Sunday, September 29, 2013

Garrett's Farewell Talk - Sep 15,2013

Hello Brothers and Sisters. Good afternoon.  My name is Garrett Harrington for those who don't know me and I have been called to serve in the Denver Colorado North Mission, English speaking. I want to thank you all for coming and being my friend throughout these years. I wouldn’t be a lot without you guys and this amazing ward. Thank you for all of your support. It’s really going to be awesome to go to Colorado! I’m really looking forward to it! I'm not going to lie; I did a little jump and fist pump in the air when I read that from my call. Deep down I was really hoping for a stateside and English speaking mission. Although I did put down in my papers I'll go anywhere and learn a new language at the highest setting. Receiving a call to Colorado out of anywhere AND English speaking! A language I already know was a dream come true! It would have been hard going somewhere foreign and learning to speak a different language but I would have done it. After a person asks me what language I will be using. I say English, that’s the best part. Not trying to put down other languages! Just that I already know English; it’s going to help so much! Either way would have been so awesome. I use to want to go foreign from like age 14 to 18 but then I started preparing for a mission in the language of my homeland and I remember driving home from church basketball and I was like. I want to go stateside. Called to Colorado! I've never been that far, Utah being my farthest trip from California. So Colorado will definitely be an adventure! Excited to be a Bronco fan! Just kidding! But more excited to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and to invite other to come unto Christ by having them receive the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost and enduring to the end! So I enter the Provo Missionary Training Center on September 18th and begin my journey for two years sharing the gospel, and that is the topic I am here to talk about to you today, “Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ”. I am going to refer to some of my friends in this talk. I will address these three questions in my talk. What is it? What does it mean? Why do we share the gospel?

Well first, what is the gospel? I remember my seminary teacher Brother Hynek telling us what the gospel is in the most simplest of terms and it has never left me. The word gospel means the ‘good news’. What a more perfect way to describe this word! The gospel is the good news for us brothers and sisters. It can help with so many things in life and for preparation of the life to come. So what does this good news consist off? God is a loving Heavenly Father. We are all his spiritual sons and daughters. We all should love one another. Additional scripture: the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. There is a living prophet today who guides and leads over us. Eternal marriage; families can be together forever. The Priesthood (the power to act in God's name) is back on the earth. Service to one another. Keeping the Ten Commandments. The gospel also answers questions like: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go after we die? Salvation for the dead, (those who passed on without ever hearing the good news of the gospel) Living a Christlike life. Prayer. There's a whole bunch of things related to the gospel of Jesus Christ! But in the Bible dictionary it says, "…the good news is that Jesus Christ has made a perfect atonement for mankind that will redeem all mankind from the grave and reward each individual according to his or her works."

So what is the perfect Atonement? My institute teacher Brother Andre would always ask what does atonement mean or stand for? It means "at one with" so what does that mean? At one with? Well, there came a moment where He knew us all. He was at one with us; in the garden of Gethsemane 
(Alma 7:11-13).
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and aafflictions andbtemptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
 12 And he will take upon him adeath, that he may bloose 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 csuccorhis people according to their infirmities.
 13 Now the Spirit aknoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the bflesh that he might ctake upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

Now I did not suffer everything, but I do know some of the pain He went through because I suffered for a while and it was not fun. And when I see Him I hope I am able to give Him the biggest hug and walk with Him and talk with Him face to face, because I know what He went through for me. Brother Bruce R. McConkie said it best, “I shall feel the nail marks in His hands and in His feet and shall wet his feet with my tears” I know He wants to help us. He suffered for everything possible. He suffered for our sins, sickness, emotional pain, physical pain, temptations and even physical death. He died for us. If it weren't for him dying for us we wouldn't be able to progress after this earthly life. We would just be stuck in our grave. But since he overcame the bonds of physical death, we do have a life after death. It tells us he came back after he died in the New Testament; in the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And even He said we will rise as well.
(John 11:25).
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the aresurrection, and the blife: he that cbelieveth in me, though he were ddead, yet shall he elive:

This is a part of the atonement. Why would someone suffer so much?
(John 15:13)
13 Greater alove hath no man than this, that a man lay down hisblife for his cfriends.

Because he loves us. He wants to help us when we need help. And I do love Him. He loves every one of us; He knows us. I know Him. We have a relationship with Him and I have a relationship with Him. I encourage you to really get to know Him. He doesn't want us going through this life alone. Our Heavenly Father doesn't want us to either. Jesus Christ is our best friend. He has gone through it all. How great is it that someone has gone through it all and is there for us whenever we need him? Someone who will walk with us, and puts his hand over our shoulder, and look us in the eyes, and say gently,” I have been there Brother or Sister, I want to help you. Will you let me?” Not only did He do this because He loves us but because that through Him and only Him, all of us might be saved.
(John 3:16-17)
 16 ¶For aGod so bloved the cworld, that he dgave his eonlybegotten fSon, that whosoever gbelieveth in him should not perish, but have heverlasting ilife.
 17 For God asent not his Son into the world to bcondemn the world; but that the world through him might be csaved.

If we believe in Him and repent of our sins and do them no more, are baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. His atonement will cleanse us of our sins. It is a perfect atonement because it applies to everyone in any period of time and in everything. It's an infinite atonement. It’s not just one time when we repent. We all mess up sometimes. It's like a new chance or a clean slate at life after you repent, you can always repent. God forgets and forgives all your sins when you repent and do the sins no more. You become clean again as you were after your baptism. Why only through him? Why is there no other way? Because He went through it all for us. No one else suffered as much as He did. He was the only one that wanted to do it and could do it. And I do believe that there is love after death because Christ came back after he died. Why would someone do that? Because He loves us even beyond death. Families can be together forever. We are part of God’s family, and He wants us to have our own eternal family.    

And I can personally say that I know, I know by using the atonement, people change. I have used the atonement in my life, and I have changed. I think a better word than changed is transformed. I have transformed into someone that I never thought I would have become. I started memorizing scriptures. Something I struggled with in the past. I started to get good grades in school. I was able to focus more and study better. I was more motivated. I got along with people better. I was more confident than ever. I received more knowledge and knowledge is power. For six years I walked with my head down and then I started walking with my head up high, I noticed a burden was lifted off of my shoulders. I walked with my head down for 6 years because I felt like I didn’t expect forgiveness from Heavenly Father and I can tell you from the depths of my soul that I felt like I didn't deserve it at all. Elder Holland says it best “But surely the thing God enjoys the most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don’t expect it and often feel they don’t deserve it.” The next thing God would want me to do is to forgive others because He has forgiven me, everyone deserves a second chance and to experience His joy. But One of the best parts of the atonement is I felt good about myself. I was genuinely happy most of the time. It made me want to help others. It made me want to be a better person. Nicer, friendlier, loving, caring, I had that. I have it now. I just wasn't living up to my potential of those traits. Another part of the atonement is the enabling power. You will feel strong after you repent and be happy.

Okay, so now you know what the gospel of Jesus Christ mainly is about. Why are we sharing this message? Not just the atonement. Also, Families can be together forever! Knowing where we came from, why we are here, and where we go after we die. The Holy Ghost can be a constant companion. God has not left us alone, but has given us a living Prophet today on the earth to help guide us. The priesthood of God has been restored. And, the Book of Mormon; Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Why are we sharing this?  Why am I going on a two year mission to share this?

We share this because it brings comfort to the soul; it brings happiness, peace and hope. It fills you up with love. You start glowing with the light of Christ. How does it bring that? Because it’s true. I have seen this in other people’s lives. I am going on a mission because I want to serve my Father in Heaven and do my fathers will, not my will. I want to please my Father in Heaven, I hope that when I get to Heaven and see Heavenly Father and he will say, “my son, in whom I am well pleased”. I know He said it to Christ but I want to live a life that makes it possible for that to happen. I know what the gospel can do for someone because it has done something for me. I will be their brother and friend. I want to give the people of Colorado that happiness and love that a soul can give, I want to become friends with them and get to know them. It’s an honor to know someone. I am in love with people I’ve never met and a place I never been too. When you live the gospel of Jesus Christ and try to become like Him. You will be happy. This is a beautiful message of truth for what it has done and where it has come from.
The Standard of Truth
“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.” 
Now how will the truth of God go fourth Boldly, Nobly, and Independent by me? I am Garrett Steven Harrington.
Missionary Commission:
I am called of God. My authority is above that of the kings of the earth. By revelation I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord, Jesus Christ. He is my Master and He has chosen me to represent Him. To stand in His Place, to say and do what He himself would say and do if He personally were ministering to the very people to whom He has sent me. My voice is His voice, and my acts are His acts, my words are His words and my doctrine is His doctrine. My commission is to do what He wants done, to say what He wants said, to be a living modern witness in word and deed - of the divinity of His great and marvelous latter day work. How GREAT is my CALLING.

Now I didn't make that up. Bruce R. McConkie, an apostle of our church has made that for our missionaries. Every missionary should remember that. The truth of God will go fourth boldly and nobly because we are called by God. He has given us His authority. He trusts us with it. He has chosen me. With Him I am everything. Without Him, I am nothing. I am going to go to do what he wants done and say what he wants said and preach the gospel by His Holy Spirit.

This gospel is amazing. It transforms you. I was never smart. I got smarter from where I was though, I know because of this gospel. I never would have saw me transforming into a guy that would be preparing so hard for a mission. I never would have saw me with such amazing friends. I never thought I would become this guy from repenting. I never knew that this gospel would bring so much joy and happiness till you lived it. I wish I could go back and do it all over again but because I have this knowledge, I know I am so much more stronger.

I’d like to thank my Dad and Mom for making the choice to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and raising me up till now. I love my family and them making me who I am today. If it weren’t for them I would not be here giving this talk.

I’d like to thank my friends for being examples and helping me be who I am today. I’d like to thank my leaders for all the free dinners and rides to places, but most importantly for the good times. These memories that I will take with me wherever I go.

Especially my Bishop, Thank you for all your care and helping me get to where I am today.

I’d like to thank the Mission Viejo Institute. That was my second home. I encourage all the youth to go to the classes if they can. They are amazing and have amazing teachers and people there.

You guys are all my friends and another reason I am going on a mission.

Brothers and Sisters

This is my testimony.
I know that God lives and that Christ lives. I know that they love us all very much. I know that the atonement is real. At times I don’t like myself; but because of the atonement I love myself even more at more times. I feel strong. I am the happiest when I am doing what the Lord wants me to do. This is the happiest point of my life; preparing for a mission. I know a mission will be hard, and that some say that a mission is the best two years of your life. I do believe that. I also believe that it is the best two years for my life. I am going to need some things in life later on that I will learn on my mission. I know that the scriptures are true. I know that the book of Mormon is true such beautiful words for the imagery when you go in detail. It is an amazing book that testifies of Christ on average of once every 1.7 verses. I know that the prophet, Joseph Smith translated the book of Mormon and restored this church. The restoration couldn’t come at a more perfect time; I know that. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet of God. I know that this Church is true. I say this in the name of thy son and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Loving Life in the MTC and Basketball is played in Heaven

Dear Family and Friends,

My first week at the MTC has been very successful. I am a district leader!!!! I am having a lot of fun and really enjoying the spirit here and the feelings here are great. The food is good but nothing like home. Thanks for all the birthday emails and messages I LOVE YOU ALL SOO MUCH!! :) I am at the west campus, not at the main one, there’s so many missionaries they had to pay for a lease at the west campus of BYU! I got to hear the BYU game vs. Utah. The crowd was so loud we could hear it from our apartments’ it was so cool!! Hearing the roar of the crowd like, “aaahhhhh” made me miss football so much! I have heard that the west campus is the best campus. We are so spoiled ha ha ha ha, oh well. Life’s great! :) We got a new apartment dorm and its super nice and fun. I got to meet some amazing people and my district is awesome. I really like serving others and just having a good time and really loving the people here. I have learned a lot here. It’s kind of like Institute just more mission focused which is great. We do a lot of practicing which can get kind of old but ya… I didn't realize how much I prepared. it’s crazy! I learned all of the stuff they are teaching now and just trying to help out the teachers with helping the district understand these things they are teaching. So glad I went to mission prep and institute sooo much. It has really made the MTC experience a great learning environment to really apply what I have learned in mission prep and at Institute.

We have an army elder in my district so we have been using a lot of army terms. We like clear the room whenever we go into our dorm room. ha ha It’s awesome! Thinking of you there, Alex. Good luck in the military stuff. My companion is kind of shy and not much of a talker. He is fully Native American. He just got out of high school. Elder Bancroft. It’s hard to help him with speaking from his heart and not from his mind. He’s really trying to learn. I am glad I am his companion. I learned you got to love anyone and you got serve with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. Work really hard. This isn't about my mission or me. It's His, we are just His instruments. It’s awesome. Got to be very obedient too, because if you aren't it’s going to be hard on you for the mission. Going to bed on time. Waking up on time. Staying with your companion at all times even if he is in sight. Just stay with them. So I am doing good and loving what we’re doing. I want to hear how you are all doing. I learned also how important family is and friends are because you are all gone and I miss you all a lot but I get to have my own mission family, full of brothers and sisters. My birthday was not like a birthday at all, and I don’t even feel 19. I kept forgetting it was my birthday on the day of it. They sang to me in the cafeteria and we went and got ice cream and the other Elder in the district got me some chocolate... I really miss my family more than anything. I miss you Mom, and Dad. Austin, Travis, Ethan, more than anything. I loved that Austin spelled happy birthday to me but he spelled it like happy birbbadi. I love him, and miss you Ethan and Travis so much. I don't want to come home though at all. I learned that it is okay to miss people because people are amazing! I mean that. You are all amazing. I am happy to be where I am and with these wonderful people all day, the same thing. I've really grown. I am happy, so glad to be here serving the Lord and others. I LOVE IT. The days here are so long but they go by so fast. I can't remember like up to two days ago. It’s really awesome. It’s weird being 19 because it’s kind of sad because I am that much closer to the mission ending and so far, I don't want to go. I just want to keep learning and keep serving and keep meeting and KEEP HELPING! The gym here on west campus is a blacktop with those basketball hoops you buy at sport chalet. Lol, push it around. Ha ha ha. They have no gym here, they are building one. Basketball is awesome, as always. I learned from Elder Dan R. Clarke from the Quorum of the 70 that basketball is a sport that they do play in heaven...soo...ya. Best sport. I couldn't be more happy here.

This is what life is about. Meeting people and helping them if they want it. Let me know if you want to hear about cool experiences. I don't want to preach to you so ask me individually and just tell me. I would like to write the spiritual experiences to you instead of email it to you, maybe you could send me a journal and you can write something in it and I'll write something back about one of the spiritual experiences I had and mail it back to you and it can be between us! I'll send you an address of where I am going to be staying. I am out of the MTC September 30. :( I wish I had three weeks here. It’s so nice and relaxing and I am the kind of person that likes to stay at a place for a while before I go ha ha. But I DO want to get out of here!! I'll send emails for you now though. You can write to me or send me a journal because I don't have anyone’s home address. Can't wait for Denver! 5 more days! DENVER OR BUST! till then... God be with you. I’m praying for you guys. Love you all. Thanks for being my friends.

Elder Garrett Steven Harrington

I'll send pictures next week. I have no idea how to attach the photos here right now because the computers here are high tech.

Scriptures of the Week
Mosiah 3:19
Moroni 7:45-47

John 15:13

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Companions, Elder Smith Sep 2013 - Dec 2013 Elder Anani Dec 2013 - Jan 2013 Elder Farr Jan 2013 -