Monday, April 20, 2009

My Farewell talk. :)

Sacrament Meeting Farewell Talk

Good morning, brothers and sisters, I’m Tayler Christensen. I was asked to Talk about celestial families, and specifically how my own family helped me to prepare for my mission.
-Give Mission Info
-Brief Family overview- not extremely large but by no means is it small.
-My Family Experience
- sisters, brothers, parents
-Sisters have taught me a myriad of things, especially patience, love, trust, and faith. The older 2, Rochelle and Marissa, are especially responsible for the way I turned out. Not to say that they are responsible for any actions I have taken, but more for my personality, and many of my other characteristics. Because I have four sisters, I found myself in a very favorable position quite early. Because of them, I learned etiquette, and proper treatment of Women. I also learned invaluable conversational and social skills from them that have been a great blessing in my life.

-My brothers. My little brother, Collin, is my man. I doubt if there is anything we don’t know about each other. The good, the bad and the ugly. However, You would have to know Collin personally to understand what a great guy he is. The kid is prodigy. Don’t say that to his face though, cause he’ll deny it outright. Which is great. He is genuinely humble. One of the few teenage guys that I have ever known with that quality. He’s also one of the most hilarious people I know. He has quick wit, and has an amazing talent to make people smile. My Brothers-in-law are the best. They set the greatest examples of how to live life, and to be instruments in God’s hands.

-My Parents are the foundation of my whole family. It is they who are responsible for the success of my family. They have taught by word, and most importantly by example. I couldn’t tell you if I, or any of my siblings gravitate to one of them. They are one. Through there different personalities, our family has flourished, and become very tight-nit. Anyone who knows my Dad can attest that he has a very commanding presence, one of strength, and seriousness. However, once you really get to know him, he is very personable, has many quirks, and has a deep relationship with God and all of his children. When I grow up, I want to be just like him. Anyone who knows my mom, knows how involved she is in the arts. She currently is preparing for yet another concert by the Sherwood chorale, which she founded, and which she directs. My mom is passionate about music, and has brought up her children to be the same. She also is the best cook I have ever encountered. I don’t know how many dinners my family has had, where after we eat, something like, “wow that was delicious, what is it?” is asked. It is funny when my mom struggles to come up with a name for what we just ate. Its when that happens that we know. She made it up. It has no name, because its not something that has ever been made before.

-My family is a family of many quirks. Anyone who knows my family in general knows, that we are, for lack of a better word, Weird. I, and all my siblings both blame, and give credit to, my parents for that. But we would have no other way.
-what I have just described to you are my family’s finest points.. We are not perfect, but we strive to be.

-in telling you about my family, I have laid the groundwork for how they have helped prepare me for a mission. All of the basics came early in life. I was taught the gospel at home. I was shown how to live the gospel by example from my parents, as well as from my siblings.

-however, it wasn’t until recently that my family became obviously absolutely vital to preparing me for a mission. It started with a few problems that I had, both physical and spiritual not too long ago. When my parents became aware, they reacted entirely different than I had expected. I expected to take the full heat for what I had done. Neither of my parents are known for being soft-spoken. However, when I had my problems, they responded in love. They followed the commandment given by the lord Through Joseph Smith in D&C section 121:43. It says, Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee his enemy. My parents did exactly that. After one discussion with my mom, in which I was duly chastised, she said something that struck me. She said, “We have a family that will be together forever, and we will do everything in our power to make sure that every member makes it.”

- After that, I did everything that was required to get back. And now I have been through the temple, and am leaving on a mission in 2 weeks.

-the last part of this has taken place in the last few months since January. After I had gotten my mission call to Australia, I began the process of getting a passport, and a visa. The requirements to get the visa were intense and very specific.
-after I had been diagnosed with an ASD- atrial septal defect, it became the focus of my thoughts. I remember when the news was first broken. The cardiologist called my home, and talked to my parents. I was laying on the couch reading when my dad came and sat by me and told me. It was then that I felt my life become more complicated. I felt like my life had been shortened, which had the defect been allowed to remain, would have been the case. However, as I felt myself growing bitter, and sad, and helpless, my dad brought me back. Through his loving and knowing care, I came to realize this was not a punishment, or that God had forsaken me. He knew all, and everything that was happening to me was to be for my good. In hindsight, I see that it was necessary for me to sink below anything I had every experienced, and to finally accept help. I had to actually trust someone else to do what I could not do for myself. After an attempt to place a closure device in my heart to seal the hole, I found out that the hole was even larger than previously thought. It was a 2 inch hole. 2 inches is nothing to mess with when it comes to your heart. -Explain sizing-. In essence, I had a 3 chamber heart. This came as both a shock and tragedy for me. The night previous I had been blessed that the lord would bless me according to my desires. At that point, I knew that my desires were too go through whatever the lord had in store for me no matter what. However, I assumed that my desire to have the device work was the desire that he was talking about. When it failed, I assumed that my faith had not been enough. I cried bitter tears on the recovery bed, agonizing over my failed attempt at having enough faith to be healed. My parents were immediately at my side comforting me, and reminding me that my real desire had been that the Lord’s will be done. Their counsel saved me much heartache, and gave me fresh courage to take the next step. The very next day I entered open heart surgery. Coming out of surgery, I had my parents at my side. The pain killer administered was too much for my mind to handle, and I forgot to keep breathing. For the next few hours, one or both of them sat at my side, squeezing my hand and telling me to breathe. At every breath I had to be reminded. In my mind I kept telling myself that I would remember to keep breathing, but the energy required to focus on breathing was too much for my mind to handle. When I finally was able to breathe on my own, some hours later, my Dad commented that at least I was breathing on my own again. He was even serious about it. I was ecstatic. I was so happy to finally be able to remember to breathe- something which until then, I had been doing subconsciously since birth. And yet I was proud of myself, and my Dad was pleased. These two times with my parents, I had to learn to rely on someone else to help me through something that was insurmountable without them. After that first day, my whole family, immediate, extended, and ward rallied around me. I did not ask for help unless I felt I absolutely needed to, but that didn’t deter my family from going out of their way to serve me. Above all those things, I could feel the prayers of my family. Their prayers were one the greatest sources of comfort I had. All of these are perfect examples of how celestial families will be, and are. Everyone serves each other, and they all do it because they love each other, not because they have been compelled in any way. Those lessons reached out to me, and helped me realize that this was how I needed to be on my mission. Selfless, and serving. Families all know that every member has it’s faults, and shortcomings, and yet they are able to look past them and see the goodness in them. When I realized this, I began putting it into practice. I am in no way perfect at this, but I have found that as I try serve my family, and others without complaint or expecting payment of some sort, I am happy.

-The family is the most sacred establishment in this world. The sealing power that binds me to my family is powerful. It does not only bind us together physically and spiritually, also mentally and emotionally. I know that after death, my family will be together for eternity. We have been bound for eternity, and I am eternally grateful for that. I know that when I have married in the temple, and after I have passed beyond the veil, I will still be with my family. There is no “until death do you part.” Death is only the beginning of spending forever with my family. I have come to know that my family is the ultimate source of happiness. This is why God has made it possible to spend forever with them. This is the Testimony that is most precious to me. It is the testimony that I will be sharing on my mission. This is the most important way my family has prepared me for my mission. They have helped me to realize just how happy we can make each other, so that I can share that happiness with all that I come in contact with, and share with them God’s plan.

-I have a testimony that the sealing power was restored to the earth through Joseph Smith, and that through it we can attain the highest level in the Celestial Kingdom. I know that the church is led today my president Thomas S. Monson, and that he is the lord’s mouthpiece. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.