Elder Warenski's Farewell Talk
Good morning, everyone. Thank you for all of the support that all of you are showing to me! It means so much to know that I have so much support from my family and friends. I am extremely blessed to know you!
A few weeks after I received my mission call to Canada, a letter arrived at my home from the Calgary mission office. It was from my Mission President. The letter gave me an outline of what my first day in the mission would be like, as well as a few things that I should do before I got there. One of these requirements was to re-read the Book of Mormon. I accepted the challenge and started the book over again.
As I read it again, I discovered many scriptures that have helped me understand the Lord better and that have helped me live the gospel more consistently. In my talk today I’d like to share a few of those scriptures with you, and share my understandings of them and how they have helped me in my life.
After I received my mission call, I started to notice that things became a lot harder! I have several friends in the congregation that have received mission calls, and I think that we can all agree that the second we received our calls, Satan’s efforts to cripple us were doubled. I began to notice so many things that Lucifer was trying to do to make me lose sight of my mission. At one point, a challenge came to me that was not even my own. I remember seeing the suffering of someone very dear to me. This person’s problems were completely out of my control, and I hated that! Have you ever had someone in your life that is suffering and you wish with all your heart that you could just reach in and save them from the pain? I KNOW you have! A child? A parent? A friend or any of your loved ones? I remember becoming really depressed and how I would constantly dwell on how horrible it was! I then remembered a quote from a favorite novel of mine, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein. In it, one of the characters states “Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.” As I thought about that quote, I recalled a scripture that I had read recently in Jacob 3:1-2 which says:
“Look unto God with firmness of mind and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction. O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever.”
The scripture was a beacon of light at the exact moment that I needed it! I wrote in the margins of my scriptures next to this verse “What to do during trials in which you have no control.” Some of the most difficult trials of our lives happen when our hands are tied. But these are also some of the most rewarding trials that we can experience. Those who have survived these types of trials know that when they released the reins, the Savior picked them up. Sometimes the answer to our problem is to relinquish control to Jesus Christ. Sometimes all we can do is Wait and Hope.
Another scripture that has helped me through a dark time was D&C 6:33-37. At one point, I really struggled with my own imperfection in regards to serving a mission. I was becoming more and more concerned about whether or not I would be an effective missionary as well as whether or not I would be qualified to represent the Lord. I began to doubt myself. It made me begin to second guess myself and I started to feel so insignificant and small compared to the task that was ahead of me. Then, the spirit brought my mind back to a time that our Priest Quorum was camping with President Mortensen in the Uintas. A picture came to my mind of the note that I had made in the margin of my scriptures that night around the campfire as President Mortensen taught us. The note in the margin said “How the Lord cures doubt”. It could not have been more perfect. I ran to my scriptures and opened them to the correct passage. D&C 6:33-37 says:
“Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward. Therefore fear not little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you. Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Amen.”
I remember sitting with my scriptures crying my eyes out as I re-read this passage of scripture. God has a great way of giving us what we need at the exact time we need it! The words “Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet” echoed in my mind.
Brothers and Sisters, the Savior died for you. He died for me! I have gained personal testimony of the unalterable fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God and that He loved us enough to give his life so that we might be sufficiently clean to enter into a Glory the likes of which we have never experienced before! I bear witness of that with my whole soul!
Another scripture that has been powerful in my life is the record of the first vision. Every time we have a missionary farewell or homecoming and a missionary recites this story, the spirit is overwhelming! I remember that Finae Moala shared this passage of scripture with us at his homecoming, and all I could do was sit in the congregation and cry! Finae Moala taught by the power of the spirit, and I felt it! Our Priest quorum has always looked up to Finae and we’ve always tried to be like him! So in that same spirit, I wish to share with you the first vision. I have prayed that as I share this today that I might share it through the Spirit of the Lord, just as I will throughout the days of my mission. So here I go:
“I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me, I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said, pointing to the other - This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
Brothers and Sisters, I believe this message with all my heart. I know it to be true. I know that the only place that pure peace can be found is in Jesus Christ. I know that the Lord has provided an Atonement, so that imperfect beings like myself can be saved! The Savior has the ability to snatch us out of HELL if that is our wish! All he needs is for us to WANT that!