I gave this talk a week or two ago at an Eagle Court of Honor. The two moms who were in charge of the event wanted me to tie in how an Eagle award and Scouting helped me prepare to serve the Lord later in life.
On my honor I will do my best, to do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law.
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
As a young scout, I had the “opportunity” (if you want to call it that) of doing my fair share of service projects.
From shoveling snow, to visiting the elderly, to helping my friends smooth out cement for the flag pole stand they made for their Eagle project – I sometimes grudgingly “did my duty”.
Looking back on that experience makes me really appreciative of my leaders who somehow got many of their scouts to “help other people at all times”.
When I was 19 years old, I was called to serve a mission in Santiago Chile. I knew nothing about the people or the country; I spoke only “un poco” Spanish, but I was really excited to go.
One of my toughest but most rewarding areas was the area called Lo Espejo. The toughest thing about this area was that there were lots of members of the Church our neighborhoods, but many of them were inactive.
Knocking doors proved to be the “not-so-effective” way to find new people to teach.
So we decided to do service.
The service we offered to our neighbors led to the Ramirez Catalan family. When we knocked on their door and told them we were only there to get to know our neighbors and offer service, they looked at us with puzzled look and then let us in to help them cut leather off of old army boots.
After about 5 hours of leather work, their hearts had seemed to soften and they were interested in why we were doing this “service project”. A formal appointment was made for that evening and we began teaching their family the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
That was almost 13 years ago. Today, Enrique Ramirez Catalan is the Bishop of the Lo Sierra C ward. His wife, Ana, has served in the primary.
The service I learned as a young scout prepared me for this “opportunity” as a missionary. Although I wasn’t always super excited to serve, I saw the effects it had on the people we helped as scouts. I’m grateful for diligent scout leaders who helped me see the true value in serving others. For “…when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”