Catching the Wave
Good morning brothers and sisters, before I begin just a little about me. I am from Suwanee, GA. I have four siblings, one brother, one step brother and 2 step sisters, all of whom I love so much. I played Rugby and football in high school and before leaving for my mission I was attending Brigham Young University. I have been on my mission for 3 months and this is my first area so far.
When I was attending BYU Provo, I had a roommate who was from California. He LOVED to surf. Generally, that was all he ever talked about, he was huge into it. He would always tell me stories and experiences that he had from surfing and how he wished that he could just do that for his entire life. Now on top of it being his favorite pass time he would also tell me that it was an extremely hard sport and a very hard thing to try and do. He said that more often than not he would fall as he tried to catch these waves. He also told me that whenever he went surfing he wouldn’t try to catch any of the waves that were above 20 feet. He said that whenever he went surfing he would only surf the waves that were 10 to 15 feet high. The bigger waves would scare him and he avoided them.
So what does this story have to do with anything? Well there is a wave that is coming at us now, but what is it and how do we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints catch this wave? The wave that is coming towards each of us right now is a surge of missionaries caused by President Thomas S. Monson’s historic announcement of the lowering of the required age to serve a mission. It is a flood of new nineteen year old sisters and eighteen year old elders, who have responded to the Lords call to serve. The numbers easily speak for themselves over ten thousand new missionaries have joined the Lords army in just six short months!! Fifty-eight new missions had to be created in order to accommodate this new flood… or the wave of missionaries.
How incredible it is to see the youth of this church so valiantly responding to that call to serve. Elder Nelson said that this is a wave of truth and righteousness. And Elder Ballard said, “This surge of new missionaries has the potential to change the church” How profound that statement is? Of all the things that Elder Ballard could have chosen the thing that he said can change the church the most is missionary work.
So back to the question of how do we catch this wave? The answer is rather quite simple. We will catch this wave as we just live our lives faithfully. Leaders and teachers you will catch this wave as you teach and prepare the youth to serve full-time missions. For me my leaders and teachers I had were a huge and very important factor in me serving a mission. I loved my leaders and because they were good examples and people I wanted to be like, I want to live up to what I thought their expectations for me were. And so I always tried to live my life to that standard (Share Brother Wernli and how he loved me).
Parents you can catch this wave as you raise your children in the gospel. As you nurture them and teach them the gospel you will prepare them to serve the Lord with all of their heart, might, mind, and strength. Growing up for me the people who helped me the most were my parents, especially my mom, having supportive parents who pushed me to be better and showed me how to trust in the Lord with all my heart really helped me to make the decision to serve a mission, even my dad who is inactive, has always been supportive me in this gospel, and in all that I’ve done.
Now youth, you will be the driving force of this wave as you prepare yourselves to go forth and serve. As you attend seminary, study your scriptures, and dive into the new curriculum the Lord will mold you into the tool that he needs you to be.
Now back to my roommate from BYU and how he was always afraid to ride the larger waves, Elder Ballard said that this wave coming at us is a tsunami, it is not merely a small ten or fifteen foot wave. This wave is forty feet or more and it is rushing forth to fill the whole earth. It will be as it says in Doctrine and Covenants section 65 “Helping to roll that stone, which was cut out of the mountain without hands.”
Now just like the bigger waves scared my roommate, in a lot of ways missionary work is the same. At times it can seem very scary or daunting to try and open our mouths and share the gospel, even though we all know that it call bless others lives so much. That was how I felt prior to coming on my mission. I didn’t like talking to strangers at all, and the thought of having to knock on some random person’s door or ask somebody in the street if they would like to hear about the gospel scared me to death. But in only a short space of time the Lord has helped me to over come that fear in so many ways. I am not even close to perfect but through fasting and praying Heavenly Father can help us with anything. Something that I didn’t realize prior to my mission was that I didn’t have to answer all of the questions my friends asked me alone. That is what missionaries are for! Just as Elder Nelson said “be ready to give a reason for the hope and joy that they see in you. When such questions come you might respond by saying “let’s ask the missionaries! They can help us! And if you desire, I will be at your side as the missionaries respond and teach you.”
Going through high school I was one of only ten Mormon students in my graduating class of over five hundred. Everyone knew who the Mormons in school were and because of that I often received questions, things like “Why don’t you swear, or drink, or smoke?” Among other things. Because people knew me and my standards I was always being watched because I was so different. Often times I would get into discussions about the doctrine and scriptures and they could last all class sometimes.
Now this is not the case all the time, but people will watch you, some to see you fail or catch you in some trap and other to admire or even follow your example. When they do ask question do just as Elder Nelson directs and show them to us the missionaries. We would love to teach or even just talk to your friends. We spend countless hours studying or preparing just for people like your friends. Even if you don’t think they are ready to accept what we have to offer we would still love to give them the chance. Honestly going to the door with a name is a lot easier then knocking on random doors.
Brothers and Sisters you can also catch this wave by allowing us to teach investigators in your homes or even to come with us teaching. We understand that you have lives and jobs but one of the greatest things about the Sanford ward is how willing you all are to help us whenever you are free to do so. Some of the most powerful lessons that I have had thus far have been when a member is involved in the lesson. It is just amazing to hear and feel the spirit when a member bears their testimony. Investigators can also feel that intense and powerful spirit .
So finally back to my roommate, whenever he shared his experiences from surfing you could look in his eyes and see such a joy and love for surfing. Even though he didn’t always make it to the top of these waves and would fall and crash sometimes, he loved surfing and the happiness and joy he received from succeeding and making it to the top made all the unsuccessful attempts worth it. In Preach My Gospel it says, “Members who share the gospel experience joy and have the spirit of the Lord more abundantly. As we share the gospel, we appreciate how precious and meaningful it is to us and feel a greater love for God and others.”
I can testify to you Brothers and Sisters, that I know that statement is true beyond a shadow of a doubt I know it is true. I have seen and felt that happiness and joy that have come more fully into my life. I have recognized the sprit directing me more in my life, and I have also seen the light that comes into a members eyes as they feel that same joy and happiness and they share and bear their testimony to investigators.