Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ellie Gives a Talk in Sacrament Meeting

Last Sunday, one of the boys in Primary (a classmate of Griffin) was asked to give a talk in Sacrament Meeting. We were all stunned that first, he said yes, and that second, he delivered it with such excellence. As the bishop tells us, Ellie walked by his office and said that she could do that to. So, much to her chagrin, he said, "Okay, the subject is 'How integrity can bring me closer to Christ' and you're talking next Sunday." She did a great job and wrote this on her own.

My talk today is on how integrity brings us close to Jesus. At first I didn't know what integrity meant so I looked it up. The definition was: Soundness, adherence to a code of value, completeness. I didn't really get what that meant either so I asked my mom. She handed me the young women personal progress booklet which had been opened up to the section on integrity. Then she asked what I thought integrity was. I told her I thought it was being perfect. Apparently that was wrong because she said it was being honest.

Then she asked if I knew what courage was. I told her of course I knew that! It meant that you were very brave. She told me I was right. Then she asked if I knew what moral was; I didn't, so we looked it up. It said "moral" was "relating to principles of right and wrong." She then asked what courage, honesty, and being moral had to do with each other. I told her to be honest you have to be courageous and usually if you have courage you're choosing right from wrong. She told me all the things I had just said were integrity, then she told me to read the section about integrity she had given me. It said to read Moroni 10:30-33. I read it and understood some of it. It said you should deny yourself of all ungodliness and love God with all your might, mind and strength; that his grace is sufficient for you and that through his grace you will become perfect in Christ.

I knew what ungodliness was. Ungodliness is when you're not doing what Christ wants you to do. Then I realized Captain Moroni was a perfect example of integrity. Captain Moroni wrote the title of liberty. In Alma 48:11 it reads: And Moroni was a strong and mighty man, a man of perfect understanding yea a man that did not delight in bloodshed, a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery." Moroni was honest in what he believed in, he was courageous to choose what he wanted and not the rest of the people wanted.

Joseph of Egypt is another example. As we all know by now, Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and falsely accused by Potiphar's wife, resulting in his being thrown into the Pharaoh's jail. After nearly 20 years of being wronged by his family and other people, he never lost his faith or would tell lies just to make his life easier. He always did what was right, even if the consequences were terrible. Because the Pharaoh knew that he was a man of integrity, he was chosen to save the children of Egypt as well as his own family.

Another good example is Esther. She was a Jewess and married the King. His servant tried to convince him that the Jews were "disgraceful and making their own laws," so he ordered that all of them should be killed. Even though she knew she could be killed just for walking into the king's presence without his permission, she went in, with the fasting and prayers of herself and all of her people, and asked that they NOT be killed. It was granted.

In my life I have a lot of examples of integrity. My favorite one is my teacher, Mrs. Draper. She always tells the truth, she is very courageous and is always trying to make right choices and she's an AWESOME teacher, too. She cares about each and every one of us, she knows when we are struggling and is always there to support us, even when it may mean having to do something that we don't like or that is hard.
Another great example is my aunt Liisa. She's so honest in everything she says and does, and she's not afraid to do what's right. I'm so lucky to have her as my aunt and her kids are lucky to have her as their mom.

My last and best example is my brother, Ian. Ian is so honest and loving and caring but he is never afraid to tell anyone that he believes in Jesus Christ. That's why he's going on a mission. He always stands up for what he believes is right, even if people get mad at him for it. I'm so glad he's my brother and I'm very happy I get to be with him forever.

(Bear testimony). By following these examples and doing these things I know I can be closer to Jesus every day and get much closer to living with him someday. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

PS: Notice Ellie's new haircut in the pictures.

Joseph and His Coat (November 12-13)

It has been a month (really?) since my last post. Our ward has been involved in a production of "Joseph and His Coat" since October and it has taken up a majority of our time. (I did stall on posting about it because I was waiting for pictures. I wish there were some of Griffin who did the robot during the dance portion and also gave the big "Broadway finish" that everyone was looking for.) Griffin and Ellie were in the kids' chorus, Maggie was one of the wives/dancers, Ian was the technical director, and I was one of the narrators. John provided emotional support as needed and came to both of our performances.

I was thrilled to have Chris Hopkins in attendance at our Saturday performance, as well as John's parents, 2 of his sisters and their families, and a niece who is attending the Y. As thrilled as I was to be one of the narrators, the time, energy, and brain space was a bit overwhelming. It was a great experience for everyone, but I think we're all glad that it's over.

Here are the pictures. This was performed in a church cultural hall and I think we all know that the lighting in there always wreaks havoc with the quality, but I think these turned out fairly well.