Monday, August 13, 2012
Closing remarks from Elder Vomicil 8-12-12
My dearest Elders and Sisters,
What a blessing it is to be able to address each of you one final time. I wish I could take the time to sit down with each of you and tell you just how much you mean to me, how you have helped me, and how much I look up to you. Its been a wonderful gift from God to be able to serve alongside each of you, and to see the Savior shining through your faces and examples. I really do love each of you so much! I hope that what I share with you today will help you with any trials or struggles you might be facing, or will face on your mission. I have definitely come to see how frequently those trials come up in the service of God, and long ago I learned not to pray them away. In the words of Elder Simkins, "God has stretched my soul" and I am so thankful for that! Without my trials I would not have been able to learn that I am able to do hard things, that little old Rob Vomocil, when on the errand of God and armed with His power, can accomplish mighty miracles. In this letter I will attempt to help each of you gain a greater vision of what you can accomplish in the service of God, and how to take confidence in Christ.
To help illustrate my point, let me give you a peek into my life. I am a pretty competitive person. Outwardly I may not seem that way, but on the inside I feel like I know that's wrong, and I'm working on it, but I wanted to share that with you because that was a weakness that God has helped me with. There have been times in my mission where I have demanded perfection from myself, and sometimes even those around me. Now, that comes from me feeling like I need to be the perfect missionary to get anything of real value accomplished. If you have been my companion, or served in my district or zone, you probably have seen what I'm talking about. I want to let each of you know how thankful I am for your patience with me and your ability to endure the hardships that that can cause. I mean, that can really beat you down! I remember times where I failed to see the positive because I was too focused on the perceived negative. Anyways, that is not the way to live your life, and not the way to serve your mission. Demanding excellence is good. Demanding perfection is not. A while ago an inspired leader of mine told me to "strive for grace, not perfection." I am so thankful to that man for his words, they have changed my life.
Mormon said this,
"Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God."
What beautiful words! What incredible counsel! The power of God is a real thing that each of us can and should attain in our work as a missionary. Looking back its sad that it took me so long to realize that I don't have to be perfect for God to be able to work miracles through me. Mormon lines out very clearly what it is that each of us need to do to qualify for the power of God. He invites us first to come to Him and deny our selves of ungodliness. We must be obedient. That is first and foremost. We must sacrifice the natural men and women inside of each of us that are opposed to God. Put that little guy or gal on the altar and watch them burn! God requires it, and I promise you will be all the happier because of it. As we learned from our inspired President not long ago, obedience and sacrifice are the first two essential pieces in our eternal progression. Our consistent obedient living, with our willingness to submit to God and turn to Him all of those things about ourselves that aren't in harmony with His teachings will always lead to power in our ordination. I have seen that in my life and I can promise you that it is true.
Next the prophet tells us that we must serve God with all our might, mind and strength. To that list I would submit that we could add "heart" (DC 4). If we are willing to serve God with literally everything we have, our willpower (might), intellect and knowledge (mind), time and effort (strength) and all of our emotions and sentiments (heart) then the Lord will endow us with power. He will see that we are trying our best to fully consecrate everything we have and are to Him and his service. If we withhold even one of those things, while still serving with the other three we will miss out on the blessing that our Father is waiting to give us. Conversely no matter the actual amount of your talent, wisdom, knowledge or strength, if you give it all the Lord He will consecrate it and add His grace. When we lay it all out, leave it all on the altar, the Lord will perfect our efforts through His grace, and we will see the miracles we desire. We will no longer be able to doubt the power of God because we will have seen His power work through us, despite our knowing all too well just how weak and simple we really are.
Elders and Sisters, know that God is waiting and so willing to bless you. He desires nothing more then for us to be the means of bringing many many more souls to Him. He promises that if we do all we can then even our multitude and sometimes-ever-so-apparent weaknesses will become strengths (Ether 12:27). He will make you enough! I realize now that I never had to be perfect. What a relief that was. I am so thankful God was able to lift that from me, because I was driving myself and those around me into the ground. I know now that if I try my best and do all I can, I allow God to accomplish many amazing things despite me I would have never been able to accomplish by myself.
I'd like to close with one more scripture. Its short and sweet and also found in the book of Moroni. Mormon said,"Perfect love casteth out all fear" (Moroni 8:16). Perfect love, the love of Jesus Christ, or charity, has the power to overcome anything. Never underestimate the power of that love. Once you obtain it you will have the faith, power and motivation to accomplish any great task your father in Heaven requires of you. The love of Jesus Christ is what enabled Him to do all that He did. That same love is what propelled our Savior forward to a place no man could go, and only God could return from. I testify to you that He did. He lives, and because He lives we have a sure knowledge of the power of Charity, through the grace and mercy of Christ the Lord. Be obedient. Sacrifice all that you have an are. Strive for grace, and give all of yourself. Love the way the Savior did, and I promise you that if you do you will be given power from on high. Your life, and the lives of every single brother or sister you meet with never ever be the same. This gospel is true. The church of Christ has been restored on the Earth. We are all enlisted in that royal army and are truly marching on to Glory. What a wonderful thing that is. I love you all. I cant wait to see you all again. It will be a wonderful reunion, Alma 17:2-3 style.
Till then, your brother in Christ,