Sunday, January 15, 2017

Rise and Shout!

Kia Ora Whanau!

I love starting my emails like that!  Well this is my first post at BYU.  Instead of in an internet cafe in New Zealand, or my house in Starr Valley, I'm in a dorm room in Provo.  And oh my goodness, what a week.  It was SUCH a hardcore week and I kind of feel like I've been here forever, but at the same time it was all a blur.  I just read Desi's email and she is, of course, blissfully, over-the-moon happy about everything.  I am also happy, but I also feel like I've been running on a treadmill that's just a little bit too fast for me.  But more than just being really busy with school already, it's just been intense in my heart and mind trying to get used to everything.

I've realized something about myself.  I'm a little bit bad at change.  New things at first often overwhelm me but then by the end I love them more than anyone.  I was just thinking about the beginning of my freshman year and the beginning of my mission.  They were hard, but pretty soon I figured it out and they were the best things!  So I'm going to hang in there and keep transitioning into civilian BYU life and it's going to be wonderful.  Heavenly Father really has blessed my week a lot!  He is so real and so there for me!

Sunday we heard dear McCrae give his homecoming talk and it was SO good!  He has changed so much and it was just so fun to talk to him and have him understand my return missionary life.  Then we drove in the crazy fog here to Provo! I met my roommates, my ward, heard the devotional (which was so good) and went tunnel singing (which I love).  My roommates are all really great but they all just kind of do their own thing.  My biggest blessing though is my actual room roommate, Hannah!  She wasn't even supposed to be my roommate but she switched in at the last minute.  We are both SO grateful to have each other.  Everyone is kind of already established with their friend groups and the ward and such, but Hannah and I are both new.  She is from Washington state and got home in September from serving in Las Vegas.  She wants to study nursing and she is just great.

So then I was in the thick of classes.  I have nine o'clock class everyday.  My Music Civilization class is the one I already took but withdrew so to not lose my scholarship.  So I'm trying again!  I also have Intro to Family Processes with Desi which I think I will really like.  All day Monday was consumed with auditioning for choir.  I had to wait in line for an hour for the pre-screening audition with a grad student.  While in line I met this kid who is half Filipino and served in the Philippines.  And out of all 20-something missions and over populated millions of people, he served in the same tiny village and knew Sister Urgel's family!  He had been there when the horrible tsunami ruined their house and even had pictures with them!  It was a such a tender mercy for me to make that connection.  My mission that I loved so much is not gone forever.  Haha  But anyway, I passed the pre-screening, auditioned again, and even got called back by Dr. Nielson, who is directing Concert Choir this year.

Well the next morning I woke up and checked the lists, and I couldn't believe it!  I made Concert Choir, Alto 1.  I was SOOOOOO happy!  After my piano fundamentals class (which is really easy and it's so fun to know how to play the piano compared to all these other music majors that can't really in that class) I rushed off to sit by Desi in Family History class.  I'm so excited for that class!!!  Our professor is amazing and made me cry both days of that class.  I just love having a class with Desi every day.  She is my rock at this place.  I'm blown away by how popular she is though.  I went to her ward bowling activity yesterday for just a few minutes, and she is just the Belle of the Ball as my mom says.  She's great.  Tuesday night, Hannah and I were going to join Desi and her friends for "Temple Tuesday".  But we decided that we really wanted to go to the Provo City Center Temple instead, which he hadn't been to yet.  So we did and it was SOO wonderful.  I love being in the temple.  After serving where there is only one temple for such a huge area and only getting to go a couple times a year, I appreciate it so much more.

My favorite class everyday is choir!  I have been missing the feeling of singing in choir and it just fills my soul!  And we are going to be singing in the General Women's Session of Conference in April.  So lots of exciting stuff.

In other news I got a job.  I am going to be a concession worker.  (I know, show-stopping work).  So that will be fun.  I will be a busy bee this semester.  It's so cool to be a music major, but also VERY overwhelming.  I have to practice nine hours a week and learn all these songs in all these languages.  I'm reminding myself that it's really what I love and I can do it.

A huge highlight of the week was actually just barely. . . church.  I LOVE the gospel.  Even though things can be so different in your life, the gospel is always the same.  I actually spoke in church, and it was my first Sunday here.  But I talked about the joy of sharing the Plan of Salvation and I loved writing and giving my talk.  It's so good to get to go and feel the spirit and mingle with the saints and learn together and participate.  I'm so grateful for the sabbath day!

I'm grateful that Heavenly Father has this perfect plan for me that will unfold as I do my part.  I love you all and keep pressing forward.


Sister Clarissa Johnson

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