Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What Did YOU Do Yesterday?

I know that I just wrote an uplifting post. However, as I started getting ready for bed, my eyes glanced a news article I had cut out and I had to write about it.

It's probably a good thing we don't live in Ukraine right now. Is it bad that instead of being absolutely horrified, I am sitting here laughing? My love for Russian speakers is growing as we speak.

Heavenly Father Loves Me

1) My roommate is Japanese. Eventually I am going to tackle her down and force her to translate the Japanese letter I got on my mission. And then I will respond to it.

2) Another roommate happens to be someone I already know. What are the chances of that?

3) I have a wonderful family that helps me out all the time.

4) Preface: I feared that because I had to switch my books that mom would receive the money she had already paid for my books back on her card and I would be forced to pay for my books out of my pocket. (I already openly admit to being spoiled...but at least I am working to get an awesome job that's one day going to pay me loads of money in which I will find a way to solve world poverty...or at least one person's life. But I digress). I looked at the money in my account and wondered how I would pay for it and everything else plus food and gas.

End result: the money didn't go back to my mom. I am now obligated to spend that same amount in the BYU bookstore, which is exactly what I needed! Hence, I didn't end up using quarters and dimes to buy groceries, I do have money for gas for my car, and I will not be begging on the streets this week.

5) I like my Accounting 200 teacher and I got all the questions on the first quiz right.

6) My phone works. Oh what a blessing it is to have a phone that works.

7) Even if one debit card would not work to upload the software necessary for my accounting class, another debit card did work.

8) I like my job. You can all laugh that I'm a custodian, but there's still a sort of pride in my heart.

9) I will survive Math 313. I survived the first quiz, which, by the way, I did despite the fact that I did not receive the syllabus that apparently my teacher emailed to everyone.

10) I found imported Italian food at WalMart.

11) I found the BYU sister missionaries on campus last week. Hee hee, and I have their phone number in my phone along with all the other companionships I could possibly need.

You know, I really do believe Heavenly Father loves me. I don't think things going wrong are proof that Heavenly Father doesn't love someone. However, I think it's important to see the miracles in life. And I just feel really blessed at the moment. I personally think it's Heavenly Father's way of telling me that this term is going to be hard for me, but that He will be with me until the end (and beyond).

Oh, and the list above isn't in any particular order. It was sort of chronological until I added number 11.

Hmm, if any of you has seen Percy Jackson and the Olympians, you can read the next thought. If not, don't. Anyway, throughout the movie, Percy's dad talks to him, helping him out. The thought occurred to me that Heavenly Father loves to surround His children in His love. It's a feeling so close to a hug...hmm..a heart hug. "Rules" might say that we have to be separated and He can't be here in physical form in front of us, but He does talk to us. He knows the "rules," but He will get as close to us as He can.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Actuary

Yesterday morning I had breakfast with two wonderful friends from before the mission. Oh it was great! And so the topic of what I'm up to of course came up. And the question of what "actuarial science" is also came up. To my surprise, the other friend responded and I really liked her response.

So her definition of actuarial science goes like this: You use highly educated math to guess when a person is going to die and how likely they are going to need insurance throughout his life in order to set the insurance rate.

A couple days ago when I switched my major, someone asked me, "Is this what you see yourself doing for the rest of your life? Working for an insurance company?" Honestly, when I was younger I never dreamed about working for an insurance company. However, talking with this friend, she mentioned other types of work that would be open to me. It kind of made me laugh because I switched my major, but she knew more about it than I do. I just felt like the decision was right, I don't really know where it will take me.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Happy Thought

PAOLA GOT BAPTIZED TODAY!!! I got an email from a member in Rome 1 today to confirm that it did take place. Beware Satan's forces, a spiritual giant just joined the ranks of the Almighty. I am so happy and excited. Paola makes me happy. She is why a student who studied Russian got sent to Italy.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

MidCollege Life Crises

Long story short, I changed my major to actuarial science and plan on being a ghost for the next twoish years. I also got a job at the MTC again. So my life is in order. I just might disappear from eyesight once school starts and reemerge during vacation.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Battle Isn't Over

Recently I've heard a lot of things that has gotten the wheels in my head turning. These things are expressions of negativity. some of them declare a feeling of low self esteem. others declare a bad connection with our Father in Heaven and/or the Holy Spirit. What strikes me is that usually I understand their feelings because I have felt the same thing either in the past or currently.

When I was younger, the leaders of the church focused a lot on youth, and they still do. However, I heard someone mention that the brethren are very concerned right now about the young adults.

Think about the word "happy." What does it mean? Today I was talking to a friend who said he didn't think he could ever be happy (hence my motivation for writing this post). Do you want to know what I learned on my mission? I learned that there's a lot more in our control than we give ourselves credit for. Sure I make excuses when things don't go the way I want. Everyone does. But the power is in us to choose our own destiny.

This guy is not alone. How many women in our church feel like they don't understand their role as a woman really is? how many people are still struggling to find out how the Holy Ghost speaks to them? A lot! We know that because the General Authorities felt it was important to speak about during General Conference.

Satan is attacking the family. To do so he is attacking individuals. He is confusing us up and down, bending truth and inserting his own interpretations. He thinks he's winning.

What's the solution? I love how Preach My Gospel explains repentance. It says, "Repentance includes forming a fresh view of God, ourselves, and the world" (Preach My Gospel p 62). It's all about change. Shall I apply the steps to repentance? 1)Recognition: Recognize that Satan is on your shoulder. It is he who is telling you you're worthless. It is he who wants to ruin your connection with God. you are a valiant child of God and Satan doesn't want you to know that. 2) Godly Sorrow: Realize that the pain you're feeling won't bring you up. The pain that brings you up is recognizing that what you are doing offends God. 3) Confession: Talk openly with Heavenly Father. Tell Him you feel sick and lost. Tell Him what you want. Ask and seek His guidance. 4) Restitution: This is the big action part. This is where you let the Atonement fill your hole. Study the Conference talks. make goals to apply what you learn. such goals can be as simple as positive self talk in the mirror. It can also include going out and doing service. Lift others up. Stop focusing on problems and start thinking up solutions. Really you should receive your own revelation for this point. 5) Forsake: DON'T LISTEN TO SATAN. If he comes talking to you, flick him off your shoulder. God about doing good.

Disclaimer:I'm not trying to call everyone who feels badly a sinner and that you should all repent. I'm saying that repentance is changing for the better. If you feel badly, change the way you feel.

Heavenly Father loves us. He created the Plan of Salvation so that we could be happy. That's why it's also called the Plan of Happiness. Heavenly Father manifests His love in everything. He gives us leaders to guide us. he gave us commandments to keep us safe. Ultimately he gave us His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us so that we can be Eternally Happy.

The Battle over souls isn't over yet. I personally want Satan to lose.

Happy Sunday

Yesterday was like a giant hug for me. I love my family.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Other Missionaries

Okay, so eventually I'll remember all my secrets about posting. Until then, I'm just going to quickly mention that two of my former companions have blogs out there too. So, for the next four weeks you can still read about what's happening in Italy. Sorella Hansen is here and Sorella Swenson is here .

Monday, April 12, 2010

Babylon is Calling

I can remember clearly walking down the street on my way to the metro in Rome, Italy. There was music playing. My desire was to stop walking, you know, just for a minute. It was my second to last transfer. I fully recognized Babylon calling for my attention seeking to distract me. So I started singing, "Israele Dio ti Chiama," "Israel, Israel God is Calling." Or, at least I sang the words I knew in Italian, which was really only the first line, and then I hummed the rest."

Just like the mission wasn't what I expected, the journey back to regular life wasn't what I expected. I fully wanted to be weird. Maybe I am weird. However, according to my dear sister Sariah, I am not. I got released on a Saturday afternoon and that evening Sariah and Raeann introduced me to some of their favorite music videos. I wanted the world to shock me, but it didn't. (Granted, what I'm calling the world here really isn't as bad as other stuff that's out there. It just wasn't mission appropriate).

What did get to me was realizing that other people's lives went on. Half of my facebook friends are now married, and they never asked my permission! The world I had lived in changed. I am now back in Provo, forced to face the metamorphic world of BYU.

You could say I'm weird in the fact that I feel awkward around boys. The only problem is that I was like that before the mission. Thus, that's less me being weird and more me being myself. People have asked me if there were any Elders that I could potentially be interested in. I laugh at that because in my current state of mind, former elders are safe ground. They've become my brothers where nothing could develop and yet they understand the world I'm coming from. Then people laugh at me saying relationships between former missionaries can and do occur. The point of this argument is my own potential happiness right? Then what does it matter in the long-run if my "safe-house" doesn't end up being "safe?" And the answer is still no- There is no former elder who's got my eyelashes batting.

Funny thing to note: in our "going home" packet, each missionary received a couple of talks, one of which was Elder Oaks' "Dating Verses Hanging Out." I would be all too willing to ignore said talk, which is probably why I found two copies of the talk in my packet. Oddly enough I still have not read it. My current excuse is that it's packed away somewhere.

At the end of the mission we got to write down 30 traits/talents/whatever that we gained or improved upon in the mission. Like a good missionary, I completed the list. At my final interview I went to hand the list to my President. He didn't want it. It was for me to keep. Little did he know I had already copied the list into my journal and didn't really want the list either. However, this list is proof that I have changed. I had a strong testimony before the mission. My testimony now is stronger.

Heavenly Father loves His children. I can't tell you how many times I felt sick because someone didn't believe that. It's fundamental to the Plan of Salvation. God did not create this world to watch us fail. I've really grown to love inactives. Somewhere along the way they've lost focus. I in of myself can't do anything. My only hope is that as they feel my love, they will realize that it's only a reflection of the Savior's love. And He wants them back. I have been privileged to be able to witness the fact that Heavenly Father does not forget His children. Even when they turn away from God, God stands ready to accept them and will even put opportunities in their paths to lead them home. I have also been privileged to keep in contact with my Italian friends.

Real Babylon keeps calling us. The world is becoming more and more wicked as a result. Isn't it great to know Heavenly Father is in control? Isn't it great to know that when things go wrong, "The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught," (D&C 3:1). Let's stay on the Lord's side. After all, He wins.