Sunday, 8 May 2011

Testimony

I have a firm testimony of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not through any outstanding experience but a lifetime of small, Spiritual, undeniable experiences, that I must not forget. I know that the Book of Mormon is a true witness of the Saviour, and the more I read it the more certain my testimony grows. As George Cannon said, "No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so." It was through the work of the Prophet Joseph Smith that the restoration was brought about; even through persecution and hatred, the work continued. I have felt the incredible power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in my life. I know that Christ lives, and that the only way back to my Father is through an enduring faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. Although parted by a veil of forgetfulness, I look forward to the day when I can personally thank the Saviour for giving me the opportunity for Exaltation. How remarkable that day will be. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is the living Prophet here on Earth. He personally signed my mission call, and it is now my chance to go forward and serve my Saviour, my Father, and the people in the Greece Athens Mission. The work is true. God be with you till we meet again.

Mission Farewell

Today has been an excellent Sabbath Day. It was my farewell talk in Sacrament Meeting, and it was so good to have so many friends and family come to the Ward. Teddy and Fran was there, and some of Charlotte's and Mum's friends. I was actually nervous before I spoke; this is one of the most important talks of my life, and I haven't given a talk in months. I spoke for 20 - 25 minutes on missionary work, and how the Lord can make your life so much more if you have faith. I read 'The Master's Hand', and bore my testimony of the Gospel. The Spirit was so strong, and I was in tears by the end. This Gospel is beautiful. Saying goodbye to so many people was difficult, but at the same time, it feels like the right time, and just another step. As I put my faith in the Lord, I know everything will work out. I'm being set apart as a full-time missionary this evening - in just a couple of hours. I'm going to the Missionary Training Center tomorrow, and then I'll be heading to Greece in just a couple of months. How incredible.



Saturday, 7 May 2011

D&C 68:6

"Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear,
for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you;
and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ,
that I am the Son of the living God,
that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.
"

A Day In London

Friday was spent in the greatest city on Earth. I went up with my family to enjoy the sights, the sunshine, and the atmosphere. It was a beautiful hot day, and the city was packed with tourists blocking the pavement and bringing us well-needed revenue. I got to see my friend Amberly from BYU who's on a study abroad here for a few weeks, and got to chat with her for a bit. Then we went to all the best places, beginning at the Houses of Parliament, Wesminster Abbey, and the Eye, and then walking through St James' Park to Buckingham Palace. Some of the flags and decorations were still up from the Royal Wedding last week. From there we headed to Picadilly Circus and then Leicester Square. We ate in Garfunkel's and then grabbed a drink from Café Nero.In the evening we saw The Mousetrap at St Martin's Theatre, the longest running play in the world. It was excellent. A tube ride back to the car, and head home.








Thursday, 5 May 2011

"It's so good like this, these are times we'll miss,

the memories I hope will never fade..."
-'Last Summer', Lostprophets

It's been a great couple of weeks at home. I've spent time hanging out with friends, seeing family, catching up and talking about everything that's gone on in the past few months. I've driven my car every single day, enjoying the music. I missed driving so much while I was in Provo. The sun has been shining here in Great Britain, it's been so warm and beautiful. I got to bro out with Teddy and Chris a few times. One day we went down the park and played with Ted's dog Buddy, just enjoying the time together. It was great to relax, and not worry about school. I've been to the London Temple a couple of times, which was quite the experience. On Saturday I went for my own Endowments, and really felt the Spirit as I was in the Celestial Room. Wednesday I went back with Mum and Dad, and had the opportunity to do some initiatory work and sealings. I went out with Natasha on Wednesday evening, and we were in the restaurant talking and laughing for hours - they had to kick us out because it was closing. We had such a great time. I've seen Laura, Sam, and Fran and I've got just a couple more days to get finalise everything. I've got everything sorted and organised, almost ready to go. It's been an eventful two weeks . . .

















Friday, 29 April 2011

Ten Days

I'm very excited for my mission. The more I learn about the Gospel, the more incredible it is to me. It all makes sense, and it brings so much joy into my life. I have one more week in Great Britain before I head back to Provo to enter the MTC. I love the Gospel. As I was studying Preach My Gospel last night, I found a brilliant quote.

"We do not preach and teach in order to 'bring people into the Church' or to increase the membership of the Church. We do not preach and teach just to persaude people to live better lives. . . . We invite all to come unto Christ by repentance and baptism and confirmation in order to open the dooes of the Celestial Kingdom to the sons and daughters of God.
No one else can do this.
"
-Elder Dallin H. Oaks, 'The Purpose of Missionary Work,' April 1995.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

D&C 24:11-12

"In me he shall have glory, and not of himself,
whether in weakness or in strength,
wheather in bonds or free.
And at all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth
and declare my gospel as with the voice of a trump,
both day and night. And I will give unto him
strength such as is not known among men.
"

Saturday, 23 April 2011

"Make it a sweet, sweet goodbye...

...it could be for the last time, and it's not right..."

-'Lullabies', All Time Low

Tonight is my last night in Utah. This has been a fast, hectic, emotional week. I've finished up all my classes, ending on Wednesday after handing in a ten page research paper and taking my 3 hour 40 minute Bio final. It felt so good to be done. My Mum and sister flew in to help me pack. It was a momumental task. But it's all done. We're staying at a friend's house tonight. I'm all moved out of the apartment that's been my home for the past eight months.
        I spent time saying goodbye to the incredible friends I've made. This has been the absolute greatest year of my life. I've made so many memories. I love BYU. I love the restored Gospel of Christ. And I love these people. It's the end of an era...




















Saturday, 16 April 2011

"More than a moment in time, it's the life of leaving home..."

-'Life of Leaving Home', Yellowcard

I can't believe it's finals week already. The semester is over. Reading days are done. And I completed a couple of finals today. The weather has been so perfect these past couple of days. Life has been great.
        A couple of weeks ago we headed to Bro. Wilcox's house for Home Evening (April 4th). I didn't even know we were going over there, until we left to actually go there, but it was really fun. It was great to get to meet him and talk with him, and he was excited to hear I'm going to be serving in Greece. I'm pretty excited too.
        Then the very next day (April 5th), I was interviewed by the Church for a new online video, to be featured on the Youth LDS website. John Hilton III contacted me on Facebook and asked if I wanted to be a part of it. Of course, I didn't decline. I put on my favourite shirt, and tried to think of what to say. (Kinda like a date, really.) It was pretty cool to be in front of the camera, with a mic above me and a light shining on me - a professional set-up - in the middle of the JFSB square. They asked me questions about chastity and sexual purity, and I certainly did my best to answer them! I want to see the finished product, but it won't be done for a little while yet. Look out for it.
        Classes are completely finished now. For the past couple of weeks I've been kinda nostalgic, and not looking forward to it. Right now, I'm really excited for the future. On my last day of Book Of Mormon (Rel A 122) with Bro. Marsh, I got a pic with him. I had him for 121 last semester too, and he's such a brilliant teacher - award-winning, in fact. I've learnt a lot from him, and would love to be as knowledgeable as he is. I love going to his class and feeling the Spirit. It increases my testimony every Monday and Wednesday morning.



        There's been a couple of things I wanted to do before the semester came to a close. The first was to go on a date with Ashley. Ashley was my dance teacher for Social Dance 180 last semester, she's a Junior, a Finance major, Dance minor, she's on the ballroom team, and she's one of the most beautiful girls I've ever met. It was, honestly, quite awkward when I asked her out last Thursday. It took a lot of courage, but ask her I did. The date Monday afternoon was perfect. Rose in hand, I met her by outside the Tanner, and we drove, with the windows down and sun shining, to Tucanos. [Alcohol-free] cocktails were ready for us on the table, and then we enjoyed all-you-can-eat meat and good conversation. She's just great, and I really like her. And she's helping me with the Marriott School application process. As I dropped her back at her apartment, I got a picture with her.

        My second aim was to complete getting my BYU Basketball poster signed by the team. Kyle Collinsworth told me after Ward Prayer when he visited to add him on Facebook, which I did. I met him again after the Unforum on Tuesday, where he gave me his cell number to arrange getting my poster signed. And I met Pres. Samuelson and his wife outside the Marriott on Tuesday, and got to briefly visit with them, which was a great privilege. So Kyle gave me his number and, cut a long story short, got me into a closed signing on Thursday. I was just heading into an Econ review, when I saw I had a text from him: "Meet me at the marriott center in 10 mins". I biked over to the Marriott and waited. I walked with him to the Stadium and got inside. It wasn't open to the public, so I sat quietly and tried not to get kicked out. The entire team had what looked like thousands of items to sign. I only needed three more signatures to finish up my poster: Zylstra; Anderson; and Fredette. I got Brock and James' as soon as I got in, and then waited for Jimmer to turn up. While I was in there, I gave my good friend Katie a call, and she couldn't believe I was in there with the team. I even got Jackson to talk to her on my phone for a minute while he was signing t-shirts, and she was almost in tears when I got the phone back. She later dropped a couple of posters off to get signed, but couldn't come inside. A did get asked by a couple of girls who were organising the event if I was with someone from the team, and I let them know I was with Kyle, so they let me stay. I talked with Charles Abouo, and when he found out I was going to Greece, asked me to send him my mission email address so he can write to me and let me know when the team are going to be there - apparently the team are going there in August. Abouo is so awesome, we were just chatting, and he's so friendly. I got a picture with him and Jackson Emery. Emery's really cool too. In the pic he looks so nerdy haha. Finally the team finished up and left one by one, and then Jimmer turned up. He's such a fantastic player, and he was the last signature I needed on my poster. I really wanted a picture with him, but some other woman who seemed in charge who I hadn't spoken to already just wanted me out. In her words, "this wasn't supposed to be open to the public." One of the other girls let her know I was friends with Kyle Collinsworth, but they still kicked me out pretty pronto after my poster had been signed by him. I was pretty excited that I had got my poster signed by the whole team, and watched each player sign personally. They're my favourite team, and it has been such an incredible season. They're one of the greatest teams in BYU history. My poster is a perfect souvenir to commemorate the season.




        I wish I could write about everything, but this post is taking enough time as it is. I went to the BYU Ballroom Concert, "imagine", last week with Hannah. I was good to see Ashley performing in that show. For the record, my favourite dance that evening was "A Drop in the Ocean", performed by Jared Kelson and Elisha Thompson, the 2011 US National Amateur Cabaret Champions. Last night I went out to Cold Stone with Meredith, which was a great date after a busy day studying. I went with Olive for a photoshoot on Monday, to get a picture for my mission plaque back home for when I leave on my mission. I posted my favourite one below. I hung out with Michelle on Wednesday, and we sat outside discussing the best parts of the year.
        I've enjoyed sleeping in the past couple of days. I've had a chance to see some friends, relax in the sun, and get a whole lot of studying done. Waking up late, biking to campus through the fresh morning air, and then studying. I love how the semester winds down to a finish. Today, I was on campus nine hours straight, including 4 hours in the library and almost three and a half hours in the Testing Center. I took my Book of Mormon and Econ finals today, and I'm really pleased with how they went. Just a few more days to go, and college will be over for good. For this year anyway. This really has been the greatest year of my life. I made extraordinary friends, made the most of every opportunity, and created unforgettable memories. One more week...