Sunday, August 21, 2016


The last few days in Las Vegas went well. We ate more buffet food which was amazing. Maher finally learned how to peal these little creatures...

 While my brother was in the casino I spent my time swimming or in the hotel room. He stayed up all night the last night trying to win the money he lost back. 

Staying in the Circus Circus hotel was nice. They had circus shows every 45 minutes and had roller coaster rides and other games. So, I did find things to do in order to avoid the cigarette smelling casinos.


I was scheduled to give a talk in Utah on the 17th. It was hard to drag my brother out of the casino so I can leave in time. I drove for 7 hours non-stop stressing that if I run into rush-hour traffic, I won't make it. Thankfully I made it in time...I spent the night with Karen and her family. They were so sweet and it was nice to meet her and her family... 

On the 18th I was invited to a reunion for all the couples that served in the Middle East. I really did not belong to the group, but it was nice to see some old friends there and enjoy the company of those amazing people. We had a Middle Eastern dinner as well, so it was wonderful. This is the park where we had the reunion...really beautiful...

My mom had surgery last week. We were worried that at her age it would be hard on her, but she is doing well. I am grateful for my many blessings...

On the way to Utah from Las Vegas, I came so close to having an accident. I don't think I have ever been so scared. A car (maybe 4 cars ahead of me) suddenly stopped. We were going 80 miles an hour and even though I often keep a safe following distance, there was no way I could avoid hitting the car in front of me. All of us, me and the cars in front of me chose to move over a lane. There was no time to think because we either hit each other or move. The car behind me, however, moved over to the next lane 2 seconds before I did, so when I moved, he was right next to me. Luckily he was a good driver and avoided the accident somehow. He was even nice enough to follow me and wave to me to tell me that there was no hard feelings and that he was ok. I probably scared him to death too...

I thanked Heavenly Father for this miracle because I really have no idea how this accident was avoided. 

Sadly we sometimes don't know how fast we could lose our lives. Just the day before that day I got so upset and yelled at my brothers because they left me waiting for them in the hotel lobby and went to see a show without telling me. I then felt so bad for yelling at them and getting so upset. So, that day would not have been a good day to die and stand before my Savior. I certainly would not have been worthy to stand in front of Him. 

My aunt suddenly died a few weeks ago, and a friend of our family just had a stroke and died.  He was a plummer and had just fixed my cousin's faucet for free a few days ago. Now, he's gone...And just an hour ago, another friend in his 30's had a stroke and died leaving his wife and 2 children.

We never know when we will be called to meet our maker. This life is too short and we need to make the most of it. I see family members saving money and not spending a penny, living their lives wanting and wishing...and I see other family members spending so much money so that they have the shadow of debt over them every day of their lives. And I saw many spend their lives in the casinos wasting every penny that they make on slot machines. I hope we can be wise...I hope we can spend money on that which is good...and spend our short life doing good things...Spending time with those that we love and serving others. That is where the true joy lies.

It is good to be be back home in Rexburg.  I have been living out of a suitcase for a while and it is not fun. It is nice to have clean clothes and do what I want to do. But, if it feels good to be home after a long trip, think of how good it would feel to go back home to Heavenly Father after this long trip of mortality/life. Our souls and our bodies would rest and we would be in peace.  When that day comes, I hope we each can strive to be ready so that it is a day of joy and peace and not a day of guilt and remorse.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Family and Las Vegas

I left Rexburg last week and went to Las Vegas. I met my two brothers there. We are spending a few days here together.
The drive was not that bad because I spent one day in Utah and also made a stop in St. George on the way so I didn't drive straight down.

In Utah I had a good time spending some time with some dear friends. I found out many of them will be in Jerusalem while I am here...lucky them!

I got to Las Vegas and thought 100 degrees was hot, but it got to 105 and today it was 110 degrees. People here are so used to the heat that when it is 96 degrees they say the weather is nice and no need for air conditioning! ugh...

  The greatest thing (Umm actually the only good thing) about Las Vegas is the good food. We went to some buffets and they were amazing. They have a booth for each country and you can have any kind of food you like. The only bad thing is that you can't try everything you want to try. But, I did try these little sea creatures and they were so good. I had to ask this random guy about how to eat them. I had no clue!

In Vegas we stayed at multiple hotels since my brother Walid gets free nights and we had to keep switching hotels...Here is the view from one hotel and from the other:

The hotels we stayed at were great, or so we thought...until we went with my brother Walid to see their room at the Trump hotel. Wow! The room had a full kitchen, two bathrooms, a living room...

And a hot-tub with a wonderful view...

And we discovered that there was a TV in the bathroom on the mirror (like inside the mirror).

Here are some other pictures from Vegas:
With some friends from Beit Sahour who live in Vegas. They were so nice to us and fed us and took care of us.

I saw my friend Elizabeth from my BYU days...It is so strange to meet her kids. They are so sweet and amazing...strange to see that she has kids, hearing about it is different than actually seeing it.

My brothers are downstairs gambling...I think I am the only one who would be ahead this trip (not losing a penny). They both lost a lot of money. They don't listen to me and keep gambling. We could have used all that money to see some shows and have some fun, oh well.