Saturday, February 26, 2011

Repent All Ye

Okay, so this post is in response to a conversation I had earlier today. None of you need to care, but I'm going to defend my point of view. I kind of felt like the enemy zealot.

Often times people look at me as though I'm naive because I am shocked when I hear about certain behaviors. Yes, I know that not everyone at BYU is a perfect little Mormon. Yes I know there are some stupid missionaries in the world who will do terrible things on their missions. Yes I know our cliche's aren't always right. That doesn't mean I have to accept them or act like it's nothing.

As is obvious, we were taught to study Preach My Gospel on the mission. In the MTC they tried to drill in our heads that we were supposed to teach people and not lessons. Unfortunately, people got that confused with rambling off on whatever came to your mind and don't worry if you ever get to the topics in the book. (That was a side note). My real concern is that we were also told to adjust our teaching methods for the type of people we were teaching. There were many rules in Preach My Gospel that I let slide because over the course of my mission I got the impression that we let those things slide in Italy. It's Italy, just try to keep a lesson down to an hour. We don't want to offend them, so we will let this or that slide. DO NOT OFFEND PEOPLE!!! (I still think I was right that one time, but I'm not gonna tell you the story because you'll all think I'm a monster).

Anyway, in my last transfer our zone leaders taught us "First Encounters of the Best Kind." I instantly had a testimony of it. It was everything in Preach My Gospel that we had been letting slide. It was a perfect way to teach people who we were and invite them to come unto Christ. I wish I knew it my whole mission. Mind you, it was perfect for Italy too. Other places know how to get the work done, but this could revolutionize my mission. I had awesome results using it too.

Back to my point. We have rules. Yeah, sure there are exceptions. However, if you go around thinking you're the exception, you're going about it all wrong. In the end, I spent my whole mission trying to figure out what exceptions I should let in and when to be 100% obedient. In the end, I realized that it was all handed to me in the beginning. There are no exceptions. We try to give 100% and then we plead for forgiveness when we fail.

I'm not perfect. I don't claim to be. However, a good friend informed me that we always judge everyone around us. It's true. So let me be upset when I hear about people making dumb choices. Preach My Gospel says to be devastated when people don't do their commitments. As I'm not a missionary anymore, it's not my job to call people to repentance. It's also not my job to act like it's nothing and let them walk on the road that leads straight to hell.

So repent all ye! (And now I'm gonna get struck by lightning...even though it's snowing and I'm inside).

I'm not really trying to call anyone to repentance. I don't even know the people who are the object of my current criticisms. Really, I just want people to understand that it's okay to not accept behaviors that deviate from what the prophets tell us. It's okay to stand next to the prophet and trust him. There are good people who make stupid mistakes. That's okay. It doesn't prove that the prophets don't know what they're talking about. We shouldn't shun bad decision makers because guess what! We ALL make mistakes. It all boils down to that common phrase, "Love the sinner. Hate the sin."

And I think my rant is over.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Still Learning

So you know when you have trials and you just want to shake your fist at the sky and shout "Why oh why!" Then you calmly tell yourself that there is a reason and you just have to wait. Then a year passes by and you still don't understand.

Well, a combination of today and yesterday has helped me solve one of the greatest mysteries from my mission.

A wise person in Sardegna once said, "Missions are tailored made." Missions are specifically designed to help you know how to grow. They show you your weaknesses so that you can become stronger. It's been over a year since I lived on Sardegna. I am still learning from that experience. And finally, some things are beginning to make sense.

Do you wanna know what's even cooler? The answer to the mystery solves other mysteries as well.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Story

Yesterday my coworker tried to give me junior mints. I'm not a huge fan. Somewhere amidst the conversation she challenged me to give the junior mints to a guy. That's easy enough. Then she added that it couldn't be just any guy. There had to be a story involved. I think what she wanted was for a guy to fall madly in love with me because I gave him the junior mints and we'd live happily ever after. Heh, yeah right.

Well, I went through my day forgetting about the junior mints. The end of the day approached and they were still in my backpack. Right before going to bed, a guy came to our apartment. He wasn't that excited about junior mints so I figured coming up with a story with him probably wouldn't work out. So I went to work with failure in mind.

Of course, the wheels in my head started turning. There were two requirements. 1) He had to be male. 2) There had to be a story worth telling. The story didn't have to be about romance and the guy didn't have to be eligible. It just so happens that I work with a lot of ineligible unromantic young men. Now, how to weave a story? I told a different coworker of my plight. He's the one who got all our service elders together to have a contest. In the end we decided on an arm wrestling contest. Elder Perry won. He got the junior mints. He also said he would share with the district.

It is a story, even if you can say it in one sentence. I gave it to the winner of an arm-wrestling competition among elders. My coworker approved. I'm not a failure.

I have homework due and I need to study for a test. Why am I blogging?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Two Thoughts

Usually when I run into someone who I love, but I haven't seen in a long time, I take it as a sign that I am on the right path. If that's true, what does it mean when I run into someone that I'd rather avoid? Was I taking the wrong path? If so, why did I then run into some awesome person shortly thereafter? Obviously it means that to experience the good you have to go through some rough stages.

Oh, and what am I saying? I don't avoid anyone. I love everyone.

Thought 2: So I found myself listening to this person rambling off in Italian as quick as can be. I tried to respond. Little did this person know that I've been doing more with Russian than Italian lately (which is saying something since I haven't been doing much with Russian at all). I wanted to feel embarrassed when Russian popped out. However, he just kept on rambling. So either he doesn't listen to me or he thinks so highly of me that he didn't notice that I wasn't speaking Italian. People can be very interesting.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Saturday I took my economics test. Logic would tell me that I will be lucky if I get 50%. School has a way of getting people exhausted and stressed.

Today I took my math test. I studied. However, I might have had the negative feeling that it didn't matter how much I studied. I was destined to fail. And I'm pretty sure I did.

Then I went to FHE. The lesson really impacted me. Our lesson included the story of Enoch. He questioned the Lord how he would be able to preach to people with his impediment. The Lord promised him strong words and through Enoch the City of Enoch was built.

True, Heavenly Father hasn't come down personally to talk with me and command me to do things. However, for a moment I felt the despair that Enoch must have felt when he was commanded to preach despite his inadequacies. That's where I'm at right now. The despair. I don't know what the future holds, but it won't be good unless I can walk in faith. Dwelling on the negative won't lift me up. It was by faith in the Lord that Enoch was able to perform miracles. Miracles can happen.

After FHE, I opened the letter that came in the mail for me. I literally hopped up and down when I saw what was inside. Paola wrote to me. She sent me the CD of Russian music that she had sent me in the summer. Misfortune sent the CD back to Italy. She also sent me two cards and a note - all in Russian. Lastly, she sent me a picture of her and her daughters. I couldn't have asked for a better Valentine's Day gift.

I'm happy!

Oh, and I have one awesome mom! I just thought I'd throw that out there. She had a hand in making today a good day too!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Russia is Calling

Thursday is the day that the sisters who do service for me are the Russian speakers/learners.

Today I went to the math lab. I really should go more often. And I really should go for help. That's beside the point.

A guy from my study abroad was there. In previous posts, he has been named Vlad (back when I tried to bend over backwards to not put people's names on my blog). I told him how I had run into Dr. Bown. So far I have not gone to her class, but he suggested that I do. He also said he was going to Ukraine in the summer. I'm a little jealous.

Then later I ran into Dr. Bown. Well, I guess I was motionless, so we could say she ran passed me. We exchanged a few words in Russian. By that I mean she said a few words in Russian, had to translate, and I would respond with one-worders.

Lastly, my brain-dead deed of the day was to reread my blog posts from my study abroad.

Мне грустно, что я не говорю по-русский больше.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Easily Distracted

One of my pet peeves is being interrupted when I'm talking. I'm pretty sure no one likes it. I don't know when it started, but I see myself allowing interruptions more regularly now. And by that I mean I will be listening to a person and then allow another person to intrude.

When I was younger, I got used to being of second importance. That sounds overly dramatic. I probably did have some sort of insecurity complex, but we all have those right? By second importance I mean letting someone with more urgent news cut in. I can remember clearly a time when a young women's leader asked me about school. I started to respond. This is one of those conversations that isn't really important for anyone's salvation and is definitely not urgent. Another young woman came up to talk to our leader. I paused to let the intruder in. The young women's leader looked directly at me and motioned for me to continue. I had her full attention and it wasn't even anything that I thought was important. Yet at that moment, I felt important.

Don't get me wrong, I don't feel like people shove me off on a regular basis. On the contrary, I think people hear me out more now than ever before. (I think I learned the importance of being heard on the mission). However, I will always remember that example. I want to make a resolution today to be more like that Young Women's leader. So, next time you're talking to me and I'm looking around, feel free to tap me on the shoulder to bring me back. Thanks.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Birthdays and Weddings

The oldest cousin on my Bjarnason side got married yesterday. Everyone keeps trying to tell everyone else that he is in his 40s. I'm going to crush that rumor. He is not. So there!

Fortunately for me, he got married in Salt Lake, which means I got to go. I also have been fortunate enough to get to know and love his wife. On top of all this, he decided to get married the day after my birthday, which means he brought my family up to Utah to celebrate with me. It's the first birthday I've celebrated with my parents since high school.

It's been a fun weekend. I really should go into more detail, but I don't feel like it right now. I do want to quote my brother, though, because he makes me laugh. "You are interesting luck. Not good luck, but interesting." In other words, being around me makes interesting things happen. You know, I love my brother. Sometimes I look at myself and I just think I'm rather boring. If I truly am interesting luck, then good. People should be able to stand being around me. And as much as I know my brother's intentions are not as normal as one would hope, I am glad that he likes driving with me and being with me. I really love my family, every aunt, uncle, cousin, sibling, relative, all of them. I've truly been blessed!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

:) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Today Dr. Bown said hi to me. It always feels good when teachers remember who you are. Not only did she say hi to me, but she informed me that she teaches Russian 202 at 10am Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and I am allowed to sit in on the class. :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
(If you have to turn your head sideways to recognize those as smiles, do so now).

Other note, for my last two birthdays, I have been fortunate to be around a native Russian speaker. However, neither of them were able to sing this song for me. Now youtube can do it.

Tonight and tomorrow my family are coming into town. :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) I'm a little excited. Tomorrow is destined to be a great day!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Groundhog's Day

Maybe I'm just out of the loop, but no one seems to be talking about the groundhog. If someone is going to mention the weather today, he/she is going to mention how cold it is.

Well, just in case anyone else was out of the loop, Punxsutawney Phil has predicted an early spring. I guess that shouldn't surprise anyone. I mean, an extremely cold day obviously signifies the end of winter. There's no sun!


Sometimes I probably come off a little stronger than I intend. Well, I guess I also have a guilty conscience and worry about everything. The point is that I guess I kind of bashed "Words on the Journey" for not updating. Yet, I don't update with any regularity at all. I feel like hypocrite. So, in an attempt to not be a hypocrite, I am writing this post condemning my hypocrisy. It's probably pointless, but alas, it will make me feel better.

So, on another note: other than being sick, I really did have this great and amazing weekend. I was going to post about it, and then I never did. Now it's Wednesday and the weekend has been over for half the school week. Eventually pictures should be either uploaded here or facebook. Seeing how I only uploaded half of my mission photos to facebook and I haven't added any since, I don't see that happening any time soon. So this is a blah post. Blah.