Monday, July 14, 2014
My Farewell Talk!
Hello brothers and sisters—to those of you who don’t know me, my name is Shaelyn Rogers, and I’ve been called to serve in the Texas Houston East mission, speaking Spanish, reporting to the Mexico City MTC July 23rd! Today’s been kind of unique, but I’ll take it upon myself to apologize for the insanely hot weather we have been having—I think it is the Lord’s way of preparing me for
He broke our AC, so my family can sympathize with me once I leave ;)
I am so grateful for the topic I was assigned to speak on today, which is the Second Great Commandment. Matthew 22: 35-40 reads, “Then one of them, which is a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets”. So my topic is 5 words, which Jesus Christ himself said was the second great commandment: Love thy neighbor as thyself. As I have pondered and read through scriptures, I’ve come to learn about how to love others the way our Father in Heaven does, and become more Christlike.
In Preach My Gospel, the manual missionaries teach from, the very first topic in lesson 1 is: God is our loving Heavenly Father. Heavenly Father loves each of us more than we can comprehend, and He has blessed us in so many ways. Because I know of His love for me, I want to share that with others, and this is one reason I am going on a mission.
1 John 4:7,11-12,16 Behold, let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God…Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another…If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us…God is love.
One of my ultimate goals in life is to come to know my Father in Heaven better, and become more like His Son Jesus Christ. In order to become more like Christ, I need to do my best to exemplify the characteristics that He has shown. This scripture I just read states that every one who loves knows God! In order to come to know Him better, we need to love His children here on the earth.
Jesus Christ is the one perfect example of love. Each of us should strive daily to develop the pure love of Christ, or in other words, charity. As I have studied charity, I have learned that it isn’t just something you have, or get somewhere. Charity is something you become. I’ll explain myself—
In our church, the youth do what is called a pioneer trek. On the Trek I went on, President Doty said something that will forever remain with me. He said, “You come to love those you serve”… I have always remembered that in my opportunities to serve in church, but also in other circumstances.
We are surrounded by our brothers and sisters- we are all sons and daughters of God, and if we keep that in mind, service becomes entirely different in nature. God’s commandment to us is to love and serve one another, and when we do, we are helping Him do His work. Serving others requires something from us- It requires our time, our effort, and our heart. Again, I think of the Savior, who was always giving of Himself in order to serve others, and He always did so with perfect love, never grudgingly or with regret. Many of God’s children stand in need of our service, and when we are actively serving and loving our fellowmen, we are drawing nearer to God, and becoming more like Christ. Neil A Maxwell states, “Only when our commitment is full can we be fully used by Him. The more we are centered on Him, the less we are centered on ourself…There is one way to get outside the small cell of self-interest: we must first love God, and in the name of Jesus Christ serve Him, proceeding onward to the loving and esteeming of our fellowmen even as we regard ourselves”.
I love the line, “the more we are centered on Him, the less we are centered on ourselves…” This is a lesson I will be learning every day while I am out serving! My mission is 18 months of full service to the Lord. I will serve Him with all my heart, might, mind and strength- My mission isn’t about me, it is about those people who I will be bringing to Christ and teaching about the joys and peace that have come to me through this gospel.
President Monson, the prophet of our church, said, “We are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness….we are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us”
Our Heavenly Father needs us to help each other out! Each and every one of us can do something to lift another up. Imagine the good we could do if we were all united in service.
says, “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass”. Our acts
of kindness don’t have to be major! We can simply smile, wave, help someone to
their car, give them a compliment, etc. He has put His trust in us to build
each other up. Because He can’t physically be there in person, we need to be.
“We must remember that those mortals we meet in parking lots, offices,
elevators, and elsewhere are that portion of mankind God has given us to love
and to serve. It will do us little good to speak of the general brotherhood of
mankind if we can’t regard those around us as our brothers and sisters” –SWK
This quote reminds me of my mother. For those of you who don’t know HER, I’m sorry. She is the most loving woman I have ever known. She will talk to people anywhere and everywhere- we (gently) make fun of her sometimes, because to us, the grocery store worker doesn’t need to know as much information as she tells them sometimes- BUT. She ALWAYS brightens their day and shows them a glimpse of the love and joy that is in her heart. This lady that raised me is SO incredibly selfless and always looks for opportunities to serve and I consider it a MAJOR compliment when people tell me I am just like her.
You may be asking yourself, “How can I make this change? How can I ingrain this love of Christ into my heart?” M. Russell Ballard says, “In your morning prayers each day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of His precious children. Then go throughout the day with your heart full of FAITH and LOVE, looking for someone to help… if you do this, your spiritual sensitivities will be enlarged and you will discover opportunities to serve that you never before realized were possible” Loving our neighbors as ourselves is the second commandment, coming after a love of God. Loving Him completely will help us to look to Him for opportunities to show love to His children. The second commandment flows from the first commandment—God is the ONE person who fully understands His children and knows how to help them. In order to best help and serve our neighbors, we must be in tune with God.
One of the most powerful experiences I have had with love outside of my family was Girls Camp- I was a Youth Camp Leader for the first time, and I was worried! I won’t go into details, but basically, I knew I would need help. So I spent a while leading up to camp praying every day for help to see each of the girls I was a leader over the way my Heavenly Father sees them, and to love them with Christlike love- I later asked for the love of Christ to FILL MY H
EART so I could see every person at
camp the way He sees them. As I
continued to pray to came to know these people as children of God, I was much
quicker to serve them and befriend them. Each one of them was so special and I
wanted to get to know them all on a personal level to find out how I could
better lead them. I can genuinely say that I had such an overwhelming love for
all the girls, and it didn't fade after camp was over. I can’t explain
it, besides saying that my prayers were answered, and my heart was overflowing.
That experience changed me. It changed my experience at camp from that time on,
and it strengthened my testimony of prayer and God’s love. I felt His love SO
STRONG both for me, and the people at camp—I know that on my mission, I will be
praying for love every single day, as well as asking for the Spirit to guide me
to who my companion and I are supposed to teach, serve, and love.
My purpose as a missionary for the next 18 months is to “invite others to come unto Christ…” I can see no better way to do that then by loving them the way He would, and serving them, and teaching them about Him. I know that Heavenly Father loves all His children, and if I keep that in mind, I can show them the same love that He would if He were here.I love my Savior Jesus Christ, and I can think of no greater honor than the call I have been given to be a full-time representative of Him in