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For anyone that was not able to make it to my farewell, here is my talk. It's nothing extravagant, but it is me. This is how I talk and that is ok. I am not going to claim to be a very spiritual speaker in this, because I am not. I like to relate it back to the basics. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me as I am. He will help me to become a better public speaker. I know that this church is true, if I didn't, I wouldn't be making this decision. I love that I know the gospel is true. I know that the Book of Mormon has brought so much joy into many people's lives. I know the Book of Mormon was translated through Heavenly Father and is here to guide each of us through our lives. I love the gospel and Book of Mormon. I cannot wait to serve the people of Nebraska and I hope to become better each and every day as I grow closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus. 



Farewell Talk

First, I would like to thank the bishopric for having my little brothers speak with me. These boys are amazing and such great examples to me. They push me to be better each and everyday. I would also like to thank Brynlee and the other little girls for the beautiful song that they sang and Sadie for accompanying them.

My name is Bristee, soon to be Sister McKnight. My family and I moved here 7 years ago. And I honestly don’t know what my address is, we just moved this past week. My mom and I have been joking that I am going to be the only missionary who doesn’t know my own address. I’m probably going to need to write that down before I leave. I have been called to serve as a missionary of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Nebraska Omaha Mission. Those are words that I never expected to say. As a child, I was the one that thought girl missionaries were crazy.. like who actually wants to be away for 18 months? I think my main issues were the fact that I have three things that I hate. The 1st is public speaking, I get super nervous any time I have to speak in public and today is no different. But, I do thank all of you for coming to listen to me. 2nd is talking to strangers. I get super shy around people I don’t know, so it’s pretty self explanatory. 3rd is being away from the people I love. I have many friends and especially family. My family is the most important thing to me. I will be missing Chandler’s Prom, Carsen’s Freshman year, and Brynlee going into Young Women’s. I know that my decision is the right one, but family has always been a top priority to me, so my decision was hard for me to come to terms with. 

Anyone who has spent a lot of time with me knows that my little sister, Brynlee means the world to me. She is more than just my best friend. I’m here to tell everyone that I love her and I know that this is going to be hard, but there are many memories left for us to make. I will no longer be with you at the tumbling gym, but my thoughts will be with all the girls there. 

I want my brothers to know that I love them both, especially their enthusiasm in the gospel. Chandler has always been the person that I think of when I hear the word peacemaker. He tries so hard to do the right thing and I wish I could do that. Carsen, on the other hand, is known as the Wild Child. He loves having a good time and laughing a lot. I’m going to miss seeing my brother’s head off to trek, Brynlee’s tumbling comps, and my daily phone calls with my mom. 

I was asked to speak on missionary work and my decision to serve. My decision was not one that came very easily. I never would have imagined that I would be up here speaking to you saying that I was leaving in a few days to go on a mission. I am incredibly grateful that I have made this choice though. When they changed the ages of missionaries, I remember so many people telling me how great the opportunity was for women to leave earlier, but I didn’t have the same desire that many did. A few years ago, my cousin Brianna went, and still I had no thought of going, but as the pop singer Justin Bieber says, “Never Say Never.” I thought I KNEW where my life was headed and I gave no thought to any other options. 

Throughout my life, I was raised in an active LDS family. We went to church on Sunday, said family prayers, and did what most families do. My mom was converted by amazing young women leaders, who gave the example to me to never give up on someone. My dad, was also raised in an LDS family with great example that have shown him and I how to be better members of the church and people in general. My Grandpa Mike, my dad’s dad, passed away last year. I remember many times seeing how he would selflessly serve others, even when he could barely do something himself. He always saw the good in people, even when others couldn’t. I wish to one day be as good at that as he was. All of my family members, immediate and extended, have pushed me to become better each and every day. 
As many people know, when I went off to college, I was placed with some rough roommates. One night, they threw a party until 4 a.m. That night was the first time that I had honestly thought about a mission. That night, I was able to truly pray about the idea that had suddenly started popping up in random places. It started coming up in church and institute I blamed that one on it being a church thing. Then, randomly people would be talking about it in my normal classes, and I wasn’t at BYU or even in Northern Utah. Dixie, in St. George, is not the first place that I would have thought I would have thought to hear this. When this idea kept popping up I still tried to ignore it, because I am slightly stubborn. I was going to finish this year at Dixie, come home, finish hair school, and then decide from there what I was going to do. When I finally calmed down enough to rationally think about it, I decided to think about the idea of a mission. I started to pray and fast over  the decision. Right after I decided to think about it, I was able to move to an apartment with amazing roommates that I now consider some of my closest friends. I read through my Patriarchal Blessing, which says that I will serve a mission, but not to worry whether that’s as a young lady or later in life or both. At the time I figured I was off the hook because it said later in life. After I moved to the new apartment, read my blessing, and randomly flipped to D&C 4, I made the decision to serve. 

There were many ups and downs that have come since that day, but I can honestly say that I have been closer to my Father in Heaven. I have already seen many blessings and cannot wait to see how many blessings come. 

There have been many times since I got my call, there have been a few times that I have felt that I was not good enough or not prepared enough, but then I would read a quote on Pinterest like God doesn’t call the qualified He qualifies the called. This quote helped me to realize that if you desire to be good at something, He will help you get through this. 

Emma Smith has a quote that says, “We are going to do something extraordinary.” I believe that this quote could be talking about missionary work in general. We are doing something extraordinary. Extraordinary, by definition means something very unusual or remarkable. On lds.org it says, “When we experience the blessings of gospel living, we naturally want to share those blessings with others. The Lord spoke of the joy that comes into our lives when we share His gospel:” in D&C 18: 15-16. 
“15.If it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16.And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!”

In my call letter, it says, “ Your purpose as a missionary for the next 18 months is going to be to invite others unto Christ by helping 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. As you serve with all your heart, might, and strength, the Lord will lead you to those who are prepared to be baptized.

The Lord will reward you for the goodness of your life. Greater blessings and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you humbly and prayerfully serve the Lord in this labor of love among His children. We place our confidence in you and pray that the Lord will help you become an effective missionary.”

The joy that is talked about, can only come through the gospel. I have experienced some of it throughout my decision to serve. “Missionary work isn’t the only thing we need to do in this big, wide, wonderful Church. But almost everything else we need to do depends on people first hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ and coming into the faith. … With all that there is to do along the path to eternal life, we need a lot more missionaries opening that gate and helping people through it.”
—Jeffrey R. Holland
“We Are All Enlisted,” Ensign, Nov. 2011, 46–47

President Hinkley said that missionary work also includes helping and supporting those who have joined the church. Many of the apostles have spoken on missionary work, but one of my favorite talks on it was by Neil L. Andersen. In this talk he spoke on how members need to paint a badge of their hearts. We need everyone to be a missionary in order to do the work that is needed. This talk reminded me a lot of a cheerleading squad. As a cheerleader, everyone has to be there in order to stunt or perform. We need you as members to help the missionary effort, because without you we cannot "stunt". The work needs to be a combined effort with members and missionaries all pushing for one goal. 


Someone told me recently that the missionaries are the most prayed for throughout the church, so I have started to pay attention. Many people throughout the church will blessing the missionaries to keep them safe or to lead them to those looking for the gospel. I want to thank everyone for their prayers and thoughts for me and all the other missionaries throughout the world. We could not do what we need to without love and support from the members. 

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