Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Farewell Talks and Misc. Thank You's

Hello everybody who reads this blog.  This will be my last entry written and posted directly by me, I enter the MTC tomorrow and would like to just give a huge thank you to everyone in my ward and my family for the wonderful support that they have given me.

Anywhom for archiving and such I have decided to post what I wrote for my mission farewell, this is not word for word what I said on the stand but this is what I wrote while I was preparing to get up there and speak.  Once again I just want to say thank you everyone who has supported me for my mission

- Eric Heaton's Mission Farewell Talk -

Hello everybody, for those of you who dont know me my name is Eric Heaton, I'll be reporting to the MTC this next wednesday May 29th to go to the Taiwan Taichung Mission.   About 5 months ago when I opened my mission call I felt like this day would never come.  Now that it is almost here, I still feel about the same.
About a month ago they told me that I would be speaking today and so through out the month up until about last week I was trying to figure out what I would say for this talk and I had pretty much come up with nothing.  So I went up to the bishop hoping to get a topic to focus my thoughts and to maybe springboard them into something to talk about.  Well the Bishop didnt know what the topic would be about but he told me to go to brother Robinson and see if he knew.  So I went over and talked to him and he also didn't know what the topic would be but he said he would find out and tell me before the end of the day.  So later that day he called me up and told me that the topic would be on revalation, Prophets and General Conference... So, I though, I can still pretty much just talk about anything I want to.
Thinking of revalation I began trying to think of times when I have recieved revalation.  When I hear the word revalation I think of a being visited by an angel or a sign or something miraculous.  Of course thinking this way my mind just went blank as I couldnt thing of a single time where I was looking for guidance or something similar where there would be a huge event or a big sign saying THIS IS WHAT THE LORD WANTS YOU TO DO!  Of course there have been plenty of times for me is smaller ways where the lord would nudge me this way point my head in the other direction but there has been one time where there HAS been a big sign in my face saying this is what the lord wants, and that happened about five months ago in early January as I went outside to check the mailbox and found the large orange envelope addressed to Elder Heaton.  When I saw it I promptly told my family and told them that I would open it that evening, so find a time thats good for as many people as possible to come over.  As I anxiously awaited the time later that evening when I would open it up with as much family as I could muster around, I announced it to those that I worked with and tried to get some guesses as to where I would go.  But finally the evening came and I got to open my call packet to find out where in the world I would be going.  As I read the words that I had heard so many times before but in my own name. Dear Elder Heaton: You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  You are assigned to labor in the Taiwan Taichung Mission.  When I read that I knew that THAT was where I was ment to go.  I knew that there was where I was supposed to be and that anywhere else would not have resonated within me like that call did.
- Testify -
Just today in the mission prep class we were given the opportunity to teach a section out of the first lession in the Preach My gospel, I along with three others taught the section about the restoration of the church through Joseph Smith.  While teaching it I was able to to read the first vision which goes as follows
“I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. … When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”
This story of the first vision has been told to me sense I was little and though I cant recount it word for word I can tell the general idea.  But during mission prep our ward missionaries were sitting in and Elder Mejon began to give some insight on what he though about the first vision.  First he talked about how when Joseph saw the two personages as he says and how their brightness and glory were so marvelous and powerful that he had not the words to describe it.  Also he expressed the love that he felt when reading the last portion "One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other-- this is my beloved son. Hear him!" It is a powerful piece of wording one that I feel we all too often dont realise.  First he called Joseph by name.  while this may seem insignificant at first, it shows that we are not just a random mass of people, that we are not just one part of a whole to him but rather we are individuals, it shows that he knows each of us by name and that we are special to him.
As some of you know up until just this last wednesday I worked at Dixon Middle School as a Janitor.  In that line of work you have a lot of time to just think about whatever you want or just turn on some tunes and go to work.  Recently I started listening to Conference while I was cleaning and so I was trying to think about what inspired me while I was listening to it.  But the strangest thing was there was really only one thing that stuck out in my mind whenever I though about conference which was the talk by president Boyd K. Packer during the saturday afternoon session, specifically the poem that he read that he calles "An Unfinished Composition" This poem that he started when he was 68 and every 10 after he would add another verse.  One verse that he wrote just recently when he was 88 has a portion that goes like this
I have traveled the world a million miles
And another million too.
And with the help of satellites,
My journeys are not through.
I now can say with all certainty
That I know and love the Lord.
I can testify with them of old
As I preach His holy word.
Coming Back and reading this portion I thought that it relates with what my mission will be.
"I have traveled the world a million miles, and another million too."  Now those that know me know that I have never really traveled extensively and when I have it has always been with family. and so for me as I am about to embark on this new journey it will truely feel like a million miles to me.
"And with the help of satellites, My journeys are not through" Pending the completion of what I hope to be a full time mission I would hope to be able to keep in contact with those that I meet and the companions that I travel with and to be able to return there some day.  As the technology geek that I am I would hope to be able to stay connected with all those that I become close with through skype facebook and other social media.
"I now can say with all certainty That I know and love the Lord. I can testify with them of old As I preach his holy word." These words are very powerful to me. The testimony of an apostle. As I go to my mission this is one of the things that I hope to gain the testimony I know and love the lord and to be able to Preach his holy word like those of old.
As my parting words I would like to just say to all the perspective missionaries and for those who are deciding weather or not to go on a mission.  I personally at first did not want to go on a mission.  I didn't want to take the time, money schooling and effort that it would require to do so.  I felt that I personally didnt have much of a reason to go and that if I did go it would have just been because it was just the natural progression of things just what was expected of me to do.  But after talking with the bishop I finally made the choice for myself to go and decided that that was the right thing for me.  But I would like to encourage anyone who is thinking about a mission, who is deciding weather or not to go to think about it long and hard and to decide for yourself if it is the right thing for you and not to sucumb to social pressure.  I encourage you to pray and ponder about why you would be going and to make the decision for your self.
Brothers and Sisters I thank you for all of the support that you have given me over the years while I have been in the ward and I know that I am a better person and will be a better missionary for it.  I cant wait to be able to go and serve the lord in the Taiwan area speaking mandarin Chinese and getting to know the people of Taiwan.  I hope that you were able to feel the spirit today as I have throughout my life and that it can be a guide to all of you.  I'd like to thank my loving family for making my home a place of love and support and a place to return to whenever I need it.  I'm thankful for the opporunity that I have had to have been born to goodly parents.  I'm also thankful for the influances of my older siblings as they all went on missions before me and for the wonderful advice that they have given me in preperation for my mission.
- Testimony -