Tuesday, June 10, 2014

It's Farewell Time!

Courtney gave such an incredible talk on Sunday so I wanted to
share it with you all. 

Enjoy :)

Over the past couple of years, I have had the opportunity of attending quite a few mission call openings. I love watching my friends open their calls and immediately know that that is exactly where they are supposed to go. I’m going to be honest in saying that when I opened my call back in January that is NOT how it was for me.

Before opening my call I had told myself I would go wherever the Lord called me for I knew this was his work and I was simply a tool to help bring souls to him. But when I first read the words Korea Busan Mission, I remember immediately feeling a sense of anxiety and inadequacy. I felt I needed to learn Korean overnight because I wouldn’t be able to share my testimony with the people of Korea until I could speak the language. I began to get discouraged when I would hear people say “good luck learning that language” or “It’s really hard to convert people there” I started reading blogs of missionaries in Korea, some who wrote about coming home with zero baptisms. I knew that what I was about to embark on was going to be the most challenging thing I was yet to experience in my life and I knew that I was going to have to fully rely on God and my Savior Jesus Christ to help me.

I remember getting ready for bed that night still in shock that I had been called to Korea when my best friend Emily Jorgensen called me into my bedroom. At the time she only had a couple weeks left before she would be leaving to serve a mission in Taiwan speaking Mandarin Chinese. She read this beautiful quote to me By Elder Holland that was about missionary work:

Don’t worry about being homesick, Don’t worry about being new, Don’t worry about the language, None of that matters. God loves you. This is the Truth. You can do it. Start fast, run hard, you can rest later.

I decided right then that I had two choices. I could either doubt everything I ever knew to be true and allow Satan to have power over me, or I could move forward with faith, trusting that the plan God has for me is way better than the plan I have for myself.

These past 4 months of waiting and preparing to leave on my mission have been challenging yet incredible. I have felt Satan more in my life than I ever have but I have also truly seen the hand of the Lord in my life more than I ever have and I have watched my testimony of this beautiful gospel grow immensely. I have learned a lot these past few months and I can honestly say that right now I am nothing but excited to serve the Lord. The thing I’ve learned the most while preparing to serve is that the Lord truly DOES qualifies those that he calls. I have also learned that God WILL strengthen us when we are weak and are going through trials IF we choose to turn to him.

The topic I have been assigned to speak on is communicating through the spirit. I was excited when I heard my topic because this is something very dear to my heart.

I know that we may all feel the spirit in different ways or in different places but for me personally I have found I feel the Spirit the most when I am in the Temple. My first semester at BYU, my roommate Emily got me in the habit of attending the temple weekly with her. It didn’t matter to her if one week was busier than another, or if it was finals week, we would ALWAYS find time to go.

Because of this habit that I continued through my freshman year, I have felt closer to Heavenly Father and I have received more personal revelation. One experience in particular that I had was when deciding whether or not I was supposed to serve a mission. Being in a freshman ward at BYU there were many girls around me receiving mission calls of their own and I wanted to know what God’s plan was for me personally. I had been praying for months asking if I was supposed to go on a mission. I remember receiving my answer while in the Jordan River temple on November 29, 2013. Before attending the temple that day, I poured out my heart in prayer to my Heavenly Father out loud in my bedroom and asked him whether or not I, Courtney Hurley, was or was not supposed to serve a mission. While in the temple that day, I received a clear answer that I was supposed to go and that I was supposed to move forward with faith and to fear not. The feelings I had that day CAN NOT be denied. I will forever remember the complete joy that I felt when I received that answer. I know without a doubt in my mind that it was the spirit that was communicating to my heart that I was to serve a mission.

3 days after receiving my answer in the temple and committing to serve a mission, on December 2 of last year, I had a dream that I opened my mission call and that it was to KOREA. To be honest, I remember waking up from that dream almost laughing a little thinking there was no way that that would happen. I even remember thinking to myself that God knew I didn’t have the ability to learn a language as challenging as Korean. Luckily I wrote down this dream that I had in my journal because when I had opened my call in January, I had forgotten that I had that dream. It wasn’t until a couple weeks after opening my call that I was flipping through my journal and read about the dream that I had.

There are over 400 missions in the church and I know that it was no coincidence that I had that dream. I know that for some reason that is beyond my knowledge at this time that I am supposed to go to Korea. God knew even back in December almost two months before I received my call that I am supposed to serve there! I know that he trusts in me and believes that I DO have the ability to learn Korean even when I doubted myself.

Proverbs 3:5-6 has helped me a lot these last few months while preparing to go to Korea.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
“In all they ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths”

To understand how we communicate through the spirit we first need to understand who the spirit is. When we came to earth, our memory of our heavenly home was taken from us. However, our father did not shut us away from his influence. He sent the Holy Ghost to comfort and help and guide all of us. The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a personage of spirit, without a body of flesh and bones. Two important roles that he has that I am going to discuss today is he “witnesses of the Father and the Son” and he reveals and teaches “the truth of all things”.

I’d like to read a scripture in john 17 vs 3. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

I love this scripture because it focuses on the big picture. We know that this life is a time for us to prepare to meet God and in order to do this we must first come to know God and Jesus Christ. And In order to come to know God and Jesus Christ, we must first gain a testimony that they are real.

Moroni 10:5 “By the power of the holy ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”

Just like this scripture says, we can know that God is real through the Holy Ghost. It’s not going to be me converting the people in Korea, it will be the spirit. I am simply a tool in the Lords hands. They will only be able to receive a sure testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ if I communicate by the power of the Holy Ghost. My job as a missionary is to be worthy of the spirit so that when I teach the lessons in Korea, the spirit can testify the truthfulness of what I am saying.

I found this quote in a resource guide for gospel teaching that says:“No mortal teacher, no matter how expert or experienced, can bring the blessings of testimony and conversion to another person. That is the office of the Holy Ghost, or Spirit.”

I also know that if I am working diligently, being obedient, and doing all that I can, I will be given the gift of tongues to help me communicate with the people in Korea. There have been times I feel that I may not know enough about the gospel or that I’m not smart enough to learn Korean and when feel like that I like to resort to this quote:“You’re not being sent because you’re an expert. You’re being sent because you’re a witness. You are a witness of Jesus Christ. You are a witness of the Restoration. You are a witness of how the gospel has blessed your life. You’ve covenanted to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places. So while you should continue to learn the doctrine of the kingdom as best you can, remember, God doesn’t need experts as much as he needs witnesses.”I love this quote because it’s true. I’m not an expert, but I am a witness and I know enough. I have also seen how the gospel has blessed my life.

If there is one thing I want you to get out of this talk it is my testimony of this beautiful gospel.
I know that this church is true and that Joseph Smith DID restore it.
I know that he was a true prophet and I know that we have a true prophet on the earth today President Thomas S Monson who leads and guides us.
I know that the Book of Mormon is true.
I wouldn’t be going to Korea for 18 months if I doubted the Book of Mormon to be true.
I know we CAN get nearer to God by reading it and abiding by its precepts.
I know that God lives and that the power of prayer is real and that we can turn to Him for anything and he will always be there for us.
I also know that He sent His son Jesus Christ to atone for our sins and to set the perfect example for us to live by.
I know that as I am led by and respond to the spirit, I will become an important instrument in the hands of the lord.

I would like to end by thanking my family, leaders, and friends who have gotten me here today. The influence of many have led me to gain the knowledge and testimony that I need to get through these next 18 months. I have been so blessed to have all of your support while I embark on my journey as a missionary.

I’m excited to serve and teach the People of Korea this beautiful gospel!

Courtney with her nephew Jett on Farewell day

No comments:

Post a Comment