My farewell talk is below if you would like to read it and know some more about what I believe:
My farewell talk--- geez luweez it is here
Hi! For those of you who don’t know me my name is Rachel Formica. I have been called to serve a mission in the London England mission. I report to the Preston England MTC in about a week and a half! I got my call back around Christmas time. And back then April seemed so far away…. I would say to myself, Oh I don’t need to do that now I have plenty of time…. And now I am like dang it, I am pretty much out of time and I still have stuff to do!
The story of me going on a mission dates back all the way to when I was really little. My dad would always say where do you want to go on your mission? And I would answer Mcdonals!... I think Ill take London over mcdonalds. So a mission has always really been in the back of my mind. Then up at school I met some people and the thought of a mission got pushed even further back in my mind.
That all changed in October 2012. I don’t know if you guys were watching October Conference… but it was just a normal conference day for our apartment. WE sat down to watch it and President Thomas S. Monson gets up and starts talking about missions and guys… and I sat straight up. I just had this feeling like oh my gosh what is he gonna say… and then he lowers the boom….
tell the story.
One question that I have been asked repeatedly is why am I going. And honestly it is probably the hardest question for me to answer. Not because I don’t have reasons, but because there are so many and it is just an indescribable feeling I have. President Hinckley has said, "Today many sisters are being called to serve. Many more are preparing to serve. Not because they aren't married or don’t have anything else to do, but they have the desire to serve." And that is exactly why I am going. I have a desire to share the gospel with those who don’t have it. I have a desire to come closer to and serve my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I have a desire to become the best person I can be by devoting 18 months of my life to serving others. I have a desire to share how I have found true happiness and the key to true happiness, which is… this gospel.
The word gospel means good story or good news. And that is exactly what the gospel is! The gospel is a ray of hope in the difficult journey of life. So what exactly is the good news?
The good news is that all mistakes and sins can be overcome! That no matter where you are in life, you have the chance to repent, to be pure again, and return to live with your Father in Heaven. President Thomas S Monson said, “We need to bear in mind that people can change. They can put behind them bad habits. They can repent from transgressions. They can bear the priesthood worthily. And they can serve the Lord diligently.”
And how is this possible? Through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
"The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the central fact, the crucial foundation, and the chief doctrine of the plan of salvation… prophet joe smith said everything about our religion is only “appendages” to the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The atonement is the foundation of the gospel, and our job? Go and teach it to everyone!"
In Elder Bednar’s talk “the enabling power of the atonement” He suggests we are very familiar with the redeeming power of the Atonement but not with the enabling power of the atonement. “The enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do and be good and to serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity.”
Because I have the enabling power of the atonement I have the strength to do difficult things. Like going on a mission! I am getting a little nervous about serving even though I know I obviously don’t look it... haha However, I know that through the enabling power of the atonement I will be able to do whatever the Lord needs me to do.
Also my fears and nerves were put to ease after reading that In gethsemane Jesus Christ comforted his disciples saying, “Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid.” Elder Holland said, “This is the most universally disobeyed commandment. I am convinced that none of us can appreciate how deeply it wounds the loving heart of the Savior of the world when he finds that his people do not feel confident in his care or secure in his hands.” This was a shock to me when I read it. I had never thought of it that way. There have been so many times when I have been afraid or felt so hopeless.
After hearing that I know that if I rely on the atonement there is no need to fear anything. The trick is to rely on the atonement to receive its enabling power when burdens seem too overwhelming. This does not only apply to missions, but to every aspect of our lives. Every one has problems in their own life that seem unbearable, but just remember, there isn’t one problem that our Savior Jesus Christ did not suffer for. Through the atonement there is not any problem that you cannot repent of. No trial you cannot overcome.
On the first page of Preach My Gospel it says that the purpose of a missionary is to:
“Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.”
Elder Russell M. Nelson gave a talk that stated:
In every problem present in the world, the atonement is the answer. Ask the missionaries they can help you! The means by which they help is through the atonement.
As a missionary or member, if we see meet someone who is struggling, it is not our job to judge them. It is not our job to see them as too difficult to teach. It is not our job to deem them as too far off the path. It is our job to see their heavenly potential, to see them as our brothers and sisters and as children of our Heavenly Father. Our beloved Prophet Thomas S. Monson said, “We should develop the capacity to see men not as they are but as they can become when they have a testimony of the gospel, and when their lives are in harmony with its teachings.”
He told of a young successful missionary, who when asked how he baptized so many people he responded, he saw everyone as they could be. He saw them dressed in white, living the commandments regardless of their actual appearance or situation. We have the responsibility to see individuals not as they are, but rather how they can become, because through the atonement of Jesus Christ everyone can repent and reach their fullest potential.
This requires hard work and effort and change.
I don’t know about you guys, maybe it is just me, but I have found that there are about three different stages when I am faced with something new. Either a big project, a change in life, or for me the most recent has been a semester in school. The first stage is the planning stage. It is the stage where we are hopeful. We look at the task ahead and think, “oh we can do that.” For me with school I think I am going to read all of the chapters ahead of time. I am going to spend 4 hrs in the library everyday, I am going to not procrastinate with HW and studying…. This lasts a few weeks tops.
The second stage is when things have started to go downhill. Doubt has crept in. Things have gotten harder than you expected and you lose faith and you think there has to be an easier way. This wave usually happens to me after my first set of midterms. I slack off a bit, get behind on a couple of assignments, the reading builds up to the point where there is no way I am catching up, and I begin to feel hopeless. I think why did I ever take on this load. There has to be an easier way… maybe if I switched my major or dropped some classes. But eventually after what seems like forever, we make it through the task. We look back and realize it was necessary for us to overcome this task and see how much we have grown because of it.
These stages are similar to the atonement with the Savior, not that I am saying it is anything near what the Savior experienced, I am saying however, “How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him?”
"If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, 'Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,' 16 then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.
And we have to remember that it is because of His suffering, that we can overcome our suffering. Through the atonement we can receive comfort and strength.”
When I was younger every week for family night we would choose a hymn to learn the words and practice singing. Every week we would try and sing a different one, but one that seemed to be Adam’s favorites was “How firm a foundation”. I used to think it was his favorite because it is a loud song, that you can really belt, and for those of you who know Adam you know he isn’t the quietest boy. Without fail for a solid year Adam was always singing How firm a foundation at the top of his lungs, whether in the bath, playing with his toys, or just around the house. And he would sing it with such firm resonance. Later I found out that he would sing it when he was scared. For a while there he used to be really afraid of different things. For example, he didn’t like to go down the dark hallway alone, so my parents taught him this song, and after he learned it every time he was afraid to do something, he would sing this song.
“ Fear not I am with thee oh be not dismayed, for I am thy God and will still give thee aid, Ill strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee, to stand, upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand… When through fiery trials they pathway shall lie, my grace all sufficient shall be thy supply.”
I love those words. This may become my new favorite hymn. His grace is all sufficient. No matter what struggle we are facing we don’t need to fear, because through the atonement we can receive enabling power to overcome it.
One example I have seen lately of someone relying on our Heavenly Father and the atonement and receiving enabling power is that of my sister Rebecca. I don’t know if you everyone knows but this past weekend she had a pretty severe surgery. It was completely unexpected. My mom had just driven up to Utah to help me pack and drive me home, when Becca just got really sick the second day my mom was there. It was a complete blessing that my mom was in town to take her to the ER and have this surgery performed. Although this could have been a pretty scary time for Rebecca I haven’t seen her once not have a smile on her face. She could complain why did this have to happen to me? I just had jaw surgery, give it to Rachel she has never had anything like this. Or she could have been really angry that she had to get behind a week in school and have to make up three tests, and so many other things. But she has relied on Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and accepted this and has moved forward with a cheerful and positive attitude.
When I have a hard time on the mission, I am going to try and meet it with the same attitude that Rebecca has met this challenge with.
I am so excited to go and serve the people of England. I am excited to share the beauty of the Atonement and how we can receive strength and comfort from it. I cannot wait to share this gospel which brings me so much happiness, to everyone one that I meet. I definitely will miss my family, but I heard a quote I love. I am Giving up my family for a short amount of time so I can help others be with their families for forever.