Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This post is probably about you.

I just got out of my English class (Persuasive Writing) and for some reason I am just in a mood to write. I was going to read for my class tomorrow, but I don't want to. I want to write. I think it is because I have a lot on my mind, but I seem to get into trouble for posting things on my blog. No, like seriously. After my last post, I had people asking me (in a very "gamish" way might I add) what I was referring to or who. After multiple of those, I wanted to just be like, "You." Even if it was not really about them, it just seemed that they wanted it to be about them.

Is my blog that awesome that you just want to be mentioned on it?

The words of my roommate come to mind during times like this, but I'll tell them in just a bit because I feel that if I would write them here I would offend at least three people. I use this phrase for everyone who thinks that when someone says something generic, they think that the speaker is talking about them. For example, when Bob writes a blog about how we need to be more service oriented, Mary thinks that Bob is referring to her and that time she wouldn't give him a Snickers bar. Really? Or, if a paper publishes how the American Public needs to be more open to presidential candidates' religions, Jane Doe wants to know how he knew that she wasn't going to vote for Rick Perry because of his religion. What the? Where does that even come from?

So, now that I got that out of the way, I quote my roommate: "Don't flatter yourself." It isn't about you.
Couldn't have said it better.
Mary, maybe Bob was reading his scriptures and realized that he was not doing all that he could to serve others and began to reflect on that need for all of humanity. Jane, maybe the writer was reading about the unwillingness of Americans to elect JFK because he was Catholic and wanted to write about it. I believe that our nation has a case of "Victimization": the need to be victimized. Either that or we are all so narcissistic that we believe that everything said is about us personally.
But honestly, let's get real. Very few things in life are centered around you. Unless you read a blog about someone named Cameron, written by someone you went on a couple dates with, and it describes you perfectly, then it may be you. But it has to describe you perfectly. Without fail. (This did happen to my friend and it was quite well written and funny.) Otherwise, just wait until your name is dropped and then you can proceed to wonder what it was really about or whether or not you were involved in the writing thereof.

I think this describes it perfectly, in every way.
Well, I don't know what else to say now. I hope I didn't offend you, because really you put yourself up for it and that is why I had to write this blog. Please refer to the wording in the black box if this post is about you. And if you are offended because I wrote about you, please see the man wearing the white t-shirt so that you are prepared when you come angry at me. I still love all of you and I think you are awesome. But next time, "Don't Flatter Yourself." Just remark on the generality of it. If it does apply to you, obviously you have some self-reflecting to do, but don't go around asking "Who is that about?" or "Is that in reference to me?" because if you have to ask that question, then we found you out. You are guilty.

I wish to the world a wonderful day and a great night. I hope that I don't cause too many sleepless nights because you are caught up wondering if this post was about you or not. If you are wondering that, you aren't going to want to ask because I just said that is a sure way to lose the game! Now what are you going to do? This is going to eat at your insides because there is no way out. Dang it. I just realized I might cause some heart/panic attacks. I guess the only way to solve it is if you stopped thinking everything revolved around you. Well, my conscience is clear now. If you die after reading this post, it is so your fault.  Next time that you think a post is about you, just comment on the post, "Haha, that was funny" or "I know! It is soo true!" and get on with your life, and no one but you will know!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

This is me hating "the game"

You know "the game...", mainly because everyone does it. But it is dumb. Sooo dumb.

For those oblivious to the game, I'm sorry, because that means you probably fell for the game. But then again, you are probably the ones dating or married, so it worked, but I hate game. But, so you know what happened, let me explain to it to you. Now, I know that not every girl does this, in fact, the last young lady that I dated skipped it completely and I was extremely grateful, but in any case, here goes:

The game:
Stage 1: Boy's turn. We all know that in our society, it is the gentleman's opportunity/curse to initiate a courtship. Every time. Let me just tell you women that it is wearing on a guy to ask out the girl every single time, but don't worry. We man up to it. Anyways, boy's turn. Boy likes girl. Boy spends month working up courage to ask girl out. During this month, he gets to know her, does the initial psuedo-dating, and then asks her out.

Stage 2: Girl's turn. The girl has to let the guy know that she is interested/willing to continue the courtship and that she is grateful that stage 1 was initiated. (Obviously, if girl is not willing, then the game ends here and both parties lose. Some games you just can't win). Well, girl can do this in a number of ways: showing appreciation for the date, laughing at dumb jokes, being awesome, etc. 

Stage 3: Guy's turn: Second date. Guy, being interested still and probably completely fallen for the girl, asks her out again.  Probably something a little more exciting or grandiose, but still pretty normal.

Stage 4a: Girl's turn. Sometimes the girl either takes longer to progress to the annoying stages of the game, or never does at all (like the girl I dated that I had previously mentioned). If so, keep repeating Step 2 with greater amounts of appreciation/having fun. (But really, it's great when this happens, because then you just know and things breeze on by easily and with a lot more fun and a lot more stress.)

Stage 4b: Girl's turn. The rest of the time (depending on the girl), girl initiates the game. This is sometimes called "playing hard to get." Now, let me just say that I don't understand this, because if someone likes me, and I like them too, then I let them know. However, some people want to be chased. So, here are some common features of the game. Guy wants to court girl and has progressed past stage 3. Every time guy goes to talk to girl, she is flirting with another dude. OR Girl starts to avoid phone calls/texts, pretends not to be home, etc. to see the extent that guy goes to contact her. (Believe me, I've seen it happen).  OR Every time guy talks to girl, she claims to be super busy, like, "Oh, I have too much OT homework" or "Sorry, I am soooo busy lately." OR Girl just acts plum disinterested and stops repeating step 2, even though she is interested. (Now, sometimes she stops repeating step 2 because she is no longer interested, I acknowledge that.)

Stage 5a: Boy's turn. The typical smitten man or one unaware of such practices can choose to court her (or try to) even more to win her over. He may bring flowers, or text constantly, or try to "hang-out" as much as possible, or have that awkward date call when he asks girl out for Tuesday night, she says "I'm busy", he says "How about Wednesday night?", she says "I'm busy", he says "Thursday?" and the cycle continues until she says yes. In any case, she makes him fawn over her.

Stage 5b: Boy's turn. Some guys notice the game and just throw it in their face saying: "Hey, I like you, but you let me know if you want to keep going on dates/if you are interested/etc." They put the ball in the other court.

Stage 5c: Boy's turn: This is my typical response. Drop it. These guys are so sick of girls trying to "play around" that every time the girl reaches stage 4b, they just stop. They give up and move on. Now you might be saying, what a whimp or bum. I'm worth it, so he should chase me. Well, let me give you a little insight.

These guys work 20 hours a week. They are taking 15-18 credits of classes and are involved in lots of projects/study groups/extra-curricular activities/personal down time (reading, sports, etc.). They are willing to give up a lot of that time to pursue a fun and healthy relationship. But then, the girl goes all "I'm hard to get" and guy then has to spend all this time chasing down a girl that he isn't sure that he even wants to marry, he's just interested in. Yeah, not happening. There is no way that I would waste time with a girl who does that because I have a life that I'm trying to live, but you aren't letting it happen. It seems to me that you don't want it, so I'm not going to go for it, even if I know what you are trying to do.

Believe me, its happened. I've had friends come and say, "Why aren't you still trying to date so-and-so? She's been asking why you haven't been around?"

Hmm, maybe it's because so-and-so doesn't answer any calls, texts, or is always flirting with other guys. I mean really. Sure, I can understand if you aren't exclusive, that you can pick anyone you want, but when you like a guy and know that he likes you, focus your attention. I know that girls are all "multi-tasking" and such, but this is a little ridiculous. And definitely don't go kissing other guys when you "like" someone, or kiss back for that matter. Who does that? I mean, really?

For me it just puts up the message that the rest of the relationship is going to be like that: me chasing her. Not going to happen. I'm stressed enough as it is. So no. 

Do a favor to the rest of the world and just go with the guy.  If you don't like the one pursuing you, don't do anything that will make him think that you are playing the game. Tell him (nicely) that you aren't interested...please! That way he can know and move on.

Anyways, this actually stems from previous experience and some friends that I have had talk to me about their "girl problems." I'm sick of the game and I think it should end.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I am a Christian.

And so are the other 14+million Latter-day Saints out there. This is in response to the recent attacks on Mormonism by prominent Evangelicals in the Southeast US. However, this debate has been going on since we have become a church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a Christian Church.

I am going to make my argument by showing how we are Christian according to the dictionary.com definitions of Christian. I know that sounds a little dumb, using the dictioanry.com definitions, but it has yet to fail me and I trust in its definitions. If you still don't believe that I am Christian, I will use Websters.

1. Of, pertaining to, or derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings
----- As members of the LDS church, we believe in all that Jesus Christ taught during His ministry. In fact, " We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." (Articles of Faith 9).
----- We also believe that Christ is the founder of this Church, and therefore we are derived from Him.
2. of pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ.
----- "We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel." (Articles of Faith 3).
----- We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." (Articles of Faith 1).
----- Let me add my own testimony that Christ is my Savior and I believe in Christ and I believe Christ when He proclaimed Himself as the Light and the Life of the World.

3. of or pertaining to Christians
----- This one you will have to deduce after the rest of the arguments that we are Christian.

4. exhibiting a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ.
----- Our religion is about service and about following Christ. He was the ultimate healer, helper, and servant. We base our lives around others. Sure, we are not perfect, but we try as do you to follow Him. We have one of the largest Humanitarian services in the world as well as the non-profit Deseret Industries. We work for Him.
----- "We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous,, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul - We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we week after these things." (Articles of Faith 13).

5. decent; respectable
----- While there are certainly some people who profess to be of our religion who are just as vile as other men, as I quoted above, "We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous," etc. We are trying to be true disciples of Christ. When we are baptized, we promise to "take upon us the name of Christ" and to act as He acted. If there is anything more decent or respectable than Christ, you are talking about God.

6. dictionary.com skipped #6. Don't ask me why.

7. a person who believes in Christ
---- Let me quote to you a song that we sing in church of which I can testify to:
"I believe in Christ; he is my King! 
With all my heart to him I'll sing; 
I'll raise my voice in praise and joy 
In grand Amens my tongue employ. 

I believe in Christ; he is God's Son! 
On earth to dwell his soul did come.
 he healed the sick; the dead he raised.
 Good works were his, his name be praised. 

I believe in Christ; oh blessed name! 
As Mary's Son he came to reign. 
'Mid mortal men, his earthly kin, 
To save them from the woes of sin."

----- Please stop telling me that I don't believe in Christ.

8. A person who exemplifies in his or her life the teachings of Christ.
----- See #4. Like I said, we do try and help other people and do what Christ did.

I believe in Christ because I have felt His love as I have tried to follow Him and become like Him. He is my Savior and my Redeemer. I love Him because He is my brother and my friend. He died for me when no one else could. He died for me a sinner and loves me as a sinner and helps me while a sinner. I forever will say that I know that my Redeemer lives. 

I am a Christian. 

Please visit mormon.org if you still have doubts about my Christianity. Why not let us determine our faith instead of other people. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cy and Syd's Engagement

Congratulations to the happy couple who got engaged on Thursday night (Sep. 29, 2011)!!!!

(This space is giving time for you to cheer)

So many people ask for the story, and I have been hired (for free) to blog their story and make it viral. Please enjoy the pics and videos as well. I felt so involved that I was almost the one proposing anyway, so I should get the story right...

Well, Cy has been wondering about this for weeks, and rudely made me keep quiet about it. I wasn't even allowed to tell my roommates that we are going to have to start roommate interviews to find someone for winter semester (you must be awesome and very clean: for applications go to University Villa Apt 102). He had me "coach" him through talking to his parents, which apart from making him almost soil himself, I was scared to death for him.  As he called his mom to say that he wanted to propose, she made him think about it for a whole week. He was truly terrified to call back, but his dad laughed asking what he was so worried about.

Well, the Saturday after that they were going up to Boise to go to a BSU game. Cy figured it would be the perfect opportunity to talk to the parents. He had previously met them before, but he wanted permission (like a good future fiance) and so he asked them if sometime during the weekend they could have a private chat.  Well, like most families, there was almost no time for little chats, until the last day right before they leave.  Cy went crazy waiting to talk to them, and finally they had a moment while Syd was upstairs packing and getting ready for the drive (question: who gets ready for a drive anyways...you are in the car?)  They go outside and Cy spits everything out that he wanted to say. You know the whole I love your daughter and want to marry her speech. Well, they said, "Yes," and didn't even ask for anything else. I think this was as confusing to Cy and as it was scary to talk to his own parents.

He was happy all week.

No joke, my friend Justin who knows Cy a little bit said that Cy usually will just say "Hey" as they are walking past each other at school. Apparently this week, Cy slapped him on the shoulder and with a big grin was like, "How's it goin' big man?" That's a 500% increase of words and a huge increase in body contact. Very unnatural, so something was obviously going very right.

Cy decided that he didn't want it to be obvious when he was going to propose, but he also didn't want to give her a ring that she didn't like. Instead of ring shopping before the engagement, he wanted to use a "gag ring" that reminded her of their first date together. On their first date, they went to the Nicklecade which is an arcade where the tokens are nickles. (I was there too on a double date! I've been there from beginning to end with these two :P) Anyways, Syd got a little colorful coiled ring that had little beads on it (see pictures for an example). However, since then she had either lost it, misplaced it (which is the same thing as lost it, I know), or hid it from Cy when he went to get it to ask her for her hand!

Sorry, I get a little excited about this.

Well, in order to get another ring we had to go back. Darn. Cy and I went and spent some time off of the busy week playing arcades and winning tokens to get a ring. After we get in we look at the prizes and the rings are gone!!!! Cy asks the attendant and he went to go check in the back. (Side note: While we waited, we raced on snowmobiles and Cy barely edged me out in the end. Dumb. We still only got 4th and 5th.) Well, the guy came and found us and said that they had run out of colorful ones, but they had a couple of uni-color rings. While disappointed, Cy was relieved that we wouldn't have to go for the random flower ones. (Which were hideous and cost 100 tokens: umm, no?)

So, we started playing random games and got about 115 tokens in about 5 minutes. We went and got two of the rings (purple and silver) and then were looking for something to spend the rest of the tokens. (Yes, Cy spent 50 tokens on Syd's engagement ring). We spent 85 tokens on little fruity snacks that were actually quite delicious.

Cy fell asleep surprisingly well, but next morning admitted that he kept waking up during the night. Yes, the little ninja still gets nervous about girls :)

Thursday afternoon:  THE BIG DAY!

I'm so excited to tell this :)

So, I get home at around 5:30 and Cy is obviously pretty nervous...He went to go get his own rose for her and was pretty proud of his choice. (To his credit, he did pick a really good). So, we had formulated a plan for him to go to Gloria's Little Italy for dinner. We went over there to ask if they could bring Sydney the rose for dinner, but with the help of the hostesses and the server, we (meaning them and Cy) planned to bring it out during dessert (which is divine at Gloria's, as is the rest of the food). After talking to them and seeing one of the hostesses getting particularly excited, we left to see the tree.

I made Cy do some awesome posing.  This is where Cy was going to propose. It is a cute little "historic" tree just across the street from Gloria's.

Haha, he didn't tell his brother....

I have other videos, but they are long and only funny to those who were there. If you want to watch them, ask me for the link.

Well, we get home Cy starts to get ready. I wanted him to wear his blue shirt, but it looked like a circus tent on him, so we went with the all black. However, he needed on last addition: a silver Italian tie provided by yours truly. Cy looked so slick. There was no way that Syd was going to resist this. No chance.

Well, we (Carlin, Kaden, and I who were his clothes specialists) went to go eat at the EQ activity while he got ready. We came back, cried a little (well, not really), and sent him on his way. He wanted us to go plant the ring while he was in the restaurant because it looked like his leg had a growth on it with the ring in his pocket.

OH! THE RING! - So, we were trying to figure out what to do with the ring. It would be kind of awkward to give her two rings (purple and silver, remember), but one ring would just be BORING. So, I found a way to put them together so that the color scheme was an alternating purple/silver. Yes, it is beautiful. I don't think they need another ring...well, they do.  Anyways, it is just a little too big, but it is awesome...and I made it. (to my roommates: one!).

Well, we send Cy on his way and at 8:45, Kaden, Carlin and I go to place the ring at the tree where Cy is going to propose.
Sorry that it is so dark and weird. But it was awesome for us. I didn't go back to take pictures because it was way too dark, unfortunately. We did do some drive by photos of them in the restaurant because they were right there on the street. We were pretty legit and then sped away as if being chased by a crazed Mobster. Don't worry, I drove safely.

This from a drive-by.

This is with Carlin's deadly flash stunt
Well, all that is left to say is that Syd said yes!  They came home and we had an awesome small party between our apartment and our next-door neighbors (the engagement was still secret, so not everyone was invited. It was so awesome).

Here is their version of the night:

CONGRATS CY AND SYDNEY!!! I'm so excited for them, although I will be "losing" my best friend and long-time roommate. You will be missed, but they both agreed that I can be their children's godfather and Sydney asked if I could stick around to blog about their children's life. So, yes. I guess in a way you could say that I got engaged this weekend too. Just kidding. But CONGRATS ONE MORE TIME!!!!  Stay tuned for updates on their wedding dates, etc.

Cy and Sydney as depicted by Me and Charlie

(This is space for you to cheer again)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Best news that I could ever receive.

You are going to have to cut me some slack during this post because it is going to be almost impossible to express my feelings right now. So much background needs to be included on this blog, so (are you ready for a cliche' mormon phrase) bear with me.

Background story #1 for tonight: I think many people can relate to how I'm feeling now, but missionaries will understand better than anyone. You know those reflective moments about really important moments or events and you wonder if you had ever made an impact? Did I really help in changing someone's life? I've been going through a lot of that lately, and let me tell you that it has been hard. I've been kind of down on reflecting over my mission trying to understand what contributions I've made.

Well, tonight was a mission reunion and Sorella Fairbanks, who served in Milano 1 after I did, just made my life almost be telling me the ending to a story that Charlie and I entered into over 2 years ago.

Background story #2: Charlie (Anziano Roberts) and I had an awesome time in Milano. Once he found out that I was a pianist, he exclaimed that his prayers had finally been answered. He had been looking for a way to express his music, but had been put with missionaries that he just didn't mesh with. Let me tell you: musically, we were soul mates. It just worked. We felt the music in the same way and often we would stop and both of us would say, "I want to do it this way..." "That's what I was thinking." It was awesome how everything just went together.
Nearing the end of our second transfer together we finally organized a "Serata Musicale" (Music Night). It was going to be AWESOME! We were had put together 5 musical numbers (2 piano solos, 2 solos for Charlie, and a duet with Charlie/Sorella Marinello), readings from scriptures on Christ, and refreshments so that everyone could mingle and reflect on the experience. It was all about Christ: nothing about the Restoration or anything strange (to others). We were doing it to share our testimonies of the Savior. It was our night to tell the world that Jesus is the Christ and that we will follow Him.

Background story #3: Rewind a couple of weeks to two missionaries (us two) knocking on doors in one of the most run down areas of Milano 1 (our proselyting area). Seriously, these houses were terrible. Almost all of the apartment complex's outside doors were broken down or missing glass so we could get inside and knock doors directly in every palazzo (apartment building).

We were knocking on doors when we reached this one where a dog started barking and a women came to the door and asked the typical "Chi e'?" (Who is it?). We explained that we were representatives of Christ and our Church and she told us that she wasn't interested. No way Jose do you get away with that. Charlie and I pressed a little more telling her that the message could bless her life.  She opened the door a crack to explain her condition: her name is Laura and she is blind. Her dog and the chain lock on the door is the only protection she has against unwanted strangers. She uses her dog as a warning sign: if the dog barks, then she doesn't let the person in (partly for her protection and also because she didn't want the dog to attack us).

Realizing that her excuse for not letting us in was legitimate and that she it wasn't complete disregard to our message we volunteered to sing for her. Now realize that we are in a public place: the hallway of a dilapidated housing complex. We had seen druggies with veins so destroyed form injections that the scar tissue was swollen from elbow to neck. We had seen extreme poverty with people just scraping to make a living. It was not a happy area. Here are two missionaries offering to sing a song about Christ: it was a little awkward, but I think that made the experience a bit more touching. We sang to her "I am a Child of God." What is more appropriate than that to sing in a place where God is almost forgotten altogether. For those of you unfamiliar with the song, here are the words to the first verse:

I am a child of God,
And he has sent me here,
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday.

She got a little emotional and thanked us for taking the time to lighten her day. We asked her if we could stop by again just to see how she was doing and she agreed. So, we put her on our list of stop-by’s while in the area, but it wasn’t like she was our main focus.

Well, the Serata Musciale was coming up and we were inviting everyone and their ancestors and the saints that they prayed to. Seriously. It was gonna be HUGE. We left flyers in offices and had members promise to give them to people they think would benefit from a Christ-centered musical night (AKA – everyone). Instead of inviting people to hear about the Gospel, our tactic changed to invite people to come to this musical night. We were so excited! One day we were in her complex again and we decided to stop by and invite her to this musical night. We got to her door and when she found out that we still remembered her, she was really excited. We told her about our activity and she agreed to come if she had a ride! So, we got her number and gave it to one of the ward members to get in contact with each other.
We get to musical night and we are all warmed up and everything is ready. There were a lot of refreshments and the Relief Society President did an awesome job at making everything ready. However…only about 25-30 people showed up. It was a little disappointing after setting up chairs for 100+ people and expecting at least 50-60 just with the people that promised to come. However, Laura was there!  We found her a seat and told her that we were sorry that we couldn’t sit with her because we were part of the program, but that she would definitely enjoy the night.

Here was the program: First, Charlie and I: “Tu Vedi I Gigli”/”Consider the Lilies”

Second, my piano solo “Attonito Resto”/”I Stand All Amazed”

Third, duet with Charlie and Sorella Marinello "Beautiful Savior":

Fourth, my piano solo "Il Suo Amore"/"Our Savior's Love":

Fifth, Charlie and I: "Piu' Forza Tu Dammi"/"More Holiness Give Me":

Last, we sang as a congregation: "Io So Che Vive Il Redentor"/"I Know that My Redeemer Lives":

Well, it went pretty well. Sorry about the bad quality videos, but it was all we had on the mission.  Anyways, Charlie and I were a little disappointed for a while afterwards because of the poor turnout. Besides getting a cute little elderly couple to feed us twice and more respect from the members for our musical talents, nothing happened. Because of the whole dog situation with Laura I can't recall if we ever went back there together. I do know that with my next companion we stopped by because I wanted to tie up loose ends. Again we were met at the door and she thanked me again for inviting her to something so amazing and beautiful. I told her that there was more to this Gospel and that the feeling she felt while she was in that room during that Serata Musicale, she could feel all her life. I bore testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel and asked her if she would accept a visit from sister missionaries since that might be more comfortable to allow into her home.

She agreed...and then I was transferred.  Typical missionary story, right? "And then I was transferred."

Well, that is the background. Returning to present day mission reunion. To be honest, I wasn't completely sure if I wanted to go. I keep in contact with a lot of the missionaries and since there are so many missionaries that I don't know, I felt like it could get a little awkward.  At the end of the reunion, Sorella Fairbanks comes up to me and asks if I was in her Marriage Prep class (which I am and was sure it was her too). After talking a bit about it, she says something to the effect of "You remember Laura, she never stops talking about you." I was like what? Laura? I taught at least 3 Laura's on my mission: 1: baptized in Alessandria and moved to England and I haven't heard from her since. Second Laura was in Ferrara who is 60 and had a crush on me (awkward as...). 3rd - Blind Laura, who we almost never referred to as Laura, but as the "blind lady."

She goes on to tell me that she still writes her and that Laura had taken the missionary lessons and come to church. I thought at first, well shoot! That's cool that she went a little further and that the sister missionaries could make contact with her...Well, that's not all...she was baptized and is still active in the church! She was baptized last March.


How awesome (and I mean that it its true denotative sense and socially accepted connotation) is that!? The fact that she accepted the Gospel means the followiing:

God planned for her personally. He led Charlie and I to develop musical talents, inspired Pres. Dunaway to put us together in that city, lead us to that door, and had us sing at the doorstep. Let's think about this for a moment. Charlie was from Colorado. I'm from Nevada. We met in Italy, put together by a mission president from Utah. We are half-way across the world. God took that much care and preparation for Laura. One person. As Charlie would say, "You think God doesn't care about you personally. Shut up." Really. He planned for her.

Charlie and I did it. We planned an event that didn't even seem to have major implications. We felt that nothing came of it. It was little disappointing. However, God put us together. We worked and found someone who accepted the Gospel. It was Charlie and I who had to do it and I am grateful that I was prepared for it. How awesome is this opportunity to realize that God led you to where you were supposed to be. 

It was fun to see that Charlie and I weren't just placed together because President Dunaway wanted to centralize his two most stressed out people in the mission in Milano. He didn't just think that we would get along or work well together, although he did comment afterwards that he "knew [he] made the right choice." This was meant to be. Our work was hard, but God had a reason for us to be there. It wasn't arbitrary and purposeless. People are inspired. That Serata Musicale was inspired and the pieces we played were inspired. I am so grateful for revelation and the Spirit's direction in our lives.

This experience has taught me so much and reaffirmed my testimony of the Gospel. This was seriously a miracle. This would not have happened by chance. I am majoring in Sociology and we talk about how social forces drive events to occur. Many sociologists are deterministic, believing that society creates us and can predict how we act in any situation. This occurred outside of social forces and pressures. This was completely random and awesome. It was perfectly designed by God to occur.

There is a God and if you are wondering that, believe in my words that he does listen. He saved this ending for me to hear when I needed it most. He knew when it would be beneficial for me. He is looking out for every single one of us. As the song, “Consider the Lilies” says:

Consider the sheep of His fold,
How they follow where He leads.
Though the path may wind across the mountains,
He knows the meadows where they feed.
He clothes the lilies of the field.
He feeds the birds in the sky,
And He will feed those who trust Him,
And guide them with His eye.

He is guiding you and He is making sure that you have the best experience on this Earth possible. He is giving you all the right chances to make sure that you return to Him. Laura is making those choices. I'm trying to. Sometimes we mess up, but God understands us and is giving us the best chance to make it: and to God, the best chance is a perfect chance. You can do it.

To read Charlie's account, go to his blog.