Monday, June 20, 2016

Risky Behavior

Risky: Full possibility of danger, failure, or loss
Behavior: the way in which one acts or conducts oneself.
21: the age of a "real adult" in which such risky behaviors are legalized. At 21 you can drink. And you  can also (if you have 3 years of driving experience) be the "adult supervision" for a person with a driving permit. And with my brother behind the wheel, I don't know which one is more dangerous. ;)

Well, this has been a... week. I turned 21 (which I don't expect any of you to remember because you don't have Facebook to remind you, but it's worth mentioning.) My dear friend and recent convert, Manuela from Bilbao, tried on 5 separate occasions to call and wish me happy birthday, but I was never home/ didn't have my cellphone. But no one does dedication like Manuela. So at 4:48am on June 18th, I got my first birthday wishes. Bless her.

I've been working a lot more: teaching lots of kids how to swim, running out of things to do and say and feeling super awkward spending most of the day in a swimsuit. In one of my classes I raced a 9 year-old girl... and it was a close tie. (She has swum 2hrs a day her whole life and I didn't even touch a pool for a year and a half, so my pride is injured but still intact.)
Because my records were first moved to my home ward and then to a Singles ward... I had two sets of visiting teachers. And just how things turned out... they both visited me on Thursday. (Doesn't happen to everyone!) Just a heads up, your future visiting teachers will be afraid to teach you, since RMs are supposed to know everything and be on a spiritual high. Help them out! I shared with them how as a 6-month missionary, I was sent to be the Sister Training Leader on an intercambio with someone who had a year on the mission. I felt much like they did, teaching me. Don't approach it as "I'm here to teach you something." but as, "I'll lift thee, and thee lift me, and we'll ascend together."

On the funny side: I've decided to start the Book of Mormon over again, paying attention to the author- what they said and how they say it and what THAT says about THEM, what the intent is, what they thought was important and why... it sounds a bit silly but every day I find it exciting and new even though the words ("I, Nephi") are ones I've heard hundreds of times. ANYWAY, I was reading in 1Nephi 4 (Nephi kills Laban, gets the plates, finds an unlikely friend in Zoram.) Zoram is originally (understandably) a little freaked out about going with them to the Promised land but agrees within a couple verses and then off they go. But get this! In verse 36 they say, "Now we were desirous that he [Zoram] should tarry with us for this cause, that the Jews might not know concerning our flight into the wilderness, lest they should pursue and destroy us."
It really is a sticky situation. Zoram has to leave EVERYTHING he knows and go into the wilderness with strangers, or Nephi would have to kill him or something because he COULDN'T have gone back to the castle because then he would have been questioned and forced to tell the whereabouts of Nephi and his brothers. Playing dumb wouldn't have worked either. But ALSO...
CSI Jerusalem finds decapitated Laban in a hallway with his sword and clothes AND the brass plates missing and suddenly his servant Zoram is nowhere to be found? If Zoram had stayed in Jerusalem he would have either led the Jews to Lehi's family or been convicted for Laban's murder.
CSI Jerusalem. ;) So Zoram's addition to the group really WAS inspired and even though his decedents kind-of plague the Nephites for the rest of forever... it was part of God's plan.
Serious side:1 Nephi 10:17 has this beautiful definition, "Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him..." The Holy Ghost isn't some VIP membership benefit. ALL those who DILIGENTLY seek him... can feel his presence. You don't have to be perfect, but you should be good, and constant, and constantly good. ;) You have to ask for and invite him, but not much more than that. 'Tis a simple "gift."

 I went to Deseret Book for the first time since I went to buy mission things. My heart ached with longing looking at the missionary section- seeing the same bag I carried EVERY DAY of my mission, new and ready for sale. Tears sprung up as I soaked in the small Spanish section of the store. I felt the spirit so strongly as I looked into the eyes of the many depictions of the Savior in the art department, each sending a message to my soul. It was a bitter-sweet experience, a reminder of an ending. Two years ago today, I opened my mission call to the Spain, Barcelona mission. I couldn't begin to enumerate or explain the many ways my life has changed since that day, because every minute since then has been influenced by that simple decision to serve. In the simplest words of a Hymn, "I Stand All Amazed." And I know you will, too. I would love to be in your shoes, but I can't wait for you all to have my vantage point: to see the spiritual and overall growth in yourself and sneak just a peak at all the GOOD you've done.

Happy American Father's Day! Take care, dear friends, and give your best in the Lord's service.
... And send me a line if you have the time (at least forward your group email.)
Les quiero!
-Hermana Alayna Een.

Father's Day (With the favorite girls...)
My new favorite picture of christ with the title "Well Done." Couldn't be more fitting.

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