Good morning brother and sisters. Even though it is so very hard for me to be away from Chile I am so very grateful to be here on this Christmas Sunday with you all.
I want you all to think about your hands, it may seem odd but just go with my example. Analyze your hands. Notice what they say about you. Maybe a few bad habits….accidents…. scares.
Now I want you to think of your heroes. It could be a family member, a great church leader you've had in your life. And think about their hands, they way they have reached out to you.
Now I want you to think about the Savior, and his hands. The marks you could see and feel, the firmness, but with love. And think about all the times they have embraced you.
When I was in the mission I was able to participate in a counsel. There we talked about past goals of the mission and new issues and would make new goals. The topic of the conference was the focus of Christ. I feel that as missionaries sometimes we may try new intense creative ways to teach the simple gospel of Christ. And the mission gave us great reminder of how powerful this simple influence of Christ really is.
The assistances displayed a picture of two hands with their palms facing out. And all you could see were these hands.They then asked us if recognized these hands. We all tried to guess names of mission couples from the mission but no one could get it right.
They then showed a 2nd picture. It was of the same hands but this time they had their arms open wide, palms still facing out, and you could see the women to whom they belonged.
They asked us again if we then recognized the hands. This time no one said a word.
The assistances then specifically called on a Elder and we all turned to look at him. They asked him, “Elder “Brown” do you recognize these hands?”
As he was choking on his tears he replied, “They are my mothers.”
They then asked him to come in front and then they asked him, “What have these hands done for you?”
Overwhelmed with so much emotion he had to turn around and drop his head into his hands for several minutes. As he turned around he could only whisper…..”everything..............they have done everything for me, they have taught me, loved me, and always supported me.”
There were about 35 missionaries there and they went on to do this for about a 3rd of us all. Showing new hands and asking us if we could recognize them and then showing a picture of parents with their arms open wide and asking each one individually what these hands have done for them. The reply was always the same, “everything” usually followed by being loved by them, being forgiven, being taught, being carried by them, the sacrifices made by them, there were a few Elders who commented a few things like, “they have sent me a lot of packaged.” But everyone was so touched to see these hands that they hadn't seen for so very long but at the same were feeling the way these hands have marked their lives so profoundly.
They then showed a picture of Christ’s hands and asked us who recognized these hands, and then what have these hands done for us.
They went on to share a story of a giant statue of Christ. I do not remember the details of the story and my apologize but there was a natural disaster or earthquake where this statue was placed that ruined the statue. So as they were repairing it they realized they would not be able to repare the detailed hands well. As a result they left the statue without hands and just put a sign at the bottom that said, “You are my hands.”
On my mission I met a man named Jonathan (changed name for personal reasons). Jonathan wanted to be baptized but was in no way living the commandment. And one day from the other he decided to live them all. He ended his 4 year relationship with a girl who does not believe in God and broke all of his addictions.
It was probably the hardest weekend he ever had. He suffered abuse physically and emotionally.
It hurt us so badly so see him that way, suffering so much but we could not be the hands that he needed to help him. We of course taught him everything about the influence of the spirit and the atonement but he needed a friends hands to answer all of his many phone calls and willing to head to his house on the fly when he needed support from someone. We did not find a relationship like that very appropriate because he was a young 24 year old guy. But there was one friend in church that could be these hands that he needed and was always there for him always. They Really marked and influence his life and he was able to be baptized.
Jonathan told us that before he thought he knew how to be a good friend but now he knows the answer to their problems. And that he was going to bring each and everyone of his friends there even if he had to bring them in his hands.
And that is exactly what he did. His best friend has been coming to church for about 2 months now and will be baptized at the beginning of January.
In Helaman 10:4 and 5 the Lord tells Nephi how proud he is of him and how blessed he is. As I read it I want you all to think about what Nephi did to be blessed.
4 Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.
5 And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.
The Lord promised to bless Nephi forever for his desire to efforts to share the gospel with others. As we let our hands declare the word of God that has served us so well the Lord promises to bless us forever.
When we are baptized we promise our Heavenly Father that we will keep his commandments and always remember his son, and take his name upon us. I feel as though most of us understand clearly the first 2 things we promise clearly. The last one we know we can keep as we partake of the sacrament but I also find a simple way to understand it by thinking of your siblings.
When we were all little you may have heard one of your siblings say with a bit of a teasing voice something like, “who am I, who am I?” They would in a way be mocking you, doing something that you were very known to do.
It is the same when we take Christ’s name upon us. We do the things we would be doing if he was here. No one would have to question who we follow, it would be very. We promise him that we will be his hands.
I remember very clearly the last things my parents told me before I left for Chile. My mom told me not to get frustrated with the language and I just laughed because we both knew that I would.
My dad told me, “You are going to cry, you are going to cry a lot, you are going to cry more for feeling sad then feeling happy. But the happy moments will out way the sad ones.”
And it was 100 percent true. All of the pain one feels as they testify with everything they possible have to help others understand the truthfulness of the gospel and love it and their Heavely Father as much as they do but you hear avery decided……”no.”
I then think of Christ and his hands and all the pain he felt and how he was able to endure much more heart ache then I had to on my mission. Why was he able to? He was able to do so because he understood his purpose. He understood that death was only a requirement for resurrection. He understood how much hope and joy he could bring each one of us by suffering so much.
It is the same with us. As we realize how much we can influence someone else's life the heart ache does not matter, the no's and rejection will never discourage us because we know how much of a hope in influence of Christ can have in someones life.
I have just one invitation. To have your hands reflect more those of Christ. Ponder on your past 42 hours. Have your hands been united in prayer to thank your Heavenly Father for his son? Have they been serving those less fortunate? Have they been spent with those who most matter to you.
Yo no les puedo decir cuan feliz estoy por haber servido la misión. A pesar de todo los veces cuando pregunte porque Chile, porque español. Y ahora veo como Dios solo estaba preparando mi camino para que yo fuera la persona que El quería. Yo se que no importa que personas digan que las cosas de la iglesia no valen o no son verdaderas porque yo se que no puede existir algo falso que nos brinda tanto felicidad al seguirlo ni algo falso que nos bendice tanto al obedecerlo. Yo estoy bien agradecida por los templos y por el sacerdocio restaurado que lo hace posible que las familias sean justas para siempre al honrar nuestros convenios. Yo se que este poder es el poder que nos conecta a los cielos. Les testifico que no hay mayor felicidad que uno puede sentir al compartir el evangelio. Voy a atesorare la misión siempre en mi corazón. Les testifico que esta es la Iglesia verdadera y nuca quiero que Dios lo dude. Mi testimonio ni mi amor hacia El. Les quiero mucho y les dejo estas cosas en el nombre de Jesucristo Amen.