Hi! If any of you don’t know me, my name is Miss Kat. My family and I moved here 6 months ago. I have been asked to talk about work and self-reliance.
Self-reliance means that you can depend on yourself and don’t need others to do things for you. In the scriptures, Heavenly Father tells us that He wants us to become self-reliant. The Church Handbook of Instructions says: “The Savior has commanded the Church and its members to be self-reliant and independent. To become self-reliant, a person must work. Work is physical, mental, or spiritual effort. It is a basic source of happiness, self-worth, and prosperity. Through work, people accomplish many good things in their lives.” So, to become self-reliant, we must work.
I want to tell you a story about how I did a lot of hard work so I could become self-reliant. When I was 5 years old, I was completely deaf...well, I’m still deaf, but I am deaf with cochlear implants now. Back then, I couldn’t hear or talk at all. When I was 5 1/2, I got my first implant. While the implant helped me to be able to hear, I still didn’t know any words in English! I knew sign language, but now I was able to hear people speak. Problem was, they spoke in a language I didn’t know. Imagine you moved suddenly from one country to another when you were almost 6. That was what it was like for me. I had to learn to hear and learn a whole new language. I started speech therapy twice a week, plus my mom started working with me all day, everyday. Soon, I was learning so fast that I couldn’t attend my signing school anymore and that’s when we had to move to St. Louis.
I worked hard at my new school. Every day we worked on speech, language and listening, and I worked outside of school with a speech therapist too. I was making a lot of progress, but I had started 6 years behind all the other kids. After 5 years, I was finally ready to graduate. I gave a speech that I wrote myself and I gave it all in spoken language. I now attend school with only kids who can hear and I am just like any other kid my age, just ask my Young Women’s leaders!
If I had given up on learning English, I would have never been self-reliant. I would have needed interpreters for my entire life. I wouldn’t have been able to go to school without help, ordered a meal at McDonald’s or given this talk! I also wouldn’t have learned to read like I can now and I would have missed out on one of my greatest talents and something I love!
Heavenly Father could have made me hearing and I wouldn’t have had to work so hard, but He wanted me to learn self-reliance. I wouldn’t be the same person that I am today if He had healed my ears. Heavenly Father blessed me in a completely different way. Sometimes, I don’t think that it is fair that I am deaf, but other times, I am very thankful that Heavenly Father made me the way I am and I know that hard work and self-reliance can bring blessings to your life, too.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN.