I honestly don't even know where to start.
There have been special happenings and incredible blessings on this most sacred of Sabbaths.
It's not every Sunday that you learn that the man you have known as the bishop of your ward for all of the time you have been in the gopsel is being released. Surely not on what seems like just another groggy day where you try your best to not appear half-asleep as you hustle into sacrament meeting.
It's not every Sunday that you get to, as a priest, serve in the priesthood by passing the sacrament to the row where the bishop and his counselors reside.
It's not every Sunday that you learn that the man who has been a father to you in the Church is being called to what may undoubtedly be one of the most blessed and challenging offices in the priesthood.
After all, you've been going over Brother Capener's house almost since the time you joined and that family first let you into their wonderful home. You've gone to his son's horse show, you've helped his wife out while his other son has a piano recital, you've gone there just to spend time with the family that makes you wish you were sealed eternally to your own family. You've felt that every minute, every day spent in their presence was an answer to prayer.
To find out that that man is to be called as the Bishop of the Georgetown MA Ward of the Exeter NH Stake of Zion, and this while you're still trying to get the dust from out of your sleepy eyes, is sure to wake you up.
I think my feelings may have reflected that of many people today when I say that I was shocked, elated, and sad all at once. I honestly can't find words to express the feelings, the promptings of the Spirit to my soul on this incredible occasion. The world is reeling and spinning and people all around are continuously caught in the storms of life, but yet you and a few other people are witnessing an event that no one of much worldy prestige would ever witness in their lifetime.
First, let me express my incredible gratitude and love for Bishop Fitzgerald and all of his years of service in our ward. Here is a man who took me under his wing, who showed his love to the youth and I in so many ways. Never overbearing or condescending, he gently guided me along the way and sincerely discussed the doctrines of the Gospel with me. I think it is an incredible understatement when I say I will miss that man of God. With all my heart, I love him and support him in whatever the Lord sees fit for him and his wonderful family.
Brother Capener. Bishop Capener. It is still surreal to even call him by such a title. The man who ordained me to the Aaronic priesthood, whose family invited me into their home. The man who would give me great big bear hugs each time I would see him at church. The man whom I saw openly express love for his children and treat them with gentleness no matter what they might be doing. This man was and is a father to me in this Church. He reminds me of my own father, whom I love more than the world and all things in it. He reminds me of the father I want, I strive to be.
I got one of those bear hugs today. I hope you know, Bishop, that I love you, your family, and support you 100%. I realize I need to let my own family know more that I love them, and support them 100%.
Thank you to you both. These are just a few of the men that have so incredibly and powerfully affected my life.
And oh, how could I forget Brother Tew. The greatest missionary I've ever met. The one who had no problem declaring his love for the young men he taught and with whom served. I wish all of the young men could have been there in class today to hear what you said. Know that you are not the only one shedding tears. The young men of the Georgetown ward will eternally appreicate your dedication and selfless love, and will look back and know of the impact you had in their life. You have helped me to want to become a better priesthood holder, and someday a worthy husband. You're not just cool, or hip. You are my friend. You were a friend and ever will be to all of us. We love you Brother Tew.
I had the privelige of meeting with Stake President Watson for my final interview for the Melchezidek Priesthood. The words spoken, I may not always remember, but the Spirit borne and embedded into my soul will ever stand as a testament to the reality of the Priesthood and the love of God.
I can say with all clarity that God loves us. He inspires and calls men to His holy work in these days as in days of old. I know, I know, that my Redeemer lives. I haven't felt mercy more tender than today. How can I even express my love for Him. My Elder Brother, my Savior, my Friend. I love Him. It pains me when I sin after knowing what He did for me, and yet I know He loves me enough to allow me to overcome my imperfections. He is the reason I am in this Church, the reason I do the things I do. I love Him. I miss Him. I hope I can be with Him again, along with my family in the presence of my Heavenly Father. And I mean ALL my family.
What did I ever do to deserve this? Nothing. And some might say that's the beauty of it. I am so, so, grateful. Thank you, Father. May such blesings be upon all those who humbly seek Him, I pray, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.