27 November 2009

A Real Update

So I realize that I haven't actually updated my blog in a while. At least not in any real way. So I thought that I would do that now.

Basically here's what's happened since I got home in the beginning of August:
  • I was home for three days, then came up to Provo to find a place to live (which I did and it was a bit of a miracle).
  • Went to DisneyWorld for a week (who wouldn't need a little R&R after serving a mission?) We had a great time and took some great pictures. You never are too old to put on Mickey ears and ride on spinning tea cups.
  • Then I came back to Provo and started the job hunt. I searched high and low for a few weeks, which was super stressful, but I was blessed enough to get a job with BYU Independent Study. I am an editor/Instructional Design assistant for IS. What does this mean? you might be wondering. Well, Independent Study does all of the online classes for BYU and we also offer a lot of high school courses. We do EVERYTHING for the class, aside from writing it, which we leave to the instructor. I edit the lessons for the classes and do basically anything else that needs to be done to produce the class, except for the art and film and things like that. I love working there and I have a great team to work with. I think lovingly of The Office when I'm at work, although it's not quite as funny as The Office.
  • I started school and decided to take 17.5 credits. (Oh, and I decided to double major as well. English Language and Portuguese. And I'm still doing my editing minor. Yes, I know, I am a glutton for punishment.) But school's going great so far. I LOVE what I'm studying and finally I am actually studying something I like and am good at. I even enjoy the homework that I'm given. That's how you know you're in the right field.
  • One of my classes is a student literary journal called Inscape. I LOVE being on Inscape and learning all about producing a journal. We do everything from getting submissions, to accepting them, to editing, to creating a layout, to putting the edition on the website, to publicizing. It's a lot of fun and I'm learning a lot. (If you want to check Inscape out, please go here: http://inscape.byu.edu)
  • Then after I got all settled with my new job, I was offered another job to work at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) to teach Portuguese to missionaries going to Brazil who haven't gotten their visas. After a lot of thought and prayer I decided to accept the job (but only temporarily) to teach these missionaries. Then I will be going back to Independent Study. At the MTC I teach the missionaries Portuguese but I also get to help them become great missionaries so they can help others have a better life through the gospel of Jesus Christ. It has been very challenging so far having so much responsibility and so much to do (I didn't have the luxury of training before I started teaching, so I'm just figuring this all out.) I'm still trying to re-balance my whole life again so that I actually feel like a student, but I love the moments when I feel like I'm actually helping the missionaries and making a difference in their lives.
This whole semester has been SUPER busy for me with so many credits and working 20 hours a week. But I'm happy and life is good. There's so much more to say, but I'll just leave it at that for now. Expect more updates soon!

24 November 2009

This past week we talked about section 59 of the Doctrine and Covenants and the correlation that it has with the Creation. What hit me most while we were talking about this was how this revelation was given to Joseph in answer to the question of what day we should worship. This revelation was given on a Sunday and the Lord said that "this is a day appointed" (meaning Sunday). So many people worry about when to worship, when the Lord is willing to answer. He did so for Joseph Smith. I love how the Lord describes what we should do on the Sabbath. We are supposed to rejoice, rest, and purify ourselves. So many times we focus on what we shouldn't do, but the Lord says so clearly all the wonderful things that we should do on this appointed day.

This section also talks about our responsibility to care for the earth. The Lord said not to use the earth to excess. In those days people couldn't even imagine a world where resources would run out. They were one the verge of gold rushes and the continent seemed endless. But what prudent counsel this is for us today. It applies very much to how we care for the earth and all that the Lord has given to us. When we are faithful in keeping the Sabbath holy and in caring for our stewardships, we are blessed.

To see Doctrine and Covenants 59 click here http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/59

16 November 2009

Types and Shadows

This past week we went to the Museum of Art on campus. I love going to those exhibits and this time we saw an exhibit called "Types and Shadows: Intimations on Divinity." It was profound. The whole exhibit is about how to look for the divine types and shadows that are all around us. I have always loved art and going to the museum reminded me of my art history class (it also made me miss it and want to take more...a common problem for me). But it was also such a moving experience for me. As we talked about the pieces and looked more closely at them, my testimony of the Savior grew and I felt the Spirit so strongly. I was touched.

There were a few pieces that touched me. One was "Devotion" by Ron Richmond. I loved it. This piece showed a woman from several centuries back looking intently at a contemporary-style vase filled with water. Looking at this painting I recognized the type of Christ. That He is the living water for all mankind. I loved the contrast between the centuries with the woman from centuries ago and the vase from today. For me, it made me think of how Christ is the Savior of all of us throughout all time. This woman was able to see the vase, or see Christ, though they were from different times.

Another piece that I liked depicted the parable of the Prodigal Son. That is my favorite parable and seeing this painting helped me realize how we are all like the Prodigal Son trying to make our way back to our Father in Heaven.

Visiting the museum was a very special experience for me. I was very edified and I saw the important role that religious art plays in bringing us closer to the Savior.

10 November 2009

Wisdom in Moving

In class a couple of weeks ago we talked about the similarities between the Old Testament Exodus and the Restoration Exodus. I was so surprised to find so many similarities. The Lord asks a lot of His people, but it is only because He wants us to get to a certain place, whether spiritually or physically.

In the Old Testament, the Lord calls Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. Moses warns the Pharaoh several times until the Lord sends down all sorts of horrible things. Eventually, the Pharaoh allows the Israelites to leave, but now without a fight first. Fortunately, they escape through the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea. However, the journey does not end when they reach the other side of the Sea, but rather they spend forty years wandering around the wilderness before they can enter the promised land. But before this, Moses goes up to Mount Sinai to receive the law from the Lord. He had to go to a high place in order to receive this law, and it was given to him shortly after they left Egypt. Eventually they did make it to the promised land where they lived in relative peace after their years of servitude and then their years of wandering.

During the Restoration, the Lord asked the saints to make a similar journey. The Church began in New York, then went to Ohio, then Missouri, then Illinois, and then Utah. Such movement was highly uncommon in that day (nothing like how we move around today) and there was purpose in it, just like with the children of Israel. The saints needed to be refined and purified before they could receive all of the Lord's blessings. The law came from the Lord when the saints went to Ohio and built the Kirtland temple--a symbolically high place, much like Mount Sinai. There the Lord poured out blessings upon the saints. But that was not the end, they were asked to move several more times before they could reach their refuge--the Salt Lake valley. It was in the Salt Lake valley where they could finally live in peace and could prosper.

We also talked about the geographical similarities between the Salt Lake valley and the Holy Land. Both have a freshwater lake that flows into a river (Jordan River in both instances) that feeds into a saltwater lake. These two locations are the only two in the world with that geography. I find that incredible. The Lord really does put His people where He wants them. I am constantly amazed at the patterns in our lives and what the Lord tries to tell us through them. He knows where we are and what we are doing.

03 November 2009

When I was on my mission we talked continually about finding "them that will receive you," meaning, that we needed to find those who were ready and prepared to accept the gospel. The Lord's way is not coercion, but is patience. He knows who is ready and it is our responsibility (yes, us, the regular Joes) to find them. I love the beginning passages of Doctrine and Covenants 42. It talks all about missionary work. I have read through those words many times and they often brought me comfort. The Lord talks about His missionaries going forth and talking "as with the sound of a trump."

He also talks about the importance of the Spirit. If there is one thing that I have learned, it is the importance of listening to the Spirit and not relying on my own knowledge to guide me through life. With the "prayer of faith" the Spirit comes and we can be guided in all that we do. It is with faith that all things are possible, but it is not an easy thing to have that kind of faith. It takes time and patience and growth.

Right now I've been put into a difficult situation of trying to decide between two really good employment opportunities. I have been spending the past week thinking a lot about what I should do. I think I've thought about it from pretty much every angle and I'm still not sure about what I should do. However, I know that the Lord will help me. He always does. I just need to have the faith to hear what He wants me to, rather than what I want to hear.

I am humbled to know that I have a Father who is concerned about my life, who knows what I am feeling and who wants to help. I may not have all of the answers, but that's okay. I don't need to know everything. I just need to have faith.