Feb 3-9: Khovanshchina

I meant to include this in the last letter: February 2nd was a fantastic day. After church, I picked up Cooper, Porter and Kevin, and we went to Uncle Ben and Aunt Joy’s house where other cousins had gathered and we feasted on burgers and fries. Then brownies and ice cream. ‘Twas delicious, and a great way to end a fast. By 5:30, I was home and because it was Super Bowl Sunday, completely free. I caught up on some personal reading and writing and truly enjoyed a day of rest. Now, back to the week in question.

Paperwork is such a struggle. This week, I had the goal to finish my law school application to BYU. Given that I’ve had since November to do this, it was more than doable. And it didn’t happen. The plan was to submit the application when I got my LSAT score from test #2 on Thursday. I got my score, but didn’t even start the application until Wednesday night. No bueno. My score increased by 1, not what I was hoping for. When I left the test in January, I thought it would increase by 2-3, based on how I was feeling. Alas. Tanner is being a big help, editing my essays and guiding me through the process.

Tuesday, we had our weekly presidency meeting and it was a blast. Jacob West, my counselor last semester moved back home to save money as he will be getting married in the near future. I knew this was likely, and while I was in Texas over Christmas break, I found out it was officially going to happen. I had a couple days to think about who I’d like to call as a counselor and two names were on my mind. However, when I returned home to Utah, I prayed asking who it should be and clear as day, I received my answer. Reigen Jensen is the man. I hadn’t been thinking of him at all, but the prompting was so strong and it was a time where the Lord answered my prayer immediately. He has been a boon to the entire quorum since then, and become a very good friend. Together with Dillon, I think the three of us make a good team.

I was feeling down a few weeks ago and couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong, (and thus couldn’t fix the problem,) so I broadened by a large measure the stats I keep on myself. There are 19 questions grouped into 3 categories, physical, spiritual and emotional. It’s all subjective, I just ask myself how I did in matter during the week, and score myself from 1-10. Since starting this, I have noticed a big difference! One of the questions is, “How was my sleep this past week?” and I few nights I’ve forced myself to put a book down earlier than I would have otherwise as I know I’ll be graded later. Another question is, “How have you done meeting new people this week?” Because of this question, I went to a conference, detailed below, that I would not otherwise have attended. My weekly averages have ranged between a 5.47-5.82. Its not easy to improve above the average! The 3 categories have ranged in scores from 4.57 and 6.33. If its under 5, I mark in red and focus on getting the score up, as I think if a 5 is average, anything under is dragging me down. 5-7 is acceptable and marked baby blue. I haven’t had a single category average higher than a 7, so I don’t have a color for that yet.

The conference I attended Friday was called, “Promoting Healthy Relationships.” It was put on by two friends who are over a nursing club at BYU. I expected 30-40 people, and didn’t know if I would even stay the entire time. Turns out, I stayed. The event was amazing! Just over 180 people who attended, there was breakfast and lunch and every speaker did a fantastic job. Plus, one of the reasons for my going, was to meet new people, and I did that as well. An unexpected tender mercy was seeing B—-. He was in my ward last spring and summer. I didn’t reach out enough to form a foundation of friendship, so that when he needed help, I couldn’t do as much as I would have liked. Ultimately, he left the ward and while I’ve tried to stay somewhat in touch, I haven’t done well, so it was a blessing to see him, see that he is doing well, and let him know that he still has friends here who are willing to help and support him. The conference lasted from 8-1 and I am glad that I decided to go.

I’m again attending institute this semester, and have enjoyed those Thursday evening respites from the world. Bro. and Sis. Lambert are leading our study of the Doctrine and Covenants. This week, they related how as mission presidents in North Carolina, they met with Elder Marvin J. Ashton who was visiting to call a new stake president in the area. They asked him what qualities he looks for, and he mentioned personal righteousness then good judgement. Good judgement is of course closely related to the gift of discernment. Reflecting on this, I can immediately think of a few people who have good judgement, and pondered on how I might improve in this regard, because I don’t think that I do have the best judgement and its such an important quality to develop. That day in work, I felt like I was quickly reaching my limit and hearing this story convinced me to put my plans to open a pancake-house in Brazil on hold. Heaven only knows I’d be flipping flapjacks in a favela right now if it wasn’t for Elder Ashton’s words.

I guess the food industry does still have a lot of pull though. For family dinner Sunday, I was joined by Tanmarie, Nora, Cooper, Porter, Abbey and Michael for taco salad. I came into possession of some catering supplies and set up an impressive and professional looking display.

Sunday was a busy day, as besides dinner, after my normal morning meeting with Bishop Miner, I extended 5 callings, went to church, then had 6 setting aparts, and 3 ministering interviews. Thank heaven for secretaries who do their job. Jacob D. and Brandon W. have been lifesavers.

Here is the a quote from Elder Ashton on spiritual gifts. 1 Corinthians 12 expounds on some gifts, then Elder Ashton adds this:

Let me mention a few gifts that are not always evident or noteworthy but that are very important. Among these may be your gifts – gifts not so evident but nevertheless real and valuable.

Let us review some of these less-conspicious gifts: the gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgement; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost.

I know that each and every person in the world has a gift of the Spirit, and I know that as we share our gifts with others, we ourselves will be blessed and we will help build up the Kingdom of God. If you don’t know what your gifts are, ask those who know you or pray to God to know. Once we know what we have been blessed with, we can then bless others.


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