Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Musings and Prayers

Lately I have been very happy but also a bit distraught in some ways. It seems that a particular clique has developed in my ward. I thought I had escaped in High School. Alas, it apparently is inescapable. How naive of me to think that I would escape human nature! I am not really mad about this, just somewhat disappointed. Cliques, I feel, diminish personal relationships and place greater value on hanging out rather than actually being true friends. I have felt a twinge of pain as I have experienced this, as for the first time it actually matters to me. When I came to BYU, I longed to avoid this social aspect of the college experience. Unfortunately, it is not avoidable. Part of me is very glad to not be involved in a clique, however. I want to be everyone's friend. Frankly, I don't really care about hanging out in a group, I want personal relationships. I want to have time one on one or in small groups. I want to be able to extend a hand of fellowship to people. I want to be kind to everyone. As tacky as I may sound, it is actually one of the most important facets of my existance. And while I may not like some people, I desire to be cordial and loving to all. The only pain that I feel from it is that perhaps in this process I have lost a friend here at BYU. Not really lost, our relationship is just not the same as it used to be. And how I long for it to return to the escapades of last semester. But, if not, I will continue. Life goes on and we find happiness. I feel passed over at times. I feel distant. But life will continue and I will go on despite this pain in my life. It really is a pain. Life is more painful than we would like. But with strength and prayer I know that I can do all things. Preachy. I know. Another pain. A friend of mine told me of the struggle of one of her very close friends. I will be pleading with God on their behalf. People need all the prayers they can get.

But I also had many other happy events. My prayers were answered on behalf of one of my friends. I was ever so worried about this friend as she has struggled with some particular issues in her life. I prayed extra hard for her. And my prayers were answered.

But what about when God doesn't answer my prayers? What happens if I don't regain that relationship with my friend that I ache for or when I pray for a burden to be lifted and it isn't or when I pray to be given strength to overcome something and then I falter. Does that mean God doesn't care or that my prayers aren't heard? Sometimes I like to see God answer all my prayers, all my fasts, all my aspirations. But more often than not, it isn't meant to be. In my heart, however, I turn to a song that has deeply touched me as I have struggled in life, particularly this semester.

  1. Unanswered yet? The prayer your lips have pleaded
    In agony of heart these many years?
    Does faith begin to fail, is hope departing,
    And think you all in vain those falling tears?
    Say not the Father hath not heard your prayer;
    You shall have your desire, sometime, somewhere.
  2. Unanswered yet? Though when you first presented
    This one petition at the Father’s throne,
    It seemed you could not wait the time of asking,
    So urgent was your heart to make it known.
    Though years have passed since then, do not despair;
    The Lord will answer you, sometime, somewhere.
  3. Unanswered yet? But you are not unheeded;
    The promises of God forever stand;
    To Him our days and years alike are equal;
    “Have faith in God”; it is your Lord’s command.
    Hold on to Jacob’s angel and your prayer
    Shall bring a blessing down sometime, somewhere.
  4. Unanswered yet? Nay, do not say ungranted;
    Perhaps your part is not yet wholly done;
    The work began when first your prayer was uttered,
    And God will finish what He has begun.
    If you will keep the incense burning there,
    His glory you shall see, sometime, somewhere.
  5. Unanswered yet? Faith cannot be unanswered;
    Her feet were firmly planted on the Rock;
    Amid the wildest storm prayer stands undaunted,
    Nor quails before the loudest thunder shock.
    She knows Omnipotence has heard her prayer,
    And cries, “It shall be done,” sometime, somewhere.
I am happy. Contrary to the negative tone of this post, I am very happy. However, it is a bittersweet time in my life. But I am determined to, as one of my friends has said, take what comes my way and love it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Quick Blog on Lent

My Lent this year. First time I am actually doing Lent. I am still working out the details of my Lent.

But at least 5 days a week- Bed by 10:30 up by 6:30. I am hoping it works. It's my sacrifice. And to get me accustomed to missionary time.

Pray for me to make it work?

And also, I can know recognize the word koon in Thai songs. It means you.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

More Thai

So I listen to Thai songs a lot. I really like their national pride. And so I am posting their national anthem. I wish I could sing it, but I can't quite yet. The only words I know are the last couple. Chai chai yo means hooray from what I can gather.

thai national anthem - thai

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Les Rois Mages

I am addicted to this song now. And it's not even in Thai. Or a language that I speak.

Les Rois Mages "Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dum" - SHEILA

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Thought for the Day

Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?

Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.

There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.
’Tis noble of man to work and to give;
Love’s labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something helps others to live.
To God each good work will be known.

Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.

I wondered a lot about this today. It was a day where I felt really quite busy, stressed out, and all together, not too hot, but I figure, if I lifted anyone's burden, caused someone to smile, even for a moment, I had done something worthwhile. In the end, it doesn't really matter how much I got done, but the quality of what I did get done. Taking time out of my schedule to comfort a friend is much more important to me than a grade on a test. Being there is more important than Facebook.

Am I trying to be like Jesus? Enough? Can I do more?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

For People Off BYU Campus

For those of you off BYU campus, I am going to post a link of SeagullJaap opening his mission call. Today, the BYU filter must have had a slight glitch, so I got to see my reactions on film. Right after I finished with it, the filter went back up and I couldn't go back to review or tell people fast enough. Odd how things like that happen.

I have had a great day today. I finished the Book of Mormon. I will blog about my experience with that later. I also did all the things I felt like I needed to do earlier today. Now it is on to more homework. I send my blessings to all of my gentle readers.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sabai Dee

So today I have been listening to this. A lot.

so close - Enchanted - Thai Version.mp3 -

And I finally understand one word! Sabai dee means fine, thanks. Dee appears to indicate a word for good/well/fine/happy. I couldn't believe it. Amidst all the tonal things that I couldn't even begin to understand, I picked up my first bit of Thai conversation. A simple phrase? Yes. But a phrase! This is a small victory in SeagullJaap's book. I am still listening to Thai obsessively but I have been getting back on the homework track. I just had to blog today since I haven't blogged recently. I am still so excited to go to Thailand so I have been a pretty good child lately. I have tried my best to keep the commandments and to VLOGROP everything. I have been trying my best to be focused on what God wants me to do. I feel so different from how I felt before my mission call. I feel more restless but more loving and more compassionate. I am praying this continues.

Friday, February 13, 2009


So for those of you who don't know SeagullJaap nor his family probably don't know about his family's obsessive personality. We tend to obsesses over things for extended periods of time. And in my case the last couple of days have been occupied by two things: chewing gum and reading about Thailand, Thai, the Church in Thailand, and just about everything you could imagine about the culture, people, places, and the Work in Thailand. In fact, it is rather late and I should be in bed, but I want to blog before I sleep.

Thailand is going to be so cool. Their culture seems to be a friendly one, non-confrontational and really family oriented. The people are often seen smiling for one reason or another. I cannot touch their heads, point my feet at them, or physically touch them. This will be a difficult one for me. I am a very tactile person. I love to give people hugs and rub their hair. But I want to respect their culture. I tend to be a respectful person. Their culture is very unique and beautiful. Just because it is not Western, does not diminish it's beauty. In fact, my feelings for the Thai people are already very strong. I feel very touched by the conversion stories of the natives of Thailand. I cannot wait to share the Gospel with them. Sure, it's going to be hard. It will take more faith than I have ever had to show. But I am praying extra hard.

Intersting fact: Thai means free. They are the only people to never live under Colonial Rule. Fascinating.

Really, though, could someone tell me when the shock of going to Thailand is going to fade? I am hoping never.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Doctrine and Covenant 75

So today, after a long day of being so excited, and being so immensely thrilled, I began to feel somewhat inadequate. I thought to myself, am I really ready to speak Thai? To go to Thailand? God has promised us so often that He will be with us. Today I read one of my new favorite scriptures where I applied it to myself.

In Doctrine and Covenants 75:13, Joseph Smith addresses some missionaries who are to go forth to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I replaced my name with theirs.

And again, verily thus saith Lord, let my servant Jacob take his journey into the eastern countries (Thailand) and proclaim the things which I have commanded him; and inasmuch at he is faithful, lo, I will be with him even unto the end.

I know that God will attend me as I strive to do this. I feel deeply humbled and very touched by the Comforter or the Holy Spirit. I am prepared to serve the Lord. I am anxious and excited to go to Thailand. And I pray that God will help me as I strive to do that which I know to be right.

The Day of Pentecost

Today started off like any other day. I woke up went to class. But this day was different. Today I was going to get my mission call. Today I was going to become a servant for my God. So I waited more patiently than I thought was possible. I made it through class, stress and concern. Andrew called me and told me about Argentina! I was so stoked. I knew he would love it. Before I left for Salt Lake, I looked up one language that I thought would be difficult but interesting- Thai.

Then I went to my BOM review. I caught the 5:17 bus to SLC. My mom had called me during the review but said that the mail had not come yet. I was anxious. She called me while I was on the bus and said it had arrived. I got home a bit later through my sister Nicole. David was running a bit behind and came a little later. We ate and guessed our places. We sat down and got everyone on a conference call. The letter opener glided across nicely. I opened the letter. My eyes wandered but I didn't believe it. The Spirit rushed through my body. Cloven tongues of fire. The Spirit. Thailand Bangkok Mission. June 3, 2009.

God called me to a place where people need Christ. And if I can only share with them my testimony of the Redeemer of the World, I will be happy. Christ. My Savior. But most importantly their Savior. I already love the people of Thailand. I weep at the thought that I am able to share the Gospel with them. Despite my doubts, my pains, my misery, my struggles, and my problems, I was called to the work. God sees something in me I can't see in myself. Somehow, God knew that I needed to go to Thailand to share the Gospel of my Lord and Savior. For I believe in Christ, so come what may, with Him I will stand, in that great day...

I can't believe this. The Gospel is true. And God knows me better than I know myself.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Make it come faster!

Please. Make it come faster. I can't even do my homework I am so distracted.

I want to say more, but I am too lazy to do that. I am Facebooking and G-Chatting it up. I need to have real food, that will calm my nerves. Not just cookies and pizza. Maybe actually getting it will calm my nerves.

Sigh. Any thoughts for me during this time?

I Will Sing Of My Redeemer - Fernando Ortega

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Book of Mormon- 1 AM Musings

So I guess if I am going out to evangelize the world about a "golden bible" , I should probably formulate my testimony on the Book of Mormon. Once considered a stumbling block for my testimony, I now consider the Book of Mormon to be the keystone of my religion, my faith.

The power of the Book of Mormon is very hard to express. I think if we harden our hearts, we miss out on this book. I remember during my doubt period, I ignored the Book of Mormon, cast it aside, seeing it as a non-Christian, uninspired text. As I came to study more closely, however, I realize that it is the text that I was searching for during my religious experience.

I wanted a Savior who felt the pains of dealing with the problems I had as a 14 year old boy. I wanted a Savior who would let me feel the wounds in His hands and weep at His feet. I want a Savior who would heal me of my afflictions. I wanted a Savior who would hold me, embrace me, love me no matter what. In the Book of Mormon, I found this Savior. After years of searching, refusing to embrace the Gospel, I found Him. And what exquisite joy I felt. The Book of Mormon contains a Christ who bore my sorrows and one who would help me.

I like the Book of Mormon's discussion of the atonement. My testimony has always been strong of the reality of Jesus Christ as the Son of the Living God. My testimony of the atonement is strong. Christ carried our sorrows and our pains along with our sins. I also imagine that the atonement also included a fullness of our joy. Christ knows both sides. This way He can be with us always. I need the atonement so badly. I don't think I can express that enough. I am a sinner. I make a lot of mistakes. I am not perfect. I try so hard, but often I make mistakes. I have temptations. I have the follies of my youth. I have problems. But through the atonement, I am happier. I have come to realize that as I believe Christ, I obtain a fullness of joy. And this testimony has come through the Book of Mormon.

I am eager to share the Book of Mormon. It has such theology. I have a testimony of its divine nature. I pray I can share this witness that I have receieved.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Spirit is Strong

It may be coming this Wednesday. Elder Newman? I am so excited. I never thought I would see this day. But I know that the Gospel is true and I am out to tell the world of my deep and abiding love for Jesus Christ, my Savior and my God. I know the Gospel is His Gospel. I believe in Christ so come what may. Whether Provo or China, I am ready to serve my Lord and my God.

Post your last guesses here!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

To Choose that Good Part

I have often felt like a Martha. Forget the fact that I am a man or that I am not a housewife, I just empathize with Martha. I often feel troubled about a lot of things in my life. Often people who don't know me very well perceive my life as problem-free, as I have a fairly cheerful and happy exterior. In fact, I really don't ask too much of people and I try to be as loving as I can.

Often I get troubled about things in my life. I have problems, I sin, and I fall down. Often I resolve to deal with these issues on my own, praying unto God to give me the will to be able to do it. Lately, however, I have come to a realization. In my hurry-burry life at BYU, I have become more and more like a Martha. I am troubled and worried. I often languish because the answers in my life aren't immediate. I don't know why I am challenged with the things that I am and as I try to seek the answers, the only thing I get is comfort. Often I feel like I should have more than this. Today I began to realize, as I write this post, that perhaps comfort is the best answer at this point. It may not be the most acceptable answer to someone who continually seeks for solid, hard facts, but it will do. Maybe, in the end, I am not supposed to know the answers right now. In time, they will come. I pray.

I resolve to be less of a Martha and choose that "Good Part"- feasting upon the comfort and the words of my Savior.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Random Friday Musings

My ward thinks I am anti-social. Excellent. My plot for world domination through hermitage becomes more and more clear. Granted, the person who told me this (in a much nicer way than I have phrased it) is a guy in my ward who I tend to not want to have social interactions with really. He is the kind of person that is just always there. And while a very nice guy, I tend to avoid large group situations where everyone is just there and I am just there for the few people that I am close friends with.

This semester has been a really rough one for me. I have been pretty stressed out and I feel much more serious this semester for some reason. On the other hand, however, I am doing fantastic with everything. This week I have been good at practicing the piano (for the most part), I have read my scriptures faithfully, I have attended classes, done my laundry, tried to eat a bit healthier, prayed more sincerely than usual. And frankly, my ward's view of socializing is a bit raucous for me at times. Last semester I had fun, yes. But on the other hand, I was also put in situations where I was like, meh. I would rather be doing something else. I also realized who my real friends were. Probably not the girl who called me out as apostate. Probably not the guy (same as above) who got mad at me for texting and yelled at me for it. My real friends are probably the ones who I can joke about who would make a good Mormon, someone who can argue with me about Prop 8 and then we can agree on something and proceed to eat Swedish Pancakes. And probably the person who is so tender and kind and makes me dinner a lot- or we go to the Cannon Center and laugh together. The value of true friendship cannot be underestimated. When I came to BYU, I was a bit terrified of making new friends. Then, as it turns out, the people at BYU are fun. One day of Late Summer Honors I met my friend Rachel, not knowing that we were in the same ward or anything. Then on the first day of orientation, there she was. We talked, laughed, and had a good time. Rachel was someone I felt comfortable talking to, someone I could be myself around. From taking pictures of potted plants on my head to commenting on the value of Good Mormons in the world, we laughed our way through the first semester at BYU. She was there for me when I had it rough and I always tried to be there for her. And now we are in our second semester. I don't see Rachel as much, mostly because I am busy, and she is busy. But we are still the best of friends. I hope I can see her more as the semester progresses.

So anyway. That's one musing. Friendship.

Another musing is about the Deaf. I have been attending ASL club lately. I really enjoy it. I have come to realize that I really do have a deep and abiding love for the Deaf. They are funny, articulate and intelligent people. I would love to serve them in some capacity in the future. They are a blessing in my life. ASL probably was one of the motivating factors in my true conversion. The Church does a lot for the Deaf and so I own almost everything they put out specifically for the Deaf. In fact, I am eagerly awaiting the Doctrine and Covenants in ASL. I hope it comes out soon. Although translation in ASL is quite the process. The mere fact that it has to be signed is pretty daunting. And the Doctrine and Covenants is not an easy text to translate either.

Once I am endowed, I may contact my seminary teacher from my senior year and see if I can go to an ASL session. Apparently the Church has done a new translation of that that seems to have worked marvels for Deaf endowed members, who now more fully understand the endowment. And who knows, maybe I will need to do it since I could very well end up serving the Deaf.

About that, I have finally come to terms with serving an ASL mission. I know I have said in the past that I have come to terms with it but I hadn't really. I realized (felt impressed?) at ASL club this last Wednesday that I must have learned ASL for a reason. I don't know why yet, but I feel very strongly that there was a divine purpose for it.

I really want to go to Argentina. Does that sound selfish? Anyhow, I am waiting nervously. I didn't know I could have this weird kind of distraction that is omnipresent in the way this distraction is. My main concern is that two years of my life is contained in like one sentence. And I don't know when my call is going to come, which makes me even more anxious. It could come this Wednesday. In fact, the missionary committee meets today, so I could very well already be assigned to a mission for the Church! How weird of a thought is that?

As you can tell, it's a random Friday musing. I had so much to say, but nothing to really say at the same time. I just thought I would tell someone about that. Whoever reads my blog at least. I often wonder about lurkers on my blog. I wonder who reads but never comments. So if you are a lurker, don't be shy please. I love comments.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

And Peace

Let there be peace on the earth, good will to men and sunshine in our souls.

I will add to this post later.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Edward's Obsession

Have you ever been reading something that you want to quote all the time? This was my reaction to my Humanities 261 readings by Jonathan Edwards, of Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God fame. I am a huge fan. I guess this relates back to my Protestant/Evangelical Envy. And my Puritan obsession. He also was involved in the First Great Awakening. Anyone who knows me well enough will tell you my obsession with religious literature. I have an inordinate love for American religious revivals too. Especially if they take place in New England. But anyway, I digress. I found something I want to use in a sacrament meeting talk.

"I have loved the doctrines of the gospel: they have been to my soul like green pastures. The gospel has seemed to me to be the richest treasure; the treasure that I have most desired, and longed that it might dwell richly in me. The way of salvation by Christ, has appeared in a general way, glorious and excellent, and most pleasant and beautiful."

I like this image of the doctrine as a green pasture. It's a unique image. I think we should all study Edwards a bit more.

And for Friday we are reading Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God! Too excited.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

If Ye Have Desires To Serve, Ye Are Called

Nervous? That's an understatement. Excited? That's another one of the aforementioned. My emotions right now are pretty hard to explain. Part of me is very anxious in a good way, while another part of me cannot emotionally process this moment in my life. I think it all relates to my refusal for almost 5 years to serve a mission at all.

I remember the day where I finally decided. It was the day of my Yearbook Stomp, I think. I had had my cell phone for a very brief time. I felt the Spirit, for some reason, tell me that this was something I needed to do. I texted my friend in my ward and told him. He was happy. I was scared. And excited. And happy. Ultimately, my decision wasn't really a social pressure one, even though I thought it would come down to that. In 2008, I saw a lot of changes in myself that caused me to want to serve a mission. I wanted to testify of Jesus Christ, express my love for my Father in Heaven, who has changed me, and because I love my fellow men. I still have these desires. They have become a part of who I am.

I have a desire to serve and love my God.

On a slightly lighter note, here are 10 places I would love to serve.

1. Argentina- Obsessed with Argentina.
2. Chile- Chile would be cool.
3. Spain- The Motherland.
4. Mexico- I love Mexicans!
5. ASL California or Washington D.C.- I fist to lips, kissed then released (love) ASL.
6. Iceland- Inordinate obsesion with Iceland.
7. Sweden- My friend says Sweden would be pefect for me.
8. Russia?- That one's a shocker. It just sounds so interesting.
9. China-I always said I would go to China.
10. France- French is just cool.