Now, to you who are graduating today and all other faithful members of the Church, as you graduate from this wonderful university, may I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet, particularly the New Media, to share the gospel and to explain in simple, clear terms the message of the Restoration. Most of you already know that if you have access to the Internet you can start a blog in minutes and begin sharing what you know to be true. You can download videos from Church and other appropriate sites, including Newsroom at LDS.org, and send them to your friends. You can write to media sites on the Internet that report on the Church, and voice your views as to the accuracy of the reports. This, of course, requires that you, all members of the Church, understand the basic, fundamental principles of the gospel.
We are living in a world saturated with all kinds of voices. Perhaps now, more than ever, we have a major responsibility as Latter-day Saints to define ourselves, instead of letting others define us. See the full discourse by Elder Ballard HERE
Anyways, that is not really what I have been thinking about over the last few days. I have been thinking a lot about the gifts and talents that Heavenly Father has blessed me with and the ways that He has been asking me to use them lately. I just called a new secretary to my Relief Society Presidency because our old secretary got married over the Christmas break. Now I don't have much experience with receiving revelation as to other people's callings, mainly because the last time I was in any sort of Presidency I was a Beehive. I was quite nervous about the decision, I thought about it all break and I started to stress about it when I got back. I thought that surely someone would move in and have the calling written across her forehead, unfortunately, that was not the case. As I was praying about it and looking over the ward directory, I kept looking at a particular girl, but knowing that she was engaged and that my bishop does not like calling girls when they are already engaged, I would pass over her. The Sunday I had promised to have a new secretary called, she got up in Relief Society and bore her testimony and I just knew I had to call her. She has become the biggest blessing for me.
I don't know what it is but she just helps me to push myself to be better at my calling, to get out there and be more organized. EVERY time I have an idea, she will add onto it and make it into a GREAT idea. On subjects that I feel like I have exhausted all trains of thought, she will say something and lead us down a path that I had never even thought was possible. She is helping me to treat it as a presidency and not as me taking on all the responsibility. I AM SO GRATEFUL! She has helped me to be more kind to others and see myself in a different light. Over the last few weeks I have had more comments from sisters about how kind we are as a presidency and I feel like it is because we have finally found a good blend in our presidency.
On Monday, I turned 26. I know. I can't believe I am 26. That age seems so weird. BUT I had a birthday party and invited pretty much anyone who lived in the greater Utah County area. I don't know where I picked up the habit of inviting basically everyone I know to everything that I plan, but I always do it. It makes for some interesting parties because most of the people only know me, and then have to meet the other people as they come. I kind of love it because I get to bounce around and chat with everyone. My little brother is also in town so he got to meet my different friend groups and kind of understand a bit more about me. Later that evening we were talking about how funny it is to see who comes and who doesn't and I realized how sometimes I just have the ability to bring groups together and make them one. That might sound arrogant and I don't mean it to, but it is particularly true with my life since the mission. I have become a gatherer.
This thought, along with a lot of other thoughts, have led me to decide to do my Student teaching in Washington D.C. next fall. I know, its a random leap of faith, but I have just felt over the last few weeks that I have a lot more to give, and that I need to go where there is little to be had. I have never even been to D.C. I don't know what it is like to live there, but I FEEL like I need to go there. I had an hour long conversation with a professor two weeks ago in which both she and I cried while discussing the pros and cons. She said something that I think will probably mark me and stay with me forever. We talked about how there are a lot more disciplinary problems in the areas where they would send me to teach, and how at times in her experience in inner city schools she would wish that Student X would be more like Student Y because Student Y did all their homework. But then she said, 'But I don't remember the faces or names of any of my Student Y's. I remember my Student X's because they were who I worried about, they were who I prayed for at night. They are the ones that taught me to be a better teacher.'
And with that comment I knew I was going to go there. Of course I have to get accepted, but I just read one of the letters of recommendation that a professor wrote for me and I am quite confident that I will get it. I am going to teach in DC and it is going to be hard, but I hope that I am able to gather there the way I have gathered here in Utah. I have this talent, the Lord has blessed me with it, and I intend to bless those I teach with it. At least that is my plan.
Stay tuned for more info...