Sunday, July 20, 2014

Farewell Talk

             
Good morning everybody! It’s exciting to be here. In case you are out there wondering why someone is actually excited to be standing up here I guess an introduction is necessary. My name is Elder Camden Treat and I have been called to serve in the Sweden Stockholm mission.

I got my call on March 15th and immediately started doing all the research I could about Sweden. As I found out more and more about it I just wanted to go already… but I realized I had 130 days to wait. Well 130 days went by a lot faster than I thought and now I’m down to 3… so here I am. Giving a farewell talk and I have to admit this is kind of weird.

On Wednesday I am going to the Provo Missionary Training Center to learn the widely popular and internationally utilized language of Swedish.  A particularly cool girl once took me to a movie which may or may not be titled something like The Fault in Our Stars where a character asked “Who the heck speaks Swedish?”  Well the answer will soon be me.  After 5 weeks I will be taking a plane ride across the pond to Stockholm, Sweden. Contrary to popular belief Sweden isn’t the location of the Alps or the setting for the Sound of Music… but if you have seen Disney’s Frozen then you have a pretty good idea of what the country is like. Speaking of Frozen, Sweden is extremely cold so I think I’m going to be finding comfort in the saying that “Many are cold but few are frozen.” Hopefully I don’t freeze.  Sweden is so far north that during the winter there is a complete absence of sun in some parts of the country, a blessing for people as white as me. Despite my dark complexion I may just come back whiter than when I left… if that is even possible.  Many of my friends heading to Central America are going to come back looking muy guapo with a nice tan… or maybe just a nasty sunburn in Bronson’s case. Don’t worry Jordan, I’m sure you will be muy guapo too. I guess at least you won’t be as white as I will be!

One thing that I want you all to know is that I am excited. I am excited to travel 5000 miles away to a strange place. I am excited to live out of a suitcase for two whole years. And I am excited to teach people about Jesus in a crazy language in the midadle of an arctic blizzard in a tiny Swedish village. The whole idea of a mission is actually pretty insane if I had to do it all alone, but I know that that is not the case.  I am excited for these things because I know that as I go out I have the power of prayer and the promptings from the Holy Ghost. 

When I got this topic officially titled “The role of the Holy Ghost in the power of prayer” I was pretty happy because it goes along with missionary work perfectly.  I mean, out of all the people in the world that utilize prayer and promptings missionaries are definitely near the top of the list. The dictionary defines missionary as: someone who is praying all the time… Okay yeah, I actually didn’t look that up so it probably won’t actually say that but it probably should! This topic is golden for a future missionary like me to speak on because it is going to be very relevant to me as I go out and teach.

 Yes, now that I have put you all to sleep with a lengthy and long winded introduction I will now actually be speaking on my assigned topic. Here we go!

 I think that it is always important to go back to the basic doctrine. Sometimes as members we can get so focused on the small details and nuances of the gospel that we lose sight of the original idea we are analyzing.  Because of this I am going to teach about the basics of prayer and the Holy Ghost.


 The Lord Jesus Christ commanded, “Ye must always pray unto the Father in my name” (3 Nephi 18:19) but to some people prayer is a very foreign concept.  Prayer is the means by which we communicate with Heavenly Father. And really it is just that simple. Yeah there is a structure we use when we pray aloud where we have long lists of things to be thankful for and we ask for blessings but really a prayer can be as simple as the statement “Heavenly Father, help me!” repeated in our mind.

It is important we find a way that works for us. Henry B Eyring says,
“When I was a little child, my parents taught me by example to pray. I began with a picture in my mind of Heavenly Father being far away. As I have matured, my experience with prayer has changed. The picture in my mind has become one of a Heavenly Father who is close by, who is bathed in a bright light, and who knows me perfectly.”

This shows two important points on prayer. The first is that as we continually utilize prayer we will be able to develop a closer relationship with Heavenly Father. Like any relationship it takes time to build trust and communication. D&C 10: 5 says “Pray always, that ye may come off conqueror, yea that ye may escape the hands of the servants of satan that do uphold his work” If that isn’t motivation to pray more often… then I don’t know what is!

Henry also shows that he has his own unique way to pray. That is why I believe prayer is so amazing. Just like every single person is and individual with different characteristics and interests, every single person is going to find their own way to communicate with Heavenly Father. Whether said aloud or silent, long or short, in English or Swedish, it doesn’t matter to Him. I testify that he hears and answers prayers and I am grateful for this. This conveniently leads me into the next part on the Holy Ghost because the Holy Ghost is 
the means by which we are able to receive answers to prayers.

The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a personage of spirit, without a body of flesh and bones. He is often referred to as the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Lord, or the Comforter.

And we learn more about his role by going to the scriptures
2 Nephi 31:18 (Witness of the Father and the Son)
Moroni 10:5 (Testifies the truth of all things)
                
Along with these two very powerful roles I will be talking on today we also know that the Holy Ghost is a comforter, a protector, a guide, given to us by Heavenly Father to assist us as we go through daily life. Everybody feels it differently, but I testify that I have felt the Holy Ghost fulfill these roles in my life. There is a reason that we often refer to the Holy Ghost as a gift and that is because of the assistance and peace that it can bring.  When you get down to the basics of it we are pretty lucky people. We literally have a spiritual being whose entire focus is on every single one of our individual well beings.
               
When I was seven years old I would get very excited for conference. Not because of the speakers, or the music, or the spirit I would feel… but because to me it was a church holiday. I barely paid any attention and was just happy to be in my pajamas eating food. I knew at the end of conference my parents would ask me “Cam, what is one thing you learned today?” and because of that I would memorize a random quote just so I could report that I had learned something to my parents. One time I was doing this and I chose to memorize a Gordon B. Hinckley quote saying “Even when I’m physically alone, I’m never spiritually alone.” I am so glad that I chose that statement as my one thing to learn during conference, because I haven’t forgotten it. It is a constant reminder to me that there is always going to be the Spirit giving me a little boost (or maybe even a big boost) whenever I feel down. I guess as a missionary the physically alone part may not apply, but I still find comfort in knowing that when I’m out there I will always be supported. It helps me so much to know that this isn’t just Camden Treat out there alone; it is Camden Treat and the Spirit. After all, without the spirit a missionary is just a goofy young boy, but with the spirit a missionary is a powerful tool in the hands of god.  
Alright, so back to the Holy Ghost. If you remember about 2 and a half minutes ago I read two scriptures on the role of the holy ghost. In case you missed that part we learned that the Holy Ghost can 1. Witness of the Father and the Son

This role is critical in the power of prayer because in order to pray we need to first have faith in Jesus and Heavenly Father.  The Holy Ghost comes in to play by giving people a spiritual witness that they live and that they are listening. Without the Holy Ghost using the power of prayer would be very difficult. It is so important to remain worthy of the Holy Ghost because this isn’t just a one time thing. The Holy Ghost will continually witness the truthfulness of the gospel unto us.
                The second role of the Holy Ghost is to testify the truth of all things! In this capacity I imagine the Holy Ghost as a messenger of sorts. As we pray, Heavenly Father recognizes and processes our needs. As the Lord responds to our prayers in his own way, we can recognize the divinity of the response through the Holy Ghost’s promptings.  At the same time, the Holy Ghost takes an active role when we pray to know the truth.

All of this that I have talked about so far is important because it is directly involved in the work of feeling and receiving personal promptings and revelation. We can pray for personal revelation and the Holy Ghost is the means by which we receive it.  Joseph Smith said, “Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it.” Joseph Smith also taught that revelation is vital for your daily work: “This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted—by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed”  
                
 In preparation for my mission I have gotten to know Preach My Gospel really well. This book is really awesome because it teaches how to teach gospel concepts to people that aren’t familiar with them yet. It really is a crash course of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here is what it teaches on personal revelation,

“You need to seek and receive personal revelation through the Holy Ghost as you help
people become baptized and confirmed. Have faith that you will receive personal revelation
to guide you from day to day. The Holy Ghost will help you in every aspect of your work.”
 I love this sentence because it says that the Holy Ghost isn’t just present when I’m having a hard time, he is present in every aspect of my work. I know that I will be continually relying on the power of personal revelation to guide me as I’m on my mission. There is no way I could do it without it. As I rely on the power of prayer I will receive the answers and promptings I need.

 I know that this same promise doesn’t just apply to missionaries. Baptized and confirmed members have the privilege of having “constant companionship” of the Holy Ghost. Not some companionship, or just a bit, of companionship or most of the time companionship. It is constant.
 And that is what I hope I can teach people. I hope I can teach people that they don’t have to go through hard things alone. I hope I can teach people that they have a Heavenly Father that loves them so much. And I hope I can teach them that he wants them to succeed so badly that he gives everyone the chance to directly talk to him and receive answers from him.

Of course, as every missionary does we are going to have a quick little sappy moment where I thank my mother. She’s the reason I’m up here today. I am blessed to have such a great example in my life. Not only has she prepared me spiritually…she’s also the reason why I occasionally eat something other than toaster waffles. I would also like to quickly thank the rest of my family for being here today and being continually supportive of me. Lastly, a big thank you to church leaders and friends who have influenced me to become who I am. I am blessed to have all of you in my life.

I am going to quickly share a quote by President Hinckley, said to missionaries in Goteborg, Sweden in 2000.
 “In the middle 1800s when the first missionaries came to Sweden, thousands of people joined the Church. It was a great and mighty harvest. When you go home, I want you to tell the members that there will be a new harvest, a second harvest in Sweden that will bring thousands of Swedes into the Church.”
               
As a missionary in Sweden I get to take place in fulfilling this prophecy. I am excited to be part of such a great cause. I want to bare my testimony on 4 things
1. Jesus Christ lives and invites everyone to come and be perfected in Him. This is his gospel and it is a gospel of hope, and a gospel of change. As we follow Christ’s example we become better
2. The Book of Mormon. I know this book can teach us all so much about life and that it was translated by a prophet. I know that we continue to have a prophet on the Earth and I am grateful for that.
3. Missionary Work is the way to go. Whether it is going on a mission for the church or putting a bit of missionary work into your daily life. As a missionary I want to share the things I’ve learned because they are pretty cool.
4. The Power of prayer is real. I hope we can all pray more often and continually recognize Heavenly Father’s hand in our lives.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.












               



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