Sunday, March 28, 2021

Hope through Christ

 It has been SO long since I posted on my blog. It seems like COVID has stopped life the way we know it! I don't leave my house, and seem to have nothing interesting to say. So, I simply did not write.

I have lost a few family members from COVID recently. I know many of you have as well. It has been bad in Palestine. Hospitals are full and people die every day. I think this sacred time of Easter helps us realize that there is hope. Hope that comes because of Christ. Since the tomb is empty, then everyone who died will rise again! I am so grateful for my Savior and His atonement.

Finally, and through the help of my church and other organizations, some vaccines arrived in Palestine. My mom and sisters received vaccines for which I am grateful. 

I have been exceedingly busy this semester. On Tuesday this past week, I looked at what I had to do that week and just cried for half an hour. I had to translate and record 3 conference talks, attend over 20 meetings for work, teach classes, write exams, answer students' emails, prepare for next semester....etc. 

I got on my knees and asked Heavenly Father for help. Somehow it all got done...I still have two major things to do, but I survived that week. I have been working 14 hours on many of the days this semester. In a way, I am grateful I have a job. With this pandemic, if I didn't have so much work I would be bored to death anyway.

 It was really nice to get out of Rexburg and go to Utah this past weekend! On Monday I had an interview with BYU-TV. It was an amazing experience. I can't even begin to express my gratitude for the BYU-TV staff.  They were so kind and professional. I was treated so kindly. I felt so important as they did my makeup and hair and tried to make me look pretty (they had an impossible task!).

After every question, we had to pause for the staff to come fix our hair, or shirt or something. It was strange to be in front of that many cameras! I felt famous!

The show I will be on is called "Hello Sunday". It will air in August probably, so not for a while. I will certainly share a link and give more information as it gets closer.

I have been giving a few talks this semester in different wards. 

To add to my stress I have been asked to speak at Devotional. It is a talk for all BYU students and faculty. Luckily I will be speaking to an empty auditorium. In a normal semester I would have stood in front of at least ten thousand people. Now, those listening will be listening online. So, it is less stressful. My talk will be recorded and you would be able to listen to it online. I'll share the link when it is time. I will speak on May 11th. 

Happy Easter! I look forward to general conference next weekend. I am so grateful that I am able to translate for general conference. It is such a blessing. I really get to understand the talks I translate. I know these talks are inspired and a lot of prayer goes into them.

I hope we all can focus on the Savior and his atonement this week and always. When an investigator of our church asked "Why do you all focus so much on Christ?" She gave me a chance to focus more on Christ as I contemplated how to explain His importance to her. Everything we have is because of Him. Our sins are forgiven because of Him, we have this beautiful earth because of Him, we can live again because of Him, we can have eternal life because of Him.

He is my Savior, my redeemer and my king! He lives! Indeed He does!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

 2020 was certainly an interesting year. I am sure you all are anxious for this year to be over. For me, this year was certainly filled with some challenges, but also some good things.

In March, when I left my office on March 13th, I thought I would be back to my office in a week or two. I have not gone back to my office since then, except to pick up some supplies or print some documents.

Teaching via zoom has certainly been a challenge, but I can't be more grateful for the technology that allows me to keep my job and still teach even during a pandemic. Through technology I was also able to give firesides to missionaries in different countries. I was blessed to be able to meet such wonderful people.

I was planning to go home in the summer, and I thought that by July 2020, this whole thing would be over. It did not end...Now we are not even sure it will be over in July 2021. 

I still had a great year. My nephew and his family came to visit me. I also had some friends come visit in September. We had lots of fun despite COVID. I love living in Idaho and being close to the amazing forests and rivers close by. I am indeed very blessed!

I bought a motor home in August. I went camping in it a lot! I spent time in the outdoor, learned how to drive a big truck, and how to winterize a motorhome. I also bought a kayak and went kayaking and I enjoyed that a lot. I spent a lot of money in 2020. I extended my driveway to the side of my house so I can park my trailer and won't have to pay for storage. But, it will take 10 years of storage costs to pay for my little piece of concrete. It was expensive!

Time has certainly passed by soooo slowly in 2020. As I reflect on each of those events that took place, I feel they were forever ago. This was just a super LONG year. 

The best part of the quarantine was that I don't have to go clear the snow from my driveway. Well, at least I don't have to do it at 6 am so I can leave to work on time. I planned to hibernate this winter and not go anywhere. But then I found myself wanting to go clear the snow. Because it was the only time I was able to get out of the house. I must say I am starting to go crazy because I don't go anywhere. I am now talking to the walls. My cousin says that is absolutely normal, but I should seek medical help if the walls start talking back. They have said nothing so far, so I guess I'm still OK. 😅

I refinanced my house to get lower interest rates and took some money out from my home loan. I sadly have managed to spend a lot of that money, buying the trailer and doing the concrete and fixing my yard. It is not good because now I owe so much more on my house. I need to hurry up and pay that off. I am worried I won't have that paid off before I retire. 

I got an interesting letter last week. Well, it has been sitting in my mailbox at work since September (I never go to my office). It was from someone in prison. The letter really melted my heart. This guy read my book and was so grateful. I was so impressed with his faith and testimony even in a dark place like prison. He said he tries to teach other inmates about the Savior. He holds scripture study and studies 'come follow me' with several people in jail even though others mock them. 

It was so fitting to get this letter close to Christmas because it reminded me of the power of Christ and His atonement at transforming lives. People can change, hearts can change. Even a criminal who has spent the last 10 years in jail can feel the love of the Savior and start to follow Him.

During such a dark time in history, He, the light of the world, reminds us that if we follow Him, we won't walk in darkness. If we follow Him, we won't need to fear the unknown future. If we follow Him, a tiny virus won't destroy our lives and hopes. That little child, born in a stable in Bethlehem, gave light, hope, joy and peace to all the world. The gift of salvation He offers us is more precious than any other gift this Christmas.

May we celebrate Christ this season and be grateful for the hope He gives us of a better future. A future full of joy, love and peace.

Merry Christmas to you all and may the new year be better (you are probably thinking: can it really be worse?). May we always strive to become more like our Savior and be better disciples of Him as we continue to light the world around us.

Here is a short nativity video...Please watch it and reflect on the gift Heavenly Father gave you on Christmas: Click to Watch Nativity Video