Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

It is really crazy to think that 2012 has already come and gone. Oh, and guess what... the world didn't end. We have been joking about that the whole week. Remembering the MTC, there is a phone company here in Ukraine with the initials "MTC." It's kind of funny because we see it everywhere. We can't do a whole lot for New Years because we have a curfew at 10:30, and we have to be in our apartment tonight at five o'clock because our mission president wants us to avoid all the drinking that goes on here. Something that is kind of cool though is here in Ukraine they have their own special new year’s day. It is on the 14th of January. Don't ask me why, I am not really sure, I will try and find out and get back to you about that.
Currently we are still searching for a church building. This Sunday we held church at a business center where you can rent rooms by hour. Our plan is to keep doing that until we find a building. What was really cool is that ten minutes before church started, my companion and I invited the security guard to come with us. He agreed and he stayed for the whole thing. We had a grand total of eight people there! It was the four elders, our one member, two investigators, and the security guard. The hardest part about church is singing hymns. Because we have no piano and the missionaries are the only people who know the tunes to the songs. It has been such a great experience. After church we gave the security guard a Book of Mormon and he agreed to meet with us this week.

We looked at seven church buildings this week. None of them have been what we needed unfortunately. It has been really fun though! I feel like one of those people on the Home Network shows trying to find a home. It's a little stressful because we want to make sure we have a spiritual atmosphere so people can have a good experience at sacrament meeting. I will keep you posted on our real estate endeavors!

Well, it’s time for me to go again:( I feel like I never have enough time to say all the things that I want to. I love you all! I look forward to writing you again next week.


Elder Hadfield

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hello! This email may seem a bit jumbled because my thoughts are all over the place. There are a lot of things I need to tell you since this will be my last email in the United States. First of all, I just wanted to say I have the best aunts ever. Aunt Jenny and aunt Liz you rock! I love you both so much. I brag about you all the time! I also got an amazing package from Kendall this week:) And to top it all off, grandpa and Sister Howard sent me some goodies!

Well, here is the fun part! My travel plans! I am the travel leader of our group flying to Ukraine. All that means is that I have to make sure everyone is on our flights before we take off at the different airports, and if anything bad happens I have the number to call the mission home to let them know what is going on. On Tuesday morning we report to the MTC travel office at five in the morning to get our visa's and our plane tickets. A bus will then pick us up shortly thereafter and take us to the Salt Lake City airport. We will then fly from Salt Lake to New York, and then from New York to Amsterdam. We have about an hour and a half in Amsterdam and then we fly to Kyiv, where we will be met by president Klebingat and his wife. Then I am not sure what will happen from there. I am sure they will let us send you an email so you know we have arrived safe in Kyiv. So just be expecting an email on Wednesday!

I had a really fun week this week. For our devotional on Sunday, instead of a speaker, the BYU men's chorus came and sang like six Christmas songs, and in between each song someone from the chorus came up to the microphone and shared a story from their mission. It was awesome! We are not allowed to use our iPod's here at the MTC so there seems to always be a shortage of music. But soon I will be in Ukraine and I can listen to hymns in the morning while I work out. Plus I will get there in the middle of Christmas season, and from what our teachers tell us there is a lot of carolling!

Thanks for all the dear elders:) I think I got one from everyone this week. That was great! Jessica it sounds like you had a great birthday on the ice, but it sounds like mom might have needed some ice after help her bum not be sore ha ha. Just kidding. Amanda I love you! I sent a letter home this week and I hope you all enjoy it! I included some funny comments in it about heath cake:). Well its time to go, I love you all! I look forward to calling home from the airport! And also calling home for Christmas. I hope all is well.


Elder Hadfield

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Another Beautiful Day at the MTC.

Hello! Another week has gone by. Thank you for your package! I loved it so much. I drank like all of the chocolate milk in one day ha ha, are you surprised? Thank you for all the dear elders. Dad, I love reading the ones you send to me. Please tell Grandma thank you from me, for the box she sent me with goodies. She is so sweet! Well, I don't have a whole lot to report this week. Although tomorrow I should get my travel plans and my Ukrainian Visa, so I will let you know all the information that contains next week. Can you believe that I leave the United States in less than two weeks? Its pretty crazy, soon I will be in a county where I don't speak the language (at least not well), I pretty much don't know anyone, and where I will live for the next 22 months. I am very excited though. We might even fly through DC. I only say that because the last group who flew to Ukraine went through DC and the through Germany. It is really weird, but as I have been getting better and better at Ukrainian, my German is getting harder and harder to use. The first few weeks I was here I would go and speak German with the German missionaries quite often. The last few weeks I have tried to do that, but as I talk all that comes out is a mix of Ukrainian and German. It sounds really weird. And when I am able to speak German, it is with a Ukrainian accent.

Happy Birthday Jessica! I know it is not your birthday today but it will be on the 8th. How does it feel to be 18 (please answer after your birthday)? I hope you have fun partying or doing whatever you have planned. I'm sorry that I can not be there to celebrate with you. Just know that I love you!

Something cool happened to me this week. I got to meet an Elder who red shirted for the University of North Carolina for basketball. He didn't play during the season, but he did get to play during the NCAA tournament. It was neat to hear him explain why he decided to give that all up and come on a mission for two years. His name was Elder White and he said that he was planning on going back to North Carolina to play basketball after his mission. But still, that is really hard as an athlete to put that all on hold. My allotted time on the computer is winding down. I love you! Its about time for me to go. I hope you are having a great Christmas season. Remember to focus on the Savior, from what dad tells me you are doing a great job so far. I am proud of you. Talk to you next week.

Elder Mitchell Gregory Hadfield

Two Weeks and Counting

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sister Garret and I in the MTC.
Hello again, boy does time go by fast when you are busy. It feels like I was just sending you an email yesterday. I hope you enjoy all the pictures! Most of them are from thanksgiving. Its a little crazy, but the night of thanksgiving there were Christmas lights up all over the MTC. That's pushing it if you ask me:) Just kidding! The picture of me is with Sister Garret, who I was telling you about. 

Well let me tell you about my thanksgiving! After breakfast we had a devotional, and guess who came? Elder Holland! It was really exciting to see an apostle. He talked about what a blessing it is to live in the latter days when the fullness of the gospel is restored. He said that he thinks that is one of the most overlooked blessings that we have. Living during this time in the world's history is an amazing opportunity with all the innovations and technology that we have. With all those blessings comes a great responsibility of sharing the gospel with those who do not yet know about it. Elder Holland also had his granddaughter sing "If the Savior Stood Beside Me." She looked like she was about ten years old and she had an amazing voice. After the devotional we went on a walk as a district, it was a little cold but I love to be outside and see the beautiful mountains. We got back from our walk and then we went to have thanksgiving dinner (lunch). It was pretty good! Don't worry mom, it can't even compare to your thanksgiving cooking, but I was still thankful to have a nice meal.

After we ate (it was hard to walk haha) we had a play we got to watch about the first thanksgiving. It was missionaries dressed up as Native Americans, settlers, and turkeys. It was by no means politically correct, but it was a lot of fun! At the end we sand over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go.... don't ask me why. Then came my favorite part of the day. We were able to do a service project for children in Africa (I forget exactly which country it was for). We put together school kits and first-aid kits for them. I was in charge of putting in calculators! It worked like an assembly line, the bag would be passed down the row and we would put our item in. It was something really small but it felt really good. Well that's pretty much everything exciting that happened on thanksgiving!

As I was reading my scriptures I was thinking about what it means to be a representative of Jesus Christ. And then a thought came to me. When Jesus Christ suffered the Atonement he acted as a Representative for me.In the Garden of Gethsemane He stood in my place, with my name on His chest, as He felt the pain of every single sin I have ever committed and bled from every pore. I am so thankful for Christ's willingness to be my proxy. Now I have the opportunity to do my best to thank Him by standing in as His proxy. Though I will not bleed from every pore, I promise that I will sweat from every pore as I work my hardest to do Justice to the name on my chest.

I love you all! I hope you had a good week! Thank you so much for your love and support (and your letters:).


Elder Mitchell Gregory Hadfield

Happy Thanksgiving from the MTC.
Elder Kelley and I teaching the Gospel "Uk-Raine Style" 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Missionary Nametag
Hello again! I hope my emails don't get boring because it seems like I do the same things every week. I promise my emails will get way more interesting when I get to Ukraine! First off, Thanks dad for the workouts I am using them and they are great! Amanda, you are so cute thank you for the dear elder, it is the best. Also I got a nice Christmas package from the ward, it was really hard to restrain myself so I opened it already haha. There were a bunch of nice letters and candy.

Tomorrow is thanksgiving, are you excited? I am. I just want you to know that I am very thankful for you. Our lunch tomorrow is two hours long. We have a break from the normal missionary grind which will be nice. In the morning there will be a two hour thanksgiving program which we hope will include an apostle. Then we have a service project and another program at night. I will tell you all about it next Wednesday. Oh man, I just remembered that the Cowboys play tomorrow. Who do they play? A new elder who came in last week is from Dallas and likes the Cowboys saw my sweatshirt and we became instant friends. He told me we aren't doing to well though. What a bummer. Also how is college hoops going? I miss watching basketball games. I hope I will have the chance to play some in Ukraine. One of my teachers was telling me about this really nice outdoor court in the middle of Kiev... SCORE (pun intended).

Wow, I leave the MTC in one month, pretty crazy huh? It's nice though because I think I will get to spend Christmas with the Mission President! I can't wait to talk German to him. It's funny but sometimes when I am teaching in Ukrainian a German work will just slip out. With all the new vocabulary that's floating around in my head sometimes I pick a wrong word. I was talking to one of my pretend investigators, and I meant to ask him how his wife was doing but instead I said "whats up woman?" I hope that doesn't happen in Ukraine, but it probably will. You just have to laugh it off I guess:) I have come to the conclusion that it really doesn't matter how well I can speak the language (though I am striving to master it) as long as the Spirit touches the heart of whoever I am talking too. Having that in mind takes off a lot of stress. One thing I have learned over these last few weeks is how to have patience with myself. There have been times where I have been really frustrated that I can't say things how I want to. I just try and realize that I have only been learning Ukrainian for five weeks and get a better perspective. I think Satan likes it when we are not patient with ourselves. We are human and none of us is perfect, we can get caught up in all the small mistakes that we make because that stops us from progressing. We need to rely on the Savior and the atonement to pick us up when we fall short.

Well, my time is up:( I will have a lot of fun things to tell you next week. I love you!

Elder Mitchell Gregory Hadfield

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Enjoying the great food at the MTC Cafeteria!
Hello! I am doing very well, I am so excited to email you today. So I just got back from the temple and I want to share something that happened to me on my way there. The temple is about a fifteen minute walk from where I am staying, and it was a very cold morning today. When Elder Kelley and I got to the temple he realized that he had forgotten his recommend. We had to walk all the way back to our room in the cold to get it. At first I was really bummed. But after we grabbed his recommend we were walking back to the temple and we saw an old man struggling to get out of his car. He had a walker and a bunch of things he was trying to carry. I recognized immediately that we were supposed to help this man, and that he was the reason why we needed to be delayed. We went and helped him in, and he was very thankful and told us "You guys are the best." I know that God loves that man, and that God put us in that man's way to show that man that He loves him. It may seem like something small, but the feelings of love were great!

I hope you got a chance to read Jacob 5 and 6 this week! I just want two share my feelings very briefly. I love the allegory of the olive tree and it means a lot to me. I am one of the Lords laborers in his vineyard. My fellow elders and I are striving to find the good people of the earth and to save them from the day that the vineyard shall be burned. I am so blessed to have the privilege of serving along side Jesus Christ as we find His children. This week I would ask you to read the story of Abinadi in chapters 12-17 of Mosiah, I know its rather long, but I know there is much that can be learned from it. As you read try and find similarities with Abinadi, with what happened to Jesus Christ as He shared His gospel, and with the prophet Joseph Smith. Thank you for doing that:)

Dad, how was your trip? You would be proud of me during gym time, we play knock-out a lot. Guess who wins? I do, well some of the times. It reminds me of playing knock-out with you and aunt Liz in the yard! We are having SYL days know (Speak your language). Where the whole day we speak nothing except Ukrainian. It's tough but it is helping my Ukrainian come along. Well its time for me to go. I love you! I love my Savior, and I love His gospel. I will send some pictures when I go to do laundry!

Until Next week, Love,

Elder Hadfield
Beautiful Snow Day in Provo, UT.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Elder Kelley and I in our "cool" Ukraine t-shirts
Hey! I am so glad it is Wednesday. First of all, tell Grandma and Aunt Jenny thanks for the boxes they sent me full of goodies. Oh and also tell Sister Howard thanks from me, she sent me one too! I got the line of authority cards and they look great I was so excited to see them. Thanks for all the dear elders, I love reading them.

Well, it’s been a month. Do you miss me? I hope so. Don't forget about me. I am doing great. Guess what mom? We had enchiladas again this week. Also, how is it best to wash the sweaters? I should have paid better attention the first time you told me. The food here is good but I miss your cooking. It is getting pretty cold but I am wearing my hat and gloves so I do not get sick! Dad, I got a conference ensign so I can read the talks that you told me about. I am so glad that you are spending time reading the words of the prophets. I hope you got the chance to read the first few chapters of the book of Mosiah. Pretty amazing huh? It helps me to be humble and realize that I rely on God for everything that I have. Reading it also helps me to feel the power of the atonement and to see the affect that it had in people’s lives. I know that as I use the atonement I can feel its enabling power to lift and to strengthen me and I can feel the joy that it brings. This week I would like you to read the allegory of the olive tree in Jacob chapter five and six. I have read, re-read, and pondered it many times this week. Please send me any insight that you derive from it to help me better understand it.

My companion and I get along really well. We have the same sense of humor (I'm sure you can imagine) so we have a lot of fun. We take the gospel very seriously but it is nice to be able to laugh every once in a while too! We have two "investigators" that we are teaching. It’s hard not knowing exactly how to express what I want to say in Ukrainian, but like Nephi says "I delight in plainness." Our lessons are very plain and simple. However, the amazing thing is how powerful the Spirit is despite our weakness in speaking!

My Ukrainian is really coming along well! I can say the sacrament prayer, and in a few weeks I will get a chance to use it in church! I am almost to the point where I can start building sentences all by myself. The only thing holding me back is the grammar (which I am starting to get more comfortable with), and my very limited vocabulary. Every day I get better and learn more so I am very optimistic. It's kind of funny, I can teach short gospel lessons and share scriptures, but if I had to have a conversation with someone on the street I would be helpless. I do know the word for milk though so if I am ever thirsty I will be set.

How is everything at home? I saw that you are all safe from the storm, is the house OK?  They made it seem really bad in here. Emily! I sent you a letter today, I hope you enjoy it. I love you! I am sad that I am all out of time:( and I am sorry I don't have my camera with me, I will try and send some pictures in a few hours when I go to do laundry. I love you all. Continue to read your scriptures and pray and I know that the Lord will bless you. I know that Christ died for me and that He loves me. I know the gospel is true.

Elder Hadfield

Just got a new haircut. Go Cowboys!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Mission District in front of the Provo Temple.
I am so glad I have the chance to send you an email today! I just got back from the temple and I feel so blessed to be going to a mission with a temple. Mom, I miss your enchiladas! The other day they had them here at the MTC and let me tell you it was like having McDonalds instead of Mikes. I hope you are all safe from the storm. Please let me know how bad it is because I really have no way of knowing in the MTC. Please thank Grandma for me, she sent me a very nice care package. Thanks for yours as well. Also please thank Brother and Sister Stewart for the popcorn they sent me!

Well I miss you all, its hard to be away from you. However, I know that I am doing whats right. I want you to know that I have a very firm testimony of the restored gospel. As I have really been studying the Book of Mormon I have come to feel of the power the Atonement can have in our lives. Left to my own strength I would not be able to accomplish the many things required of a missionary of Christ. I feel extremely strengthened and lifted. I hope you are keeping up with your reading and study. I have an assignment for you! Maybe during family night or something read King Benjamen's address to his people in the first four chapters of Mosiah. Then please let me know of any insights that you draw from it. I will do the same and I will share my insights next week! Sound good? Ok!

This week has been a very strong week. Elder Kelley and I had the opportunity to teach at Sunday school for our district this week. The topic was repentance. I used the poem that Dad gave me to start out my comments. I really felt the spirit. I am excited to be able to go to the Ukraine to be able to share a message of repentance so everyone there will have an opportunity to feel the power that the atonement can have in their lives. Every Tuesday night we have a devotional from a member of the quorum of the 70, or of the twelve. So far it has been all 70's, and they have done really good jobs, but we are optimistic that we might see an Apostle this Tuesday! Wouldn't that be neat? Sunday nights are movie nights. I know what you are thinking, "You aren't allowed to watch movies as a missionary." You would be right, however, we get to watch old devotionals. We watched one on Sunday that was given by Elder Holland. He talked about how as a missionary I have the same title as an apostle. That of "Elder." He said that he is an apostle with a big A, because he was ordained to be an apostle. He also said something that really hit me. He said that I am an apostle with a little a because I was set apart. For two years I get to wear the Master's name on my chest. What an honor. I am doing my best to live up to it!
I love all of you, and I love hearing from you. It makes me feel like I am not so far away. Be safe!

Until next week,

Elder Hadfield

Monday, October 29, 2012

My companion, Elder Kelley and I at the Provo Temple.
This week has been really good. On Thursday we had a stress management class. It was funny, we watched a video about some kids freaking out. The MTC is getting better now that I am in the grove of things. The language is still coming really slow but my teachers are great. Brother Adams, and Brother Fiel are both RM's from Ukraine and our third teacher is a Ukrainian. Her name is Sister Garret, she got adopted and came to America when she was fifteen. Now she is back off a mission and married. Its really hard to understand her! But I try my best. This week we are starting to learn grammar so I can see how sentences come together. Hopefully I will be able to start a normal conversation soon. Tonight we have TRC which is teaching volunteers who come to help us learn our mission language.

This morning Elder Kelley and I went to the temple, we ended up doing sealings! It was really great since that was the first time I got to do that. We were the proxies for kids and we also got to be witnesses. The Provo Temple is beautiful! Its nice that we get to go every week! I am trying to get the names done that sister Hilton gave me, but so far I have only gotten five done. I will write you again next week.


Elder Mitchell Gregory Hadfield

My MTC Teacher.

Arriving at the MTC, greeted by my New Missionary Host!
This week was OK it was really long. I am glad that it is p-day because I get to take a break for a bit, I just got back from the temple. Its nice to see all the new missionaries coming in and not be the new missionary now. 

So, where to start? My companion is Elder Kelley and he is from Alabama. He is really nice and we get along so that's a positive. On our second day in the MTC we got an investigator to teach. Our lesson did not go so well since we only knew a total of ten words. Since then its gotten better, we have taught our investigator three lessons, and each one seems to get better as we learn more of the language. I can offer a simple prayer, bear testimony, and do a few other simple things in Ukrainian. At the MTC there are 100 Russian Speaking missionaries, and only 8 speaking Ukrainian. We call ourselves the elite 8!

There are boat loads of food here..... breakfast is at 7:10, lunch is at 11:45, and dinner is at 4:45. So by the time bed time rolls around I am starving! I am really trying to use the short fifty minutes of exercise a day well so I can stay in shape. I will let you know in a few weeks how that is coming along. Oh, guess what? I got to see Megan and Mason! I saw Megan on our temple walk, and talked with her, we took a picture and I will send it next week if I can figure out how too. Mason is in the same building as I am, so every other night or so he has came up and said hi to me. I am sad that they are leaving tomorrow. The MTC feels kind of like a jail with big fences all around it. I was told to think of it like a fortress that keeps evil things out rather than a jail to keep us in.

Something else that's kind of cool is that my district is the first one to only be here for nine weeks, all previous Russian and Ukrainian missionaries got twelve weeks. So I better study hard right? I have a set of Ukrainian scriptures and I got them engraved today. They say "Elder Mitchell Hadfield" in gold letters across the front. Its weird to call everyone Elder, they don't like us using the words "guys, dudes, or bros," so I have had to focus on just saying elder. When I first saw Mason, I shouted his first name and I got a lot of nasty stares.

Until Wednesday,

Elder Mitchell Gregory Hadfield

The Missionaries in my Mission District in front of the infamous  MTC World Map.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Every year tens of thousands of young Latter-day of Saints submit their papers for full-time missionary service. Young men and women voluntarily put work and education on hold and make themselves available to serve wherever they are assigned at their own expense. Communication with family is even limited to letters or email and very occasional phone calls so that they can focus wholeheartedly on serving the Lord and the people where they serve. During their two years of full time service they devote themselves to studying, meeting people, and teaching about Jesus Christ and His restored Church. Their work is a labor of love, and most missionaries end up feeling they gained more than they gave by serving.
I have been called to serve in the Kyiv Ukraine mission. That is where I will spend the next two years of my life. I will learn the native language of Ukrainian so that I can teach and serve the people in their own language. As a missionary one of my main focuses will be, as it says in Doctrine and Covenants 81 to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees;”1 Or in other words, giving service.
I would like to share a story that Elder Uchtdorf once shared in conference. “During the bombing of a city in World War II, a large statue of Jesus Christ was severely damaged. When the townspeople found the statue among the rubble, they mourned because it had been a beloved symbol of their faith and of God’s presence in their lives. Experts were able to repair most of the statue, but its hands had been damaged so severely that they could not be restored. Some suggested that they hire a sculptor to make new hands, but others wanted to leave it as it was—a permanent reminder of the tragedy of war. Ultimately, the statue remained without hands. However, the people of the city added on the base of the statue of Jesus Christ a sign with these words: ‘You are my hands.’”2
When Jesus Christ was on the earth He explained that He didn’t come to earth to be served but to serve and to give His life for us.3 Jesus Christ loves each of us more than we can understand. Throughout His earthly life He served the poor, the ignorant, the sinner, and the despised. He taught the gospel to all who would listen, fed crowds of hungry people who came to hear Him, healed the sick, and raised the dead.
As the hands of Jesus Christ upon the earth we are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, and our kindness. Whether they are family members, friends, acquaintances, or strangers we can reach out to give service. As His hands we can lift up His children.
On one occasion a curious lawyer posed this question to the Savior, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”4 The Savior responded, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”5
Along with the question asked by the lawyer I would pose the question, who is our neighbor? Our neighbor does not mean merely one of the members of the church or faith to which we belong. It has no reference to race, color, or class. Our neighbor is every person who needs our help. Our neighbor is every soul who is wounded and bruised by the adversary of life. Our neighbor is every child of God. The way we show our neighbors we love them is by serving them. Every act of service counts, whether it’s something small like a smile to lift someone’s spirits, or something big like spending hours collecting food so that families won’t have to go hungry.
The next time you help someone, picture them as the Savior. King Benjamin taught “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”6 As we show those around us that we love them by rendering our service to them, we are also showing God and the Savior that we love them. King Benjamin’s teaching is echoed in the 25th chapter of Matthew.
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”7
            As you make someone feel welcome by showing interest in them, help someone move from one home to another, or even help someone rebuild their home that has been damaged from a storm you are serving Christ.
            Some resistance to giving service may creep in with the thought “How can I ever make a difference?” To those of you who feel that way let me share a story with you written by Jack Canfield.
“A friend of ours was walking down a deserted Mexican beach at sunset. As he walked along, he began to see another man in the distance. As he grew nearer, he noticed that the local native kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out into the water. Time and again, he kept hurling things out into the ocean. As our friend approached even closer, he noticed that the man was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time, he was throwing them back into the water. Our friend was puzzled. He approached the man and said “Good evening, friend. I was wondering what you are doing.”
“I'm throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see, it's low tide right now and all of these starfish have been washed up onto the shore. If I don't throw them back into the sea, they'll die up here from lack of oxygen.”
“I understand,” my friend replied, “but there must be thousands of starfish on this beach. You can't possibly get to all of them. There are simply too many. And don't you realize this is probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this coast? Can't you see that you can't possibly make a difference?”
The local native smiled, bent down and picked up yet another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied, “Made a difference to that one!”
            Though there are billions of people living on this earth and the task may seem overwhelming at times, our Christ like service can and does make a difference.
As I have given service I have been blessed. One of my fondest memories of serving comes from the winter time. Snow falls would bring blocked driveways, and I would usually be the one tasked with shoveling ours. On several occasions before I shoveled my driveway I would shovel the driveway of one of my older neighbors. It made me feel happy inside, to know that I could be of help. The Savior taught his disciples, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”9 President Monson said “I believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish—and in effect save their lives.”10
I am sure that we all have the intention as a member of the Church to serve and to help those in need. We need to remember our baptismal covenant to “bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light.” I know that my heart is touched each time I am given the opportunity to serve others and when I witness others serving those in need. How often have you intended to be the one to help? I know that I have missed a few opportunities as my day-to-day life seems to interfere and I have justified this by feeling by thinking others will step up and take care of that need.
We become so caught up in the busyness of our lives. Were we to step back, however, and take a good look at what we’re doing, we may find that we have immersed ourselves in the “thick of thin things.” In other words, too often we spend most of our time taking care of the things which do not really matter much at all in the grand scheme of things, neglecting those more important causes.
That service to which all of us have been called is the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. As He enlists us to His cause, He invites us to draw close to Him. He speaks to you and to me:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”11
If we truly listen, we may hear His voice say to us, as it spoke to another, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”12 This is my goal as I leave to serve the Lord as a missionary in the Ukraine. It is also my prayer that all of us may qualify for the blessing that have been promised from the Lord as we served those in need.
As I close my talk let the words of a familiar hymn ring in our minds:
“Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today,
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?”13
I offer this in His name, even Jesus Christ, our Savior, amen.

1. D&C 81:5
2. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “You Are My Hands”, April 2010 General Conference
3. Matthew 20:28
4. Matthew 22:36
5. Matthew 22:37-39
6. Mosiah 2:17
7. Matthew 25:34-40
8. Jack Canfield, “Chicken Soup for the Soul”
9. Luke 9:24 
10. Thomas S. Monson, "What Have I Done for Someone Today?" Ensign, Nov. 2009
11. Matthew 11:28-30
12. Matthew 25:21
13. “Have I Done Any Good?” Hymns, no. 223.