Date

December 31, 2017

Area

American Fork Home sweet Home

Companion

Kelly Lords-Brasier

Farewell Talk

Good morning brothers and sisters… I am Bailey Mecham. I have been called to serve as a missionary in the Peru, Lima Central Mission. I report to the Peru MTC on January 10th and I am blessed to be preaching the gospel in the Spanish language.
Today I’m going to talk about the tale of two cities. Which, really, is the story of us. The first city being the city of Gomorrah. Gomorrah is well known for its wickedness. It is often spoken of with its sister city of Sodom because they were destroyed together. But why? Why was Gomorrah destroyed? Ezekiel 16: 49&50 helps us understand why it was so wicked. “49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore, I took them away as I saw good.” Here we see that the destruction of Gomorrah was because of their pride, greed, and lack of love and service toward one another. Not only were they caught up in adultery, but they comfortably rejected the poor and the needy. They brought destruction upon themselves because of their greed. In contrast we have the city of Enoch, also known as the city of Zion. Moses 7:18 says “18 And the Lord called his people ZION, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.” This was a people that were full of charity, light, and peace. For so long, I looked at the people of Enoch as a perfect people who never made a mistake in their lives, until I learned their history. The people of Enoch were once very wicked, committing many of the same sins as the city of Gomorrah. They were selfish, they were greedy, and they were proud. They listened to the world and tried bringing God to their level instead of elevating themselves to be like God. After some time in this confusion, the Lord sent Enoch to preach repentance unto the people saying, “Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you.” {Moses 6:33} The people then had a choice. They could continue in their wicked and lonely ways and be destroyed, or they could turn to God, transform their lives, and be saved. They, of course, chose God and dwelt in righteousness. They didn’t have a “my things” and “his things” mentality because they were one with God, always serving others, always thinking “How can my hands be of help?” They became Zion together, because they individually became Zion with God.

Brothers and sisters, we are now personally standing at the gates of these two cities with a choice to make. Which do you choose to dwell in?

Becoming one with God is a very personal journey. Like Pres. Monson has said, “Effort is required, but it is effort that you will never ever regret.” It takes time, it takes faith, and It takes a considerable amount of humility. We fail when we look outward towards others’ actions, instead of turning in and improving ourselves… In truth we cannot rise like Enoch until we recognize the dingy things of Gomorrah within us. But that is only part. The next and greatest step, is action. Now, we can talk all day about the things that we do wrong that don’t line up with God, but instead I want to focus on a few ways that we can elevate our lives and conjoin ourselves with the Savior.

Many years ago, Pres. Hinkley shared a story that I would like to share with you today. “An older boy and his young companion were walking along a road which led through a field. They saw an old coat and a badly worn pair of men’s shoes by the roadside, and in the distance, they saw the owner working in the field. The younger boy suggested that they hide the shoes, conceal themselves, and watch the perplexity on the owner’s face when he returned. The older boy thought that wouldn’t be so good. He said the owner must be a very poor man. So, after talking the matter over, at his suggestion, they concluded to try another experiment. Instead of hiding the shoes, they would put a silver dollar in each one and see what the owner did when he discovered the money. So, they did that. Pretty soon the man returned from the field, put on his coat, slipped one foot into a shoe, felt something hard, took it out and found a silver dollar. Wonder and surprise [shone] upon his face. He looked at the dollar again and again, turned around and could see nobody, then proceeded to put on the other shoe; when to his great surprise he found another dollar. His feelings overcame him. … He knelt down and offered aloud a prayer of thanksgiving, in which he spoke of his wife being sick and helpless and his children without bread. … He fervently thanked the Lord for this bounty from unknown hands and evoked the blessing of heaven upon those who gave him this needed help. The boys remained [hidden] until he had gone.” They had been touched by his prayer and felt something warm within their hearts. As they left to walk down the road, one said to the other, “Don’t you have a good feeling?”
These boys pulled out the hastiness within them and quietly and selflessly took care of the farmer without any knowledge of his circumstance. They didn’t know his social status, whether he was rich or poor, if he had 3 kids or 12. They didn’t know his sexual preference, if he was a member of the church or even if he had a criminal record. All they knew was that he had an old coat and a ratty pair of shoes and they chose to be kind. In the end, they received a blessing of joy and they grew a little more like the Savior.

Once, while at a YSA fireside, I heard a phrase that knocked me back and made me think: “The gospel is really all about us [as individuals] but to make it about us, we must forget ourselves and serve others.” To emphasize this principle, we have the story of the quiltmaker’s gift.

“There was once an old quiltmaker who kept a house in the misty mountains up high. Not even the oldest great-grandfather could recall a time when she wasn’t sewing away day after day. It was said she made the prettiest quilts anyone had ever seen. Many people would climb the mountain, pockets full of money, hoping to buy one of her beautiful quilts. But the woman would not sell them. She told all who came begging, “I give my quilts to those who are poor or homeless.” On cold nights she would climb down the mountain into the villages, walk down the streets to look for those who needed warmth. She would then wrap them up in a freshly made quilt and go on her way. At this same time there also lived a very powerful and very greedy king, who loved nothing more than receiving presents. But, the hundreds of gifts he got for Christmas and his birthday were never enough. So, he passed a law declaring his birthday be celebrated twice a year and in addition had had solders search the kingdom for those who had not yet given him a present. Over the years he came to own all the prettiest things in the world and, yet he never smiled. One day a soldier came in proclaiming the news of the recently found quiltmaker. He explained that she only made them for the poor, but the king wouldn’t have it. He went demanding a quilt be made just for him. Instead of giving him a quilt, the maker made him a deal. “Make presents of everything you own,” she said. “and then, I’ll make a quilt for you. With each gift you give, I will sew on another square, and when all your things are gone, you can take your quilt.” The king was angry by her comments and chained her up in a bear’s den as punishment for not giving him what he wanted. But when morning came he felt guilty for what he had done and sent soldiers to save her. To their surprise they found the old quiltmaker and the bear eating breakfast. She had made the bear a pillow to sleep on, and because of his gratitude, he broke her free. This made the king even more angry. He then put her on a tiny island, barley big enough for her to stand on, and once again, asked for a quilt. She refused so he went on his way. Morning came, and he again felt guilty, so he got on his boat and went to save her. This time she was sitting safely on a branch, sewing tiny coats for all the sparrows who had lifted her off the island. The king moaned, “What must I do for you to give me a quilt??” She replied the same… “Give away all your things.” After realizing his many beautiful things didn’t bring him happiness, he slowly began to give them all away. He gave coats, horses, elegant paintings, musical bands, and even his waltzing Siamese cats. But not until he saw the happiness on the poor people’s faces did he recognize the joy of giving. Meanwhile, the quiltmaker kept her word. With each gift she added another piece to his quilt. The king continued to give. Once everyone in the villages had something from him, he went out into the world, trading his treasures for smiles. Many years went by. Finally, the king had given all he had, and his quilt was complete. When the old quiltmaker found him, his clothes were torn, his toes poked through the tops of his shoes, but his eyes glistened with joy. She wrapped it around him, reminding him of the promise she made long ago. “But I am not poor!” The king said. “I may look poor, but my heart is full. I am the richest man I now.” With that, he gave away his last treasure, the one thing he saved just for her: his throne. For the rest of his life he walked among the poor, helping the quiltmaker find those in need, never happier than when he was giving something away.”

Just like the king discovered, true happiness comes from losing yourself and giving to others. And just like the quiltmaker showed us, greater blessings always come to those who give. As we give unto others, we give unto God, and as we give unto God, He raises us to higher ground, enabling our souls to be more like His. Matthew 25: 34-40 reads “34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Simply, when we serve others, we serve God, and just like the quiltmaker, we inherit a throne.

Jesus was the most perfect example of serving our Father in Heaven through others. He served with love. In the story of the adulterous woman, Jesus, without judgment, without hate, gave of his love and forgiveness, instead of casting stones. Each of us, at one point or another, are both the adulterous woman and the stonecasts. We judge, and we sin. But do we have it in us to step aside from the world and become Jesus, willing to lovingly forgive?

Brothers and sisters, I ask you to ponder…
• Is Zion in your heart?
• Do you dwell in Enoch or Gomorrah?
• Do you silently serve like those boys, not knowing the lot of someone’s life?
• Are you like the quiltmaker, who goes to work and takes care?
• Or are you like the King who takes and points out all the negativity? And if you are like the king… will you change like the king did?

When we clean out the chaos and judgment, the selfishness and pride, and we start to love each other in spite of our differences, we become one heart, unified with God. I believe that this principle of charity is what keeps us going from day to day. It’s what makes us better people. As we choose to unite ourselves with the only begotten, we become his hands. As we selflessly serve and give to others we experience His joy. As we love and forgive without judgment or anx, we become a light. And as we elevate our lives and humble our hearts, we will see miracles, we will feel joy, and we will be one with Him.

Brothers and sisters, I love this gospel. I know that it is true. I know that we have a very real, very loving Father in Heaven who wants nothing more than for us to succeed because I have felt His hands in my daily life. He is 100% aware of each one of us and He loves us so much. He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to walk among us so that we could better understand His gospel because of His great example. I know that He is my redeemer. He lives. He watches over us in time of need and in time of joy. I know that He and the Father appeared to a young 14-year-old Joseph Smith to restore the gospel to the earth. Because of that amazing event, we have the Book or Mormon, a book that if we diligently study we will come to know our Savior, or Heavenly Parents, and our true selves as children of God. As I said before I love this gospel and I truly cannot wait to share it with the beautiful people of Lima, Peru.




0 comments


« Back

Coming Events

Peru Lima Central Mission
Local
Peru

Length of Service

100 %

Days in Mission Field

1
Years
5
Months
30
Days