Sunday, January 29, 2017

Liberty and Justice to All

I somehow feel there are a lot of views on this topic. I don't want to offend anyone, but I feel I do need to say what is on my mind. 

I looked at shock at the decision that prevented the entry of many people to the US. They were denied entry simply because they were from specific countries. These people were denied entry even if they had the proper visa, or even had a Green Card to enter the country. 

I can only imagine what that is like. I have had the desire to visit my family and my old mother for the past 2 years. But, since I stand at the risk of not being able to get back into the US, I am reluctant to leave the US and go home for a visit.  I am afraid now with the new decision and others that may follow, I have two choices...I can stay in the United States working at my current job that I love, living in the house I just bought and enjoy all the freedoms in this country and never see my mother again, or I can go home to see my mother one more time and not ever return to the United states, losing my job and everything I own. I am frustrated with the position that this has put me in...choosing between my family and my future and job.

I have a brother who was working here in the US in the 80's. He had a valid work visa here. He had a good job, a car, a house and was happy.  He decided to go back home to Beit Sahour for a 2-week visit. He was never allowed back to the United States. He lost all his belongings and his job. I remember my brother being so depressed and almost going crazy trying to get the United States to allow him back in.
My family and I are Christians...but we are still automatically labeled as terrorists just because we are Palestinian. That is why we don't easily get into many countries. But, we are still blessed because we still can live in Palestine in relative safety. We are surrounded by walls and checkpoints, denied of many human rights, have no access to water most of the time, we have bad economy, but we have our homes. We have a home that is not constantly being bombed...

I think of those in Syria and other places, who have no homes, no cities even left. Where do they go? What do they do? It is sad that many countries are closing their doors to them...

I think of my friend from Yemen, who is now a refugee in Malaysia.  He can't work in Malaysia, and he has no where to go. He can't return to Yemen because ISIS has already tried to kill him and his family simply for converting to Christianity.  

As Yemen is one of the seven countries that the US imposed a ban on, my friend has lost all hope from ever coming to the US. He was so happy about the possibility of coming here last year. "I look forward to going to the temple in SLC", he told me. Now, that  seems like a dream. 

Why can we simply consider someone a potential threat simply because they were born in a certain country? What gives us the right to judge people's hearts? To decide who comes to the US to do good and who does not....I simply think of my family, some of which are US citizens...My brother, Mazin, who has done so much work in genetics and helped science nephew Danny with great inventions regarding scanning...The US would be so different without immigrants. There are so many immigrants who shaped the history in the US and made it the great nation it is...
I am not sure how Americans could forget that without immigrants this country would be empty...Everyone of them comes from a line of immigrants.

I lived with Muslims all my life, and have countless friends that are Muslims. I honestly look at all those good people I know and think, "how could someone be considered a threat simply because they are Muslim?" and isn't this way of thinking the very thing that causes radical Muslims to want to do terrorist acts? Doesn't hate and discrimination cause more hate. 

"[God] hath made of ONE blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth." (Acts 17: 26) 
I hope we all can remember that we are brothers and sisters. I hope we can be forgiving and welcoming to all people. I hope we can extend a hand to help those that have lost all they have. 

"Yea, he saw great inequality among the people, some lifting themselves up with their pride, despising others, turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those who were athirst, and those who were sick and afflicted." (Alma 4: 12) Let us not act this way, but stretch forth a hand to serve, uplift, strengthen and support others in their afflictions.

Sunday, January 22, 2017


I've been a little sick this week. It seems like everything went wrong at the same time. I got a cold, cough, my throat hurt, and then I started having nose bleeds every day for some reason. This is in addition to my dizziness that came back again. At least it is not as bad as last time and I'm only dizzy when I sleep on my right side. I gave in and saw a doctor the other day and got some antibiotics. I may see someone else for my dizziness if it does not go away.

People tell me the nose bleeds are from the cold dry weather. I got a humidifier and I am trying that, but it has not worked yet. I still get those nose bleeds every day.

I am doing better though, at least my cough isn't hurting as much and not coughing as much either.

Classes are going well so far...One of my classes seems to not be doing as well as the others. I think considering that last semester my students got high grades, I should not assume that my tests were easy. Sometimes students are different. Also explaining things one way may work for some students and not for others. So, I am having to adjust...

I decided to do an MRI of my hip just to be sure nothing is wrong. After the results come out I will stop worrying about it. Because I would have done all that I can to fix it. I am seeing a good doctor, at least I was told he was. So, we will see what happens. I seem to be having a lot of doctor's appointments. Can't wait to be done.

 Ok, so there won't be any profound message in this blog post. I am brain dead. I can't think...I'll do better next time. 
I have invited people for dinner and I am going to go cook. 
I hope you all will have a great day...remain healthy and warm.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Life is Short

I lost two dear friends of mine these past few weeks. Those were amazing men who have done so much good in the world. They both died so suddenly after being sick for only a short time. One of them was Chris Coray, a mathematician who taught at Utah State University. Him and his wife served the people of Syria and Jordan with all their hearts.

The other was Elder Bruce Porter who had kidney failure for years, but finally received a transplant that cured him...But, he died of something completely different a couple of weeks ago. Elder and Sister Porter and the nicest people I ever met. They have helped and supported me so much. I still remember the blessing Elder Porter gave me right before my mission saying that many doors will open up before me and many blessings will come my way. It seemed strange to hear at the time, but he was right. Many doors did open and many blessings did come...

I was telling my students the other day about my experience at Magic Mountain where I waited one and a half hours to get on a ride that lasted a minute or so and was over. It seems to me as if life was like that. You waited thousands of years to come to earth...then the time you spend here is so short compared to eternities. I mean even after waiting some 11,000 years to come to earth, the 80 or 90 years you spend on earth seem like nothing.  I hope we are making this time count. I hope we are using this short earth life to prepare to meet God. I also hope we are finding enjoyment in this life.

I think I am saying this because I know I have been wasting these days. Yesterday I did nothing else but watch TV. I decided the other day to review my Turkish, so I started watching a Turkish soap opera. Bad idea...Because when you watch that on the internet, you can't stop. It always ends with something exciting, and you can't just stop watching at the end of the episode, so you move on to the next episode and the next...Now, I am addicted. But, the good news is, my Turkish is getting better! 

I'll find a balance and not watch more than one episode a day...
I am less busy this semester because I am not teaching any new classes. My students are keeping me busy though by coming to visit me in my office or emailing me with questions. I actually like that because that means they are excited about the class and are trying hard to succeed. 

My goals for this year were to spend more time doing things that are good, serving others, reading the scriptures, praying, going to the temple...I never bother to make goals because I never follow through.  But, I need to try harder maybe this is the year I will succeed. I figure if I can do something for 2 weeks, it will become a habit, right? 

I am reading a book about this girl who joined the church. She is so excited about the gospel it is contagious.  She describes how much her life changed after she gained a testimony and how she found happiness and purpose. I don't seem to have that spark and excitement anymore and I hope I can find it again. Life is truly short and we need to spend it doing good things...

I also recently met a young woman who gained a testimony of the gospel, she read the book of Mormon and knows it is true, but sadly can't join the church. This is because of where she is from and because her parents are against her decision to join the church. I admire her courage and patience. I remember when I first found out the church is true, I was so excited and so happy as if I had just won the lottery. But, having those you love mock your feelings or discourage you or criticize you hurts deeply. It does not change how you feel about the truth and about your desire to get baptized, but it does break your heart.  Heavenly Father knows your struggles and your fears...He will not leave you alone. He never left me, He was always there lifting me and strengthening me.

 I hope we can do the same for others...I hope we can spend our short few years on the earth lifting and helping others. I hope we can all bring others unto Christ who is the source of all strength and comfort.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Back in Rexburg

I made it home safely to freezing Rexburg. It has finally started to warm up here...It has been in the negatives a lot! But, this week they say it will get warmer (between -10 and 0 Celsius). I guess the weather heard my complaint on Facebook and decided to be nice to me. 

I spent a couple of days in Vegas with my family. Although I vowed never to go to Vegas again, I gave in...but, now I say really never again. It was nice to see my family and spend time with them. My nephew and his wife came and we avoided Vegas and it's crazy life and went and did other things. We went to the Valley of Fire and to Hoover Dam which was fun.

Even Vegas was cold. They had 40 mile/hr wind and it just made it feel so cold! But, my family says I brought the cold with me because after I left it went up to 68 degrees and was great...
The drive back from Utah was not fun at all. There was only one lane (barely open) on the highway and we were going 40 miles an hour all the way. Actually, I was glad to be going slow to stay safe. There was an accident every 10 miles...and some of those accidents were people who were going fast and moved to the lane that was full of snow to pass all the cars going slow. I would say in my mind 'this guy is going to have an accident' and a few miles down the road I would find his car on the side of the road buried in snow. There was only one serious accident, most of the cars were just stuck in the snow and everyone was fine. They just have to wait to be rescued.

If you can take pictures while driving on the highway, you know you are going REALLLLLY slow...

Wednesday was a crazy day. I still look back and say "how did I do all that in one day?" I had two Dentist appointments. One in Kaysville, Utah and one in Idaho Falls. I went to both...I drove from Utah to Rexburg (which took almost 5-6 hours going super slow) I also worked for 4 hours on campus preparing for my classes. I did laundry, went shopping, cleaned the house, took down the Christmas decorations, got my car washed and even had time to watch TV and rest...It must have been divine help because there aren't enough hours in any day to do all that!

We started a new semester and I felt so unprepared to start. I spent all day Thursday and Friday (aside from being in class) answering emails from students. I don't know why I am getting that many emails this time! Some of them are worried about getting things right and worried about doing well int he class...I hope this extra attention and devotion continues until the end....

My snow blower stopped working yesterday so I realized it was out of gas.. I was not happy about leaving the house again and going to buy gas, but I knew it was going to snow today, so I needed it. Actually someone cleared my driveway this morning (thank you to whoever did it), but it is full of snow again.

I must say having snow on the roads is way better than ice. At least I feel I can go 10 miles an hour instead of 5 ha ha.