Monday, August 11, 2014

farewell / homecoming

Hey Family!
First I'll answer y'alls questions before I forget to.  As far as homecoming talk goes I'd rather give it sooner than later.  I'm gonna be sending my bike home as soon as I can get a bike box.  It only costs like forty bucks or so to send it using and the box can weigh up to seventy pounds so I'll just fill the rest of it with clothes and other things that won't fit in my suitcases.  Haha yes mom, I'll bring home all of my clothes just because you asked.  Except you should know I gave a couples skirts to Sister Brady way back when just because I knew I'd never wear them.  And nope, no Sister Berg has moved into our ward recently.  Maybe she's in a different ward though.  And nope, no article in the newspaper yet.  You can check online though, the newspaper is called the Advocate.  Haha and I touched one of the alligators but I wouldn't hold one.  You could sit on one and hold his throat but he didn't seem to happy when we were there so I didn't do that either.        
Sounds like y'all had a fun weekend up at Bear Lake.  I remember back when we went up there for youth conference.  Good times!   
Aw man, can y'all believe it.  I only have a week and a half left.  I don't know what I'm gonna do with myself!  I'm gonna miss this place like crazy.  Especially all the people we've met.
Oh my goodness, and y'all will never believe what happened!  So on Thursday we go over to teach Andrea and she says, "Ladies, I've decided I'm getting married."  Oh my goodness, it was the best day ever.  And what's even better is she said she's getting married next week!  Her husbands friend is a pastor and he's gonna marry them.  Haha I was speechless, I had no clue that it was gonna be happening so soon.  If only she could get baptized before I leave...but that's alright.  I'm so happy for her.  :) 
After I got up and shared my testimony last week they called and asked me to speak.  Haha Sister King was supposed to speak but they said, "Sister Schmutz!  You're leaving.  If you want to you can speak this sunday and Sister King can speak in a couple weeks."  I didn't really want to speak but Sister King convinced me into speaking so I did.  Haha it was kinda like I was giving my farewell.  I was thinking the other day and there's only 13 transfers in a mission.  Out of those thirteen I spent ten of them here.  Aw man, it's like home and like family.  :)  I got so lucky to get to spend so long in North Baton Rouge. 
Anyways, I wanted to send y'all my talk.  This isn't exactly what it was like cause I added a couple more things there but can't remember what I said, plus it was all mixed up because I started typing it and then had to write and rewrite and by hand and yeah, it just got all messed up there were arrows pointing every which way.  But here it went pretty much:
Man, I just have to say, after getting up and sharing my testimony last sunday I thought that'd be the last time I'd get to be up here.  But I guess y'all just can't get rid of me. 
Alright so I wanted to start off with a story.  Back home my family has a boat so every summer we drive down to Lake Powell and stay there for a week.  Just go boating, swimming, driving around, ya know, that sort of stuff.  A little background on the story so it makes a little more sense is our boat is rather old but it still works pretty well.  Occasionally it won't turn on.  When that happens my dad has to open up the engine and does a couple things and usually it starts running after that.  Sometimes it takes a little time but usually it comes back on.  We always keep a couple paddles in the boat just in case it won't start so we can paddle back to somewhere to get help.  So anyways, a couple years back we were out in the middle of the lake, pretty close to the marina but a good couple miles away.  It was really hot out so we turned off the boat and jumped in the lake real quick to cool off.  And when we went to turn it back on it wouldn't start.  It was taking a little longer than usual to fix so my sisters and I looked at each other and said, "Well, we might as well start paddling back to the marina since we might be stuck out here."  We got the paddles out and stood on the seats to start paddling.  It wasn't even five minutes later that a boat driving by saw us paddling and came over to ask if we were alright.  They ended up towing up back over to the marina so we could get a little more help starting the boat.  And then we were good to go. 
The reason why I'm sharing this story with y'all is because six years later I still remember those nice people that came to our rescue.  They did something little out of their day that made a big impact for our day.  Without them we would've been paddling for hours in order to make it back.  Those people came to our rescue.  And that's what I want to talk about today.  Rescuing people. 
I don't know about y'all, but whenever I think of rescuing someone, stories like that are the first thing that always come to mind.  But there's so many different example and ways to rescue someone, the possibilities are endless. 
I looked up the definition of rescue in the dictionary and it said, "To save somebody or something from a dangerous or harmful situation.  To prevent something from being discarded, rejected, or put out of operation."  So with that definition I want to relate it to rescuing people spiritually. 
President Thomas S. Monson said something similar to that.  He said, "The world is in need of your help.  There are feed to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save."  And that's exactly what we're here to do.  I'm sure each of you know someone that needs a little rescuing in their life, whether they aren't members yet or they simply aren't coming to church as much as they should.  It's our responsibility to reach out and rescue them.  We have to save them spiritually and we can do that through the gospel. 
I was thinking of things I've learned while on my mission because our whole purpose is to bring others unto Christ which is ultimately rescuing people.  And I came up with three main things we can do. 
#1 being love them.  When you think about it, the principle of love is what motivates us to do things, and ultimately brings lasting change.  There's the saying that, "Love Lasts, Fear Fades."  Which is true.  Think of Christ's example in John 8:3-11 "And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman‍ taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.  Now Moses in the law‍ commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?  This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his‍ finger wrote‍ on the ground, as though he heard them not.  So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin‍ among you, let him first‍ cast a stone‍ at her.  And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.  And they which heard it,‍ being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even‍ unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.  When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn‍ thee: go, and sin‍ no more."  Christ loved her for who she was and because of that she went and changed.  The love we express to others can motivate and change them.  When you're rescuing someone they need a friend that's always there for them no matter what.  In Proverbs 17:17 it says, "A friend loveth at all times."  They need someone that can love them no matter where they've been or who they are.  I know it's true, loving unconditionally changes everything. 
#2 guide them.  The path is straight and narrow.  At times it can be hard to find but we know where it is so we can reach out and help others find it and stay on the path.  We're here to guide them in the right direction.  In 3 Nephi 18:32 it says, "Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal‍ them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them."  Christ is the one that heals them but we're the ones that help them find Christ.  It reminds me of an experience I had back when I was thirteen.  For youth conference one summer we went to a cave the tour guide took us way down deep into it.  At one point we stopped and he told everyone to grab onto the railing.  He then turned off the lights and we had to walk ten minutes or so to where the other light switch was.  Man it was so dark you couldn't see anything.  At one point I let go of the railing and I couldn't find it when I reached back.  I had to stop for a second and really search around until I touched it.  It's the same way with rescuing people.  Some are real close, they just have to take one more step towards the railing and others have to go a little more.  but just like it says in Isaiah 41:13, "For I the Lord‍ thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee."  Christ is there holding one hand.  And when you're guiding someone you can be there holding the other hand.  
#3 never give up on anybody.  No matter how many times you invite someone to church, or try to pick them up, or no matter how many times they won't answer their door, you must never give up.  One of my favorite scriptures is Proverbs 22:6 "Train‍ up a child‍ in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."  And I know it's true.  I like to interpret the scripture a little differently though.  Before we came to earth we all lived with God and Jesus Christ.  They taught us the principles of the gospel.  We lived and loved them there.  We were trained in the way we should go.  But throughout life many people choose to go their own way because they have their own agency and their own choice.  But something I do believe is that everybody will come back.  Just like the scripture said.  It may take some time and the situation has to be right.  But they will come back.  Think of the example with Alma the younger.  He was raised in righteousness but soon started persecuting the church.  His father prayed day and night for him.  And in Mosiah 27:14 his prayer was answered.  "And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard‍ the prayers of his people, and also the prayers‍ of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed‍ with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge‍ of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince‍ thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers‍ of his servants might be answered according to their faith."  And Alma came back.  We must never give up on anybody. 
So to all y'all here today I'd like to invite you to reach out and rescue somebody.  Love them, guide them, never give up on them.  Somebody needs you.  Out of everything I've learned while serving my mission the greatest thing is simply this: the gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer to everything.  For it's what truly makes one happy, eternally.  And I know if you live by it's principles it can have that affect in each of your lives.  I know that God and his son, Jesus Christ live and love us.  And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 
Anyways, I just want to let y'all know that I love you!  And I do have a testimony of the gospel.  It's the why and how of who we become. 
Love Always, Sister Schmutz

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