missionary farewell talk

Thank you to everyone who made their way out to come see me and say goodbye! And for those of you who missed my talk today, here it is! I love and miss all of you so so so much! 

Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why.”

3 Nephi 5:22 says, “Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people, that they might have everlasting life.”

Brothers and sisters, the day I got my patriarchal blessing, I knew why I was sent down to earth. I knew I was to serve a mission when I was of age. 3 years later, here I am, standing before you, qualified and ready to represent Jesus Christ, to share his gospel and to spread the everlasting joy that comes with being an obedient follower of Christ. 

Four months ago, I received my call to serve as a missionary in the Guatemala Retalhuleu Mission. Thinking back on the day I got my call, I remember asking myself the questions, Where does the Lord need me? When will he need me? Or what if I open it and it says He doesn’t need me at all right now? So many questions ran through my mind as my shaky hands were holding the white envelope. But then I read out loud the words, “Dear Sister Pereira: You have been called to serve as a missionary of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,” and in that exact moment, I knew that Heavenly Father needed me. He needed my fervent testimony of the gospel and my pure love of Christ to share with the people. 

A couple years ago, I came across a story that has had a very great impact on me. “The following event took place in a ward in SLC in 1974. It occurred during a sacrament meeting. A young man, just before leaving on his mission stood in sacrament meeting and said: Brothers and Sisters, as you know, the past 2 weeks I’ve been waiting for my mission call. During the time I was waiting, I had a dream. I knew it wasn’t an ordinary dream. I dreamt I was in the pre-existence and awaiting my call to come to Earth. I was filled with the same anticipation and excitement that I had before I received my mission call. In my dream I was talking to a friend, and I felt a special closeness to him, even though I’ve never met him in this life. As we talked a messenger came and gave me a letter. I knew it was my call to go to earth. In great excitement my friend and I opened the letter. I gave it to him and asked him to read it aloud. It said: ‘You’ve been called to Earth in a special time and to a special land. You will be born to the true church and you will have the priesthood of God in your home. You will be born into a land of plenty, in a land of freedom. You will go to the Earth in the United States of America.’ My friend and I rejoiced as we read my call, and while we were rejoicing the messenger returned. This time, he had my friend’s call. He told me to read it aloud. It said: ‘You’ve been called to go to the Earth in circumstances of poverty and strife. You will not be raised in the true church. Many hardships will attend your life. Your land will be fraught with political and social difficulties- which will hinder the work of the Lord. You will be born in Costa Rica.’ We wept, my friend and I, as we read his call. And my friend looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, ‘When we are down on earth, please come and find me.’ Then the missionary said with tears in his eyes, “Brothers and Sisters, I have received my mission call. I’m going to Costa Rica.” About a year later, the bishop received a letter from that missionary with only 4 words: I FOUND MY FRIEND!” 

Every time I read this story, I become so overwhelmed with the Spirit. In D&C 18:15, it reads: If you labor all your days and bring one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy. 

Each and every one of us are placed on Earth for a reason, a reason that we will come to know at some point in our lives. I know that right now, I have been placed on this earth to teach people of the gospel and the truthfulness that comes with it.

As I have been preparing to serve a mission, I have really come to know that everything happens for a reason. We battle trials to learn lessons, and we meet people that will give us happiness, experience and memories. 

As I prepare to serve and teach, I pray that I will affect the life of at least one. I want to lose myself in the work and solely focus on the need for hope and faith in this third world country. Knowing that I will positively influence the lives of others has never made me so sure of my decision to serve the Lord, in my entire life.

I can’t say that I’m fearless or even not nervous, I’m so scared of the unknown but every time I go to doubt myself, the Spirit is quick to boost my confidence. Amid this long wait, I’ve had so many sweet people give me advice that calms my nerves, but one piece of advice has stuck with me since the day I got my call. “YOU are called. Not that person or that person, someone in Guatemala needs YOU.” 

I love reminder. I feel like I tell myself that I won’t know enough, or that I’m not good enough to serve a mission, but then I always follow it up with “but I was called.” It’s so hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that my outgoing and bubbly personality is needed. Yes, they need my knowledge of the gospel, but beside that, someone is in need of my unique happiness and endless love for Christ.

In a talk titled, “The Opportunity of a Lifetime” by Elder Christopher Waddell of the Seventy, he said, “Long before leaving our earthly home to serve a full-time mission, we left heavenly parents to fulfill our mortal mission. We have a Father in Heaven, who knows us – our strengths and weaknesses, our abilities and potential. He knows which mission president and companions and which members and investigators we need in order to become the missionary, the husband and wife, the father and mother, the disciple of Christ we are capable of becoming.” “Your mission is a training ground for life. The experiences, lessons, and testimony obtained through faithful service are meant to provide a gospel-centered foundation that will last throughout mortality and into the eternities.” 

They say a missionary is someone who leaves their family for a short time, so others can be with their families forever. The gospel provides this everlasting eternal happiness for all people and families. It’s simple. Missionaries have been called to share Christ’s message with people who may have lost hope or faith along the way. We have been called to spread the gospel, and to change and save lives. No trial is too hard when you have the true gospel of Christ in your homes. 

We, as members of the church, believe that, “the home is the best place to teach, learn, and apply principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Which is why I am so grateful for my family and the home that I have been raised in, where I know that I am loved, where the gospel of Jesus Christ has been taught, and where we can pray and serve together. 

In June, I had the opportunity to go through the temple with my parents and close family friends. Walking through the temple was so special as the quiet rooms were quickly immersed with the Spirit. Saying that, ‘going through the temple for the first time was amazing' would be an absolute understatement. The temple allows each and every one of us to truly understand the meaning of life and the purpose of the Plan of Salvation. The Book of Mormon tells us that, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” God created us with the purpose of giving us joy. Why should we keep this pure happiness to ourselves? Because of the great joy of the gospel, each of us can and should share that joy with others. 

President Thomas S. Monson once said, “When we share the gospel with others, we unavoidably get outside of ourselves: we think and pray and work for the blessing of others, and this only further enriches and quickens us by the Holy Spirit.”

We can easily share the gospel by our example. When we look for opportunities to serve others, we are serving God. I know that when I do serve others, I always feel so peaceful and loved by my Heavenly Father. We should be striving to be like Jesus Christ and follow by his example. If we can commit ourselves everyday to helping the people around us, we will recognize the abundance of blessings that the Lord offers us. 

The other day, I, along with another prospective missionary, met with a few of the stake council members where we shared our thoughts, feelings, and testimonies about the adventure we were about to embark on in the next couple of days. As we were sitting in the Spirit filled room, President Aina said, “I feel impressed to tell you to rededicate and recommit yourselves every single day on your missions. By doing this, you will lose yourselves in the work.” I can’t explain the feeling I had, but hearing that made me so determined to make this next year and a half all about the people I will be serving. When we focus outward instead of inward, real happiness is found.

I’ve heard from so many people that a mission was the hardest thing they have ever done, but it was also the most rewarding thing they had ever done. My mom continues to tell me everyday that her mission was the first best decision she had ever made and every decision following has been effected by that original choice to serve.

I’d like to share one of my favorite scriptures with you. It’s Mosiah 2:41,  ‘And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.’

When we fall into a sorrowful state, we stop looking for the blessings that we receive on a daily basis. The Lord never stops blessing us. We need to strive to be better followers of Christ, and in return, we will recognize the small and simple things the Lord does for us. By obeying the commandments and loving God, He will bless us beyond our expectations. 

I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each and every one of us. We are placed on Earth with a purpose and a goal; eternal families. I know that eternal families are our way to endless happiness. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that through Him, all things are possible. I have come to know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and is the Word of God and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God who translated the Book of Mormon. This is the true gospel of Jesus Christ and I cannot wait to teach the people of Guatemala of the endless blessings and joy that this gospel provides to the righteous followers of Christ.

However difficult this road may be, I’ll see you at the end.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


  1. Beautiful! We will be keeping you in our thoughts and prayers Sister Pereira! We love you so much!

  2. Love your ability to express in words all of your feelings.