Last Friday I went to a mosque with Chris. I met Chris from book club, and while originally from Venezuala, he has lived in the US for about 30 years. He’s LDS, and teaches Islamic philosophy at UVU, speaks Arabic, and knows everything it seems about that religion. He invited anyone to join him, and I was happy to take him up on the offer, as I’ve long wanted to visit a mosque. There is one near my house, but the members meet in a small house, and Chris prefers visiting the one by Salt Lake, that is much more established. It was an interesting experience. We entered, and took off our shoes, and then sat in chairs placed along the back wall for visitors, or those with health problems who can’t kneel. The mosque is open daily for prayers, but Friday is the mandatory weekly reunion. It started at 1:30, and I was amazed as close to 800 people eventually filed in.
The men stay on the ground floor, and after performing their personal prayer, kneel on the carpet. The women and children go to the second floor. The Imam read and preached in Arabic, before translating into English, as many of the people don’t speak arabic. To finish, he led everyone in prayer. There is no music in the worship service, but arabic is so melodic and beautiful to hear, it does sound like music. We were warmly received. Chris has a lot of contacts, and brought us to speak to the Imam after. The Imam grew up in Saudi Arabia, before moving to Alabama in the early 1990’s. He was a force to be reckoned with, extremely smart, engaging and charismatic. He reminded me a lot of Sallah, the Arab friend of Indiana Jones. He answered all our questions, and was quite kind especially since it is currently Ramadan, and he is fasting, and undoubtedly thirsty from having just finished a sermon.
Saturday I took my concealed carry class. Someone from old ward knows some instructors, and set up a discounted lesson price. The class was incredibly easy, and there was even one lady there who has never shot a gun before. It is crazy how easy it is to get a permit, but I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing, and no one should want to have to use your gun anyway. You are allowed to open carry without a permit already, so if you really wanted to, you could already walk around packing. The instructors did go over a few basic gun fundamentals, but the majority of the class centered around the current laws in Utah concerning guns and concealed carry guns. For $30, we got our certificate, a photo and fingerprints taken. Now I just need to send my application in.
The job search continues. Earlier in the week, I couldn’t help but think that either, 1. I was doing something horribly wrong in the interview process, or 2. I wasn’t destined to have a job at this time. I dug deep looking for errors in my approach, and while I came up with some ways to improve, there was nothing glaring, and I definitely feel qualified. I know I lean too much on destiny sometimes, and can’t use this as a crutch. Nevertheless, I reasoned, if I wasn’t going to get a job, it must be because it was time to start a company. I’ve wanted to bring something to the Farmer’s Market in Provo to sell, and began there brainstorming ideas. Some seemed possible, or something that might work with a little luck. And then I thought PIES! I’ve put a lot of time into this idea the last few days, and am excited to see what will happen. The best part, which makes this possible, is a commercial kitchen in Provo that entrepreneurs can rent out. Its cheap, and because the pricing is staggered based on income the last year, it only costs $5 an hour for me to rent. I made a cranberry pie, and a pumpkin pie to practice this week. Both turned out great. I’m doing everything legally this time, and hopefully my permits will all be in order for the first week of the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. I did apply for a job in Vermont, as it was listed on a job site, and was a “one-click apply” with my resume being uploaded to the site already. I had two interviews, and Friday they called to offer me the job. I don’t think I’ll take it, but my desire to go back east felt more real than it has for a long-time. Graduation opens so many doors. I think I still need to stay here for a little bit longer and am hoping to still find something. I have a final interview on Tuesday with BambooHR, a tech company based in Lindon. In the meantime, I am glad to have received a calling, and for the opportunity to serve that it presents.
Saturday I was planning to go to some hot springs in Spanish Fork with Kayla. Unfortunately, she was called into work early, so I went with Jonathan, a friend from my old ward, instead. Its a 2.5 mile hike to them, and the hike was perfect. We followed a picturesque stream the entire team, one that has definitely benefited from the unusually rainy month. We went at 1 pm, and I’m glad we did then, as I did not know beforehand that later in the night the spot turns into a favorite for nudists. Thankfully, we encountered none, although the springs were much more crowded than I ever imagined.
We had to wait for a bit, but secured a nice spot to lounge in. Coming out of the source, the water was unbearably hot. Further down, the temperature mellowed out, and we enjoyed a very relaxing time in our hot springs. I left feeling refreshed, and it was nice as there was only the faintest of sulphur smells. As you can see in the following picture, the river was moving nicely because of all the recent rain, and the contrast between the freezing river to the settled hot springs only inches away was quite remarkable.
I went on one date last week, sticking to a good thing, and going to Jamestown Assisted Living again to sing, then returning to my place for apple pie and ice cream. I went with Maddie, who is also in my ward. She majored in spanish translation, and is getting her masters in Education Policy. She served a mission in Argentina. We had a good time, and my friends who joined us, Robert and Hayley, were a blast to be with again.
On Friday I had an interview scheduled with a company from Vermont at 7:30 a.m. and neglected to set an alarm. Luckily, I woke up just a few minutes later, and saw I had a missed call. In my pajamas, I called back, and talked with Liza, the manager there. Of course, she was curious as to why my voicemail went to a “Victory Pizza.” I think it went fabulously well.
I taught Elders Quorum today, and throughout the week spent more time than usual in preparing. I read and reread and pondered Elder McKay’s talk, “The Immediate Goodness of God.” However, today I had stupor of thought all morning and knew I needed to change lessons, not knowing to what. As I was making bread I listened to Elder McKay’s talk, and when it was over, autoplay went to Elder Rasband’s, “Build a Fortress of Spirituality and Protection.” I knew this was the one I needed to teach. Last week, my roommates and I got together and dedicated our home as a place where the Holy Spirit can reside, and this is a topic I think is really important. I know that our homes really can be a fortress of spirituality and protection, and truly a place of refuge from the world. Elder Rasband said, “As we live with devotion born of faith in Jesus Christ, we will feel the peaceful presence of the Holy Ghost, who guides us to truth, inspires us to live worthy of the Lord’s blessings, and bears witness that God lives and loves us. All this within the fortress of our own homes.” In my life, I consider the temple, church, and my Crestwood apartment as holy places because of the experiences that happened there, and the Spirit that was felt. As we sacrifice, love, serve, testify of Christ, and kneel in prayer, our homes will become holy, helping our lives be holy.