Homecoming talk

9:50 PM

Here is my homecoming talk. I kind of winged it and just talked as I went...

"Hola hermanos y hermanas. Hey dad I think my accent got better on my mission, I would hope so. Earlier this week Bishop Schultz said I could take 40 minutes to talk today, but I honestly don’t think that will happen, sorry Darrin. Today I don’t really have a topic, nor do I have a bunch of mission stories to share. I did serve in Utah, where mission stories are a lot less crazy and funny than Jon baptizing a clown, I even heard about that one from my dad via email. Don’t get me wrong, my mission is very unique in and of itself. It was only 30 minutes top to bottom, we had a lot of foreign missionaries, including the first missionary directly from Cuba, and I mean missionaries served in the wards of the apostles, like that’s super cool. But no, I never met an apostle, nor did I meet the prophet. I ate weird food, tongue, heart, stomach, but I still don’t like tomatoes. There were nights where I thought I was going to die. My companion and I were living in a members home at the time and the members were out of town. And it was about 11 pm. So we were technically supposed to be asleep already, but we were in bed trying to fall asleep, when all of a sudden we heard a door open and feet run across the floor. I sit up in the dark and ask my companion, praying that she would say no, and I said “did you hear that?” and she turned over and looked at me and said “yesss.” A nanosecond later we hear another door open and next thing I know, my companion and I are hiding under my covers. After a few more noises we hear, we muster up the courage to see whats going on. Goes to find out that it was one of the members kids with his family. And at one point I was chased by kids acting like zombies. And that’s about as funny as my stories get.


But today I would like to take some time to talk about some of the greatest lessons I learned on my mission, lessons and principles that I want to reflect on the rest of my life.

Something that I came across a lot is that almost EVERYTHING in this gospel goes back to faith. But even before we can have faith, we have to know that God is our loving Heavenly Father. That is the first principle that missionaries teach. It’s a concept that is either really easy for people to accept, or really hard. But its essential to move forward and understand the rest of the church. God isn’t just a Higher Power that created the Earth and then threw us down here and forgot about us. He is our Father. Who loves and is aware of each one of us. And once we realize that, we can have faith on Him. In my personal studies I would come across something and it would always go back to faith. For example, faith is the first principle of the gospel. Without faith, we cant act and move towards repentance and then we wouldn’t be able to be baptized to be able to receive the Holy Ghost to help us endure to the end. Faith is also the first Christlike attribute we have to develop to before more like our Savior. For me everything goes back to faith. AND ITS SO ANNOYING. Not that I don’t have faith, and that I start to question my beliefs, but its only really annoying because I tend to lack faith in myself. I have faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. And I know that they have faith in me, but its like putting ends of a magnet together. It doenst always connect that because of my faith in God and His faith in me, I can have faith in myself. But I know that I can because God truly is my loving Heavenly Father.

Another concept I learned that that THERE IS LITERALLY OPPOSITION IN ALL THINGS. There has to be and its not fun, but its necessary. Satan is real, he is very real. During a lesson once with a lady named Maria. We were teaching about the restoration and she was getting it. And agreeing and as soon as I finished the invitation to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized, the TV went off. Mind you, the TV was on mute during the ENTIRE lesson, yet it went off at the spiritual high of our lesson. It was a small thing, but we knew that Satan didn’t want us to invite her to be baptized. He doesn’t want anyone to be baptized and he will work hard to stop the progression of anyone. But if Satan is real, and he is, that means good exists as well. And let me tell you. Prayer is also real. One time, my companion and I had to get to a lesson 2 miles away in 10 minutes. So we started to book it. I said a prayer in my heart that we would be able to make it to the lesson in time, and maybe 2 minutes later, a girl pulls up and asked us if we needed a ride. I’ve had prayers answered on the spot. While there may be evil, there is also good in this world.

For a lot of my time in the church, I thought that the Atonement was just for sinners. While that is true, we can be forgiven on our sins because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the Atonement is so much more than that. The atonement allows each of us to become better each and every day. A quote I love from Lorenzo Snow says “Do not expect to become perfect at once. If you do, you will be disappointed. Be better today than you were yesterday, and be better tomorrow than you are today.” That is the Atonement. The ability to become better. And each one of us has access to it, because of our Savior, Jesus Christ. During my time of serving I was able to truly understand and get to know my Savior more. He because my best friend. Because he lived and died for me, I was able to let him into my life. He understands my pains and trials and afflictions “and the world because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea they spit upon him and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long suffering toward the children of men” (1 nefi 19:9). I once got a blessing from my mission president after a hard trial that I didn’t understand and during the blessing he said “Christ suffered this in the Garden of Gethsemene for you.” That’s how personal the Atonement can be. It is infinite, yet intimate.

I cant even imagine how frustrated Heavenly Father is at times with us. I would get so mad when less active members or investigators recognized the importance of the gospel, but would just reject it. I kinda wanted to grab them by their shoulders, shake them a bit, and say “DON’T YOU REALIZE WHAT YOU ARE GIVING UP? DON’T YOU REALIZE THAT WE ARE HELPING YOU RECOGNIZE?” I bet that is what Heavenly Father want to do with us as well sometimes. Getting called to Utah was not easy to accept. And I didn’t accept it for a long time. Probably not until I was actually there and I saw how many people felt so blessed just to see the SLC Temple in person, and here I was seeing it every day because I was called to serve there. Getting called to speak Spanish wasn’t easy either. There were many Spanish slips where I said I had turkey in my eye instead of dust (pavo vs polvo). And I told someone to shut up in a prayer instead of get married (callarse=shut up, casarse=married, and sellarse=to seal, so casarse+sellarse=callarse…..) And to have hard things happen to my family along the way was pretty terrible as well. But because of these experiences I realized that God truly does orchestrate every aspect of our lives. Looking at it now I am SO GRATEFUL that I got called to serve in Utah. Because now I can visit people from my mission a lot easier. Spanish was hard to learn, but itw ill be a life skill that I now have. And when everying went down with my family last May I was truly able to see how God put certain people in my life at that time to be my support. When we put God 1st and align our will with His, that is when life gets a lot easier. Especially easier to accept the hard times. In 3rd nefi 13:30-34 it says [READ IT]. God is aware of us. He is so aware of us I don’t think I can emphasize it enough. And when we become aware of Him and choose his kingdom first, life gets a little easier. It gets easier to accept the trials and the will of God.

Okay I do have a mission story that I would like to end on. This story is about the Madrid Family. It was my first area and my first week when I met the Madrids. TELL STORY ABOUT THE MADRID FAMILY.

There were times where I was brought down to my knees in prayer, and where I found comfort in the scriptures and in priesthood blessings. I know that the Priesthood is real and we have the power of God on the earth today. TALK A BIT MORE ABOUT HOW I HAVE GROWN YATTA YATTA YATTA

In conclusion I loved my mission. It was hecka hard. Im pretty sure my first week in the field I cried everyday. I don’t know how I was supposed to put 18 months of the best, funnest, hardest, saddest most trying time yet most spiritual time of my life in a talk for you all today. I don’t think that’s very fair or easy to do. I hope I did my mission some justice.

And since bishop asked, I would like to end my talk by bearing my testimony for you all in Spanish….

“yo se……”

En el nombre de Jesucristo Amen" 


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