Wednesday, March 9, 2016

"At All the Wrong Places"

I've always thought that when you fast for things, that extra spiritual power/strength is manifested in ways that are inconspicuous to you. But that is a lie! At least that's what it's been feeling like these past couple of days. On Sunday I fasted to feel more confident in my Mandarin speaking skills. Soon after we started the fast we got a text to take 4 Mandarin people on a tour. I was terrified that it would be scary business men, or apathetic college kids, It turned out to just be one lady who recently got baptized and was the sweetest person in the entire world. She let me fail and practice multiple times, and it was awesome. The longer I talked to her and the more times I messed up and had brain farts, the more I felt confident and started remembering all the terms I needed to. I loved her so much! 

Later that night we got a call to take a Japanese tour while we were assigned to be in the Assembly Hall just before a concert for the West Point Brass was starting. Truthfully we felt a little inconvenienced since we were hoping the catch the first few minutes of the concert, but we went anyways. As we were walking over for the tour, the sisters in West Gate (the little booth that texts out and organizes tours) called out to us and said, "map desk called; turns out it's actually a Mandarin tour!" Still a little irked and a little nervous, we introduced ourselves to the guests. They were also members that found it more endearing rather than cheated that my Mandarin was not perfect. They were a really sweet family and I felt privileged to take them around. And the coolest part: in the middle of the tour, not thinking properly, I said, "now we'll take you to the Assembly Hall!" And my companion whispered  "theassemblyhallhasaconcert wecan'ttakethemthere" 
And the dad said, " what concert? Let's go! We're stopping by for a little bit, I want to see!" 
We shuffled around awkwardly. "okay I guess we'll end the tour here?" 
"No! Come join us! We insist! No, we request that you come with us!" And since we try to fulfill every guests request we sat and enjoyed the concert for a good 15 minutes, which is way more than we would have gotten to stay if we stayed in the Assembly Hall. I felt spoiled. Hehe. 

The moral of Sister Takeshige's email today is this: do all the things that make you uncomfortable. And laugh about them. There are good things ahead. 
Also, fast. It works. 

1. West Point Brass: 

2. "The field is [bread]" D&C 4:4 

3. "Already to harvest." D&C4:4 

4. Temple Square fun fact: the Star of David decorates the Assembly Hall. It has nothing to do with Judaism and everything to do with the fact that the pioneers who built it were looking through a catalogue of stained glass and simply thought the Star of David was pretty, and at he time it was not widely recognized as a Jewish symbol. Silly pioneers. 

Sister Kaede Takeshige 

"subject:"Nephi Does Whatever The Heck He Want

We met a man from Florida in the South Visitors' Center the other day. He had moved to Utah a couple of years ago solely based on the fact that his wife had been told by God in the Temple to do so. I asked him, "Have you found out yet why God told you to do that?" and he said, 

"No. I don't need to know why. The only important thing is that we answered the call." Me and my companion were both a little confused. But didn't he want to know? Did he not even have the slightest curiosity? Didn't he have the right to know, especially after he had followed God's will?

The next day as I was doing my personal studies in the Book of Mormon, I read this golden nugget: "Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not." God commanded Nephi to make two sets of records. That's not an easy or simple task in 600 B.C. It's not like you can copy and paste. But Nephi was totally okay with doing this whole other record even though it seemed redundant. He had no idea what God's plan was, but he did it simply because God commanded him to. Which is pretty cool of him. Good for you Florida man, for remembering Nephi's good example. 

Then I kept reading where Lehi, Nephi's father sees a vision about the tree of life, and Nephi asks God if he can see the vision also. And then this scripture happens: "he that diligently seeketh shall find, and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round." And then God says "okay" and Nephi gets to see the vision too.

What the what? This messed with my brain; Nephi just said that he was chill with not knowing the mysteries of God. Why is he going ahead and asking God for favors again? And then the Spirit gives him a play by play of what Lehi's vision was. 

After some time of "whaddaheck" and "????" I figured out what was up (God told me what was up), and why God divulged at Nephi's request. Here is a passage from a talk "The Very Root of Christian" (a BYU speech (go cougars)) That kind of explains what I understand from all of this: 

"We should not use appeals to pride or even to a rational c
alculation of what is in one’s best interest: heaven or hell. The best way—the only way—to persuade people to repent and come unto Christ is to get them—to get us—to think about what He has done for us and especially about what He has suffered for us. That is how Christ does it." 

If Nephi asked God why he needed to make another set of records, it would have been for his own best interest and pride. When Nephi asked God to show him Lehi's dream, it was not for his own best interest. It was because he had a true desire to understand God and Jesus Christ. And anybody who asks to understand the mysteries of God shall find it. It's made me think, when I ask God about things, what is my motive? I truly truly believe that as soon as we put away our pride and best interest, God answers. And when we learn about the Atonement of Christ and it's magnitude, we will naturally want to turn away from ourselves and turn to God. 

Have a good week everyone. 

And Happy Leap Year. Here is a leaping picture: 

And a stupid picture: