Many of you "Utahans" are already aware of the 97 day challenge. If you have NOT heard about it log onto http://www.hinckleychallenge.com/ and create a personal account TONIGHT. The wonderful decision to honor our beloved Prophet by reading the Book of Mormon in 97 days was presented by several youth and it is gaining momentum. Thousands of people are starting their reading on Jan. 4th (tonight) and each day logging onto their personal account on the Hinckely website and recording how many pages they've read. The goal is at least 1 million pages recorded in the 97 days following his funeral!
... what a great way to celebrate his life and make him smile down upon us. My mom e-mailed this challenge to me...and asked me to join her....I'm starting tonight....so you should too:)
Tonight was also special because of a particular experience I had at work. I have had so many in my few short years here in Omaha....things that open my eyes and help me recognize how others view life. MUCH, MUCH different than I ever realized...until I witnessed it first hand by moving out of my little sheltered and wonderful Brigham City!
I have learned things that disturb me beyond belief I have to admit...things that make me scared to let my baby grow up in this world.....but I have also met people who are stronger and been through more trials than I could ever imagine. I am so grateful for the chance I get, on occasion, to teach others around me about my church. I am an oddity at Vatterott College....to put it lightly!!! People know that I am "different". People know that I was married in a "beautiful church" (a.k.a... the temple) that only some people may enter. They know that I am honest...that I speak kindly of others...and that certain topics are not discussed in my presence. I am the youngest teacher BY FAR at my college....but I have so many colleagues twice my age stop by my classroom from time to time to ask questions and look at pictures of my "wedding" in that wonderful building in SLC! I get questions about ALMOST EVERYTHING YOU COULD IMAGINE...Trust me!
Tonight I had yet another opportunity to teach. Doug...the librarian at the college (who is so sweet....but deaf and struggles with OCD)....stopped me in the hall and said with concern, "Kristin...I'm not sure if you know this, but the leader of your church has died!" I patted Doug on the shoulder and reassured him that I did know and continued to explain that it was both a Sad and Happy thing that he had passed. Doug then asked, "You loved him didn't you Kristin?" I then got to explain to him how I felt....and I could just tell that he understood. He didn't know exactly how I could love a man so much that I had never met before ....but I could see that he understood.
He then went on to exclaim...."But DO NOT WORRY KRISTIN....the mormons have voted and chosen a "successor" today!" I then began to laugh...almost uncontrollably. I thanked him for keeping me so updated! I have met so many people with "ideas" or strong beliefs that they understand how "we" work....and it is always so much fun to teach them otherwise:)
Needless to say....Me and Doug sat down in the library for a while and had a talk about how it works....and I felt a comfort as I explained that our Church will never be without a leader and that our prophets are called by god....and not chosen by man. It was a simple experience. But one of those you don't forget. I loved it....and although I know you can have missionary experiences ANYWHERE....I will truly miss moments like tonight...when I know that I have sparked an interest or a feeling inside of someone who didn't know that there was something "bigger" to this life. Something I know about...and am SO grateful for.