Sunday, February 21, 2010

I Hope They Call Me on a Mission

Ever since returning to BYU this semester, I’ve felt a stronger desire to prepare better to serve my mission. I mentioned this in my last post, briefly, when I talked about leaving Facebook. My resolve to prepare to serve better has come as a result of many things, but mostly because of Garrett, my roommate and one of my best friends (you’ll be hearing a lot about him in my blog, I’m sure).
There was one day in particular, a day or two after Garrett disabled his Facebook account, and we got talking about why he disabled it and about other stuff. It was weird because we were off the subject of Facebook when I got the distinct impression that I had to leave Facebook too. About an hour after our conversation was over, so was my Facebook account.
It’s been really cool living with one of my best friends. We’ve figured out other random ways to prepare to serve our missions (most them being Garrett’s ideas). One thing we’ve been doing is improving our scripture study. Each morning, after having breakfast, we’ll have “companionship” scripture study. I’ve really enjoyed sharing and receiving insights about the scriptures with Garrett.
One of the coolest things we’ve done has been our weekly temple trips. Originally, I’d planned to go to the temple each Tuesday afternoon, since I don’t have classes during that time. Garrett and I discovered that neither of us had classes on Friday after eleven o’clock. So, as a result, as a general rule, me and Garrett decided to go to the temple each Friday after we were done classes. Pretty much every week since, we’ve gone to the temple after our Friday classes and almost every time we’ve missed our Friday temple trip, we make time for a Saturday temple trip. It’s just been AMAZING!!!
By now, my close friends and family know that I’ve had my papers in since January 31 (which, coincidentally, is my birthday). By normal standards, I should have had my call on February 11. Because I have Aspergers Syndrome (a form of high-functioning autism) my papers were delayed a few weeks. In that time, I’ve met with someone from LDS Family Services to have an evaluation done on my potential to effectively serve a mission, despite having Aspergers. The extra wait time was brutal.
I was super anxious for my call before I found out it’d been delayed, but then it got delayed and my feelings went beyond anxious. It bugged me that I had to wait to get my papers looked at by the mission department. It’s been years since having Aspergers has really affected me. When I told my friends at BYU that I have Aspergers, their response consistently was “I couldn’t tell.” One of my friends, whose brother has Aspergers, was really thrown off because he knew what Aspergers was like and he didn't see that in me. So, really, it bugged me that my papers were being delayed because of a problem that doesn’t affect me. Eventually, I just had to accept the wait time and be patient.
It’s still difficult, but now the endless wait is a countdown again. The counselor from LDS Family Services is done his evaluation and it’s been sent to Salt Lake City. Now I just have to wait for the mission department and the First Presidency to look it over. If all goes well, I’ll have my call in less than two weeks.
I’m really excited to almost have my call (to put it lightly). Garrett can attest to that. He was with me, last Friday, when I got the message from the guy at LDS Family Services, saying that his report about me had been mailed to Salt Lake. I was literally bouncing with excitement. It’s just too bad that I hadn’t gotten the message after we’d gone to the temple. Because I got it before we went, I was giddy about my call, all throughout being at the temple. I was able to contain myself and stay reverent, but (as I told Garrett after doing baptisms) I felt like I was a big bottle of excitement that was about to explode.
It’s because of my excitement to serve a mission and even just to receive my call that I decided to title this post after one of the songs I know that’s most applicable to me right now: “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission”.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

House of the World

This is an extra credit paper I did for my Book of Mormon class a couple weeks ago. I felt impressed to put it on my blog. The assignment was to pick of painting by Minerva Teichert that was hanging in the Joseph Smith Building on campus and write a paragraph about what impressed us about it. The painting I chose was called "House of the World". Here's a link to the painting.

The painting I chose was “House of the World”. I liked this painting for many reasons. One reason in particular has to do with how the tree of life looks like. In my opinion, the tree of life in this painting looks brown and wilting, similar to a tree at the autumn that is losing all its leaves. The dying look of the tree, in contrast to the magnificence of the great and spacious building, reminds me of part of Isaiah, in chapter 53, the second verse: “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” This scripture tells us that Christ had no beauty to attract us to Him. With the tree of life in the painting, there is no reason we would want something from a tree that looks like it is dying, but once we have had the fruit of that tree, it becomes more desirable than anything else. In this same way, there is no physical characteristic that would have us follow Christ, but once we partake of His fruit, the gospel, it becomes the most desirable thing for us. In contrast, in the painting I find the great and spacious building to look like a beautiful, brilliant structure. It reminds of a quote by President Spencer W. Kimball. He said that “[Satan] garnishes evil to make it appear beautiful, pleasing, easy, and even good.” In this way, even though the building looks beautiful and desirable, it is full of evil and darkness. Something I learned from this is that Heavenly Father makes the choice between good and evil simple, but not obvious. The tree of life looks dying and old, but its fruit is the most delicious and desirable ever.