full time missionaries in this stake. What a joy and a blessing it has been to be a missionary. I have witnessed so many blessings and miracles in just the 10 months I have been out. So far it has been anything but easy but it is so very worth it. I feel so privileged that The Lord has placed me here to serve in Eagle Mountain. Your stake is incredible! We talk about hastening the work and it's easy to see that it is hastening in South America or over in New York and we fail to recognize that the mission field is right here. In the past 6 weeks we have been averaging 30-40 lessons a week in your stake and watched 4 incredible youth including this one, who bore her sweet testimony to you earlier, enter the waters of baptism. Although this is wonderful there is still so much more work to be done. There are so many more of God’s children who need this message as well. How neat is it to see all these people you love so dearly to make those steps toward coming unto Christ. And how amazing will it be to see even more of those you love do the same. This is a sacred and special work to be a part of and you don't have to wait until you are 18,19 or until retirement to be a missionary. A favorite song of primary children proves this. The lyrics go like this
1.      I want to be a missionary now.
I don’t want to wait until I’m grown.
I want to share the gospel while I’m young,
For I have a testimony of my own.
2.      I want to tell my friends about our church
And the happiness it brings to me.
I’ll tell them how the gospel was restored,
Tell them how the Book of Mormon came to be.
3.      Then I can be a missionary now.
I don’t have to wait until I’m grown.
I’ll live each day the best that I know how,
And they’ll see I have a testimony of my own,
A testimony of my very own.
When preparing this talk an experience I had a few months ago stood out in my mind. My companion and I had just finished a dinner with a ward mission leader and his family. After dinner we shared a thought as we normally do. I felt prompted to share a video of a family who prays for missionary opportunities and then they each seek them out throughout their day. I have very few times felt the spirit as strong as I did at that time. Not a word was said and the normally active children sat motionless with eyes fixed on our small screen.  You could feel the importance and power of that message of  member missionary work and I know that everyone in that room felt it and understood it as well. What a great privilege we all have to be missionaries now.
I came across a quote I love recently by president Monson and was given as a formula for guidance and joy but I realized that it is a perfect formula for successful missionary work as well. It is "Gaze heavenward. Look inward. Reach outward. Press forward" the first part is gaze heavenward. This is the Lord’s work and we cannot do it without Him. Our first step should be to turn towards him in prayer. As we do this we align our will with his and he is able to guide us in every aspect of our lives. Next we need to look inward. We can't testify to what we don't know ourselves. We must look inside and recognize the testimony we have so we can share it with those around us. We must also look at the things within ourselves that are holding us back from sharing the gospel whether they be fear or pride or anything else and work to overcome them and humble ourselves. We can also look at the trials we have faced and ask ourselves how can I help someone around me because of these experiences. Who can I relate to now and uplift? Who has The Lord prepared me for? The next step is to reach outward. We need to go out and do. As we involve ourselves in service and building relationships with those around us we will see all the opportunities around us. We will find that The Lord puts people in our path daily if only we will take a moment and open our eyes. And the relationships you will forge will last a lifetime. As we look for ways to serve we will recognize the love our father in heaven has for us and also for the person we are serving. My companion and I had an experience the day she was transferred into the area. We were doing some quick shopping at Walmart and decided to quickly grab some lunch. As we were in line a sweet man paid for our lunch and then he and his wife introduced themselves to us. We left with gratitude and then didn't give it another thought. A couple days later we were at a ward Christmas party and ran into this couple again. We learned their names and they offered to help us with anything we might need. We found out this couple was a less active family and began to meet with them. It has been incredible seeing the progress of this family. Every time we see them they remind us that The Lord is so aware of us. It was no accident that we ran into each other at the store that day and he has continued to provide opportunities for us that were not coincidental. Lastly we press forward. Even when we try our best Rejection may come but that doesn't mean we have been unsuccessful. We have done our part by inviting. All we are asked to do is share and testify and the rest is up to them.
I want to close with the word of another children's song.

2.      There are children sharing all around the world,
Leading other children to the gospel fold.
With the strength of youth, we do the Father’s work.
With our hearts and our hands we will serve.
We are cov’nant children with a gift to give.
We will teach the gospel by the way we live.
With each word and action, we will testify:
We believe, and we serve Jesus Christ
We are children holding hands around the world,
Like an army with the gospel flag unfurled.
We are led by His light,
And we love truth and right.
We are building the kingdom of God.

Bear testimony

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