Thursday, May 22, 2014

I'M GOING ON AN ADVENTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you pictured Bilbo running down the road waving his contract in the air as you read the title to this blog post, you're awesome.

And yes, I'm going on an adventure, too! I've mentioned before, I think, that I'm going to Portugal for June and July to study Portuguese with a scholarship. It's a FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies) Scholarship and I'm very grateful to the professors and fellow grad students who encouraged me to apply for it. Basically, the scholarship allows me to go to Portugal and learn the language and the culture and the history. And I have to learn a third language for my masters program, so that is it. I'll be working with a tutor for a few weeks, then taking classes at the university for the rest of the time. And on weekends I shall explore! And go to church. Apparently there is a young single adult ward there and I'll try to go to that.
When I finish my program at the end of July, I'm going to Barcelona, Spain. There is an author there who visited BYU last year. Thanks to one of my professors, I'll be staying with him and his family for a couple of days. I want to use his novel in my thesis, so it will be wonderful to talk with him. Then I will visit a few museums in Madrid and try to talk to the author of the other novel I'm using in my thesis. Then I am going to London for WorldCon. It's going to be AWESOME.I'll spend a few days exploring London before WorldCon starts, because I've never been there and I want to get to know the city. Because many of my favorite stories are set in London. (Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who, Agatha Christie's novels, etc.)
I have no idea when I'll get to go back to Europe, so I want to do as much as I can while I'm there this time. It'll be a grand adventure. I'll be writing about it here, and I shall post photos as well. In the meantime, I'm trying to write and read and finish some projects before I leave. Life is good.

Overcoming Adversity: Amulek

This is a note I wrote in March 2011, when I was preparing for my mission. At the invitation of my bishop, I started going through the Book of Mormon looking for scriptures that I could turn to when life got tough on the mission. It's been a long time since I looked back at it, but now I thought I'd share it here.

Amulek is one of my favorite people from the Book of Mormon, specifically the Book of Alma. He endures really awful trials and comes out stronger than he was before. He was only able to do that because of his faith in God and his love for the Savior and for others. His example is an inspiration to me.

We first meet Amulek in Alma 8:19-32. We learn that he is a Nephite, who has enough faith to trust the angel who told him to invite Alma home for dinner. He lets Alma, a prophet of God, stay long enough to rest and recover from a very difficult journey. In verse 22, we read that Alma “blessed Amulek and his house,” which implies that Amulek had a family, but there are no further details about his wife or about how many children they might have had. (Later, in Alma 10:11, Amulek says that his household includes women and children.) At any rate, Alma stays for “many days with Amulek before he began to preach unto the people” (Alma 8:27). In that time, I imagine that Amulek had the opportunity to learn a great deal about the gospel and to gain a firm testimony, because in verse 29, we read that the Lord commanded Alma to take Amulek along as his companion when he left to teach the people of Ammonihah. This was not an easy task they were undertaking. Alma had already been kicked out of the city once. Nonetheless, both of these men went forth and “were filled with the Holy Ghost” (Alma 8:30).