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Farewell Talk

By 4:26 PM

Yesterday I gave my farewell talk--thank you to everyone who came and supported me! I was shocked by how many people showed up and I feel very blessed to know so many wonderful people that love me just the same! Muito obrigada :)

For those who missed it, here's my written talk.  It's not exactly the same as the one I gave when I was speaking, but it's close enough.

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Boa tarde, brothers and sisters!  I’m thankful for the words that we have heard today, and the music that has brought the spirit here. I’m very thankful for the opportunity and the circumstances which have led me to speak to you today.
When I was a little girl I had a fascination with meteorology, or the study of the atmosphere.  I learned all about the different types of cloud formations, barometric properties, temperature variations, and other atmospheric phenomena.  My favorite singularity to both learn about and observe frequently in nature was called a sun dog.  One afternoon I even called in to the weatherman to inform him that I had seen a sun dog.  To my delight, he mentioned my sighting on the news that evening!  But rather than explain a sun dog to you in my own words, I concluded that Wikipedia does a much better job.
Sun dogs are a member of a large family of halos, created by light interacting with ice crystals in the atmosphere. Sun dogs typically appear as two subtly colored patches of light to the left and right of the Sun, approximately 22° distant and at the same elevation above the horizon as the Sun. They can be seen anywhere in the world during any season, but they are not always obvious or bright. Sun dogs are best seen and are most conspicuous when the Sun is low.
Sun dogs are commonly made by the refraction of light from plate-shaped hexagonal ice crystals either in high and cold cirrus clouds or, during very cold weather. The crystals act as prisms, bending the light rays passing through them with a minimum deflection of 22°. If the crystals are randomly oriented, a complete ring around the Sun is seen — a halo. But often, as the crystals sink through the air, they become vertically aligned, so sunlight is refracted horizontally — in this case, sun dogs are seen.
Sun dogs are the product of these ice crystals reflecting the light of the sun. While a singular, prismatic ice crystal can reflect sunlight no matter the orientation in the sky and at any time of the day, it takes a perfect arrangement and collection of these ice crystals to produce a magnificent, illuminating, and brilliant show along the evening horizon.
We are these ice crystals. Every person living on this earth has the ability to reflect light. And not just any light, but the Light of Christ that is an innate part of our existence.  And how amazing it is, that when we come together we can magnify our light and illuminate the world around us, stand as a beacon in the world of darkness, and most importantly draw others to Christ with this light.
I’ll never forget the moments that I’ve observed these sun dogs in my life.  On winter evening drives with my dad calling in the news station, cold mornings on the ski lift, a summer in Sweden with the midnight sun on the horizon, and just this week after a long day of not knowing if serving a mission, and giving this talk, was really worth it.  However in all of these cases, sun dogs have offered me a brighter hope at the end of a day, that the future is bright, and that no matter how cold, hazy, or long the day might seem there are always shining moments on the horizon.
Moroni observed this same principle in his great sermon on faith in Ether 12.  We learn that “faith is things which are hoped for and not seen” (v. 6), and that “whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God” (v. 4).  As we anchor ourselves in faith and hope, constantly reflecting and collecting the Light of Christ, we must always abound in these good works, for Moroni warns us that “except men have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father” (v. 34).
How do we have this charity? I have another personal story to explore this question.
Over the past year I have developed a very special relationship and friendship with Max Robison.  I’m grateful that he can be here today.  Although he has lived on earth 70 years longer than I have, both of us know that we were kindred spirits in heaven and it just took us a few decades to meet.
During a dark time of my life I visited Max every day.  As I talked with him, he helped me understand my situation and how it fit into the big picture of life; he imparted wisdom of the gospel, of faith, of life, of love, and of eternal friendship.  As I have reflected on our relationship, I can now see that Max’s light rekindled my own light, uncovered from the darkness of a thick cloud of despair.  This loving act is something that I will never be able to repay Max, among many others, for saving my hope and faith.  But what I can do, is share my light with others and spread the knowledge and happiness of the Gospel.
This is the charity that Moroni speaks of in the book of Ether. The pure love of Christ, and the simple act of sharing His light with others.  The most beautiful truth is that everyone on this earth has this light within them, the Light of Christ.  We learn in John 1 that Jesus Christ is the “light of men” (v. 4), and that disciples of Christ, which includes John in this reference, and you and me, hold a sacred responsibility to “bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe” (v. 7).  Verses 8 and 9 clarify that these disciples of Christ are not the light themselves, but are to only “bear witness of that Light”, or of Christ himself, and that He is the “true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (v. 8-9). We must bring this knowledge to our brothers and sisters on earth and rekindle their innate Light of Christ as we bear witness of Him.
The great philosopher Plato presented an allegory of prisoners in a cave in his work The Republic.  The prisoners had spent their entire life chained in darkness fixated to stare at a wall, which portrayed the images of shadows cast from a fire situated behind them.  The prisoners could not see anything other than the shadow images before them. This was their only distorted reality of the world around them.  Eventually, the prisoners were taken out of the cave and dragged up a steep and rugged ascent into the direct light of the sun. As the prisoners experienced the real world in the broad daylight, they now believed this world to be superior to the world of shadows in the cave, and desired to free their fellow cave dwellers to bring them into the sunlight and experience the truth.
This allegory illustrates our responsibility to share our light and knowledge with others, but how do we do this?  
Like our scripture in Ether 12 outlines: as we discover truth, have faith in Jesus Christ, become sure and steadfast in our faith, abound in good works, and glorify God in all things, we can testify of these principles through the power of the Holy Ghost.  Searching for truth is an inherent characteristic of mankind, and as we interact with others, who may or may not be of our faith, the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ that we share by word and by example will touch their souls and testify of the truth they have long searched for.  

Let us be as the ice crystals that form a sun dog, rekindle the flame of faith and hope for strangers, friends, and family alike, and lend a hand to anyone who might be in a cave of darkness. An engaged conversation, a listening ear, a song shared, an excruciating trial endured, or on the Lord’s errand, do not even begin to dictate the countless ways we can build our faith, collect the Light of Christ, and share it with others.  But in the end, as the Danish writer Hans Christian Anderson so eloquently stated, “[life] is like a voyage to some known point-- I stand at the rudder, I have chosen my path, --but God rules the storm and the sea. He may direct it otherwise; and then, happen what may, it will be the best for me… My life will be the best illustration of all my work.”

-grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission and spread the light of Christ
-as grandma has said to me, “a mission is worth fighting for.”
-already know that this is the best decision that I have made in my life so far
-testimony
-book of mormon, word of God
-gospel of jesus christ- the source of all happiness and light in my life
-atonement of jesus christ, that because of Him we can repent of our sins and become sanctified

-holy ghost- that he is our constant companion and guides and directs us according to the will of God

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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