Anyways, for those who don't know me, my name is Sasha Felshaw. I was born and raised here. I am the seventh of ten children. And I am leaving this Wednesday to serve a mission in Nashville, Tennessee.
Before I start my talk, I've had a couple questions I would like to answer. Every time someone finds out I am going on a mission, 99% of the people ask in a perky voice that I don't think I am even capable of doing, "Are you excited?!" I almost always hesitate and kind of blow it off cause I try not to think about it. Not because I am not excited though. It's because there are not words to describe how I feel. I am more than excited. I love Tennessee and the people there so much already. There is honestly nowhere I would rather be going.
Now if you are in the 1% of the people like my dad, he always asks, "Are you depressed?" Let me tell you a little insight into my life this past month and a half. I am laying on the couch and my mom comes in a just stares at me (which I have learned is common for moms to do to their favorite child in awe that she created me). So I just stare back because she is my favorite mom. I could tell she had been crying. She finally asks, "Have you cried today?" I said, "No". She then said, "I have been crying for the both of us so good thing you haven't." I have never heard truer words come out of that woman's mouth. So the answer is: Yes, I do get sad because I hate seeing my momma cry.
I was asked to speak on Elder Craig C. Christensen's talk in the October 2014 Priesthood Session called, "I Know These Things of Myself". It is such a great talk and I encourage everyone to take time this week to read it!
He starts off by telling a story:
"Recently, several deacons were asked, "What do you admire most about President Monson?" One deacon recalled how President Monson, as a child, gave his toys to needy friends. Another mentioned how President Monson cared for many widows in his ward. A third noted that he was called as an apostle at a very young age and has blessed people all around the world. Then one young man said, "The thing I admire most about President Monson is his strong testimony."
President Monson said, "In order for us to be strong and to withstand all the forces pulling us in the wrong direction, we must have our own testimony. Whether you are 12 or 112 or anywhere in between, you can know for yourself that the gospel is true."
Last night, me and some of my family went out to Bunkerville to ride four-wheelers and things. We ended up going to the Bunkerville Dam to roll tires. It's one of my favorite things to do. We all rode out there on four-wheelers. You take the four-wheeler to the bottom, put the tires on, and bring them to the top. So I got down there and started loading tires onto the four-wheeler my brother was on. My sister-in-law looked a lot confused. My brother tells her, "We are gonna roll tires down the hill." I don't even think she had a second to think. She automatically just said, "No". I couldn't help but laugh. She hasn't been in our family for even a year yet, but the look on her face was like she was ready to run and was wondering what kind of redneck family she had married into. I just kept loading and taking tires to the top. We picked our tires and took turns racing our tires down. I started thinking about my talk and about testimonies. I heard the kids and even some adults saying they wanted the biggest ones. You want yours to be the biggest tire, the longest going, and all around just the best. But it takes time. It takes patience. It takes practice and it takes mistakes. My nephew rolled one down (if you want to call it that). It stopped nearly a foot in front of him. He made a mistake, but he learned and tried again and ended up winning. That's the awesome thing about testimonies! You gotta work for them. You have to go through trials. It isn't easy and Satan is the worst and you just gotta tell him to shut up and try your hardest.
Just like my nephew lerned for himself, we must also have a testimony of our own. It is okay to start by relying on others as the stripling warriors did. "We do not doubt our mothers knew it", but we have to grow for ourselves like Joseph Smith, Nephi, and Alma did. They said, "I know these things of myself."
To do that there are four steps: 1. Search the words of God. 2. Be grateful for his mercy. 3. Pray to know if the church 's teachings are true. 4. Obey so you can feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
I am gonna tell you how I followed these steps and how I know:
I was having a hard time just in a rut thinking I wasn't doing anything wrong, but I wasn't doing anything super right either. I decided to read a chapter a night in the Book of Mormon. My life got extremely better. I then decided to give thankful prayers each morning. I got blessed even more. I prayed the most I had ever prayed in my life for guidance and direction and to know if the church is true. I was doing good and the Spirit had told me I needed to go through the temple. I thought that was kind of silly cause I wasn't planning on going on a mission at all. And I definitely was not getting married. I pushed off that feeling, but luckily the Spirit didn't give up on me. I decided to just go and it was the best decision of my life. That day I gained a testimony that my Heavenly Father knows, loves, and is mindful of me. He gave me the guidance and direction I needed. I was to go on a mission.
I heard a quote, "Your testimony is the story of your encounter with God and what role He has played throughout your life." I love that! I challenge you all to keep Him in your everyday life.