November 17, 2014

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Happy birthday Uncle Steve! 50????? And Christa! We’re 22!!!

I’ve been meaning to say this, I’m able to read missionary blogs, so yes I look at mine sometimes and can see the comments you all have made, I just can’t reply on the site. (so Gayla Steve Jerry Mom Uncle Brian….and anyone else….hi!)

So it was my birthday yesterday! And I’d have to say I’m a very blessed person. I got Dad’s stuff earlier in the week and was really confused by the gloves…I had 2 theories, 1) he sent me and Jillian the same kind of gloves but accidentally mismatched them, 2) wearing mismatched gloves is the hipster thing to do and I have a super hipster diddly whack mack Mormon Daddy. I went with Theory 2 all week and showed everyone my hipster gloves with pride. Now that I have the other pairs to both gloves, I just don’t think I can match them up. Oh and I liked the Snoopy musical card… I kinda started using it as an exercise DVD. And yes momma the skirt fit perfectly, you’re a magic sewing angel goddess, thank you!

Lots of members were really nice to me for my birthday too, old Mr. Bilyeu remember it was my birthday and gave me some diamond earrings that his wife never opened, and we had an amazing Thanksgiving dinner meal appointment at Charlie and Cedell Riggs (Cedell is the sister of Wanda Elam that you’ve been talking to, Mom and Dad). We dropped in on Judge and he had a card and a gift certificate for me! So I had a good birthday without even trying too hard. Thank you everyone!!

Ok on to business. On Thursday we were walking around and found a man from Burley, Idaho! Then we met his wife, who I realized I met at the food pantry once…she’s Marianne Bohon and worked with Marion Wadsworth I think? They let us in their house and we talked for an hour and left a Book of Mormon with them, it was fun to talk to someone from home.

I guess one of the biggest things I learned this week was from President Smith. He was telling me about a lady in his ward who was trying to quit smoking. She said “Trey, what’s something that when you see it, you have to have some of it?” He said “Butter pecan ice cream!” She said “Give it up.” him: “For how long?” her: “Well how long do you want me to give up smoking for?” …and he suddenly realized how hard it was to say “Forever.” That impacted him so much that since that time, he doesn’t eat butter pecan ice cream. He’s slipped up a couple times, but that experience stuck with him and he doesn’t eat that ice cream anymore.

I also wanted to share what Thomas B Griffith has suggested as a way to gain or deepen a testimony of the Book of Mormon:

1) Study carefully the four gospels. There is a power that comes from reading what the first Christians had to say about Christ. 2) Study carefully 3 Nephi 11 — 28. The visit of the Risen Lord to the people in the Book of Mormon is the highlight of the record. 3) Study the Acts of the Apostles. 4) Study Galatians and Phillipians and Romans. 5) Study the most recent General Conference Addresses. And if you can, in all this Gospel study, use something like the method Clayton Christensen used in studying the Book of Mormon. Perhaps you know his story. Clay is a hero to my generation. He was two or three years ahead of me at BYU and was generally known as the brightest and nicest person at BYU. That he won a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford only added to his luster. Clayton tells a remarkable story about gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon. This comes from a talk he gave introducing the Church and its message to non-LDS students. There is much about this account that amazes me, including the fact that he was a returned missionary at the time:

“I was born into a wonderful Mormon family, and as I grew up I found few reasons to disbelieve the teachings of the church. My parents had deep faith in its precepts, and their example and encouragement were powerful – I believed in my parents, and I knew that they believed the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was not until I was 24, however, that I came to know these things for myself. I had been given a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University in England. After I had lived there for a few weeks, far away from the supportive environment in which I had been raised, it became clear that adhering to Mormonism in that environment was going to be very inconvenient. In fact, doing the sorts of things I described in the first part of this essay within the Mormon congregation in Oxford would preclude my participation in many of the things that had made Oxford such a rich experience for prior recipients of my scholarship. I decided, as a result, that the time had come for me to learn for certain and for myself whether Mormonism was true. I had read the Book of Mormon before – seven times, to be exact. But in each of those instances I had read it by assignment – from my parents or a teacher – and my objective in reading it was to finish the book. This time, however, my objective was to find out if it was a true book or a fabrication. Accordingly, I reserved the time from 11:00 until midnight, every night, to read the Book of Mormon next to the fireplace in my chilly room at the Queen’s College. I began each of those sessions by kneeling in verbal prayer. I told God, every night, that I was reading this to know if it was His truth. I told Him that I needed an answer to this question – because if it was not true I did not want to waste my time with this church and would search for something else. But if it was true, then I promised that I would devote my life to following its teachings, and to helping others do the same. I then would sit in the chair and read a page in the Book of Mormon. I would stop at the bottom of the page and think about it. I would ask myself what the material on that page meant for the way I needed to conduct my life. I would then get on my knees and pray aloud again, asking the Lord to tell me if the book was true. I would then get back in the chair, turn the page, and repeat the process, for the remainder of the hour. I did this every evening. After I had done this for several weeks, one evening in October, 1975, as I sat in the chair and opened the book following my prayer, I felt a marvelous spirit come into the room and envelop my body. I had never before felt such an intense feeling of peace and love. I started to cry, and did not want to stop. I knew then, from a source of understanding more powerful than anything I had ever felt in my life, that the book I was holding in my hands was true. It was hard to see through the tears. But as I opened it and began again to read, I saw in the words of the book a clarity and magnitude of God’s plan for us that I had never conceived before. The spirit stayed with me for that entire hour. And each night thereafter, as I prayed and then sat in that chair with the Book of Mormon, that same spirit returned. It changed my heart and my life forever. It was as if I had been looking out as far as I could see toward the horizon, and had been quite satisfied that I could see everything that there was to see. When I undertook to read the Book of Mormonin that manner, however, I discovered that so much more beauty and truth about who we are and what God has in store for us, lies beyond that old horizon. I did not know what I did not know. I love to go back to Oxford. As the beautiful, historic home of the world’s oldest university, the town is filled with students and tourists. To me, however, it is a sacred place. It is there that I learned that the fundamental message of the Book of Mormon is in fact true – that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. It is there that I learned that God is indeed my Father in Heaven. I am His son. He loves me, and even knows my name. And I learned that Joseph Smith, the man who translated the Book of Mormon and organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was a prophet of God in the same sense that Peter and Moses were prophets. I love to return to Oxford to remember the beautiful, powerful spirit that came to my heart and conveyed these messages to me.”

All right, once again thank you for all the birthday wishes and every bit of help that so many people have sent my way. Have a wonderful week! 🙂

– Sister Victoria Hale

p.s.

I have to write down all the weird things people say…
___
“Goodbye, my little Mormon friends!” – guy we talked to for 45 seconds
___
me: “in the early 1800s, there was a young boy named Joseph Smith, who–”
Eddie: (starts cracking up laughing)
me: “What’s funny?”
Eddie: “Oh nothing… but Joseph Smith? Really?”
me: “Yeah…”
Eddie: “It’s just that that’s the name I use for everything, like if I need to make up a name, it’s always Joseph Smith.”
hahaha
___
there’s more (always) but I don’t have time this week, love you all, bye!

pic 1: Marionne and Don Bohon

pic 2: Charlie & Cedell Riggs & me & Sister Rindlisbacher

pic 3: hipster mismatched missionary gloves

IMG_2978 IMG_0003 IMG_0003

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