Thursday, March 22, 2012

Time That's Left

I recently noticed on my little count-down on my blog that I only  have 300-ish hours left until I leave on my mission! I mean, I still have 311 whole hours left until I finally get to leave! But this has made me think about what I do with every hour. An hour wasted on Pinterest and Facebook and the New York Times is gone and can't be retrieved. (Sometimes, the way I talk and the way other people talk, you'd think I was dying in 300 hours..but really? I think the next 18 months will be more full of living than anything.)

So what will I do with those 300 hours? Well, for about 97 of them I'll be sleeping, if I get 7.5 hours a night. That leaves me with 203 waking hours to finish my classes, take finals, do some more shopping, say goodbye to everyone, speak in church, pack everything I want for the next year and half (!!), watch general conference, spend time with my family, and become mentally prepared to serve the Lord with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. Whew. So much to do, so little time.


And yet, I've had 4.5 months since I received my call. I have no excuses. This whole scenario reminds me of the verse in Alma that says, "This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God." Who knows if you only have 300 hours to prepare meet a situation much more serious than a mission? Not to be morbid, but still.

So what will you do with the time that's left? Fritter it away? With less than two weeks before I go, the song Time from Jericho Road has been running through my head. One verse says:
Time is a movin,
Are you using
To be losing
The precious gift of time

It went so fast
But you thought it would last
And I wonder when you'll see that
Your time's run out

He is your best friend
So remember when
Your life seemed like a whirlwind
He was waiting
Forever by your side
It goes so fast You think it's gonna last
But I wonder when you'll see
That the time is now

Your time or are you choosin'

Monday, March 19, 2012

On the Shores of Galilee

A year ago I was spending 10 days at the Sea of Galilee.

 Where Christ calmed the winds and waves to become as smooth as glass.  Where He walked on water.

 Where, perhaps on this hill, He cast devils into pigs who went running into the sea.

Where, nearby in the Jordan River, Jesus was the perfect example for all of us and was baptized.

Where, on this hill side, He gave the Sermon on the Mount. And a year ago I read that incredible Sermon at the place it was given. I'll never forget it.

Where, on these very shores, He called to Simon, Peter, and Andrew and said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." And they straightaway left their nets and followed him. And their life was never the same.
Little did I realize that a year from then I would be leaving my fishing behind to fish for men and invite them to follow Christ.

And little did I know that I would watch three of my roommates open their calls to become fishers of men, and watch over a dozen of my Jerusalem girl friends and three of my freshmen roommates decide to leave their nets, too.

Last Friday my dear roommate Jamie opened her call. She's leaving for the Russia Moscow West mission in July. I'm so happy for her!

Here's how we feel about it. Happy, because what could be more happy than the opportunity to share the happiness that the gospel brings us?

More reminiscing? This post, and this one bring back the good Galilee days.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Answers for the Soul

The other night I volunteered at the Missionary Training Center. I was an investigator for two Spanish-speaking sister missionaries to teach. After expressing excitement for me about my upcoming mission, I asked if they had any advice. They proceeded to tell me about an experience they had when they were told to think of a question they had, then take 20 minutes to read and pray about it and get an answer. They both had doubted they would be able to get an answer in 20 minutes, but they both had touching experiences they shared with me.

They told me to use the Book of Mormon to find answers to my own questions, to read it with a question or a person in mind.  I have done that since, and answers truly do abound in the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon answers questions of the soul. Who hasn't wondered,

"Is there a God?"
"Is there a purpose to life?"
"Where did I come from?"
"What will happen after this life?"

The Book of Mormon answers those questions! It was written for our day! It was written for YOU!

It not only answers the big questions that I just mentioned, but it also answers questions that are unique to you, the little questions of your heart.
The Book of Mormon - Another testament of Jesus Christ

Today I finished reading the Book of Mormon again. I thought about the many hours I have spent over my life reading this same book and the moments I've had with it. When I was eight years old I started reading one verse every night, and I have read it every night since (I've graduated to longer amounts of reading, thank goodness). I remember many precious times with my scriptures when my heart was so full. Even if you don't understand what you're reading all of the time, the Spirit of the Book of Mormon will bring you closer to God than any other book could.

If you have not read the Book of Mormon, what have you got to lose? It has blessed the lives of millions of people and can bless your life, too. I know that it is the word of God. I know that it testifies of Jesus Christ.  The best part is that you don't have to take my word for it, you can read it and then ask God yourself if it is true.

P.S. Yesterday I bought a Book of Mormon and hymn book in Guarani, the indigenous language of Paraguay.  Most books are not translated into Guarani, an obscure language that only a few million people in Paraguay speak. But the Book of Mormon? It's worth whatever it takes to bring it to every corner of the earth.

Monday, March 5, 2012

When Classes Clean my Windows

I hear the wooden door of 231 of the Richards Building close behind me as I leave yet another day of class. But was it just another day of class? Or did I let it change me a little bit, making it much more than "just another day," as if to say it was inconsequential? Because of the things I just heard, learned and felt in that class, am I going to do anything differently? Am I going to treat someone better or be better able to help? To everyone else the world seems the same now as it was two hours ago, but to me the world is so different than it was before I walked into that classroom.

Walking home I look around at all the other people walking, driving, talking, exercising, and rushing around me. I just wish that everyone on campus could go to the classes I go to and feel their paradigms shift by the moment, so that they, too, would be looking at the world in a whole new way.

I will never forget the feeling of walking around campus after a class and feeling like a whole new world has been revealed, wondering how I possibly lived without understanding what was recently taught to me or brought to my attention.  The feeling of leaving my international health class last fall and walking home at sunset, looking over a gleaming Utah lake and the beautiful BYU campus, with any pre-misconceptions about poverty blown out of my mind.

The feeling of walking out of my Old Testament class at the Jerusalem center and being re-converted, re-determined to always trust in God. The feeling of leaving my substance abuse class and knowing I could never look at an addict or alcoholic and think, "What a loser to keep on using drugs and not just quit. He's a hopeless case and will probably never succeed." Leaving my consumer health class and knowing I could never look at an overweight person and judge them.

Knowledge on these subjects has replaced any old judgements with complete compassion and empathy, and understanding. When you actually understand something, there is so much less room for judgement.

Letting your perspective be changed in class is like cleaning the windows you look through. Watch this:


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