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Elder O. Vincent Haleck

Preparing the Needful Things

Brothers and Sisters and students of this fine institution of higher learning and experience, consider that we are now at the beginning of another year and the opportunities that are ours.   Consider what our 2012 was and what we can do to seize upon the opportunities that will be ours this year to grow and progress.  You are here to learn and in that learning prepare for your future lives.  Through your academic studies you are acquiring some general knowledge and specific knowledge that will be foundational and fundamental to your fields of study and perhaps your future professions.   In the process of your education, you are developing needed critical thinking skills that will be for your good and will help you to make wise and correct choices.  
How you will meet your future and its challenges and blessings will be determined in some measure by how well you prepare today.  This educational experience will help you, consistent with the effort you put into it.  As the Apostle Paul spoke to the Galatians, ". . . for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."  This school as fine as it is, cannot prepare you for every and all things you will face in your life's experience.  In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith the Lord said:
“Therefore, verily I say unto you, my friends, call your solemn assembly, as I have commanded you.  And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”
“Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory and a house of order, a house of God.”   D&C 88:117-119
From the Lord we see a pattern:
Organizing the needful things for ourselves.  These are:  Prayer, Fasting, Faith, Learning, Glory, Order, which is likened to the house of God.
In the preparation of needful things, I want you to consider the sources upon which you will draw.  Look to your closest source at or near your home.
1.To find your first source of needful things, you do not need to go very far. 
In many of our families including your own, there are those who have had more of life's experiences than you have --those who have gone before and lived their lives and have experienced challenges.  Recently, my own mother passed away.  I quickly realized that our own family dynamics had changed as a result.  A source of wisdom and experience had gone.   During our family service, my son Jared, speaking of his grandmother, spoke about what he learned from her.  He spoke about the times when he was leaving the island to return to school.  Grandma was the last stop to say good bye.  She would give him a hug and while doing so he felt her hand put something into his pocket.  SHE WOULD SAY THAT IS JUST A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR YOUR TRIP.  IT WOULD BE A FEW DOLLARS TO HELP ON HIS TRIP BACK TO SCHOOL   
He further recalled, "GRANDMA COULD TELL ME HARD THINGS."  He knew she loved him enough to tell him hard things, and he was humble and submissive enough to respect her years of experience to listen.  My daughter, Krista, recalls: “She would hold my hand and say:  ‘TEACH THEM, TEACH THE CHILDREN.’ “  Krista knew exactly what her grandmother was talking about, knowing her background and history.   Education was something very important to her because she did not have higher education available to her as it is today.  When possible, look for goodness and counsel where you live.  For Jared and Krista, the voice of their grandmother is now stilled, but the counsel remembered and given by one who loved them rings in them in the preparation of their needful things.  
I remember not long after Sister Haleck and I arrived back in American Samoa following our graduations from BYU.  One day my mother was explaining to me how she was paying her tithing.  She would put aside 10 percent of the total daily sales from her snack bars into a little red coffee can.  At the end of each day she would count her money and put aside 10 percent.    I then recommended that she should be paying her tithing on her gross profit and not on her cost and her profit together.  She thought about that for a few minutes and said she would try it that way.  Some weeks went by before she sought me out again and said, “I am going back to my old way of paying tithing.”  I asked why.  Her response was, “Since I started paying on just my profit, as you suggested, my sales have decreased.” She was faithful in her way of paying tithing generously to the Lord.  She taught that lesson well throughout her life.  
From your own families, there will be other counselors or Jethros, like a grandma, a mom, or a dad who will put something into your pockets for your life's trip. Listen carefully and consider their counsel and use it for your own good.
2.Look to the Scriptures for counsel.
From Alma:  “. . . And how do you suppose that I know of their surety?  Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days . . .” Alma 5:45-46
Alma 37:37-41
37  Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.
38  And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball, or director—or our fathers called it Liahona, which is, being interpreted, a compass; and the Lord prepared it.
39  And behold, there cannot any man work after the manner of so curious a workmanship.  And behold, it was prepared to show unto our fathers the course which they should travel in the wilderness.
40  And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day.
41  Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works.  They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey;
He also counsels his son to “learn wisdom in thy youth,” that he may learn from Alma that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ.  Alma 38:9
From Nephi the son of Helaman:   “And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.” Helaman 12:1
From Moroni:  “. . . faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.”  Ether 12:6
3.Counsel of modern-day prophets and apostles.
We hear and read the counsel of prophets and apostles.  They provide counsel and guidance for our own day on relevant issues and how we can remain faithful.
At the beginning of the 1900s, President Lorenzo Snow was the Lord's prophet.  He counseled the following to a conference of the young people of 1901.
"Do not expect to become perfect at once.  If you do, you will be disappointed.  Be better today than you were yesterday, and be better tomorrow than you are today. The temptations that perhaps partially overcome us today, let them not overcome us so far tomorrow.  Thus continue to be a little better day by day; and do not let your life wear away without accomplishing good to others as well as to ourselves."
I refer you to the final testimony of President Hinckley, entitled "These Things I Know."  He bears his powerful witness of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, the First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Restoration of the priesthood and its ordinances, and the great significance of temples in our day.
President Monson is our modern-day example of reaching out to help and serve others.  Saving the One has been a powerful clarion call to action for all of us in the Church.  
Finally, live close enough to your Father in Heaven to be worthy and receive the counsel and guidance of the Holy Ghost.  Counsel with Him as you pray for guidance and direction in all matters of importance to you.  He has said, “. . . so even I the Lord will reason with you that you may understand.” D&C 50:12
Remember, the Lord told his disciples that he would not leave them comfortless.  He provided the Holy Ghost to help them.  This same Holy Ghost is available to all of you if you seek out the Lord in counsel.  He is your Heavenly Father and he knows and loves you.  Answers to prayers will not always come when you ask but will sometimes come when you are not expecting them.  Remember, answers will come in His time and not our own.
There are many more examples of others who help us to prepare the needful things in our lives.
From your learning here, I hope that you are not only learning to be wonderful thinkers and gaining knowledge that will give you the skills to do well in your fields of endeavors after you depart from this school.   While you are learning you must continue to pray.  Fast so that you might establish a kind of order in your lives.   Prayer will help you to evaluate and will allow revelation to come to you.  Go forth with faith and trust in the Lord.  With faith, live each day with optimism.  Learn as much as you can from your teachers.  Interact and ask questions of them and each other so you can gain understanding and wisdom.  As previously said, the Lord has revealed that we ought to learn from one another.    Be engaged in your education.  While you may not apply exactly the principles you will learn here in every situation in your future life, you will be have wisdom enough to adapt and apply and suit them to your circumstances.  
I graduated so many years ago from BYU in advertising.   Sister Haleck and I moved to American Samoa the same week we graduated and then spent the better part of 40 years living, working and raising our family there.  We served in various church callings even amidst the challenges and success with which we were blessed.    I never worked in advertising, but the core principles I learned from my wonderful professors helped me to adapt and apply those to the work I did.  I remember one of these fine teachers putting a little perspective to the angst some of us were feeling who would be entering an uncertain job market during the economic environment of our own time.  While this was true, his counsel was:  "The world will always have need for bright and honest young men and women with integrity."  He then told us to be faithful and optimistic.
Learn as Nephi counseled line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little.    
With your own preparation of needful things, serve and bless others.  It was not coincidental that in the Book of Matthew, we read of a lawyer, a person of learning and versed in the laws of the day, tempting and asking the Savior,
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”
Jesus’ response probably surprised the lawyer when he said,
“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 to it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  Upon these two commandments hang the law and the prophets.”   Matthew 22:36-40
With your learning and preparing of needful things, love the Lord.  Love your neighbor by serving and helping those in need who will be placed in your path.
Always make time to serve in the Church when you are asked.  Church service will keep you connected to the Gospel and build your testimony.  You will be blessed because of your willingness to serve.  It matters not what calling you will receive or where you will serve.  What matters is how you will serve.  Establish the house of faith, prayer and fasting.
Now, may the Lord bless you in your preparation for the things to come in your lives.  Live by the teachings of the Gospel, which encourages you to learn and study things all around and below and above you.  Prepare the needful things for your future journey, just like you pack for a trip and take certain things that you will need for your trip.  Pack and take the counsel you will receive from your parents, grandparents, the Scriptures, the Holy Ghost and our modern-day prophets whom the Lord has called and prepared to lead and guide His work today.  Just as Jared's grandmother "put a little something in his pocket for his trip," may you also consider the things others who care for you place in your own pockets or purse for your trip in life.  
I bear you my solemn witness of the Savior, Jesus Christ and the important and vital  role He can play  in our lives if we follow Him; of His atonement that has given us redemption and the opportunity to return to Him from whence we came.  I leave you with my testimony and love and best wishes for a bright future filled with opportunity and growth.   In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


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