"While serving in Daegu, I lived in an apartment overlooking the KTX rail line. And every morning, at 6:47, the train rattled past on its way to Seoul. And every morning, at 6:47, I thought, I could be riding that. I could be on my way home right now. All I have to do is give up.
Elders and sisters, all we have to do is quit, and we can go home any seond that we choose. We all know it. We all think about it at some point during our missions, when frustration and disappointment weigh heavy on our shoulders. So why are we still here?
The Lord faced the same decision every morning of his mortal ministry. He had the power to quit any time he chose. No one could have stopped him. Said he, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." Even the nails that affixed him to the cross could not have held him there unless he chose to let them. At any point, he could have changed his mind, hopped down, and gone home, back to his family, and friends, and carpentry business, and good, decent, unremarkable life. He could have left the salvation of mankind to be somebody else's problem. He could have. But he didn't.
We all have the power to lay down our lives--our jobs, educations, friends, families, ambitions, plans, boyfriends, girlfriends, pets, cars, home culture, home language, independence. No man taketh these things from us; we lay them down of ourselves. We have the power to take them again. But every day that we choose to leave them laid aside, we become a little bit more like Him who made the same decision on a much grander scale. And we learn, a little bit, why he made that choice . . . because as we love our companions, investigators, members and friends, so he first loved us, and laid down his life for us.
We lay down our lives that we may, in due course, take them up again.But they are not the same lives we left. They are changed beyond recognition, enriched beyond measure--with greater love, stronger faith, truer freedom, deeper understanding, loftier goals, and a much, much bigger family . . . the people we've taught, and the ones who've taught us.
As I prepare to finally take that long ride on the KTX, I do so with a heart full of gratitude for our Savior, Jesus Christ, through whom we receive this and every opportunity for learning and growth. I'm grateful to have served with all of you in representing the Lord in the Korea Busan Mission. I know the Book of Mormon to be God's OwnTruth. I know this work to be his work--striving to bring all souls, including our own, unto him. I offer this, my testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.