Here at the MTC and in the mission field, a way to classify mission areas and classes is by labeling them “Districts.” The similarity between this and the popular Hunger Games novels and movies has not gone unnoticed. Frequently I’ll see signs on doors and missionaries saying goodbye with, “And may the odds be ever in your favor.” Even at breakfast, the four-note call of District 11 (Rue’s district) welcoming everyone in after a long day in the orchards can be heard traveling around the 1,000 person cafeteria. When this happens, you can hear the melody all day long outside and in the hallways of different buildings, slowly morphing to new harmonies and transcending any resemblance to the original tune. Mockingjays wear suits and ties, skirts and nametags…who knew?
I think I have mentioned that on Sundays there is a specific topic of the day. Each week every person prepares a talk to give during sacrament meeting, but none of us know who will be speaking until the very moment that they are called up. This past Sunday the topic was Enduring to the End (Matthew 24:13, Hebrews 6:13-15, 2 Nephi 31:20, 3 Nephi 15:9), a part of the Doctrine of Christ. The principle is that after we have practiced faith and repentance, made covenants by being baptized and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, we aren’t finished. We still have our whole lives to continue to practice faith and repentance (I know I need to every day!), and to renew and honor our covenants, the promises to Christ and Heavenly Father that we will strive to do our best and return to Them. Of course I’m telling you this because I was called up! I walked into my District that morning and all the elders turned to me and said, “You’re talking today.” How would they know? We always guess who will speak, but we are never right. I actually LOVE speaking in church and preparing talks to share, so I grabbed my talk and my scriptures and boldly walked to the front of the chapel to the podium. I thought that I would share with you what I said…except in English. If you think that my sentences are basic and the principles are simple, that’s because I am using Korean grammar forms translated into English and because the principle is simple!
Every scripture about enduring to the end promises blessings. In order to endure to the end, we need a foundation of faith and hope. We will experience trials, temptation, and disappointment. But, we can know God will always be there for us. Through prayer, we can ask for help and strength. I want to share a few scriptures.
O Lord, my heart is exceedingly sorrowful; wilt thou comfort my soul in Christ. O Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength, that I may suffer with patience these afflictions which shall come upon me, because of the iniquity of this people.
2 Nephi 8:12
I am he; yea, I am he that comforteth you. Behold, who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of man, who shall die, and of the son of man, who shall be made like unto grass?
Doctrine and Covenants 122:9
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.
In this scripture, the priesthood and God’s love and guidance are the same. He wants to help us. It is his purpose. Exercise faith that he can help every single one of you. In the last general conference, Elder Eyring shared this message:
We never need to feel that we are alone or unloved in the Lords 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 promises.
I know this message is true. I know Heavenly Father loves me. I love Him. In Heavenly Father’s son’s name, Jesus Christ, I say these words. Amen.
To close I will share a comical anecdote from yesterday. I was apparently giving my teacher Brother Tanner a hard time yesterday morning, though when he asked the class to back him up when he accused me of being more difficult than normal (I have no idea what he’s referring to) they said that I was just being the typical me. When my companion and I went to teach him (aka teach our investigator who looks a lot like our teacher), he asked us what we’d been doing that day. I told him that we’d been doing a lot of learning. I also told him that I liked our teacher. His face lit up and he asked what was the name of our teacher…to which I replied with, “Brother Pendley,” the name of another teacher entirely. He just shook his head at me.