April 9, 2012

Utah Trip Part 2

Tuesday, March 27th: This day is the greatest. Why, you ask? It was my 22nd birthday. On this day, we went to BYU first. We sat in on a concert and chapel service. The music was absolutely beautiful and I actually really enjoyed it. We got to walk around BYU campus a little bit. We went into one of the buildings on campus and met with some professors from the University. I don't remember the name's of the people we met, but we got a very extensive background story on Mormonism and the LDS Church. We got to ask a couple questions and then we had to leave.

Me and Caeli-we had to dress business casual for this day

Taylor, Me, and Allie (with a slight appearance from Grant behind us)-at BYU Chapel

BYU Orchresta
 After BYU, we went to Utah Valley University. At UVU, we got to engage with some students. I really enjoyed this time. I think this was my favorite conversation day. I met with a girl named Amber. She was a Mormon-convert. We just had a great conversation overall. After trying a Utah-must (Creamies) we were on the road to dinner. We ate dinner, and the restaurant was notified it was my birthday. I had to stand on my chair while the restaurant sang to me. Never done that before. Check-bucket list. Overall, it was a good day.

Taylor, Caeli, Amber (our Mormon friend), and Me
 Standing on my chair while the whole restaurant sang Happy Birthday to me
Wednesday, March 28th: I think this day was my favorite day of them all. The first thing we did today was go on a tour of LDS Humanitarian Services. It was so informative and I really enjoyed seeing how much the LDS Church is doing all around the world. It is hard to explain the whole system they have operating, but I was very impressed. These people, in general, know how to serve, to give. They take Jesus' mission of serving the poor and feeding the hungry very seriously. We got to walk through each area and see first hand what is going on. I would have loved to actually do some service, but I know there are many opportunities for that in Corvallis, too.

After the large tour, we then went to the Beehive House, also known as Brigham Young's House, for a large lunch with many Mormon leaders. I sat next to Elder Wilson, who is a member of the 70. We had a nice 3 course meal with different forks for each plate. I was so aware of my manners and which fork to use. I really enjoyed myself overall. I got a picture with Elder Wilson, but I don't know what happened to it. :( After a great lunch and hearing Elder Wilson share his testimony, we went on a grand tour of Temple Square.
Mallory, Peter, Kyle, Elder Wilson, Jade, myself, Caeli, and Greg(the leader of our trip)
At Temple Square, we first went into the South visitor center. There we saw a model which displayed the inside of the temple. (You gotta know we are all VERY curious). We were greeted by two sisters, (I can't remember their names for the life of me) one from Seattle, WA, and another from Australia. They are women serving on their mission at Salt Lake City, Utah-Temple Square. We got to hear first hand more stories about their faith, Joseph Smith, the Temple, and why things are the way they are for LDS faith. We visited the outside the Assembly Hall, inside the Tabernacle (where the Mormon Tabernacle choir sings), and ended our tour at the North Visitor Center (where we saw a GIANT status of Jesus).
The Sisters that lead our tour

Outside the Tabernacle (women from the Relief Society just got out of their meeting)

Inside the Tabernacle-Look at the huge pipes!

Me and Allie in the Tabernacle

Our whole group with a HUGE Jesus behind us
Next, we visited the Conference Center. We had great timing, because that weekend Salt Lake City was hosting the LDS General Conference at the Conference Center. The building is huge, and my favorite part was exploring the roof where we could see beautiful views of the mountains and the city.
In the Conference Room
One of the coolest parts of being at the Conference Building was getting to go on the roof. On the roof, we could see beautiful views of the whole city and of course, the beautiful mountains that I love about Utah.
Allie, me, Jade, and Caeli on the roof

Beautiful View of the City -Salt Lake Temple in center

The Group all together on the top of the Conference Center

Thursday, March 29th: We traveled two hours away to Utah State to meet with students and have more dialogue. I think in general this was my least favorite conversation. My table had Austin, me and Taylor and we were greeted by 3 Mormon students to dialogue with. In this conversation, we talked about the Godhead, or the Trinity, and the ideas about afterlife. I could get into this, but it is confusing to explain and I don't want to unfairly represent the opinions and beliefs of others. I sensed a lot of uncomfortable shiftyness at my table. To this day, I am still confused about how the conversation went about and exactly how to go about explaining what happened during it.
We spent the rest of the day on the road and then we came home (to the church we were staying at) and slept soundly.

Friday, March 30th: I enjoyed this day mostly because of the way it started. This was the only day I got to enjoy a hot shower. (Do you know how much of a big deal this is?!) It was a big deal; at least to me. Then we headed over to a local church to meet up with an old Polygamist women and a ministry run in Utah to help people get out of Polygamy. Hearing this woman's story was heartbreaking. I resonated so much with what she was saying. I know how it feels to be manipulated and controlled by someone who is meant to be close and loving to you. I was so proud of her all at the same time and the way she took her children out of it and started a life for herself.

Our team spent the afternoon at a local park, enjoying lunch and the sunshine of Utah. We headed back to the church, packed up our stuff, and then we hit the road for Boise.
The lovely ladies I had the pleasure of sharing a room with for a week:
Allie, Jade, Caeli, myself, Casey, Taylor, and Mallory
(P.S. please enjoy the giant Goliath behind us)

Saturday, March 31st: We arrived back home in Corvallis around 6pm and were greeted by downpours of rain, rain, and rain. Welcome back to the Northwest.

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