2015 has been a great year for me. I can't thank Heavenly Father enough for all the blessings I received this year.
In 2013, I felt I should quit my job and go on a mission. After returning from my mission in January of 2014, I started looking for a job in Palestine. I could not find one...
Last year, I came to the United States in order to take an exam and then get a job with the UN in New York. I was happy that I finally found work after being unemployed for almost 2 years. I was sad that I failed the exam and therefore was not given the job. I complained and did not understand why Heavenly Father would let that happen to me. I paid a lot of money for the ticket and my savings were quickly running out.
After staying in the US for a few months and trying to find a job, I gave up hope. I got discouraged and booked a ticket to return home to Palestine. A few days before my departure date, I had a job interview at BYU-Idaho. Acting in faith, I cancelled my ticket (losing all the money) and stayed in the United States hoping that this job would work out.
I was offered the job and my papers were done only days before my tourist visa expired.
This year taught me an important lesson. Heavenly Father has a magnificent plan for me, and I should not ever doubt that. He has an amazing plan for all of us and when He closes a door, he opens another (leading to a better place). When I was trying to decide if I should quit my job in 2013, Elder Porter of the seventy laid his hands on my head and gave me a blessing. I was told that I should trust Heavenly Father and that doors will be opened to me and I will be blessed. During those long months of searching for jobs, I doubted what I had been told and did not see how it was going to work out.
I started teaching at BYU-Idaho as a visiting faculty in April. It has been a wonderful adventure to say the least. The students and faculty at this university are amazing. I have been welcomed and loved by everyone in the department and feel right at home. I applied for a permanent position last month and have been selected for an interview (I'm one of 5 candidates). I think I have a big chance of being selected especially since I have the home court advantage (since I already teach here)...we will see how that goes. I will have the interview in Jan/Feb and won't know the final decision until April or May.
My mother's health has been good and even her liver tests show that the hepatitis she had is somehow gone or diminished. She is very lonely, but my sister Suhair goes out of her way to take care of her and visit her EVERY day. I feel bad being away and leaving my mom, but I do feel the Lord wants me here (for now at least).
Teaching has been hard, and I continue to struggle, as I give my all to help my students. I didn't think I would be so busy, yet I am always busy. However, some letters from my students make all the work I do worthwhile...Such as, "thank
you for teaching me humility and love as well as math".
My cousin is visiting me and we are going to go down south for Christmas. We thought we would go to St. George for a few days and maybe to Vegas. Hopefully, we can have some warmth.
The weather here has been amazingly well...temperatures rarely dropping below freezing. It did snow a few times and we now have snow on the ground. So, I still have not seen the harsh Rexburg winters everyone tells me about. But, I am sure they will come.
At this time of the year, my heart turns to Heavenly Father in gratitude for all that He has given me. As I look at the snow, I am reminded of my Savior. The fresh white fluffy snow makes everything seem quiet and peaceful. This is the kind of peace that I felt in my heart as I decided to follow the Savior over 20 years ago by walking into the waters of baptism. A kind of peace that I never knew existed. A peace I was able to feel while living in Palestine, through turmoil, conflict, and hardships.
The whiteness of the snow reminds me that my Savior gave His life for my sins, so I could be cleansed if I repent...if my sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow...
I thank Him for coming to earth, for choosing Bethlehem (close to where I was raised) as the place of His birth. He chose a troubled place to show us that real peace can come only through Him, the Prince of Peace...He said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14: 27)
I thank a loving Heavenly Father who was willing to give His only begotten son, the best gift ever given on Christmas. As we each exchange gifts this Christmas, may we remember Him who is the greatest gift of all, our Lord and Savior, our Redeemer and our King. May we follow Him and, like the Wise Men, always seek Him. May we this Christmas give Him our hearts and lives as a gift.
Here is a nice video about the Savior: Click here for video
I wish you all a wonderful Christmas!