Sunday, March 10, 2019

You are special

My book is apparently a best seller in the Rexburg Deseret Book. If you look carefully, you will see that the top 3 best sellers are not even books, but are journals. So, I can say I am the #1 best selling book. 

You may have read on Facebook about my trip to Meridian. It was an amazing day. I had a pilot waiting for me at the airport to pick me up, then he took me on a nice comfortable plane just for me. With chairs that were as comfortable as a couch not hard airplane seats. When I was done with the fireside the pilot was waiting to take me back and even waiting until I got in my car before he flew away. 

When I got to the Meridian stake center, the Stake presidency and Stake RS presidency were all lined up waiting for me. They all seemed so thrilled to meet me.  I think for one day I felt what it would be like to be someone famous.

 I also got to see the Tanners again. Jeff Tanner was over the BYU scholarships when I first got to BYU 23 years ago. I later saw them when they served in London at the same time I was there. It surely is a small world. Sister Tanner gave a tour of the Meridian temple. It was the shortest temple visit, but I was glad to see the inside of the temple.

I got to meet many people. This is always my favorite part of speaking. I gave a talk to the women in the stake. I loved to visit with the amazing sisters who have donated hours and hours of their time to make quilts that will be given to poor families in the area. There were amazing quilts all over the church building to display the work of these women.

After my talk, one of the women that came up to talk to me was an Israeli. I always worry when Israelis want to talk to me because I sometimes get comments like "you are not telling the truth" or things like that. But, this woman was so sweet. She said she has two boys that served in the Israeli army. She apologized so deeply and kept saying how sad she is about what is happening to my people. In response to her apologies, I said: "It is OK" to which she responded with tears in her eyes, "No, it is not Ok. It is not OK for your people to suffer like this." I hugged her. Just another proof to the world that peace can exist between enemies and hearts can be softened. 

I wanted to visit with every sister in the audience, and I almost did until the Tanners sneaked me out because it was getting late and pilot was waiting for me. 

I wish that we all knew (for more than one day) how special and important we all are. We are all so special and beloved of our Father in Heaven. 

One of my students (let's call him John--not his real name) shared this with me on Thursday and I thought I would share. He actually has disabilities, so he struggles in my class. But, he told me that while he was on his mission, he was not sure if he was making a difference. So, he prayed for Heavenly Father to give him an experience that would answer that question. He actually went on a service mission. 

One day he saw a 3-year old girl drowning in the pool. Her mother has gone to the bathroom and the girl fell in the pool. He got her out and by then she has been under the water 7 minutes. Her survival was unlikely. But, John got her out and performed CPR, but the child was not responsive and was blue. Finally he paused and said a prayer, and told Heavenly Father that he wanted this child to have a life, to play and see colors and go to school and get married...then he gave her a blessing and said: "Heavenly Father, by the power of the Melchizedek priesthood, please heal this child..." The minute he said that, the girl coughed up all the water and started moving.

The doctors later asked him what he did because they said that medically it was impossible for her to be healed and have no brain damage. He told them simply "I prayed!"

Heavenly Father cares about us and our needs. He can use even the weakest of us to perform miracles if we put our hand in His and do our best.

I am heading to Utah at the end of the week. I have two speaking assignments. I am looking forward to those. But, it will be a short trip.  

Sunday, March 3, 2019

You are of great worth

I gave two firesides last week, one for the youth and one for the women in one of the stakes in Idaho Falls.
The thought that kept coming to my mind was the worth of souls...and how much Heavenly Father loves us and cares about us.

On Thursday, I met the most amazing women I have ever met. Each of them is unique and each is a special beloved daughter of God.

I have seen so many women who get abused and then stop thinking they are good enough. That their efforts are not enough, that they are not a good mother or wife.

If you take a $100 bill and step on it and crumble it, then it is still worth one hundred dollars. Similarly, even if people say bad things about us and call us ugly, or fat, or short or tall or whatever...that does not lessen our worth. We are still daughters of God and are still worth so much in His eyes.

Every year my family and I picked our olive trees. When my siblings got married and moved away, my mom and I did most of the work. Because my mom is old, it was my job to climb the tree to reach the olives that are far from reach. I almost fell many times trying to reach them. I often had many scratches on my arms and hands because I struggled so much to reach those olives.

Each of us has someone who has chosen us and picked us. Someone who has marks on his hands and wrists to show the amount of sacrifice he has done for us. Our Savior Jesus Christ loved us enough to die for us and to suffer for our sins.

Sometimes when we are abused we blame ourselves and think we somehow were the reason for it. You deserve to have someone who treats you the way the Savior would treat you. Someone who honors and loves you. If that is not what you have right now in your relationships, I encourage you to do something about it. Talk to your Bishop or someone else and make things change.

We made some Palestinian food for the fireside on Thursday. I helped only with the hummus (I have never made that much hummus in my life). We had good baklava and other stuff. Jen whose house was flooded that day got everything ready even though she was carrying water all day in the mud trying to get the water out of her yard. Then she remarked to me: "I should not complain for my situation because there are others who have it worse." 

On Tuesday, I will fly to Boise (on a private plane) to give a fireside for the sisters in one of the stakes in Meridian. They really wanted to do that on a week night and since I am not able to drive 5 hours each way to Boise, they are going to send a plane to get me. I am looking forward to that since it will be something I had never experienced. I don't know if I ever will have someone willing to fly me on a private jet to give a talk again. I guess small planes are a little scary, so if you don't hear from me next week come searching for me in the fields outside of Idaho Falls.  

All the snow we had last weekend mostly melted. It is amazing how fast it melted. Well there is a strange yellow thing in the sky that is causing warmth. That could be the reason. I mean I got so used to seeing my driveway wet or full of snow that I actually wondered the other day why my driveway was this color. When I looked closer it was just the color of dry concrete which I have not seen in months.