The missionaries in the MTC sang at this.
Thank you all for coming today. My name is Sister Caroline Whitney and I will be serving in the Salt Lake West Mission. You might wonder why the Church needs missionaries in Salt Lake City Utah. My purpose will be to help families to become forever families, and to bring people unto Christ.
I will be talking today about The Plan of Salvation. Have you ever wondered where you came from before you were born? A friend of mine told me this story When her daughter was a toddler she asked her mother, “Mommy, where was I before I was born?”
My friend said, “Honey, you weren’t anywhere.”
“Mommy, No! Where was I before I was born?”
So her mom apologized and said, “Oh dear, I don’t know what to tell you—you didn’t exist.”
Her little daughter insisted, “NO! I had to exist.”
So she said, “Well dear, before you were born you were stardust up in the sky.”
That is a sweet story that the little girl loved, but it is not the truth. It amazes me that this little girl knew that she did exist before her life on earth. I am so grateful that we have the knowledge of Where we came from? What the purpose of life is? And Where we are going after this life?
As a child I sang a song about our pre-earth life. It was so simple. It goes–I lived in Heaven a long time ago, lived there and loved there with people I know, so did you; then Heavenly Father presented a beautiful plan, all about earth and eternal salvation for man. Father said He needed someone who had enough love to give his life so we all could return there above. There was another who sought for the honor divine…Jesus said, Father, send me and the glory be thine; Jesus was chosen and as the messiah he came; Conquering evil and death though His glorious name. Giving us hope of a wonderful life yet to be….Home in that Heaven where Father is waiting for me. D&C 138: 56
“We earned the privilege of coming to this earth at the Council in Heaven when we chose to follow the plan of our Father in Heaven as carried out by His Son, Jesus Christ. Because of that faithfulness, we are here today. We don’t remember anything about our pre-earth life when we chose to follow Jesus Christ,” but through the prophets words in the scriptures we learn about our life in Heaven with our Heavenly Father, and about Christ’s mission on this earth. One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible talks about how much Jesus loves us: 1 John 4: 7-11.
Christ did what He said He would do. I am grateful for his humble life and perfect example. His life was part of His mission to show Heavenly Father’s love for us.
I think that Heavenly Father gives us glimpses of the love that we felt in Heaven at certain times in our life…when we are in the temple, when we do what is right, when we serve others and with our families in our homes.
Here on earth
As part of the plan our Heavenly Father made this beautiful world for us. We come down to learn how to be more like Heavenly Father, to gain a body, and to be tested.
“We are here for a tiny speck of mortal time to see where our hearts really are with God.”
Just as Free-agency was an important part in our pre-earth life it is a big part of the plan of Happiness here on the earth. As we learn about making good choices we come to understand that consequences follow our choices that we make.
Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden and walked and talked with Heavenly Father and Jesus. They were clean and pure. Then they ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. In doing so, they transgressed against a commandment of God. Because of this they fell from God’s presence and death came into the world. The consequence of their choice was two deaths: Spiritual death and Physical death.
Spiritual Death happens when we sin. Our sins make us unclean and so we can’t be in the presence of our Heavenly Father, because “no unclean can enter into the Kingdom of God.”
Physical death is when our spirit leaves our body and goes to the Spirit World where we await our resurrection and judgment.
“Adam Fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy.” This joy comes because our Savior, Jesus Christ suffered for our sins to make us clean, and to satisfy the demands of Justice. We apply Christ’s Atonement in our lives as we repent of our sins and allow His Mercy to work to heal our souls from Spiritual Death. Because Jesus was resurrected we will all be redeemed from Physical Death.
The ATONEMENT is the central point of Heavenly Father’s plan of Happiness. It is an individual thing that Jesus did for me and for you. It is infinite for all those who come unto Him and repent, and it is eternal with the power of the atonement reaching forward and backward in time. All he asks is that we come unto him and repent. READ PAMPHLET:
Because of the atonement we can be healed from our pains, sicknesses, sorrows and sins. All that seems unjust and unfair God will make right through the Atonement as we exercise our faith in Him. “If you were the only person on earth Christ would have still died—just for you.” He loves each of us that much.
One part of the Plan of Salvation that is really close to my heart is that we can live together as a family. And we can be sealed to be together forever in the temple. Our Fathers and Mothers work together to nurture, teach and care for their children. We learn obedience, faith, sacrifice, service, kindness, forgiveness, patience, and perseverance in our families.
An example of this is when I went to live with my dad in Alaska, it was so hard! The culture was so different. It was a small town, with no trees, lots of snow, and food was flown in by airplane. I was there to earn money for my mission. My dad helped me to have faith and patience as I worked hard each day. I am grateful for my time there, and learned that trials help us be grateful for what we have and help us trust in God.
While at work there was many times that I was able to have some great discussions about our church. My friend, Diane said that she respected us, but that she did not want to know anything about my religion. The very next week she came up to me and asked about my weekend. I wasn’t going to let this missionary opportunity pass me by, so I talked about going to church and she asked many questions about our church. I was able to share my testimony about the restoration and many principles of the Gospel with her. I shared a Book of Mormon with another friend, and answered many other questions my friends asked while I was there. Even though it was hard, I am glad that I was able to go there and meet these people. I feel God’s love when He humbles me, because I know he wants me to learn something, and this experience helped me to be better prepared for my mission.
This is our time to prepare to meet God, as we follow Jesus and try to be like Him. It is up to us to decide where we will go after we are resurrected. Jesus will be our judge. He will judge our thoughts, our words, and our actions.
Alma said, “Then if our hearts have been hardened, against the word, then will our state be awful, for then we shall be condemned and it shall be as though there had been no redemption made; for they cannot be redeemed according to God’s justice.” Nephi adds, “O the greatness and the justice of our God! For he executeth all his words, and his law must be fulfilled. But, behold, the righteous, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared or them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.” I know that Christ’s judgments are just and fair. There are three degrees of glory that we can obtain after this life:
Celestial Kingdom and exaltation
I hope that we all can live our lives in such a way that will be pleasing to Heavenly Father. That we can fulfill our missions in life valiantly; that we can love and help each other along the way. The gospel is beautiful. God’s plan of happiness is such a beautiful plan. We are all children of God, He loves each of us so much. I hope that everyone knows this and feels it. There is no doubt. We can turn to him for anything.
I am an ordinary girl that just wants to do what is right, and follow God’s plan for me. When I was listening to President Monson at October Conference I was surprised when the spirit said, “you’re going on a mission.” I am honored that Heavenly Father has so much trust in me to be able to share His gospel…Because I love God, I want to go out and make a difference, and bring others to Christ.
I want to challenge each of you to take a Book of Mormon and write your testimony in it. Prayerfully ask Heavenly Father to help you give it to someone who is prepared to read it. And if you don’t have an extra copy of the Book of Mormon—ask the Missionaries; they can help you!
I say these things humbly, in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ AMEN
“As we have prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service, we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.” ~ President Thomas S. Monson.
I was at a friend’s apartment watching conference in Rexburg; as I listened to President Monson, the Spirit said firmly, “You are going on a mission.” Not knowing what to think about it; I had to make sure that I wasn’t making this up. I knew that if I wasn’t married at age 21 I would be happy to go on a mission—but I was 19 and felt unprepared. So many ideas were flooding my mind, and heart. Do I go now? Later? When? I am just enjoying my first semester at BYU, why now? As I prayerfully considered what to do. My friends and family all had their opinions and just confused me even more. I went and sat on a bench just outside of the temple and prayed on the following Monday. It was a little cloudy, but I felt the warmth of the sun and looked up. The Spirit said, “You will receive your answer as you walk around the temple.” So, anxiously, I walked around the temple and observed my surroundings. I walked around once, and then I saw a group of young missionaries that were taking pictures, so I asked if I could help them. Was this my answer? I told myself that I would be a horrible missionary if this were really the answer. A week later I was praying and pondering earnestly about my options and in my Book of Mormon class the teacher talked about his mission and at times when he had feelings that he was not a good missionary. He asked himself how he could teach the people.He shared a scripture that helped him: D&C 100:5-8 I felt such great peace when I heard this. Was this my answer? I still felt unsure and that I needed to prepare more. A week or so later, I met up with my mom in Boise. She had a training for her work and invited me for a day or two. As we spent time together we made our way to the Boise Temple Open House. After going through the temple. I felt the spirit so strong and knew that I was supposed to go on a mission, but that I should prepare myself. I finished my semester, and was planning to go to BYUIdaho for Winter Semester and turn in my papers during that time. God had a different plan for me. I was planning on selling my car to provide the money necessary for my mission costs, and my parents accidentally messed up the transmission during Christmas break. Prayerfully we decided it would be best for me to work in Kotzebue Alaska with my father for a little while, because I could earn more money there.
So when I was on the plane heading to Alaska I started crying, I didn’t want to go. I wanted to go back to BYU, but if I did there would be too many distractions. God knew this, and in a way, I did too. I was happy to see my dad and wanted to help him, and I knew that this is where God wanted me to be at this time.
So, in Kotzebue, there is not a good way to say this, but most (not all) natives have been programmed to receive federal benefits with no obligation to work. This makes it difficult for employers to find reliable help. Being reliable is the most important trait for getting a job here. My first job was a cashier at the grocery store, they wanted me to do the book keeping as well, and to stay for years—I knew that wasn’t going to happen. haha. Because I wouldn’t work on Sunday one of the Assistant General Managers cut my hours and I eventually had to get a different full time job. My next job was in the kitchen. I loved it. Everybody was so nice and I even got overtime! During that time I made many friends there. We all worked so well together. The food was delicious, I ate for free and was able to take left overs home to my dad. I love the people that I was working with so much, I miss them.
While I was working at the hospital kitchen, I had many opportunities to share the gospel with my friends there. You could say that I was on a Mini-Mission. These experiences helped me feel more comfortable sharing the gospel. It helped me know where I needed to improve, and what I am good at as a missionary. I am going out more confident because of the few months that I spent there. I can understand why the missionaries say that missionary work is a joy, because when you are sharing something so important it makes you feel happy. It is hard to explain missionary work. It is something burning inside you, the church is true, I just want everyone to hear it and accept it. I want everyone to have the blessings that i have. Some of my friends had not even heard about the church. I feel that I planted seeds at this time,
In my branch I was a visiting teacher and my second calling (favorite calling) was taking care of baby Ginny for the first hour. It was the best calling ever! She was such a sweet little girl. There were about 15 people in the ward. I loved my small branch. Because of this we got to know each other really well. Every Fast and Testimony Meeting we all would share our testimonies. The spirit was so strong! Something unique about our branch was that we used technology during sacrament meeting to hear messages from our High Council man or Stake President or we would listen to a talk from conference sometimes.
At the end of February I started finishing everything to submit my mission paperwork. I was planning on submitting my paperwork in the middle of March, but because I was the first missionary that my bishop processed we made some mistakes and I finally had my paperwork submitted at the beginning of April. I received my mission call May 4th. Yay! I Skyped my family and had planned on teasing them when I opened it, by saying that I was going to Boise or Provo, but it backfired—I really was going to a place that people tease about going to…the awesome SLC-West Mission!!! I LOVE IT!!!
It amazes me how everything works perfectly with the Lord. I know that timing is important in God’s work. I know that I was supposed to be there in Kotzebue for a short time, to appreciate the things that I have, to be an example to the people that I met, and to share the gospel with them. I appreciate and love the Savior so much. He has always been there for me, even in the little things in life. He provides a way for me even when I don’t know what to do. I have learned to have faith in myself and Him. He has taught me that I am a lot stronger that I thought I was. I can do this! In the strength of the Lord I can do all things.
When the bay freezes people take their snowmachines and 4 wheelers on the the ice. There are races and mushing (dog sled races) there in Kotzebue.
My dad and I noticed this guy ice fishing on the bay, and he said that the snow was piled 7 feet up on the ice this year. It is usually piled with 5 feet of snow.
Durning the winter the bay freezes over. There is snow and ice on the ground throughout the year except for two months, then it starts again in about August.
This is the middle to the end of May and the snow is just melting. Kotzebue is not a pretty place. It has no trees, and lots of snow in the winter. There was a blizzard for three days after … Continue reading
These pictures were taken by a friend in the branch. Thanks Barbara!