Finding Grace

 

Dates

This Sunday was the highly anticipated 1st Pres. Christmas Devotional. Kind Sarah W. set me up with a mission pal of hers, Ashley, and I hooked my friend Mark up with Rebecca. You could have filmed a movie scene. We drove up to Salt Lake City, the air was frosty, snow flakes were falling. We admired the beautiful Christmas lights, and heard a choir of angels sing. Not to mention we heard heartwarming talks. Our seats were spectacular, it was like you could reach out and shake the hand of someone on stage. Oh, and Mark’s mom sent him with a giant flask of hot chocolate which we all enjoyed afterwords. Everything went perfect.

The Man, the Myth, the Legend

No, I did not meet Scott Stirling. I did, however, meet Bruce C. Hafen. The ‘C’ in his name probably stands for Champion, because that’s just who he is. BYU hosted a week long seminar on grace, and he spoke on it Thursday night. I could say much, but I’ll simply leave a paraphrased quote from his talk:

“We cannot say, ‘Lord, give me experience, help me grow, help me become like thee!’ and then not expect to have grief, when that is what shaped Him, and made Him who He is. “

The next night I again went to the last address of the night. This time it was given by Sheri Dew. Again, another marvelous discourse on grace. My understanding of it grew, as well as my desire to understand it still better. She, being single, and obviously struggling with that challenge, shared so sincerely how grace has helped her. Her testimony was powerful. As with Elder Hafen, there was a Q+A after, and when someone asked how we can know if we are receiving grace, I liked how she said,

“Every spiritual privilege we have is a manifestation of His grace.”

 

Hometeaching

This has been a struggle. My companion is still MIA. Its been impossible to connect with three of those I’m visiting. The fourth I connected too well as she asked me out. So, I decided to mark a date, invite everybody over for pie, and see what happens. Remarkably, it was a success. Finally, two of them started responding to my messages, and I was able to meet one of them for the first time. Overall, three out of four showed. We bonded, my roommates extended the hands of friendship as well, and we all left filled. I’ve mentioned Mouli before, but to quickly restate, he is a PhD student in physics from India, having previously studied in Germany. While everyone else was talking, he stayed mostly quiet and very reserved. Towards the end, having shared a message about faith, we started talking about religion, just me and him. He said he was born Hindu, which I had reasoned. I then said, “Wait, I want to show you this book.” I returned carrying a book, and he said, “I knew, the Book of Mormon,” to which I responded, “No, its the Bhagavad Gita!” (which is basically Hindu scripture.) His eyes lit up, he responded to a couple of my questions, and for the first time, we connected. Developments to follow!

Market Analysis

I ended my bitcoin run. In just under a month, I netted $370 which isn’t going to ‘ put my on Forbes’ radar anytime soon, but for a college student, helps significantly. While I still believe in the idea, I would recommend staying away from bitcoin. Starting next week, it will become easy to short bitcoin, and i think this will cause some problems. While it was the trailblazer, I think it will be passed by better, more efficient blockchain using cryptocurrencies. The horse-and-buggy helped people tremendously, but it was the wrong market to invest in at the turn of the 20th century. It is often forgotten that until 1944 the British Pound was the reserve currency of the world, being then replaced by the US dollar. I see something similar happening to bitcoin, and while it will probably continue to rise for some time, I see more value in Monero, and IOTA, and am excited to see what happens in the future.

Better than….

I read recently an article, where the author listed some things that were more important than money. Later, I decided to come up with my own list. I won’t share that today, but I will share something similar. Pres. Faust, 60 some years ago, almost ready to head to his mission in Brasil, received some training from then apostle David O. McKay. Elder McKay walked to the chalkboard and simply wrote, “It is better to be trusted than to be loved.” The notion being, our Heavenly Father will always love us. Our parents will always love us. But can they trust us? We receive their love, but have to earn their trust, and that happens through our daily actions, as well as, I believe, our desire to love them back. And of course, to show our love, and to earn His trust, to become His friends, we must keep His commandments.

 

 

9/3/2017 Welcome to the Big Mingle!

We’ve all heard of the Big Apple, or the Big Easy, well, Provo,  is the Big Mingle. Its good to be back.

Arriving Tuesday night, I stayed at TanMarie’s house that night, before finally going to my new apartment Wednesday. Its spacious, its clean, its quiet…its expensive. While I do have a private bedroom, I share the actual apartment with three others- Jeremiah, Austin, and Derik. All three are currently students at UVU. A quick breakdown: Austin and Derik are longtime friends from the way out in the boondocks town of Filmore, Utah. Biggest attraction/ point of interest? The Maverick gas station. They both graduated in 2014 (same as me) with Derik doing one year of National Guard before serving a mission in Chicago, (returned one month ago) and Austin serving a mission in Washington before going to Snow College for one year, and now here. I haven’t gotten to know Jeremiah as well, he grew up mostly in Albuquerque, NM, before heading to the D.C. area. He’s been at UVU for a couple years now. They all have been friendly, and seem organized and clean. I’m calling it a win, and look forward to our year together.

Annemarie also took me shopping at Costco, which was a huge help. I think I’m stocked for this semester. Its going to be good. The non-perishables….

My first night there, I felt like a celebration was in order, so I decided to cook salmon (can’t do that often!) I might just move the coaches over to the kitchen table, they are COMFY! My packing was admittedly done without as much thought and preparation as usual, and I left a couple things sort of important (belt, bedsheets, camera, etc. ) so it was nice to remember I had a coaster (shout out to the Bach’s!) It’s nice to feel at home.

I’m waiting to hear back from a couple companies about ”real jobs” but Friday I was happy to be rehired working with BYU Special Events – and turned right around and worked that nights soccer game, which saw BYU go down in a fantastic game to #1 UCLA. For three hours, I stood on the bleachers telling students, ”no, no, you can’t sit there, those seats are reserved.” ”But they are empty?!!!?” ”Yes, but that’s because the people bought them so they don’t have to show up 2 hours early like y’all to get seats.” Attendance record was set, 5,700+ showing up, 700 being standing room only. It was a spirited, nail-biter of a game. After an early UCLA goal, BYU had a couple opportunities to tie it, the best coming with 10 minutes left, on a breakaway and with the goalie leaving the box, the BYU player kicked and the ball hit the crossbar. So close. A lot better than football on Saturday. One roommate from freshman year contacted me, and he took me first to Buffalo Wild Wings, where we decided not to wait three hours, and went to Texas Roadhouse. Nothing like a ribeye. Thanks Kevin! And then he dropped me off at Uncle Ben’s and Aunt Joy’s house where we (Hutchins family, Aunt Jenny, Stevie, TanMarie) enjoyed each others company and tried to ignore what LSU was doing to BYU.

First day of church today. Wrong time to be a clerk. We welcomed about 100 people into the ward. It has a good dynamic. Next week will be a regional conference at the Marriott Center, but after that, I should receive my calling……..

This is Porter’s bike he left. Left locked up with no key. I visited the campus police and they came out and cut the lock off. Our conversation was tough. Are you a freshman? No. But the bike is parked on the freshman dorms? Yes. Actually, on the women’s freshman dorms? Yes. School hasn’t even started, how did you lose the key already? Its complicated. Do you have ID to prove its yours? No. I tried explaining, and after a thorough interrogation, they decided to simply take my info down in case anybody reported a stolen blue bike, but as one officer said, ”If I was going to steal a bike, I wouldn’t steal this one.”

On my mission, I gained such a strong testimony of the prophets, and loved every single second of general conference. However, it was essentially relegated to that, as we read only from a the scriptures and a couple other books in the ‘missionary library.’ I’ve been patiently waiting to use BYU’s library, and during this laid back week have feasted on the word. Reading biographies of men  like L. Tom Perry, and Boyd K. Packer, it is obvious at once they have been prepared, chosen, and guided from on high. I am so thankful for living prophets. I know as we emulate them, we are emulating our Savior.

Ok, heading out, going to mingle in the Big Mingle. Have a great week!