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Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

166th Ask Josh – MTC Entry date, 6 years later

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2011 at 10:35 am

Note: I know there is no question associated with this. So I know this isn’t actually a question. And I know that this is the exact same post I put on my family blog at weareguest.blogspot.com. But I wanted to post it here, too.

Love,

Josh

……

Today marks exactly six years since I entered the MTC to begin my mission to Santiago, Chile. It is also six years since I first watched an episode of The Office (I didn’t watch it in the MTC, but stayed up until after midnight watching it with my siblings while we played Risk until 2:00 am the night before).

This morning I woke up in my apartment in downtown Santiago and I watched an episode of “La Ófis”, the Chilean version of the television franchise since I can’t watch the American version since Hulu, Netflix and NBC don’t work down here.

I can’t say that not much has changed in six years, but I can say that things have a funny way of coming full circle.

While in Chile I have had the opportunity to accompany a pair of local missionaries who are currently serving in the last ward I served in. Once I get off work at 7 or 8 pm, I take the local Metro down to the end of the red line, hop on a bus, and I meet the Elders at the chapel or I get to the evening appointment just before they do and spend a while conversing with my Chilean brothers and sisters.

One of these evenings the Bishop (note on the Bishop: back when I was in the ward he was a newly returned missionary, now he is married to the old Bishop’s daughter and has a daughter of his own) had asked the Elders to come to a special Aaronic Priesthood meeting to tell all the young men about the blessings of a mission.

There, in the chapel, were four rows of young men, many in suits, looking like mini-missionaries ready to work. On the back bench, on the end, there was one boy in jeans and a soccer jersey. I recognized the boy because I had baptized him four years earlier in my last month of service. I was sure glad to see him because I could count my converts still active and attending Church on one hand and still have fingers to spare.

After the Elders finished their small presentation the Bishop asked me if I could give my testimony of the blessings of missionary work and the changes missionary work brings to your life.

I have thought about that topic often, and Jeffrey R. Holland’s testimony always comes to mind. To paraphrase, “Every good thing that I have, I have because of my mission.”

In that same vein, I must say, that of every good thing that I have, I have because of my mission or somebody else’s decision to serve a mission. To name a few things:

Were it not for missionary work, my ancestors on my mother’s side would never have joined the Church and headed to Utah.

Were it not for missionary work, my father and grandmother would not have known about the restored Gospel. My parents would never have met in BYU. And I would not have been born to such goodly parents.

I would not have the opportunities I have seen in my educational life, my future professional life, and my current professional opportunities that I never dreamed of ever having.

More importantly, if it were not for missionary work, I would never have met my dear sweet wife, Susan. When I think of where I would be without Susan, I simply would not have any life at all. If it weren’t for members who befriended her and missionaries who taught her.

If it weren’t for my own decision to serve a mission, Susan being the righteous woman she is, simply wouldn’t have any interest in me. Thus I would be without any idea of what I wanted to do with my life, and I would be left a lone man.

So I do not take the invitation to participate in missionary work lightly. I can hardly stand the idea that someone is needlessly on a path to miss out on the blessings of the Gospel. I can’t stand the idea that someone is going to be one husband or wife short of a marriage, or one less father or mother short of a happy family.

One other blessing from my mission is a renewed testimony for how much our Heavenly Father loves us. Being the caring and concerned wife that Susan is she sometimes reminds me that I should take better care of myself by getting to bed earlier instead of getting back to my apartment every night at 11:00, and perhaps I should take the evening off once in a while, or use one of my weekends to do some fun touristy activities. I have trouble explaining to Susan over Google Voice why I feel so compelled to use all my free time on my evenings teaching lessons; or why I choose to walk all the way to work in the morning instead of taking the bus so I can afford to take metro to meet the Elders in the evening; or why I spend my weekends knocking doors trying to track down all my old friends just so I can tell them I love them and that the Lord loves them.

I want so much for these people to be happy. And I just met them one day knocking doors. How much more must our Father desire our happiness. How much more would He be willing to go out of his way to tell us how much he loves us. What great lengths and sacrifices He makes so we can return to him.

Elder Holland said: “Do you know [the meaning of the word succor]? It is used often in the scriptures to describe Christ’s care for and attention to us. It means literally ‘to run to.’ What a magnificent way to describe the Savior’s urgent effort in our behalf! Even as he calls us to come to him and follow him, he is unfailingly running to help us.” (“Come Unto Me”. CES Fireside, 2 March 1997. http://lds.org/ensign/1998/04/come-unto-me).

I realize that some of my non-LDS friends, family and co-workers may sometimes be uncomfortable when I try to inject a bit of my testimony into the conversation. And I thank them for their patience. They don’t have to accept it, but we have to proclaim it. I have to proclaim it.

Anyway, it has been a good six years. Two of them spent on the mission, two looking for a wife, and two more courting her and starting a family with her. It’s good to be in Chile again. And I look forward once again to seeing my wife at home waiting for me when I return. Boy do I want to run to her right now.

165th Ask Josh – Last Day on Earth

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2011 at 10:01 am

Jacci B. did not ask me, but rather asked the world via Facebook:

So, the billboards say that tomorrow is the end, what do you do with the day before?

….

Dear Jacci,

There’s the theoretical answer (which I hate reading), and then there’s what you actually do on a real day before the world ends.

It never occurred to me that someone would still spend the day before the end of the world in a pretty routine fashion because nobody ever really believes that the next day will be the end of the world, even if a billboard told them so.

That said, anyone who says they would spend their last day on earth doing things like “skydiving” or “Rocky Mountain-climbing” or even going 2.7 seconds on a bull named “Fu Man Chu.” Because even if you were 99% certain you were dying the next day, I believe you may do a few more things you enjoy, but you would still keep yourself from burning bridges, spending all your money, or risking death.

For example,

I still show up at work, but I spend a little more time reading the Op-Eds of the WSJ and the NYT and I forward more links than usual on Facebook. Because, who cares if I’m clogging up news feeds, the world may end tomorrow.

I go out to eat, but I end up passing up a Chilean McDonald’s McNifica and end up walking to the Santiago Temple and eating in their cafeteria with some strangers… and I name the plate of lentils “Food Man Chewed.”

Also, instead of spending Saturday going from one house to the next, I settle to do some service for an old friend, then stay to have lunch and go watch Pirates of the Caribbean, have a little gelato to enjoy my last day, and then do a little shopping for Susan… just in case I don’t die and the world keeps spinning madly on.

I still do laundry, but I throw all the clothes into a single load. I am less worried about what will happen if my dark colors with my bright colors get washed together. Because if the world ends, then I saved myself an extra washing machine cycle before it happened. And if it doesn’t end, I’ll still have clean socks for Church the next day, even if my yellow and pink shirts looks a little more blue from now on.

I still go to the ward activity. And I still make plenty of jokes, just fewer at others’ expense. In case I have to see them the next day.

I read a book I like, but I don’t finish it. Just in case there may yet remain another day to read it.

Thus, living like you’re dying becomes a lot more sustainable life model when there is none of the drama of remembering to check everything off your bucket list and a little more focusing on the important stuff without having to leave the field unplowed.

Also, I would put off writing this post because even if I did get it published in time for the end of the world, nobody would have the time or a reason to read it.

I know, none of this is funny. So… spend part of your last day on earth watching this:

Love,

Josh

164th Ask Josh – A Crap Colored Blog

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm

[Some Jerk] asked (translated from Spanish):

Dear Josh,

Why do you insist on expressing yourself on a crap-colored blog?

…..

Dear Jerk,

A tricky two parter here.

1.) Why do you insist on expressing yourself … ?

I take it this isn’t your actual question. Because I haven’t been writing much lately, so I haven’t been insisting on expressing myself on any blog. If anything, I’m insisting on expressing myself through Tweets, which arguably have no color.

2.) … on a crap-colored blog?

Well, in a few years when I look at this, the blog will already have changed design and will no longer be, as you say, “crap-colored.” So the joke’s on you, history will not remember you. Though, in another way, you may change history because who can say for certain whether your question caused me to change the blog color and layout?

But for now, the “crap color” stays so my close friends and blood relatives and those who still follow this because they forgot to unsubscribe can understand the point your question is trying to make. And then I’ll probably change it to some cool steel blue cobalt thing. Though I don’t know if I’ll ever get to a blog that doesn’t look cluttered. That is my major blog layout issue. Maybe someone can help me make my blog look more like the packaging for an Apple product.

Love from Santiago,

Josh

Hello world!

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2011 at 10:48 pm

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