(Transcribed from Audio Recording)
It’s good to see you all here. It’s good to see our friends and family that came. Thank you for coming. For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Elder McCraney and like you heard from Bishop, I’ve been assigned to serve in the Dallas Texas West Mission, Spanish speaking, for the next two years. My talk is on how I prepare to serve the Lord. The scripture for this talk is Isaiah 29 verse 14, “Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” What comes to mind when I read this scripture is that I have the privilege to be a part of a marvelous work and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
A lot has happened to help prepare me for a mission service. Though this talk is about how I prepared for a missionary service it’s become clear to me that experiences and others have done so much more to prepare me. I’ve had grandparents who have passed the gospel through their prosperity, including me. I’ve had many uncles and aunts serve missions for the Church and they’re great examples to me. I’ve had Sunday School teachers who truly love me and taught me by their Christ-like examples. There are many missionaries in this room, past and present who may not have served missions if it wasn’t for Sister Garnett. I’m grateful for Bishop Wakeham and Bishop Hadley for keeping it real and helping me to remain worthy to serve. I’m grateful for President Richardson, also known as the "biggest snake of the sea", for all his time, energy and patience in helping me prepare. I’ve had teachers, coaches, friends and family help get me to this point in my life. It is impossible for me to list all the amazing influences that have helped me prepare for this time.
I’ve always known that serving a mission is going to be difficult physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually but I think the initial preparation that people need to learn is to do hard things from a young age. Here are some hard things that I have been able to participate in:
1- I did Jiu-Jitsu for seven years. The hardest part of Jiu-Jitsu is just showing up every day.
2- Second one is school. I ran home from kindergarten and from first grade and I wanted to run home from every grade after that. But I know that education is very important for mission preparation. I sure wish I learned Spanish in high school.
3- Participating in hard physical activities. As a lifeguard I had the opportunity to participate in some very difficult physical activities. Some of them made me want to quit but I’m glad that I didn’t. So I think for the young men and young women if you want to prepare for a mission do something that’s physically hard for you and don’t quit. The memory of overcoming that hard thing might come back to help you get through hard times on your mission.
And lastly trying to live the “For Strength of Youth” standards. This has not always been easy for me to do. Sometimes it’s not easy to stay away from the temptations of the world but it’s vital to remain worthy as a full time missionary. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland stated, “Well, the Lord has drawn lines of worthiness for those called to labor with Him in this work. No missionary can be unrepentant of sexual transgression or profane language or pornographic indulgence and then expect to challenge others to repent of those very things! You can’t do that. The Spirit will not be with you, and the words will choke in your throat as you speak them.” “But there is an answer to this challenge for you every bit as much as there is for that investigator to whom you will go. Whoever you are and whatever you have done, you can be forgiven. Every one of you young men can leave behind any transgression with which you may struggle. It is the miracle of forgiveness; it is the miracle of the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Brothers and Sisters, living the “For Strength of Youth” standards will help prepare people of all ages to be worthy disciples of Jesus Christ.
I would like to bear my testimony. I’m so thankful for this Church and everything it’s done for me in this Gospel. I’m thankful for my family and all their great examples. I’m grateful for my sister, Eden, she’s on Zoom right now, but I’m grateful for her serving a mission and leading the way. I’m grateful for my dad doing the same and Jozie about to serve and wanting to serve the Lord. I’m grateful for my brother, Eddie, being a great example to me, he’s laughing right now. I’m thankful for him being worthy to pass the Sacrament. I know that he knows it’s sacred and I’m thankful for him for that. I’m very grateful for my mom. I’m grateful for her and her example. If it weren’t for her I would definitely not be serving a mission. I know that the Savior died for us. I know that through His great sacrifice we can be with God again. I’m grateful for His eternal love. And I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.