August 31, 2012

The Last Road Trip Post :)

I promise this is the last one! But FIRST, I'd like to report that the Utes WON last night, 41-0 against Northern Colorado. (As if there was ever any doubt.) I'd also like to report that the PAC-12 channel is dumb and Penn Quarter doesn't get it, so I was unable to watch the game, but that's another story... The point is... 


After our great adventures in Nauvoo and then at the gas station in Denmark, Iowa, we drove on to Des Moines, where we stayed with some friends of my mission sister, Michelley. The most fortunate fortune of the entire state of Iowa was that I got to meet THIS little guy (Michelle's new baby, Asher!) I kept wanting to squeeze him (and maybe I did just a little?), but I didn't want to wake him. He was just so sweet! :)

We ate tacos for breakfast, and then we drove on. I will say that when people make corn jokes about Iowa and Nebraska, it's for good reason.

We made our next pitstop in Omaha, Nebraska, where we saw the Winter Quarters Temple.

And we went to the Winter Quarters Visitors Center, where we learned about the pioneers who suffered so much here.

It's a violin. Of course I took a photo. :)
This next scene reminded me of going on the pioneer trek for Youth Conference as a teenager. We had a string quartet (3 violins and 1 viola), and at night, when everyone was taking down the camp, we'd play hymns by the light of the moon and stars. This was one of my favorite parts of the trek. :)

We also discovered that both M and I are just barely taller than a wagon wheel. (Speaking of which... I got asked yesterday if I'm a freshman. Isn't that hilarious?!)


We learned that when plans were started for the construction of the Winter Quarters Temple, President Hinckley specifically asked for it to be built on the grounds of the Mormon Pioneer Cemetery. There's a beautiful view of the temple (on the left) and the cemetery (on the right) from inside the Visitors' Center.

I LOVED this room. It was so beautiful and peaceful. The spirit is strong at Winter Quarters.

After getting our VC fill (we're both former VC sisters. :) ), we made our way to the cemetery. 369 LDS pioneers died at Winter Quarters, and they are all buried here. Non-LDS pioneers were buried here, as well. One of the Twelve spoke here last year, and he said that angels guard this cemetery, because it is sacred ground. He said we can't see them, but they stand guard in this sacred place.

This statue depicts a poignant scene that happened over and over again on the trail... The figures are a mother and father burying their young child in the wilderness of the West... :(

It took me a while to see the child's face. Can you make it out?

And then we carried on.

The corn of Nebraska.

 We overnighted in Colorado (we stayed with the parents of a friend... who let us pick fresh peaches off their tree in the morning!)
Where the Broncos play, in case you're a fan.
Yep. There was even corn in Colorado.

Wyoming was a giant blur. I'm really glad I've been to Yellowstone, Jackson, and other parts of Wyoming, because I'd hate to think that the entire state looks like this:

Fake buffalo on top of a hill.

Although the plateaus were cool.


ANNNND finally, we made it to Utah!

BB MTC Pictures + Something Special

Baby Brother was finally able to send home some photos from the MTC! (read: they finally got card readers on their computers.) That, along with his companion's mom sending us some, made for a great missionary Tuesday. :)

All missionaries MUST take this photo. :)
District photo! These are the other missionaries in his class, learning Mandarin with him.
Hosting the new missionaries (ie- helping the poor saps with their luggage when they get dumped at the MTC curb.)
This is how BB feels about cafeteria food.
Gotta represent the Lord's school. :)
P-Day at the Provo Temple
As you can tell, he hardly EVER just gives a normal smile for a photo. Silly baby brother...

Last week, he sent us a good, long e-mail update, and he closed out with a beautiful testimony of the Savior. (This is the "something special," because it IS!) It made me so proud to be this kid's sister. I know the things of which he testifies to be true, and I share this, in the hope that it might also touch someone else. If any of you who read this have questions about the things he says, feel free to shoot me an e-mail. :)

"This week I've been reading through the Bible more. I love reading about the life of Jesus Christ. One of my favorites stories is when the lady who is "full of sickness" says to herself if I can but touch his robe I will be made whole. and while Jesus is walking she reaches out and grabs his robe and she is healed. I love what he says to her "Daughter, be of good cheer, thy faith hath made thee whole" Wow. Blows my mind. Daughter be of good cheer thy faith hath made thee whole. It is our FAITH that makes us whole. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we CAN be made whole. I think of Paul's words "When I am weak, then am I strong" The Lord gives us weaknesses so we can be humble and so we can come unto Him. and when we come unto him in faith, He will make weak things be made strong. 

Pres. Bednar (one of our church's 12 Apostles) in a talk to us said "When you have given all you have, when you have come before the Lord and put all that you have on the altar of sacrifice, then will He give you strength beyond your own." He gave such powerful testimony of Christ. He said I bear witness, by my apostolic power, that Jesus is the Christ, The Son of the Living God. He is our advocate with the Father, pleading our cause.
I submit MY personal Testimony now, in addition to Pres. Bednar's, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. That He is the Beginning and the End. That through Him we can and will receive lasting happiness. This is the way and there is none other way given in heaven and earth to return to the Father. I bear testimony the Christ Lives! That He lives and loves us personally. That because He loved us, He willingly laid down His life so that through Him we could be made whole. 

In his talk, Pres. Bednar says [that] during the Atonement, Christ suffered so much agony that He literally sweat drops of blood from every pore. Because He was the Son of God, this could not kill Him. And at the end of all things, when He had completely submitted to the Father's will, when He had finished everything, He laid down his life. Because He was the Son of God, He had power over death and [rose] from the dead on that third day. He became the first fruit of those that slept. I testify that this is true. I testify That Jesus Christ Lives. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be here serving the Lord. I know this is where I'm supposed to be! I know that through Christ We can be made whole. I know just like Paul that when I am weak, then am I strong. The Lord has called me to do a work among the people of Manchester, [and] because he has asked me to, I can. And I know there can be no other way.
I hope this lifts someone up while reading it. Because I loved the talk! hope to hear from you soon!
God be with you till we meet again!
- Elder Zavala"

August 30, 2012

Game Day

** Please listen to this while reading this post. It'll get you in the proper mood. :) **

Do you know what day it is? It's Game Day. Utah Football officially starts.... TODAY!

I wish I were sitting with these guys:


Or even these guys:

Just for fun, here's a photo with my brother and dad during my last Utah football season as a student. (I took them to the game -- in awesome 50-yard line seats, I might add! AND with field passes -- for their birthdays, which are both in October.)


If you need me tonight, I'll be here. I'll be the one in red. :)