Sunday, March 19, 2017

March 19, 2017

I don't really have much to say this week. It has been a really busy week. I gave a talk (to some of the faculty and staff at BYU-I) on Thursday and Friday. It was about my life story and how I got to BYU-I. It was a great experience. 

I also had my office painted and they also changed the carpet. So, I had to pack all my stuff and be without an office for 3 days. I am so glad that is over because I could not find any of my stuff and could not even access my documents easily.  It took me some time to unpack on Saturday, but I am glad I got that done because I can just go to work on Monday like normal except that I don't have a phone/internet still for some reason. Maybe I connected the cables wrong. We will see.

We had 5 people who had interviews and teaching demonstrations this week and it was especially busy because I could not go to many of those and so I had to watch them after work. I continue to be impressed at how well this institution runs. I am amazed at leaders who seek the inspiration of the Holy Ghost to make hiring decisions. It truly makes a difference because sometimes qualifications get put aside and the best interest of the students gets put in the first priority. 

I still did not receive many of the talks I would be translating for general conference. I have managed to translate two talks (it took me one day to do each). They were amazing talks...I can't wait for the rest of the talks. I have done my best to plan ahead so that general conference is not as busy with translation and I am not so stressed. We will see how that goes. 

We have almost two weeks left in this semester. I can't believe how fast it went. We have only a short break between semesters so I won't get to rest at all. But, at least it may get a little less busy I hope.

Again sorry this is short...I will try and do better in the future.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Life and Death...

I am not sure how to start...I would like to write about my cousin, Wisam who recently passed away. 
She died very suddenly, even though many of us expected her to die young, we didn't expect it would be this fast. She was often depressed and rarely enjoyed life. It was only in the last year or so that I have seen her turn to Heavenly Father and start to feel His love and His arms around her.

She often missed her father who passed away many years ago and she wanted him back. I guess since he was not able to return, the only option left was for her to join him. During her last days on earth, she said that she felt her father was calling her and wanting her to be with him. 

She was misjudged and treated unkindly by many. Her life was hard after going through two divorces.  She did not believe anyone loved her. She went through life believing she was an outcast that no one loved. I tried hard to tell her that her Heavenly Father loves her and she is a precious daughter of His, but for years she did not believe me.  She would often ask me to pray for her saying "God does not answer my prayers, but He answers yours. God does not love me, but He loves you."

I wished she could but feel only briefly God's love for her. It was not until one day when I challenged her to pray and ask Heavenly Father to manifest His love for her, that I felt her change. She had more faith in God and started to pray more. 

Her last words to me were the words of a hymn: "I can't wait for my Lord to give me Joy.  I trusted in people who changed and hurt me...I go back to you again Lord so that you would heal me and lift me up." Last month she said to me: "I am thinking to travel and leave everything behind ... mostly since no one needs me here." She did a place of no return.

I remember the last time she messaged me on Facebook. I had a long day and was getting ready to go to bed and I did not feel like talking. So, we didn't talk long...Now I wish I talked to her more. I  wished I made the time. 

I hope each of us can take time to spend with our loved ones. The dishes, housework, our job, nothing is more important. I hope we can tell them we care so that they would feel they are needed and loved and appreciated.

It breaks my heart that I am not able to see my mom or spend time with her these days. I wish I spent more time with her while I was in Palestine. I always complained when she wanted me to stay home instead of going out with my friends.  She just wanted to spend time with me. I just didn't see that then...

I wish things were different, I wish we had more freedom to travel and more acceptance from others so I could go in and out of the United States as I pleased.  I don't think my heart can survive losing my mom like I lost my cousin...while I am far away from her...Unable to spend the last few hours of her life with her. I asked Heavenly Father to help her stay strong. She cried a lot today at the memorial service for my cousin. Wisam used to visit my mother a lot. They were both alone and they kept each other company.

In the same day (March 6th) that my cousin Wisam passed away, my brother Mazin also lost a dear friend of his, Basil Al-Araj, who was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers.

Here is the amazing story of this young man...
Click to read Basil's story 

Life is precious...I hope we can make our lives matter. I hope that through our actions, we can reflect the Savior's love. And I hope that we remember that every life matters to our Heavenly Father. That He cares and loves all His children. Whether or not they know or feel his love or not. He is always there, He is always listening, and He is always willing to embrace each of us with His love.

Sunday, March 5, 2017


I am sorry...I must say that I have issues with titles these days. Not sure what to call each maybe I should name it according to the date(?)  Or maybe call it post 1, post 31029  ha ha.

I am so glad March is here, this tells me that Spring is close and therefore summer is close. Spring here comes really late...back home Spring has already started and I can only picture in my mind the beautiful flowers and grass that fill the valleys and hills.  The beautiful lilies of the field the Savior talked about are really more beautiful than anything. God is a great creator and He made so many beautiful things around us. We just need to look...

Much of the snow here has melted...and even though the temperature is finally above freezing (YAY), it has been super windy which makes it feel cold. But, at least I can see my brown grass in my backyard.

Only one month left in this semester. I can't believe how fast the first two months have gone by.  My students have kept me busy and so that is why time seemed to fly away so fast. There are a few students I have that seem to live in my office, because they are there so often. But, they are fun to be around and I am so grateful to know such amazing students. 

I received the great news that Deseret Book will be willing to publish my book. I can't tell you how excited I am. The current title is "Peace for a Palestinian". We are doing a few edits before we give them the final draft which will then go through a lot of editing I am sure. We are expecting February of next year is when it will come out. but, I will keep everyone posted here and on Facebook. I expect to be busy that time with book signing and everything else...
So, if you need my autograph (get in line now ha ha).

My lesson in Sunday School today was about the organization of the church. My friend and I were talking about how blessed we are to belong to his church. You can go anywhere in the world and go to a church congregation and have it be run the same, have the same lesson schedule, and feel the same. 

Jesus Christ organized a church when He was here on earth; a church of apostles and prophets, a church which has the priesthood of God. Sadly, once the apostles got killed, that authority and the true church did not exist in it's fullness until the 1800's when it was restored to the earth.  I am so grateful to have a living prophet to lead and guide us today and to have apostles and leaders who have the priesthood authority given to them through the Savior himself.

There is only one way, the Savior's way, to lead and guide His church.