Sunday, October 6, 2019

General Conference fun times

This post will be short. I just got back from Utah and I am tired.
I like Utah, but I am grateful I live in calm Rexburg. Traffic in Utah is insane especially around conference. I am grateful I didn't get stuck in traffic that much though.

Conference was amazing. I would say this conference impacted me most. I feel I need to change. We live in a time where we can't just switch to cruise control and move along. I feel that is what I have been doing. I go to work, go to church and do the bare minimum to survive. I need to be working on making my spirit grow and improving and serving. 

I am so grateful for a loving prophet. I love President Nelson. He surprised us (the translation team) by announcing the temples in the women's session. As he gave his talk (which I translated), he did add the part where he said he wanted us all to be part of his family. This was not in the original talk. I loved how Akram interpreted the talk. It was the most powerful talk in Arabic and English. Akram even said he was moved almost to tears as President Nelson spoke. He said he felt the prophet's love for the women of the church. 

I am so amazed that there are women that feel left out in the church. I mean it was clear from the prophet's talk that we are powerful beyond measure.

I have had a cough all week and chest pains the last few days. I went to a doctor and he said nothing is wrong. I am actually mostly fine if I don't have to speak. I have had such a hard time teaching on Thursday and Friday. It hurts to speak and I feel tired all the time. 

I was worried about interpreting for general conference. I don't think they want someone coughing as they interpret. I did Ok for most talks, but when I did the women's session, my voice died. Well, I did the conducting for sister Jones, then the prayer, then sister Aburto's talk...then by the time I had to do sister Cordon's talk I could not speak. I feel I ruined her talk. I have to go listen to myself in Arabic and see how bad it really is...And her talk is amazing and important for me since I serve in Young Women. I translated her talk and got to memorize the YW theme before anyone in the church even saw it. 

Anyway, she was speaking super fast and I could not keep up. And I kept wanting to cough and drink water and could not pause. I was going to die towards the end.  I have decided to write a letter to Elder Rasband and complain about the fast speakers!! Why can't everyone speak as slowly as Elder Rasband, or president Nelson??! I mean imagine someone standing up in church and reading a talk so fast. This is what it feels like we do when we get a fast speaker. Like we are reading super fast and the talk loses it's meaning.

Elder Bednar's talk was interesting. I loved it, but the translation team had a nice conversation about the Arabic words for some of those animals. It felt like we were doing National Geographic!

I got to see a few of my favorite people during conference. I saw Sharon Eubank and Susan Porter...and of course our amazing translation team. I also got to say hi to Elder Gong and take a picture with sister Craig. You run into people when you have dinner at the church office building I guess.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

A dustpan at a time

I am discouraged and think maybe I should stop writing every week. Not many read my posts anymore and I honestly don't have much to say. I sometimes feel like this is my journal and I write weekly, but I feel I don't share too many personal things here and I do need an actual journal.

I was just reading my journal from 1996. Wow, the amount of pressure my parents and family put on me to leave the church. The constant criticism, mocking, threatening and yelling. And worst of all, the silent treatment where they won't speak to me at all. Telling me to leave the house. Not letting my friends come to visit me...and when they do come they would get in arguments with them about religion. This went on every day all day. 

There were days when I doubted my belief. Days when the persecution got to be too much and I didn't know what I believed anymore.  I was sick for days, physically and spiritually. Yet in my journal I talk about how, even while sick, I got up and served my family and helped around the house. Somehow I kept going.  I would get up and listen to my parents complain then I would go to church anyway, then after church I would run to work (I had to teach in Hebron on Saturdays that year). Then I would come home and grade papers and work in the house while listening to constant criticism and mocking. 

One day my father needed help to clean our well. No one was willing to help him, but I was. To clean the well, we had to haul all the remaining water from it and scrub it. On bucket full at a time. But, when there was little water left, I remember using a dustpan to get the water out...Hundreds and hundreds of dustpans of water. I made a comment in my journal saying that I realized something that day "you can accomplish much by doing a little at a time". It is interesting that a seemingly impossible task (lots and lots of water) could be accomplished using a small dustpan. 

There was one day in 1996 when I felt so tired. I was sick and pressure from my family was more than I could handle. I went in to talk to my branch president, but I couldn't tell him what was going on. I tried to talk to some friends from church about it, but they all seemed busy and so I felt alone. 

What kept me going that day? and every day? Well, I took it a day at a time. Every day, even the darkest day, had a split second where I saw Heavenly Father's love. Where I felt His spirit. I would reflect on my baptism and I knew that I knew then...Like the dustpan these little candles in my dark world brought me light and hope and kept me going. 

My strength sometimes also came from my family themselves. The same family who made life difficult for me at the time. When a sweet sister would make herbal tea instead of regular tea so I could join them and drink with them...when a brother would say that he was proud of me for standing up for what I believed...or when a member of the family would stand and defend me.  Those little moments meant the world to me. 

I hope that we never underestimate the effect we have on others that are struggling. Sometimes a simple word we say or a smile can be a lifeline to them to keep them going.

And if it is you who is struggling, then I say take life a dustpan at a time...If you can survive today, don't worry about tomorrow. Take small steps and eventually you will get there. The reward at the end of the road is great and it is worth it. You don't have to get there today or just have to keep walking, keep fighting, keep praying, and know that you have a Savior who loves you who is right next to you holding your hand (even if you can't see Him).