Thursday, January 30, 2014

I spoke in Stake Conference

wearing my mother's pin in her honor

Just last year during a Saturday night meeting at our stake conference I was sitting just a little beyond the chapel into the overflow. I vividly remember that when the topic of that evening was introduced…something about member missionary work. Horsing around; I pulled out my cell phone and texted a friend who was in my line of vision…a couple of rows up and across the room. (by the way…i know i shouldn’t have). My simple text said these five words…get me out of here. About 87 percent of me was joking but a good 13 percent of me felt like this quote from Elder Ballard in our last general conference when he said:

We know that when someone gets up to give a talk in sacrament meeting and says, “Today I’ll be talking about missionary work,” or perhaps even when Elder Ballard gets up in general conference and says the same thing, some of you listening may think, “Oh no, not again; we have heard this before.”

Just for the record…i want to back peddle and say that that particular meeting was as usual…excellent.

Good morning brothers and sisters. My name is now Sister Carter and my husband and I were just called and set apart to be full-time missionaries in the Utah Salt Lake City East Mission. This past Monday through Friday we received  excellent training at the MTC with 75 other people from around the world…going all over the world. We want to teach your friends and your neighbors. We want to help them COME UNTO CHRIST.  In many ways we may be lacking, but not in our desire to always teach with the power and influence of the Holy Ghost

Shortly after that Stake Conference last year I attended youth conference with the youth and leaders of our stake. Something President Hoj stated at that youth conference had a great impact on me. He said that as he studies the scriptures he pays attention to five word phrases and then he mentioned a couple; one of which was from Jacob 7:5  I COULD NOT BE SHAKEN. I asked myself…is that me? For years I have read from the pages of Book of Mormon pretty much every single day and that statement from Jacob made me wonder… Could I watch my family be thrown into the flames and not capitulate. Could I bury my weapons of war and resolve it is better to submit and be slaughtered?  But you know what?…we do show up every day. Those stories can serve as a metaphor. We are continually being bombarded in our lives with that and those who would shake our faith to the core. After having a faith to shake conversation with someone I love and respect very much I decided… I am like the prophet Jacob…I COULD NOT BE SHAKEN. 

In speaking with some of the youth who were feeling a little wobbly in their faith I referred to these five words  and I promised… that the strength of Jacob can be yours, but we have to work for it. I took this matter to Heavenly Father. In my life I have pleaded for that kind of strength—to be rock solid. In the meantime I continued to study the holy word of God, pray and pay attention to tender mercies all around me.

In late September President Wilmarth invited my husband and I to consider serving a mission right here at home. We would live in our home and progress the work within our immediate circle of influence. When October rolled around it seemed that every single conference talk was directed to me and I knew…the very least I can do is be there for Him the way He has always been there for me. This is a call to serve, sacrifice, love and reach out. The days of my life have been filled with life experiences ever confirming and building my testimony. I continue to be humbled that a sincere prayer offered by a good girl who keeps trying-- was met with this amazing opportunity to bare witness to the restoration of the gospel. 

Shortly after accepting this invitation from President Wilmarth I was taking the sacrament…sitting quietly, listening to my thoughts when these five words from the book of Abraham came to me…HERE AM I, SEND ME. Jesus, our brother, ever the example of humble service said; HERE AM I, SEND ME. How could I consider doing less? 

And now it is January. Christmas decorations are boxed and stored for another year and we just got home from a week at the MTC on Friday. Five full days of building faith and recognizing that no work…absolutely no anything is more important than reaching out to the children of our Heavenly Father with the great message of his redeeming love. We read in Alma the five word phrase…CAN YE FEEL SO NOW? My answer is a resounding yes. I am on fire and I will continue to stoke the flames so that the fire burns bright.

Vilate C. Raile a pioneer woman penned this poem…

They cut desire into short lengths 
And fed it to the hungry fire of courage, 
Long after—when the flames died— 
Molten gold gleamed in the ashes. 
They gathered it into bruised palms 
And handed it to their children 
And their children’s children.  

A couple of lines in my patriarchal blessing read, "Your posterity shall rise up and call you blessed for you shall seek to serve the Lord all the days of your life. Your life shall be one of faith and stability." At the end of the day I want my legacy to be one of faith and stability. Let us…each one of us have the courage of those pioneers, and with our work worn hands offer this gold to His children. They too need to sing the song of His redeeming love. 


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