this week started off super great for three reasons:
number 1: i gave a talk in sacrament meeting
some may say how could that be a great start to your week, but honestly, it was! i have given several talks in sacrament meeting, but this talk had to be the most comfortable i have been. And i know that the Lord definitely helped me! i prayed and prayed that i would be able to feel peace and be able to say what i wanted and what the ward needed to hear. I truly can testify that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. I got up there and didn’t feel even a quarter of the nervousness i usually do. plus, i am going to be giving a lot of talks in the next 18 months so i better get used to them! haha. anyways, since a lot of people couldn’t be there, i decided to post my talk on here. AND i am giving a lot of the credit to president Uchtdorf, because he really helped me in this talk.
here it is:
hi. Good morning brothers and sisters. I am super excited and a little nervous to speak to y’all this morning. For those of you who may not know me: My name is Whitney Rogers. I am preparing to serve a mission in the Nicaragua Managua North Mission. I’ll be leaving for the Mexico MTC on September 4th, although I’m leaving for Utah this Tuesday where I will stay until I leave.
So, to be honest, I thought I was in the clear. Since I’m gonna give my farewell in Utah so all of my family can be there, I though I could lay low and not have to give a talk here. However, that wasn’t what my mom wanted, and everyone knows what mom says goes! After I kept returning home with the: “no, sorry. I forgot to ask him” reply, my mom decided to ask bishop herself. So, here I am!
The talk that Brother Bushman gave me to kind of rely on is from the April General Conference. It’s President Uchtdorf’s talk called: The Hope of God’s Light. I absolutely love this talk! Not only because president uchtdorf is my absolute fave, but that I feel like He was specifically talking to me, and this talk ties in with some of the things I wanted to talk about as well today.
I want to start off with an analogy that President Uchtdorf mentions in his talk. Let’s say that we are all in a dark room where there is absolutely no light. Then, all of the sudden, the door opens. What does the darkness do? Does it overcome the light from the outside? No. The light always overcomes the darkness. This is the same with our lives. Many of us have different challenges and afflictions: We might
- Have a troubling medical diagnosis
- Have a death in the family
- Have not gotten accepted to the school or program we wanted
- Have relationship problems
- Just feel alone or unloved
Whatever darkness you feel in your life, our loving Heavenly Father PROMISES the hope of His light. I love the way President Uchtdorf says, “He promises to illuminate the way before us and show us the way out of darkness.”
One of the struggles I have been having in my life is not recognizing that the Lord always follows with a blessing. Everything in our life can be seen as a blessing. The saying that has been close to my heart for the past few months is: See the glass half full and not have empty. We need to not dwell on the darkness or the negative things that are happening in our life, but to overcome them and recognize the good that came from those things. If we allow the darkness to consume us, our troubles will have the final victory. We need to accept that darkness exists, but not to dwell there! One thing I did and encourage everyone to do is to look at your life and see how you perceive it. Are you always dwelling on the negative things that take place and feel sorry or yourself, or are you accepting the challenges, learning from them, and recognizing the blessings that follow from overcoming them. Again, president uchtdorf states, “Spiritual light rarely comes to those who merely sit in darkness waiting for someone to flip the switch. It takes an act of faith to open our eyes to the Light of Christ.” Healing comes when we move away from the darkness and walk toward the hope of a brighter light!
BUT HOW DO WE OPEN OUR EYES TO THE LIGHT OF CHRIST?
President Uchtdorf gives us 3 steps:
1. We need to start where we are.
It doesn’t matter how unqualified you are or how far behind you may feel. “The very moment you begin to seek your Heavenly Father, in that moment, the hope of His light will begin to awaken, enliven, and ennoble your soul,” as said by President Uchtdorf. It is so wonderful to know that we do not have to be perfect to experience the blessings and gifts of our Heavenly Father. We don’t have to wait and win a state championship to receive God’s blessings. In fact, the blessings begin to come with the very first steps we take toward the light. The darkness may not disappear all at once, but the light will come little by little. Doctrine and covenants 50:24 says:
“That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”
2. We need to turn our hearts toward the Lord
President Uchtdorf says that each of us must pray to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ about what you are feeling. Acknowledge your shortcomings. Pour out your heart and express your gratitude. Let him know of the trials you are feeling. There’s no need to act perfect and just thank him for things. He wants you to tell him the troubles you are having and the things you desire. Plead with him for strength and support. Ask that your ears may be opened, that you may hear His voice. Ask that your eyes may be opened, that you may see His light.
3. Walk in the light
Heavenly Father knows we will make mistakes. He knows we may stumble – probably many times. Even though this saddens him, He still loves each and every one of us. I love how president uchtdorf shows how loving and merciful Heavenly Father is by stating that The Lord does not want to break our spirit. On the contrary, he desires that you rise up and become the person you were destined to be! He then goes on to say, “ To that end, He sent His son to this earth to illuminate the way and shows us how to safely cross the stumbling blocks placed in our paths. He has given us the Gospel, which teaches the way of the disciple. It teaches us the things we must know, do, and be to walk in His light, following the footsteps of His Beloved Son, our Savior.”
Again, we may make mistakes and we may falter, but as we increase our love for God, the light of the Gospel will surround and uplift us. The darkness will surely fade, because it cannot exist in the presence of light!
Doctrine and Covenants 88:63 states:
“Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me: ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
Yes, at times in our lives we may feel touched or even wrapped in darkness., but, brothers and sisters, with Christ, darkness cannot succeed. Darkness will not gain victory over the light of Christ.
Christ says in John 8:12:
“I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
OUR LIVING HOPE IS JESUS CHRIST.
Darkness cannot stand before the light of Christ.
I want to end with this quote by president uchtdorf. He says, “I invite each of you to open your heart to Him. Seek Him through study and prayer. Come to His church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Learn of Him and of His Gospel, participate actively, help each other, and joyfully serve our God. As you walk toward the hope of God’s Light, you will discover the compassion, love, and goodness of a loving Heavenly Father, in whom there is no darkness at all.”
now, i ended with my testimony, but i think i’ll save that for another time!
number 2: the sister missionaries.
oh how i love the sister missionaries in the Midland 1st ward. It seems like yesterday that i met sister turner, sister fife, ad sister kramer. These girls are so special to me, and i am so glad that i became friends with them! i know that we all will be great friends when we all get home from our missions and return to Utah. These three young women have helped me so much the past three months. They NEVER failed to visit me every week, and always gave me such great advice. Each one of them has their own unique personality, but they all have a great spirit about them. i hope to have that same spirit and light when i teach the people in Nicaragua.
Yesterday night, they sent me a text that said they were going to come over because they had to give me something. when they got there, we chatted for a little bit. We couldn’t believe that the time had gone by so fast, and we were sad to leave each other. They also were worried about splitting up. They had a transfer at the end of this week. At the end of talking about missions, the church, and just life, they pulled out two journals; One for me and one for Chandler. In the first few pages were handwritten letters from each of them. It was so sweet. Not only did they spend their own money on each of us, but they took the time out of their busy schedule to write heartfelt notes! I can’t wait to finish the journal that i already have and start on theirs. It will be very close to my heart.
i am going to miss these girls so much! they have helped me and have seen me grow in the past few months. I am forever grateful to and for them.
I know that this church is true! Over the past six months i have changed and grown so much in the Gospel. I have never been so happy in my life. i can’t wait to go on my mission and share this love, joy, and happiness with the people of Nicaragua!
number three: Logan Todd Rogers
So, my cousin got accepted to go teach at the Mexico MTC!
i am so happy for him and for me since i’ll get to have oggy there with me! hah. i am super excited! he leaves like august 13 an stays for six weeks, so i’ll hopefully see him for about four weeks! super stoked!
number four: COLORADO
okay, so there is one more thing that has made this week so great! my cousin, Sebastian, and his fiancé are getting married for time and all eternity in the Albuquerque temple! Not only am i super excited that i will get to go in the temple to see them sealed, but i also get to see my dad’s side of the family before i leave! i love going to colorado! it’s a family tradition to go in the summer, and it’s so fun! we go four wheeling, camping, fishing, and so much more! i love spending time with my family in little Manassa, Colorado! It’s great.
Anyways, let’s hope this week continues to stay great and the weeks that i have left.
hope you all have a blessed week!