This morning, my 12 year old, Will, spoke in church. For those of you who are not of my faith, every calling is done by a lay ministry. This means that none of the callings in the church are paid positions. That includes the talks that are given on a weekly basis in church. Even the youth, those 12-18 years of age, are included in the talks. Below is Will's talk. He did a great job!
“What I am doing now to Prepare for my Mission”
Good morning, brothers and sisters. When Blaine Smith asked me to give a talk in Sacrament meeting, at first I was surprised. It hadn’t been a year yet... In fact, I had already given TWO sacrament talks in the last TWO years, so I didn’t expect to have to do my THIRD one so soon.
But then, I asked him what the topic of my talk would be. He said “What I am doing now to Prepare to serve a Mission”. It was at that point that I thought, what better way to prepare for my mission, than by giving another talk in Sacrament meeting. Speaking in public is not an easy thing for anybody; especially younger kids like me. The only way to really get over it is to keep doing it more and more. As a missionary, not only will I need to be used to speaking in public and giving talks, but I will also need to be comfortable speaking in public to complete strangers... at least I know most of you, so this should be easier.
So what else should I be doing to prepare for my mission? I guess the standard answers would be contained in “The List”. You know... those automatic answers you always say to just about any church question... read your scriptures, go to church, pay your tithing, say your prayers, etc. etc. And while these are ALL great answers, I want to focus on a couple that I think are not on “The List” and are pretty important.
First, it is important for missionaries to learn how to work. President Ezra Taft Benson said “One of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work. If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people; and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry. That’s the secret—work, work, work. There is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work.” So it sounds to me, like I need to learn how to work. I am not talking about doing chores around the house or walking the dog. I am talking about working hard in the yard or the garden during a hot afternoon. I am talking about sweating while you work to dig a hole and to plant a tree. I am talking about do the HARD stuff that would be much easier to leave for someone else to do. In my family, we have a motto. It is “We do HARD things”. This is a reminder that just because the going gets tough, doesn’t mean we pack it in, and leave it for someone else to do. As Thompsons, we have to be just as committed to the hard stuff, as we are to the easy stuff.
The second thing that is important for me to do to prepare for my mission is to save my own money to contribute towards paying for my mission. I am not saying it wouldn’t be terrific if one of you stepped up and volunteered to pay for my entire mission. I mean, my parents do have seven missions that they are going to have to pay for. But seriously, I feel it is important for me to contribute to the cost of my own mission, because then I think it will mean more to me. This is an experience that I have not only committed myself to spiritually, but it is an experience that I have committed to financially. I think when I am invested in the experience, it will be much harder for me to quit when it starts to get tough and I want to pack it in.
Finally, the thing that is MOST important for me to be doing is to keep myself worthy to serve a mission. That means not only doing the things on “The List” but also making a conscious effort to “Choose the Right” on a daily basis. It means making sure that if I do make mistakes that I take advantage of the atonement and repent of those mistakes. That way, I can be worthy to pass and partake of the sacrament each week, as is my duty as a priesthood holder and as a member of the church. Have you ever thought of it like that? That maybe we have a duty to partake of the sacrament each week? As members of the Deacon’s quorum, Brother Towers has committed us to attend the temple each month at 5am in the morning to do baptisms for the dead. In fact, we go again this coming Thursday. That means we wake up around 4am, so we can be at his house and ready to leave by 4:45am. This is a tough commitment, but I know that this is another way that I can not only perform my duties, but also maintain my worthiness to serve a mission.
Brothers and sisters, I would like to close by bearing my testimony.
[He then bore his testimony]
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.