“To you who are parents, I say, show love to your children. You know you love them, but make certain they know it as well. They are so precious. Let them know. Call upon our Heavenly Father for help as you care for their needs each day and as you deal with the challenges which inevitably come with parenthood. You need more than your own wisdom in rearing them.”
Thomas S. Monson

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Service, Kindness and Faith

As the newest family in the ward, Richard and I had the pleasure of speaking along with Annalina and Joseph in sacrament meeting on Sunday!  I wanted to keep track of these talks so the kids can look back on the experience someday, so I am posting them here as part of our family history!

My name is Joseph and today I want to talk to you about service.  Jesus taught us many lessons about serving each other.  One of those lessons came after he had dinner with his Apostles.  Jesus got a basin of water and a towel and started washing the feet of the Apostles.

It was not unusual for people to have their feet washed in Jesus’ time, because most people wore sandals and their feet became very dusty and dirty. But usually a servant did this job. Peter did not want Jesus to wash his feet because he thought it was not right for Jesus to act as a servant.  Jesus explained to the Apostles that even though he was the Savior, he still served them. He wanted them to understand that they should serve each other.

Jesus wants us to follow his example and serve others.

We can all serve others by:

-          Doing nice things for our family and friends
-          Helping to clean the church when it is our turn
-          Doing service projects like helping neighbors weed their yards
-          Making treats to share with others                                                                 -          Helping those in need

When I serve others, I feel good and know that I am following the example of Jesus.  I know it make Heavenly Father happy when we give service to each other.
I want to bear my testimony that I know the church is true.  I know that Heavenly Father loves me.  I love my family and I know we can be together forever.  I know the scriptures are true. 

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Hi, my name is Annalina and today I am going to give a talk on kindness.  I think kindness is a very important part of the gospel. It reminds me of how Jesus treated everyone while he was on the earth. 

In John 15 verse 12 it says  "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."

This verse tells us how we should treat others.  We are being commanded to be kind to each other.  We should try to  love other people as much as Jesus loves us.

I just read  a story from the Friend magazine and I want to share it with you. 

It was a very hot day and Audrey was coming home from the store with her mom.  Her mom had let her pick out a treat and they were rainbow popsicles.  But as they were driving, they came to roadwork.  Audrey's mom said that she forgot they were doing roadwork there.  Audrey was disappointed and sad that it would take longer to get home.  Audrey's mom said to be patient.  But Audrey's rainbow popsicles were going to melt before they got home.  As she watched the road workers out in the heat,  Audrey got an idea. She gave the popsicles to her mom to give to the workers.  When her mom gave the popsicles to the workers, they were grateful and when Audrey got home she felt good that she had shared with them. 

Audrey showed that she loved the workers by sharing her special treat with them instead of letting them melt. 

One day I was shopping with my family at the grocery store.  As we were checking out, I saw a woman who was holding a sleeping child in her arms.  She was trying to unload her groceries.  I decided that I wanted to help her.   As we were leaving, my Dad and I stayed behind to help her load her groceries into bags.  She was very grateful.  Even though we did not know who this woman was, we wanted to be kind to her and help her out.  It made me feel great.  And it made me feel warmth in my heart.  I know that when we are kind to other people, it makes Heavenly Father happy too.

It is easy to be kind to others, we just have to watch for the chance to help people.  We can say hello to someone who is new.  We can offer to help someone who is in need.  We can tell someone they look nice. We can smile at people.  All these things show them and Heavenly Father that we care.  I know that kindness is a good thing and that we should all try to be kind to each other and it will help our testimony grow. 

I want to bear my testimony that I know this church is true and that I know President of Monson is a prophet of God.  I know he helps other and teaches us to be kind to others too.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Good afternoon brothers and sisters.  My name is Amy Loomis and you just met two of my four amazing children. I am so proud of them for getting up here and speaking.  I have never been in a ward where children speak in sacrament meeting.  And they did great!

Shortly after we moved in, Becky Allen came to visit and she asked me what I liked to do.  My mind went blank and I think the only thing I came up with is that I love to read, which is true.  But my first passion is my children. I absolutely adore being a mother and my children are my greatest pride and joy.  I read somewhere that we learn more from our children than we ever learned from our parents.  I don't know that this is 100% true, but I do know that we learn on a much deeper level from our children.
So we have two other children who are not here in Rexburg with us yet.  Or oldest daughter Adrienne is 20 and just finished her associates degree in Portland and is working full time to fund her next couple of years of college here at the University.  She will be joining us in November and we are so excited for her arrival.  Our next oldest is our son Jacob and he missed being able to speak with the family by just a few days.  He will arrive on Thursday.  He just graduated from High School and will be spending the next year with us preparing for a mission.  Annalina is ten years old and she is a happy sweet spirit who brings much love into our family.  Joseph is a sweet seven year old and he makes us laugh every single day!  My husband telecommutes for the same company he worked for in Beaverton.  He is going to school part time while we are here.  I will be starting at the University in the fall as a Junior and am eager to finish my education!  We are excited  and very blessed to be here.
I have been asked to speak about Faith. I feel that I have a lot of experience in this subject from the past few years, but putting it all into words is difficult.  When I first heard this subject the primary song about faith popped into my head and I have been singing it in my mind all week.  

1. Faith is knowing the sun will rise, lighting each new day.
Faith is knowing the Lord will hear my prayers each time I pray.
Faith is like a little seed: If planted, it will grow.
Faith is a swelling within my heart.
When I do right, I know.
I looked up this song to make sure I had the words right and I found a second verse that I did not remember....
2. Faith is knowing I lived with God before my mortal birth.
Faith is knowing I can return when my life ends here on earth
Faith is trust in God above; In Christ, who showed the way.
Faith is strengthened; I feel it grow
Whenever I obey.

I love this song, it is simple, but it says so much about this important principle of the gospel.  In fact, The 4th Article of Faith tells us that Faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ is the very first principle of the Gospel. 

in 2003, Anne C. Pingree gave a talk about Faith and I want to share one of her experiences with you...She says, I will never forget a sauna-hot day in the lush rain forest of southeastern Nigeria. My husband and I had traveled to one of the most remote locations in our mission so he could conduct temple recommend interviews with members in the district. Some in this growing district had been Church members less than two years. All the members lived 3,000 miles away from the nearest temple in Johannesburg, South Africa. None had received their temple endowment.

These members knew the appointed day each month we would come to their district, but even we didn’t know the exact hour we would arrive; nor could we call, for telephones were rare in that part of West Africa. So these committed African Saints gathered early in the morning to wait all day if necessary for their temple recommend interviews. When we arrived, I noticed among those waiting in the searing heat were two Relief Society sisters dressed in bold-patterned wraps, white blouses, and the traditional African head-ties.

Many hours later, after all the interviews were completed, as my husband and I drove back along that sandy jungle trail, we were stunned when we saw these two sisters still walking. We realized they had trekked from their village—a distance of 18 miles round trip—just to obtain a temple recommend they knew they would never have the privilege of using.

These Nigerian Saints believed the counsel of President Howard W. Hunter: “It would please the Lord for every adult member to be worthy of—and to carry—a current temple recommend, even if proximity to a temple does not allow immediate or frequent use of it.” In her hand, carefully wrapped in a clean handkerchief, each sister carried her precious temple recommend.
These two covenant Relief Society sisters embody the meaning of Alma’s teaching “concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” 
My husband and I tenderly recalled these sisters and so many other West African Saints on that remarkable day in April 2000 when President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “We announce at this conference that we hope to build a house of the Lord in Aba, Nigeria.”  Brothers and sisters, I testify that sometimes “miracles … confirm … faith.”   The temples of Africa are a magnificent representation of miracles wrought by the faith of so many Saints in the small villages and large cities spread across that vast continent.

President Gordon B. Hinckley is a wonderful example to us of a man with great faith. When President Hinckley announced his goal of providing 100 temples by the year 2000, he acted by faith. He didn’t build any of the temples using his own construction skills. He acted by the word of faith, and that faith unlocked the energy of thousands of others who physically planned and built those temples. He also exercised the priesthood keys that he and only he held. This was a miracle just as surely as if he had removed a mountain. Faith has thus brought about the miracle of more than 100 temples, a number that continues to grow. Even a lifetime of service, of obedience, and of magnifying his callings was not enough to cause this miracle. President Hinckley could have said, “I have done enough. I am old and deserve a rest.” If he had adopted that attitude, we would not have seen the result of his increased faith.  The faith of countless saints has been strengthened through the faith of this one man.

Elder John K. Carmack Of the Seventy gave a wonderful talk about increasing our faith.

He said, When the Prophet Joseph Smith left Nauvoo, bound for Carthage Jail and death, he had perhaps reached a point in his life where he could act with complete trust in the Lord, even in the face of grave danger. Previously, we know from the  Doctrine and Covenants 122:7–9 the Lord had answered his prayers in the Liberty Jail with the following: “And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
“The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
“Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.”2
Joseph smith  could have escaped his enemies by departing Illinois to settle in the wilderness of the West. From there he could have directed the Saints to join him. He already knew prophetically that the Saints were going to settle in the Rocky Mountains.  But rather, in D&C 135:4 he said, “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men”. He clearly had traded his own desire to live to the purposes of the Lord and His plan for him. By completely giving himself in service to God, despite tremendous pressure to do otherwise, he had gained incredible faith.

When my husband and I first talked about moving to Rexburg, it seemed like a crazy idea.  I had lived in that part of Oregon most of my life and we had been there all of our married life. My sisters and parents all live there.  My children had friends and were happy there.  We fasted and prayed about it and got the answer that we should move.  Looking back over the past few years, I can see that the heartache and plentiful trials we suffered were preparing us for this move.  Over the weeks before the big day, everything  seemed to fall into place.  Richard got approval for working remotely, we were accepted to the university, we found a comfortable place to live, we were able to sell enough things to fund the move.   Our faith that this was the right thing for our family was reinforced continually.  Then moving day came and our plans for a smooth move fell apart.  Many times through that day and the next I wondered if we were doing the right thing. Maybe we were not supposed to be moving after all.  Then I remembered the blessings we had enjoyed so freely while getting prepared for the move and I knew I just had to have faith and the Lord would see us through.  We continue to have experiences that test our faith and we continue to know deep in our hearts that we are doing what the Lord would have us do.  That is a powerful feeling. 

I had a huge faith building experience the day before we packed up the moving truck.  I woke up with a stomach bug.  Before I could even get out of bed my stomach was flopping, my body ached and I had very little energy.  We had a huge list of things to do in order to be ready for the load up the very next day.  I knew I could not spend the day in bed.  I prayed and prayed in my mind, all the while wondering if I could get better so quickly.  Miracle like this happen, but did I have the faith needed for it to happen for me?  I told myself that yes, I was worthy of such assistance from my Heavenly Father and I asked my husband for a blessing and then I got out of bed and got to work.  I was able to work hard and even eat lunch.  It was as if I had never been sick at all.  

Establishing faith is very important, but our goal should be to never be done increasing our faith in the Lord.  In his talk, Elder Carmack said, We do not increase our faith by following a formula, although the ingredients of fasting, prayer, and righteous living are part of that process. Increasing our faith requires trusting the Lord with our whole souls. We cannot say, “We have done enough and deserve to rest.” Nor does the increase of faith come through definitions, logic, or philosophy. Rather, we must:
Do what is right and serve the Lord because we know, trust, and love Him with all of our souls.
Harbor no thought that we deserve a reward or thanks for what we do, although rewards will surely come.
Humbly ask, seek, and knock.
Never demand anything of our Lord, because we are always in His debt.
Leave to Him the final decision in all things, having the attitude “Not my will, but thine be done.”
Be prepared to sacrifice, even unto death, for our entire mortal lives.
One of the talks I loved this past General Conference was Mountains to Climb by President Eyering.  In it he quoted President Kimball saying  “There are great challenges ahead of us, giant opportunities to be met. I welcome that exciting prospect and feel to say to the Lord, humbly, ‘Give me this mountain,’ give me these challenges."
 This is obviously not a step to be taken until our faith is the Lord is strong and unmovable.  But that is what we should always be working toward, faith enough to welcome the challenges that will prepare us to return to live with the Lord.
President Eyring finished his talk by saying
If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing. In all conditions, we can choose the right with the guidance of the Spirit. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ to shape and guide our lives if we choose it. And with prophets revealing to us our place in the plan of salvation, we can live with perfect hope and a feeling of peace. We never need to feel that we are alone or unloved in the Lord’s service because we never are. We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and our right to bear us up. And He always keeps His word.

I challenge us all to work on our foundation of faith.  They need to be strong not only in our minds, but in our actions, how we live our lives.    I want to take a moment to bear my testimony.   I want my children to know that I KNOW with all my heart that the gospel is true.  I have found that when my life is headed in the right direction, that is when the challenges come, but not only that, the blessings flow as well.  I know my Heavenly Father loves me.  He shows me every day that I am important to him. I marvel at the blessings he pours out upon me so freely, whether I feel deserving or not.  I am grateful for the challenges in my life that have helped me become who I am.  I am grateful for the faith that I have built up over the years that carries me through dark and difficult times. When friends or family let us down, I know that our father in heaven will always be there for us.  He is the constant in our lives, the only  one who will never let us down.  I am grateful for this opportunity to speak to you on such an amazing topic. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

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