Sunday, March 19, 2017

March 19, 2017

I don't really have much to say this week. It has been a really busy week. I gave a talk (to some of the faculty and staff at BYU-I) on Thursday and Friday. It was about my life story and how I got to BYU-I. It was a great experience. 

I also had my office painted and they also changed the carpet. So, I had to pack all my stuff and be without an office for 3 days. I am so glad that is over because I could not find any of my stuff and could not even access my documents easily.  It took me some time to unpack on Saturday, but I am glad I got that done because I can just go to work on Monday like normal except that I don't have a phone/internet still for some reason. Maybe I connected the cables wrong. We will see.

We had 5 people who had interviews and teaching demonstrations this week and it was especially busy because I could not go to many of those and so I had to watch them after work. I continue to be impressed at how well this institution runs. I am amazed at leaders who seek the inspiration of the Holy Ghost to make hiring decisions. It truly makes a difference because sometimes qualifications get put aside and the best interest of the students gets put in the first priority. 

I still did not receive many of the talks I would be translating for general conference. I have managed to translate two talks (it took me one day to do each). They were amazing talks...I can't wait for the rest of the talks. I have done my best to plan ahead so that general conference is not as busy with translation and I am not so stressed. We will see how that goes. 

We have almost two weeks left in this semester. I can't believe how fast it went. We have only a short break between semesters so I won't get to rest at all. But, at least it may get a little less busy I hope.

Again sorry this is short...I will try and do better in the future.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Life and Death...

I am not sure how to start...I would like to write about my cousin, Wisam who recently passed away. 
She died very suddenly, even though many of us expected her to die young, we didn't expect it would be this fast. She was often depressed and rarely enjoyed life. It was only in the last year or so that I have seen her turn to Heavenly Father and start to feel His love and His arms around her.

She often missed her father who passed away many years ago and she wanted him back. I guess since he was not able to return, the only option left was for her to join him. During her last days on earth, she said that she felt her father was calling her and wanting her to be with him. 

She was misjudged and treated unkindly by many. Her life was hard after going through two divorces.  She did not believe anyone loved her. She went through life believing she was an outcast that no one loved. I tried hard to tell her that her Heavenly Father loves her and she is a precious daughter of His, but for years she did not believe me.  She would often ask me to pray for her saying "God does not answer my prayers, but He answers yours. God does not love me, but He loves you."

I wished she could but feel only briefly God's love for her. It was not until one day when I challenged her to pray and ask Heavenly Father to manifest His love for her, that I felt her change. She had more faith in God and started to pray more. 

Her last words to me were the words of a hymn: "I can't wait for my Lord to give me Joy.  I trusted in people who changed and hurt me...I go back to you again Lord so that you would heal me and lift me up." Last month she said to me: "I am thinking to travel and leave everything behind ... mostly since no one needs me here." She did a place of no return.

I remember the last time she messaged me on Facebook. I had a long day and was getting ready to go to bed and I did not feel like talking. So, we didn't talk long...Now I wish I talked to her more. I  wished I made the time. 

I hope each of us can take time to spend with our loved ones. The dishes, housework, our job, nothing is more important. I hope we can tell them we care so that they would feel they are needed and loved and appreciated.

It breaks my heart that I am not able to see my mom or spend time with her these days. I wish I spent more time with her while I was in Palestine. I always complained when she wanted me to stay home instead of going out with my friends.  She just wanted to spend time with me. I just didn't see that then...

I wish things were different, I wish we had more freedom to travel and more acceptance from others so I could go in and out of the United States as I pleased.  I don't think my heart can survive losing my mom like I lost my cousin...while I am far away from her...Unable to spend the last few hours of her life with her. I asked Heavenly Father to help her stay strong. She cried a lot today at the memorial service for my cousin. Wisam used to visit my mother a lot. They were both alone and they kept each other company.

In the same day (March 6th) that my cousin Wisam passed away, my brother Mazin also lost a dear friend of his, Basil Al-Araj, who was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers.

Here is the amazing story of this young man...
Click to read Basil's story 

Life is precious...I hope we can make our lives matter. I hope that through our actions, we can reflect the Savior's love. And I hope that we remember that every life matters to our Heavenly Father. That He cares and loves all His children. Whether or not they know or feel his love or not. He is always there, He is always listening, and He is always willing to embrace each of us with His love.