Quite a few people came up to me after my homecoming talk, to thank me about being so honest while telling stories of my mission, and the struggles that I faced during my service. Tiffany recorded my talk, so I have transcribed it here, with the hopes that it will help someone, anyone, who has gone through, or is going through similar trials. Why withhold your struggles, when you could possibly help someone on their journey of hope and healing? I hope that this can help you, or someone you know, to realize that no matter how you feel about yourself, with the Savior by your side, you are more than enough. And that no matter your relationship with Him, it can be mended.
(This talk was given in my home ward on Easter Sunday– The Sunday after I returned home from the Canada, Winnipeg Mission. The names from the stories have been changed.)
It is super weird to be here, I’m just gonna be honest, it’s REALLY weird. Also, I see some old faces, some new faces, and some faces that have changed, A LOT… It’s weird.
I am so glad to be here today, and to be able to talk on Easter Sunday. I feel very humbled, to get to talk today, considering that it is Easter. I just want to thank the speakers that spoke before me, and those involved in the musical numbers, they were all so beautiful.
I am… Sss…Taylor Osborn… Not, Sister Osborn, anymore… I served in the Canada, Winnipeg Mission for 18 months, and I loved it, and I miss it, and… I’m glad these tissues are here!
Today, I wanted to speak on the Atonement, since it is Easter. My stories are not necessarily miracles or anything– well, they ARE miracles– but they are not miracles like that of the, parting of the red sea, healing lepers, raising the dead, or anything like that. But they are just as impactive, at least to me. It is special, because I am a personal witness of these things. I was blessed to be able to witness many tender mercies, and miracles during my service.
One of the things that happened on my mission, was that, all of the missionaries were given the, “Atonement Study Plan”. An in-depth 3 month study, of the Savior and His atonement. I feel like it should be something that is required for all members to study, because I learned so much. It included a bunch of talks, and scriptures we had to read, and it truly changed me, and it changed the way that I looked at the missionary work, from that point on.
Something that I learned about the atonement, is that it has three parts– Well, it has many parts– but, three main parts. The first, is that, Jesus Christ died for us, and rose again, and because of that, we can all be resurrected and can all live again. There are some verses in the Book of Mormon that explain this, Alma 7:11-12. It says:
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
There was an old man in my mission, his name was John. He was in his 80’s, he had a Christian background, but wasn’t super active in the church he belonged to. He was a neighbor of one of the members in our area, and he had this big house, with a big lawn that needed a lot of work. Because of his age, he couldn’t do it himself, so the elders went over and helped him with some house work one day, and they ended up being able to teach him. My companion and I, were able to be involved in the teaching process, as well. He said that he was, “studying for finals” because he was reaching the end of his life, so he wanted to focus on religion, and his own spiritual well-being. He was baptized, but unfortunately, when I was in my next area, we found out that he had passed away.
I was able to go back to my old area, for the funeral, and it was astounding to see the difference between those who had the gospel in their lives, and those who didn’t. None of John’s family members knew about the Plan of Salvation, and understandably so, they were all devastated. They thought that they would never be able to see their dad, their brother, or uncle, etc. ever again. And we, in turn, were just celebrating his life– those of us who knew the plan of salvation. We have something that the world wants. They want that happiness. They want to know that they can see their loved ones again. And that is something that is so precious, that is given to us, only through the Savior.
The next aspect of the Atonement, that I would like to speak on, is repentance. There was this women in my first area, Jane. We went to teach her, and we found out that she had an extremely hard life. She had to endure things that I can’t even imagine having to go through. Her spirit was craving the gospel, because like I said, we have knowledge that people want, we have things that people want, but they just don’t know that it’s even a possibility to have. During one of our appointments, we shared with her the baptismal interview questions. She was devastated. She told us that there were so many of the questions, that she could not answer, “yes” to, because she had addictions, and a few other things that she had to deal with.
Something about Jane, is that she suffers with severe anxiety, and little did we know, that we were just about to witness her have a full-blown, panic attack. My companion and I, were just sitting there, watching her drift to a very dark place. Luckily, we were able to speak immediately about the atonement, and that because the Savior suffered for our sins, it doesn’t matter what we’ve done wrong in the past. As long as we are repentant, and truly sorry for what we have done, we can be forgiven. After we had finished talking, she immediately had a tangible wave of peace, envelope her. Repentance and the chance to be forgiven, is such a blessing.
The final section is the, healing, comforting, and enabling side, of the atonement. I feel like in talks, and classes, and different settings, we don’t talk about this side of the atonement, enough. Sometimes it is hard to understand this part, but if you think about it, Jesus Christ makes weak things strong. So, whether that’s though resurrection– we can’t resurrect ourselves, but with Jesus Christ, we can. We can’t be forgiven of our sins– on our own, but with Jesus Christ, we can. And sometimes there are things we physically can’t do, we are too sad, or lonely, or lost, to be able to go on. But, with Jesus Christ, we can.
I started my mission, not thinking that I would finish it. I know that is a horrible thing to say, but it’s true. I knew that my family loved me, and that they would have been proud of my service, no matter the length… That probably speaks to my self-confidence, but its true, I did’t think that I would finish.
When I finally got to the point where I thought that I could make it the whole time, I figured that I would only be able to do it, out of sheer grit, and endurance. I knew it wouldn’t be a fun process, but I would do it, because the Savior asked me to go on a mission. And my relationship with my Heavenly Father, and my Savior suffered greatly, because of that mindset.
I was really upset, because if I was doing what they wanted me to do, why was I so… Sad? Why was I so broken? And hurt? In the scriptures we read that, we weren’t created to be sad, we were created to have joy. And yet, I was sad! It didn’t make any sense! Due to my confusion, I had a lot of yelling prayers at God. I was really upset with Him. I would scream and ask Him, “Why have you abandoned me?! Where are You, in all of this?!” I knew that He had promised that when our burden was too heavy, that it would be lifted, and that there was power that we could access, but unfortunately I didn’t know how to access it.
One day though, it just clicked. I had been doing my mission 100% on my own. I didn’t involve the Savior in the process at all, and because of that, I was miserable! To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have been able to finish my mission, had it been just me doing it. But as soon as I involved the Savior in the process, so much joy filled my life, and my heart, and I was able to help others feel that joy as well.
I am so weak. I am not the best teacher. I don’t have the best tracting approach. I didn’t have the most baptisms. But with the Savior involved, my mission became, enough. I, became enough. I think that’s just a testimony of our lives. As long as we turn everything over to the Savior, then we become enough. I had realized that the Savior had never abandoned me. He was there, the whole time. I had abandoned, Him.
There is power that can be given to us, when we involve the Savior in our lives. There is a scripture in Isaiah… I never thought that I would be referencing Isaiah, because I NEVER understood him… But, there is a scripture in Isaiah 40:29-31, that says:
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
I am a living evidence of these words. I am very weak, but I was able to accomplish my mission, because of the Savior. Eventually, I got to the point where I was no longer mad at God. I was no longer yelling at Him, in prayer. And I actually became friends with my Savior. If there was one thing that I could have taken away from my mission, I think that is the most valuable thing of all.
There is a section in Doctrine and Covenants, where it talks about a bunch of missionaries that had come home, and Joseph Smith gives some Heavenly revelation to them. The revelation in section 89:77 says:
77 And again I say unto you, my friends, for from henceforth I shall call you friends, it is expedient that I give unto you this commandment, that ye became even as my friends in days when I was with them, traveling to preach the gospel in my power;
And I know, that, that is true. I know that we can become friends with our Savior. We don’t necessarily have to serve a mission to build a relationship with Him, we just have to get to know Him better, and turn our life over to Him. For me, that was my path, my journey, to be able to get to know Him, through my mission.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been able to become friends, with my Savior. I am so grateful for the atonement, and for the impact that it has had on my life. I continue to marvel at this beautiful gift that has been given to us, and I hope I never stop marveling at it. And my wish, is that all of us will use the atonement daily, that we will all repent daily, be given strength daily, and be able to do the things that we couldn’t do on our own, daily. And most of all, I hope that we all can become friends with our Savior, if you are not already.
I am so blessed to have been able to serve in, THE BEST MISSION IN THE WORLD. And I am so thankful to be home, and to have been able to strengthen my relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I am grateful to have been able to have the spirit more fully in my life, and to feel the blessings of the temple. I love this gospel so much, and I know that it is true. I know that the Book of Mormon, is the word of God. I also know that, the gospel has been restored for us, and that we have what people want. What people need. We have happiness. True. Lasting. Genuine. Joy. And, peace. And, happiness. And that is only through the Prince of Peace, our Lord and Savior. And I say these things, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I hope that this has helped you in one way, or another. Thank you, all of you, who supported me while I was gone. It meant the world to me. I love you guys.