Good morning brothers and sisters, my heart is full this morning, filled with gratitude for my Family and Friends who have taken the time to come listen to me today. I'm thankful to many in this ward who have helped me get to this point in my life for without you I would not be where I am today.
Over the course of my life I have been preparing to serve a mission for The church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am eager for the opportunity that's been given me to serve the Lord.
I have been called to serve in the Kumasi Ghana mission. Ghana has about 48,500 members and is growing quickly, The Kumasi mission is the largest of four missions covering most of the country north of the coastal missions. The national language is English, though I have been told I will not understand any of it..Most of their food mainly consists of different types of stew that is paired with fufu which is starchy dough that is very popular in their culture.
Once in Ghana, I will be serving the needs of the people for a period of 2 years.. Whether it be physical labor, or helping them come unto Christ, I will get to know the people and learn to love them as teh Savior has taught.
Since the ripe old age of 8 I have been excited for the day I would have the opportunity to serve as a full time missionary. I've mowed lawns since I was 11 trying to earn everything possible to pay for my mission. The day has come and I know this is where I should be. I didn't know where I'd be serving but I'm excited and eager to go to Ghana.
I've been asked to speak on The Choice Generation. A talk given by Randall RIdd, 2nd counselor in the General Young Men's presidency. Today's youth are blessed with choices, from the moment they wake up. It's literally a generation of choices, from when to check their instagrams, to the people that they surround themselves with. In this modern age we have the internet. Nowhere else can you find anything that you desire within seconds, this isn't only an amazing device for good but, it allows evil to work its way into the lives of many that would never have expected it.
Heavenly Father has given us accountability, allowing us to make our won choices.. Elder Bruce R. McConkie said "In a real figurative sense, the book of life is the record of the acts of men as such record is written in their own bodies.. this is every thought, word and deed has an effect on the human body: all these leave there marks, marks which can be read by Him who is Eternal as easily as the words in a book can be read"
Over the past 20 years with increasing power, the internet has become something that everyone uses in their daily lives. For the youth of today it has had a huge impact with the introduction of Social Media. Its' allowing people to be connected to friends and family at anytime they please. This is not only a wonderful way to interact but, can also act as a distraction in our lives. Something that we always want to check, it can quickly create an unhealthy balance in our lives.
Slowly this generation is being taken over with distractions, wasting precious time and hindering our potential. its crucial that we have a healthy balance in our lives. This generation has been specifically prepared to handle modern distractions, it's important that we have our focus in the right places. In the doctrine and covenants section 137 verse 9 we read, For I , the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.
During high school, I found myself constantly involved in social media. Not only to stay in touch with those around me, but to stay up to date with what's happening in the world. It's very easy to lose your sense of direction when so many different ideas and theories are being taught. I had the opportunity to attend seminary, a scripture study class that starts at 6:30 in the morning before I went to school. Seminary is a great way to meet other people that share the same values. Everyday the world throws something your way to influence your desires but it always make things easier to start the day off with seminary.
In Randall L. Ridd's talk The Chosen Generations he says" If you're not proactive in educating your desires, the world will do it for you.
My Parents have taught me right from wrong and have directed me on a path that they felt suit's me best. Had they left me to the world I know that I wouldn't be who I am today.
As I've gotten older I realized the importance of seeking righteousness and striving to be the best person I can be. When I don't it's so very easy for me to fall into a rut that's twice as hard to get out of as it was to get into.. Today's youth of the church are faced with a choice of whether or not they are going to participate in Seminary, Mutual, and Church activities.
There are so many opportunities that the church offers our youth, a foundation to help us make good choices. It's a great place for the youth to come and feel safe from the world. We have been sent here in this day and age because God has chosen and prepared us to be here in these times.
With the recent mission age change, it is clear that the work is hastening. In the October 2013 conference the mission age was lowered form 19 to 18 for boys and from 21 to 19 for girls. I remember feeling so much joy because all my friends would be serving much sooner that expected. The following summer my friends graduated from High School and left on heir missions, all 8 of them are serving Spanish speaking missions and only 1 in the US and the rest are down in Mexico and South America.
I have three beautiful sisters but I don't have any brothers. These 8 friends are my brothers, I love them and they are the reason I love the gospel. Our generation has been sent here to move the work forward like never before.
There are 4 principles that Brother Randall L. Ridd lays out to make things a little simpler, when making some of the choices faced in these days.
FIRST: knowing who you really are, makes decisions easier, growing up in the church has been such a blessing in my life, I've always had different standards than those around me in school. I've had my fair share of people that have given me a hard time for how I choose to live my life but, it has allowed me to learn who I am and what I stand for, respect is given to those that stand strong to their beliefs.
SECOND: Plug into a source of power. Just as we come home each day from a long day to rest. We also need to take the time to get energized and ready for the coming day. Its important that we allow the spirit into our lives so that we many feel strong and ready for what the world has to throw at us. I know that as I start my day with scripture and prayer I feel revitalized and as though I can take on so much more. It's a wonderful feeling like I'm ready for whatever is thrown my way.
THIRD: Owning a Smartphone does not make you smart, but suing it wisely can.
Brother RIdd says: Youth don't do dumb things with your smartphone. You all know what I mean. There are countless ways technology can distract you from what is most important. Follow the adage "be where you are when you are there.: When you are driving, drive. When you are in class, focus on the lesson. When you are with your friends, give them the fit of your attention. Your brain cannot concentrate on two things at once. Multitasking amounts to quickly shifting your focus from on thing to another. An old proverb says, "if you chase two rabbits, you wont' catch either one."
FOURTH: The Lord provides technology to accomplish his purpose. Let technology be used as a missionary tool. Technology should be used to "hasten the work of salvation" Social media is a great tool that has become a wonderful place to share experiences and welcome people in your communities to come unto Christ, and feel the spirit. Technology has been a great way for me to share my opportunity to serve a mission. Ive been able to talk to many of my friends about not only the mission, but our church and some of our standards.
The four principles that Brother Ridd has laid out here are great ways to narrow down our decision making process. The choice generation is here in this day and age, because of the choice that we have before us. I feel strongly the responsibility to share the good message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I'm grateful for the choices that I've make in my life, not only the gone ones, but also the bad, because I've learned from each one. The people that I've chosen to surround myself with have been very influential and have cause me to develop a great respect for them and also how they respect me.
I'm grateful for this wonderful Ward family that's been there for me for as long as I can remember. I'm so very blessed to have some the most amazing young men leaders that have taken so much time out of their lives for me. My experience in the young men's was awesome. I couldn't have asked for anything better. I'm so blessed to have been born into my family, I love my sisters so much, they have taught me patience and laughter, I would be nothing without my amazing parents they have shown me so much love and support for all the things I choose to do.
Josh closed with his testimony: This is the truth I have chosen..He was thankful for his dad and for all he has done for him, For his Angel mother(his sweet words)..His mission was his choice and his decision was one he made a long time ago..