Sunday, April 24, 2016

Pray for Yemen

The first week of the new semester is over already. It has been good and I have great students (some lack motivation, but we will work on that).  I am teaching two different classes (4 sections) that I have taught before, so this semester may be less busy for me. Which is great. I am looking forward to enjoying the beautiful weather and taking a break from a crazy life for a change. Last semester was simply too busy and a break is certainly needed. Even my few days off were so amazing and I felt my mind and body work way better after the much needed rest.
Our stake is changing some ward boundaries, so it will be interesting to see where we end up next month. I have been eager to find a house and move out of an apartment complex. It is hard to live here because we have so many students in our ward and so the ward changes so fast. It is hard to get to know anyone or form any real friends. I would like to be in a stable ward. I am actually hoping to get a house close to my friend Danae, but we will see if that will work.

I also am thinking of buying a car, I like my car, but it is getting rather old and I am not too fond of the 2-door style. Now you may be thinking I won the lottery...nope, I wish. But, I think both things will be a good investment especially the house. Interest rates are lower than they ever were, so I may take advantage of that.

My mother had surgery on her other eye and she is doing well. She says she can see better which is great. The hardest thing for me has been not being able to see my mom, but I don't feel I should go home this summer. We will see what will happen next summer, but for now, I am hanging around. I am probably going to go to Washington this summer to visit my nephew, but I still don't have a set plan.

I have been in touch with a friend from Yemen.  For his protection, I will call him Shadi (this is not his real name). He is probably the only member of the church in the whole country.  He was a Muslim and miraculously, he managed to join the church. His testimony and his faith are so strong.  I would like to share with you a little bit about him. He is married and has two sons. Heavenly Father has protected him and his family while they were in a dark basement (no electricity) with bombs falling all around them and they had no food or water. 

While in these difficult situations I would often tell him that he should leave Yemen and seek a better life. He would often decline saying that, at least for now, he felt that Heavenly Father wanted him to stay there.

Recently, he told me that his wife's father and her siblings were killed in an explosion. So his wife left to be with her mother in Sanaa'. Her family now won't let her go back to be with Shadi telling her that he has betrayed his Muslim faith and she should leave him.  

Shadi's friend and neighbor along with all his family (who are Protestant Christians) were all slaughtered by ISIS. And while ISIS looked through the phone of this neighbor, they discovered that Shadi was now Christian too. So, they went to Shadi's house to try and kill him as well. Luckily he was not at home that day. But, ISIS basically destroyed his house and tore up everything.

Needless to say, he did not return home ever again. He left and is now a refugee in another country along with one of his sons. His wife and his other son remain in Yemen.  

This sweet man has taught me so much about faith and trust in the Lord. Through all these difficult times, every time I ask how he is, he always expresses gratitude to God for protection and safety and every time I speak to him he acknowledges all the miracles he has seen in his life. Shadi told me the other day that he has felt the help and guidance from the Holy Ghost during this difficult time.
He said:
"Faith has an indescribable sweetness that only manifests itself during hardships."
للايمان حلاوة لا توصف تظهر أثناء المعاناة
The way he said it (in Arabic) sounds better, sorry...

The situation in many Arab countries is bad. Innocent people are suffering and many are dying. I hope we all can join our voices and pray for those people that are homeless and helpless. It may not mean much to us unless one of them is a friend, or a relative...but I hope we can all remember that they are our brothers and sisters. If we can't lend a hand, at least we can pray that someone will.


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