On Tuesday my mission president, President Young and his wife came over for dinner. Truly times never to be forgotten. They have been a tremendous influence in my life and it was wonderful to meet up with them again. I have seen President Young sporadically since being home, so it was especially meaningful to talk with Sister Young. They related story after story and I was inspired and uplifted. I knew what I learned during my two years, and it was interesting to see what they learned and the challenges they had to overcome. In Brazil, we would frequently eat with extremely impoverished members yet they would always feed us the best food they had, often being the only time they would have meat that week, recognizing us as servants of Christ. I will always recognize Pres. and Sister Young as Servants of Christ and served them my best as well. We enjoyed grilled fish, squash, mashed potatoes, and rolls, followed by apple pie and ice cream. I love them.
Thursday was an adventure. At about 1 pm, I received a message from Matt Stone asking if I was free to help his parents move some furniture. He had given me a head’s up a few weeks prior, and I was happy to leave work a little early and help. The hardest part was dragging the refrigerator up the stairs, but we made it. The Stone’s drove from Arizona bringing everything up, and on their way encountered the first rainstorm of 1+ months, which blew their tarp off, and exposed their furniture to the elements. Thus they decided to get rid of their futon and and a bookcase. Having a van, I jumped at the idea, and brought those treasures home where they have made a nice contribution to my room. I did forgo the couches though…
From there, I ran home, quickly changed into dress clothes, and ran to an “Opioid Abuse and Prescription Medication Abuse: How to Help” devo. I grabbed the only food ready, some mashed potato leftovers, and started driving. Unfortunately, on my way after making a sharp turn, the potatoes went flying all over the passenger seat and door. Nevertheless, it was off to the meeting, where Kara, the RSP, had saved me a seat. It was a great event, and my eyes where opened to the extent of the problem here in Utah. One of the speakers was Mark, currently a service missionary working in the church’s addiction recovery program. You can hear part of his amazing story here: https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2014-04-004-the-savior-wants-to-forgive?lang=eng
The meeting ran 15 minutes over, which made me late for my date with Avery. Kara kindly helped me prep the car, cleaning potatoes, and we realized that my passenger seat belt was stuck – making it impossible to put on correctly. Not the ideal situation, but only way to go was forward, so I went and picked Avery up. She was a great sport, and I enjoyed getting to know her as we went to Rockwell Ice Cream. Peaches and Cream was a 10/10.
Friday I left work and met Philip Gebler at Talon’s Cove golf course in Saratoga Springs. This was my first time on the other side of Utah Lake, and the view was gorgeous – I loved being able to see the entire valley. The course was a link’s style, and on most of the holes the wind was strong, and we played right along the lake’s border. I loved it, and for $15 for 18 it was steal. I birdied four holes, but also had a triple and quadruple bogey, which evened it out. I would definitely recommend it, and hope to play it again.
My friend Bryan came down from Idaho later that night, putting immediate use to the futon and crashing there for the night. Poor guy – he came down to go on a date with someone in the valley – but due to some unforeseen issues, the date fell through, and he attended the City Center temple with me before heading back up to Idaho.
Lunch was pancake with pals, (and I wasn’t cooking). In the afternoon, Sarah and Maddie, two friends from last year wanted to catch up, so we went swimming at Maddie’s apt. complex, where I ran into Abby Weible, and we had a couple random people join us in the pool where we had a good time tossing a ball around and asking each other questions.
And having set me up in the past, they decided that it was time for me to return the favor, and so I committed to a triple date later that night. It took a little bit of legwork, but I went with Holly from Arizona, and Philip and Josh joined Maddie and Sarah and we jumped into my van and we (again) went to Rockwell’s Ice Cream. For the record, before taking a date there, I do ask if they have been, and so far no one has. I am obviously the one keeping them in business. This time I went with Strawberries and Cream and again, it was 10/10.
Today’s been a LONG day. Meetings started at 8:30, church was 12-3. I did not have to play the organ though, and that helped me tremendously. I spent both the second and third hours conducting ministering interviews. And finally, in an event long anticipated, with the calling of recent move-in Porter Wright to serve as 1st counselor in the EQ presidency, we had a full presidency at church for the first time since April. Hallelujah. Porter is a great guy, humble and hard-working and I’m excited for how everything is looking. Two EQ teachers were also sustained, and we have an activity planned Sept. 8th.
I made Hawaiian haystacks tonight, but thinking I bought Chicken broth, I dumped the can in, to discover it was chicken noodle soup. Emphasis on noodles. It was an unexpected and funny addition.
I can’t believe school starts in one week. I’m excited for the new semester. The Maeser Laser is due to be printed September 10th. We received our first article, “Life: Sacred but not Sacrosanct” which condemns abortions and condones capital punishment, and are expecting a couple more to be in this week.qq
When I was swimming with Sarah and Maddie, as we reminisced about some shared events of the past year, I remarked that I never would have guessed that we’d be swimming at the Glenwood together. (Last year they had both been dating my roommates.) I mention that only to illustrate the unpredictability of life. And despite our failed plans, and having no ability to perfectly craft the future, I am in awe of the beauty that fills our lives and the joy we encounter in the journey. And know that as we keep our covenants and make Christ the center of our lives, we will experience more happiness than we could imagine.
This is one of my favorite scriptures: (D+C 97:8-9)
Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice – yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command – they are accepted of me.
For I, the Lord, will cause them to bring forth as a very fruitful tree which is planted in a goodly land, by a pure stream, that yieldeth much precious fruit.
(mission pic from Itaperuna, RJ, Brazil)