Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I guess everyone is writing about the same topic this week, but I have been very negative this past week and this is really for me as I need to show some gratitude for a change.

I had a busy week (aren't they all busy?)...I had a phone interview, yes, I have been applying for jobs for the past 2 months and this is the first phone interview I had. It was eye-opening really. I didn't get the job, but I was able to get feedback from my friend who works at that company. He gave me some strange reasons as to why I didn't get the job. (he could have said you did horrible in the interview, and I would have been ok with that, but he didn't.) So, one reason, he said, is that they didn't recognize two of the universities I attended so did not think my education was valid.

I have come to realize just how many positions I get excluded from just because of my name, background, and visa situation. It was very discouraging, but I am not giving up and will continue to try until the day I leave to go home. There has to be something out there for me.

I am going to see some family over Christmas and I am thinking I may go home after that. Or may go to NY and take a temporary post for 3 months and see where that takes me.  However, I still believe that I am here for a reason and something may come up before the end of December.

I have been amazed at how many people love me and care about me and are praying for me. I go to a class in the morning every day (Accelerated job search class). There are amazing people there who have been so kind and helpful.  I was talking to a member of our class and telling him about my discouraging situation. This person is always positive and cheerful, so I thought he had no problems. He told me that he had to find a job by the end of November or he will lose his house. He also told me that he found out that week that one of his close relatives has 1 week left to live. I was shocked. If he can be positive and strong despite what he's going through, so can I. I felt so bad for complaining afterwards. At least I have enough money to last me a few months. I have a place to live and my family is well.

I gave a fireside yesterday about peace. It was very good and many people came. I was especially glad that Heavenly Father heard my prayer and I did not have to drive up to Sandy in the snow. I can't drive in the snow as I have come to learn yesterday morning. It was snowing badly in the morning in Lehi and Sandy, but later in the afternoon it cleared up and roads were clear.

Someone left their purse at the fireside. We had to dig through the purse to find a number to call and could not find anything. We finally found an old business card.  We called the number and we got no answer. I went home and was talking to my friend on Facebook and happened to notice that her maiden name was the same as that lady's name who had left the purse.  I asked her about her mother's first name, and it turns out that it was my friend's mother who had left the purse.  It is a small world!!

There was an Israeli man in the fireside and he raised his hand to ask a question. When he said he was an Israeli, I thought he may have been offended by what I said and expected a critical comment. But, it was the opposite. He was such a sweet man. He had converted to the church and he talked about love and how it is the solution to all the conflict. He even gave me a Christmas card (don't know how he had it on him right there) and a hug. Very kind person. He asked me what he thought the solution was and I said to bring down the separation wall...but as that will never happen I believe the solution is to bring down our walls. If both people can see the other side with different eyes and love them then we can move forward.

I had two special experiences yesterday. I will share one only here.
I went to my friend's ward in the morning to attend church with her as her whole family was speaking in church. They all sat up on the stand and I sat in one of the rows in the chapel.

After the meeting was over the person sitting next to me turned to me and said: 'What is your name?' After telling her my name she started to cry. She said that she had never met me or seen my picture but she knew who I was because as she looked at me, the spirit told her 'you know this person'. She said she wrote about me in her book! And said she was glad to meet me. Her book is called "I can do hard things with God." It is coming out in February. Can't wait to read it....

The weather is nice today. It has actually not been that cold (at least not as cold as I remember Utah to be). It did rain a lot on Saturday. I went to an event where someone was speaking about an organization called Think Unlimited. I was impressed to say the least. They are doing a wonderful job with the young generation in Jordan. I encouraged him to come and do similar things in Palestine. I hope they will because they are really teaching people how to think and how to be creative.

Many are celebrating thanksgiving this week. I love thanksgiving and not just because of the food (although it is Awesome!), but also because it brings families and friends together. I had many invitations, and I wish I could go to all of them. I guess I will just have to choose 2 out of them.  (not at the same day!) Thank you to all the kind people who thought of me and invited me over. You are all very kind. I'll take a rain check and join you next year =)

Anyway, before I go, I wanted to tell you all what I am grateful for:

1. I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who cares about me and loves me and who knows the details of my life and is interested in those small details.

2. I am grateful for my savior, Jesus Christ, the prince of peace. It is through Him that I found peace in my life. Amidst conflict, gunshots and trials I was able to find peace.

3. I am grateful for a wonderful family who loves me and worries about me.

4. I am grateful for the gospel. The knowledge I have of the plan of salvation and because I actually know the formula of happiness. I know people seek happiness and joy and never find them. But the formula is very simply, Follow Christ.

5. I am grateful for the amazing people in Utah who love me, pray for me, and do their best to help me. I can't thank you all enough. I feel very blessed and honored to know all of you. And if you all think I am wonderful (and I know many of you do), then it is because I know wonderful people like you and learn from them.

6. I am grateful for sunshine...for pretty sunsets...for a warm house...for hot water...for having water...for having electricity....
I am still not grateful for snow, but I will get there, I promise.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Utah State University

I can't believe it is already the middle of November. Time is going by so fast. I wish I could say that I had some good leads on jobs, but still nothing. I have an interview this week, and we will see how that goes.

I drove up to Logan today. It was a nice drive actually although I had trouble finding the hotel. There is so much snow here! there is none in Provo. It is a lot higher than Provo and I felt the elevation as I drove up. It was really pretty though with the mountains and snow. I have a meeting with someone in Utah State University tomorrow. I hope it will go well. The hotel is right on campus which is convenient.

I gave a fireside yesterday. I spent some time preparing for it. I think it went ok except that it was too long. I tried to give everyone a glimpse of what is going on in Palestine and it took a while. We finally had to leave because they wanted to lock up the building. It was poor planning on my side because I ran out of time and so I didn't have time to eat nor take my medicine. So, I was in a lot of pain (hip)...My sweet friend Emily brought me grape leaves to the fireside. She felt prompted to bring me food and she listened. It is great to know that Heavenly Father cares about me that much.

During the fireside, my friend Rebekah sang I am a child of God in Arabic, Hebrew and English. It was so perfect!

I am giving a fireside next week as well. I need to be more prepared for that one because it is going to be for 3 stakes and there may be a lot of people. I will have to make sure I make it shorter so I am not speaking for 2 hours!

On Saturday I got to go to the Jordan River Temple and act as an escort and translator to a woman from Sudan who was there receiving her own endowment. Her son was going on a mission and they both went to the temple together for the first time. It was an amazing experience to be with those sweet people. They left Sudan and came to the US and here found the church. Sometimes we wonder how the gospel will reach people in the Middle East, but I think it already has! I mean this whole family are now members of the church and their children are serving missions. It is amazing!  Translation did not go very well because of the differences in her Arabic and mine, but at least she knew what was happening and felt special. The sisters in the temple were very helpful and sweet.

I have a lot to do this week, so I should get busy doing it. I have a lot of jobs to follow up on.  It is supposed to snow next weekend. I think I have come to realize that I need to live somewhere warmer. Utah is nice, but I am a desert girl. I really need warmth! It is not fun to have a frozen car, frozen water bottle in your car, and frozen windshield fluid...Maybe I'll get used to it who knows. Maybe my roommate's excitement for snow will rub off on me. She just loves the snow (she's from Canada). I mean I love the snow too, but love it more if I am watching it on TV from a warm room!


It's fine, after all it is only -5 or -10 C outside...could be much worse, right?
I just got back from dinner. Wow they have a nice all-you-can eat buffet here at Utah State University. They would prepare food right in front of you and it is so fresh and good. Especially the fruit smoothies!

Don't mean to complain about the snow...it has really been great to be here in Utah. To have freedom to travel and drive for distances (like coming to Logan) without having to stop at a checkpoint! It has been nice to be able to have heat (for really cheap) when I want it. To have a hot shower every day! to have constant running water every day! It is really nice not to have many trials. I am grateful for all that I have been given. I feel that I need to be more grateful for what I do have and not complain too much about my situation. Things will work out, and really if I don't find a job here, it won't be the end of the world. I still have a home and a family to go back to.

Life is good! I am a child of God and He loves me and that is the only thing that matters!




Monday, November 10, 2014

Being a Disciple of Christ

It has been a good week. I applied to a few positions and made many connections for jobs. For some reason I feel less discouraged and more optimistic about finding a position sometime soon. I applied to some positions at universities and am starting to think that this is what I really want to do. Teaching is not easy and very demanding, but if I have a teaching job I can take the summer off and go visit my family in Palestine. I have been missing them so much especially my nieces' and nephew's kids.

I have been able to meet with some church leaders last week. They all took time from their busy schedule to meet with me. Elder Holland gave me one of his books. I will cherish that forever. Elder Kacher took a few hours from his schedule to talk to me and take me around. And Elder Rasband was so kind and I felt his love and concern for me. The members of the church in Palestine are blessed to get to know these men.  I belong to a great church with amazing leaders.  I am hoping that they may have some connections for jobs, but if they don't, it is enough to know I am loved and that they are praying for me.

A friend of mine managed to organize another fireside for me next week in Orem. This one may be a bit more political than the one on the 23rd. So, if you are interested more about what is going on in Palestine, I would recommend you go to the fireside on the 16th. I will post something about it on my Facebook page.

I got to teach Relief Society on Sunday. Don't ask me how this happened when I have only been in the ward 3 weeks. The lesson was on Personal Responsibility. I taught that salvation is a personal thing. The reason the 5 wise virgins could not share their oil is that it was not possible to share our good works and what we have accomplished over the years to qualify us to meet the Savior. We each are responsible for our own salvation and we need to work hard to obtain that.


I related our job (to make money) to our real job of why we are here on earth. Each job has a list of tasks and a boss. So, if we think about it, we can have this list for our earthly task:

Job Title: Disciple of Jesus Christ.
Report to: Heavenly Father/The Savior
Tasks: Obey commandments, love others, serve others, read the scriptures, pray, go to the temple, have joy, ...etc.

How much of our time on earth is spent to do what we are here to do? Below is a quote from the lesson:

 “He who sent his Only Begotten Son into the world, to accomplish the mission that he did, also sent every soul within the sound of my voice, and indeed every man and woman in the world, to accomplish a mission…to save the world, the dead as well as the living.”

This is my favorite picture. If we each put ourselves in the place of the Savior, we will realize that we need to be strong and need to stand on a solid foundation before we can lift and help others. We need to work on ourselves and strengthen our own faith before we can help others.


I hope we can all remember who our Master is! He is the one who provided manna and water for the children of Israel in the desert, He is the one who fed the 5000, He is the one that provided fish for the disciples when they toiled all day in vain, He is the one who controls the elements, He is the one who raises the dead and heals the sick.

Our Master is all powerful. He can provide us with the needed material things, but He wants us to serve Him and do the job that we came to earth to do!

Just as Elder Holland imagined the savior telling Peter when he went back to fishing, we can imagine Him telling us the same thing...So, for those who spend too much time worried about making money and spending all their efforts gathering material possessions, the Savior could be telling you..."If I want fish, I will get fish. What I want are disciples and I want them forever!"

I hope we all can be better disciples of the Savior. I hope we can dedicate our lives to serving Him and fulfilling our earthly mission, saving ourselves and others.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

God Loves You

I just returned from a short trip to Moab, Utah. I have been in Utah many times, but never got to visit these amazing places. Who would have thought that the desert could be so beautiful. I always loved green forests just because back home we don't have many trees. So, I didn't think something brown could be beautiful.
And what is more amazing is that nature can produce something like this. It is mind blowing that such amazing rocks could just develop over time. I've learned a bit about geology thanks to Br. Moore. My friend's father showed me around and took me in his little car. It was really fun to drive it and especially to cross the river in it and splash the water (27 times!).




 Learned that the white rock is salt...



Also went on a canoe down the Colorado river. We went through the slow areas of the river, as it is safer. But, that means you have to row all the time. I was tired towards the end...But, it was so nice as it was quiet and relaxing.



 

We saw this bird and kept trying to approach it quietly to take a picture and finally got a few good shots. Even a video with him flying.


Some Indian writing on the rocks:


Stayed and watched this hiker climb up the mountain. Very impressive:


As I looked at these amazing rocks I wondered how they are formed. I have come to learn that mostly they are shaped because of natural elements (rain and wind). Over the years they turn into these amazing shapes. It is similar for us in our lives. We face trials and difficulties and wonder, why am I facing all these storms? But, in reality, God is just shaping you and forming you into a master piece. We need to learn to trust Him and let Him guide us, direct us and help us become who He wants us to become.

As you look at the pictures below. I want you to think of two things:
First, how they all point upwards. After many years, all these rocks end up being one strip pointing to heaven. So it is for us. As we are purified, cleansed and perfected, we will get closer and closer to heaven and we will point to Him who created us. The more trials "storms" we face, the closer we are to heaven and the closer we are to our maker.

Second, we saw many rocks. They are all similar in that they are made of the same material. Yet, they are all different in shape. There isn't one that is more beautiful than the other, each has it's own unique beauty. We humans are the same. We are all made of the same material. Yet we are all beautiful in our own way. We all look different and each of us has a unique beauty. We need to never forget that we have the same creator and the same parent (our Father in Heaven). He loves us each, no matter what we look like or where we stand. He loves us enough to send storms, rain and wind to mold us and shape us so that we can one day be perfect, like Him. 


This is called Balancing rock:



 
 


P.S. I am giving a fireside in Sandy on the 23rd. I will put up a flyer about it on my blog (on the side) if any of you are interested in coming.