Tuesday, April 7, 2015

3/22/15 | Sister Bailey's Homecoming Talk

Thank you for your talks. I especially liked what Eli said about Jesus Christ being our example. I had a little bit of time to do a tiny bit of studying this morning and I came across a scripture in 2 Nephi 31 and it says, it's talking about Jesus Christ,  it says "Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments."
One of my favorite ways that Christ teaches us is simply through showing us what to do. He has truly shown us how to be obedient. So thank you for your talks (looking over at speakers on the stand)

It's really good to be here today! It's really good to see all of your faces. It's really good to have taken the sacrament with all of you today. I feel like I'm speaking in stake conference right now 'cause there's so many people. But this will be good.

There are two people that I want to talk about today from my mission. The first one, his name is Kollie Flomo. Kollie was from Liberia, Africa, and he lived a very hard life. He struggled to stay alive because of the civil war that was in their country. He saw a lot of things that many of us will probably never see. He told us stories of when he was younger. He would stay up all night and pray that they would make it through the night, that the rebels wouldn't come and kill him and his family. So as he grew older he had the opportunity to come to America as a refugee. He ended up in a little place called West Chester, Pennsylvania. He got there a couple months after I did and became aquainted with a member of our ward. He came to church one day and he found me and my companion and he introduced himself and he said "Hi! I would like to be fellowshipped into your church."  And we looked at eachother and we're like, "Ok great! We can help you with that!" So we started meeting with him, we taught him about once every week and he was truly amazing. He had already sacrificed literally everything in his life. He left Liberia knowing that he would probably never see or talk to his family ever again. He lived in a very small apartment and really had nothing. So as we taught him the gospel it was easy for him to be obedient to God's commandments because he had already humbled himself like it said in this scripture. As Kollie was obedient he was able to progress in the gospel. As he kept commandments, his testimony grew and he was able to help others around him. Kollie is now preparing to go to the temple, it's been over a year now so he's ready to go to the temple any day now and I know that he is helping people. His testimony is so strong and he shares it with everyone he meets.

That is just one example of how obedience can truly work in peoples lives.
Obedience is something that is on every missionaries mind. There are so many different things that we are expected to be obedient to and it's through the little things that we are blessed. I was able to see that as a missionary. Even as the little things like being sure that you are in bed by 10:30. It made it that much easier to get up in the morning. I know that sounds silly but I know that every returned missionary knows what I'm talking about.
In our lives as not missionaries it is still very very important to be obedient to the things that God gives us to do. There is a mormon message by Elder Holland, it's called "Good Things To Come" and he tells a story about him and his family trying to drive across the country and they ran in to some car troubles. But in the end he says something that stands out very much to me. He says, "Some blessings come soon, some blessings come late, and some blessings don't come until heaven. But to the righteous (and I'll add to the Obedient), they always come." I know that to be true. That promise is from an apostle of the Lord. I know that as we're obedient blessing always come.

The second person that I want to talk about today, her name is Sister Casey. She was one of my companions. She has a very very special place in my heart. I love her a lot. We didn't have a good companionship. It was very very hard. She was going through a lot of very hard things. She struggled with some depression. I did all that I could to help her, but one day she came to me one night after we had planned and she was crying a little bit and she said, "Sister Bailey I don't think that I know how to use the Atonement." She said, "I get the part where we can be cleansed from our sins and we can repent but I don't understand the enabling part of the Atonement and how we can use it." As she told me this I smiled a little bit because I knew that this was exactly what she needed and I was very grateful for the trials and the things that I'd been through on my mission so far that made it able for me to help her understand this power of the Atonement. We sat there that night and I taught her about the Atonement. It was a very very powerful experience. I committed her to pray that night and to ask for the help of the Atonement. I told her that it wouldn't come the next day, she wouldn't just be up and ready to go and be perfect the next day and that everything would be easy. But I told her that if she prayed constantly for that help and did everything she could, that help would come because she qualified for that help. A couple weeks went by and I asked her how things were going and she held her head down and she said it wasn't going so well. She hadn't felt that help from our Savior yet. I told her not to give up and to keep praying and that that help would come. So a couple weeks later from that she came to me and told me that she had felt that power just a little bit. I got transferred away from her a little bit after that and I worried about her because she was still struggling when I left her. But I was blessed to be able to see her just a few weeks ago at a mission conference and I wish I could show you how different she is. Her countenance shown brightly. The spirit just glowed from her face and I know it's because of the Atonement. She was able to rely on her Savior and to trust in him and I know that she is a powerful missionary now.

I am so grateful for Kollie and Sister Casey and the things that they've taught me. There are many many other people on my mission that have taught me similar things and more things. On my mission  it wasn't very easy. I don't think missions are supposed to be easy but every missionary experiences different trials. I think they're hand-picked trials 'cause the Lord knows exactly what we need. There is another mormon message by Elder Christofferson and it's called "The Will of the Lord". He tells a story that Elder Hugh B. Brown told in a conference and it's about a little currant bush. This currant bush had grown completely out of control. It's this massive tree and the farmer comes and he cuts it down. He knows he wants it to be a currant bush because thats what it's supposed to be. As he trims this currant bush down he sees what he thinks to be a little tear drop on the end of each of the branches and he imagines the little bush crying and saying, "Why would you do this to me? Why would you cut me down? I was making so much beautiful progress." But the farmer responds and he says, "I know what I want you to become. I don't want you to be a big tree I want you to produce fruit. I want you to be a good currant bush." And that's exactly what the Lord does for us. At the end of that message he expresses to the Lord "Thank you for loving me enough to hurt me. For Loving me enough to cut me down so that I can be what you want me to be." That's what happens to every missionary that goes on a mission. I am grateful that I can now say to the Lord, "Thank you for loving me enough to hurt me. For putting me in unideal circumstances to help my testimony grow."

I know that this gospel is so true. I know that no unhallowed hand can stop this work from progressing. The Lord qualifies who he calls and that if we're trying our best, no matter what our best is, the Lord will always provide a way for his work to be done. There is joy that comes through living the gospel but there is more joy that comes through sharing the gospel. I am so grateful that I have been able to experience that joy. There is joy in striving to do our best and that's all the Lord asks of us, is to strive to be obedient, strive to be kind. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he truly saw our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in a grove of trees. I know that Presidend Monson is the prophet that has been called to lead our church today and I am so grateful for his love and counsel. I hope that every single one of you can feel the love of the prophet. Especially as we prepare to listen to him speak at General Conference coming up. I want you all to pay attention to how you feel when President Monson speaks to us. I'm very grateful for every single one of you. It is so great to feel your love today. I'm thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ and I know that his Atonement is real. His Atonement covers everything and it's only through him that we can make it home to our Heavenly Father. I love him. I love my Heavenly Father.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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