Friday, December 6, 2013

Pure Blood

I read this story the other day and it really made me think. . . As we approach this Christmas season, let's try to "comprehend the great love He has for us," and find ways each day that we can honor Christ and His gift to us.

Pure Blood
The day is over, you are driving home. You tune in your radio.

You hear a little blurb about a little village in India where some villagers have died suddenly, strangely, of a flu that has never been seen before. It's not influenza, but three or four fellows are dead, and it's kind of interesting, and they're sending some doctors over there to investigate it. You don't think much about it, but on Sunday, coming home from church, you hear another radio spot. Only they say it's not three villagers, it's 30,000 villagers in the back hills of this particular area of India, and it's on TV that night. CNN runs a little blurb; people are heading there from the disease center in Atlanta because this disease strain has never been seen before.

By Monday morning when you get up, it's the lead story. For it's not just India; it's Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and before you know it, you're hearing this story everywhere and they have coined it now as "the mystery flu".

The President has made some comment that he and everyone are praying and hoping that all will go well over there. But everyone is wondering, How are we going to contain it? That's when the President of France makes a announcement that shocks Europe. He is closing their borders. No flights from India, Pakistan, or any of the countries where this thing has been seen. And that's why that night you are watching a little bit of CNN before going to bed. Your jaw hits your chest when a weeping woman is translated from a French news program into English: There's a man lying in a hospital in Paris dying of the mystery flu. It has come to Europe. Panic strikes. As best they can tell, once you get it, you have it for a week and you don't know it. Then you have four days of unbelievable symptoms. And then you die.

Britain closes it's borders, but it's too late. South Hampton, Liverpool, North Hampton, and it's Tuesday morning when the President of the United States makes the following announcement: "Due to a national security risk, all flights to and from Europe and Asia have been canceled. If your loved ones are overseas, I'm sorry. They cannot come back until we find a cure for this thing." Within four days our nation has been plunged into an unbelievable fear. People are selling little masks for your face. People are talking about "What if it comes to this country," and preachers on Tuesday are saying, "It's the scourge of God."

It's Wednesday night and you are at a church prayer meeting when some- body runs in from the parking lot and says, "Turn on a radio, turn on a radio." And while the church listens to a little transistor radio with a microphone stuck up to it, the announcement is made. Two women are lying in a Long Island hospital dying from the mystery flu. Within hours it seems, this thing just sweeps across the country. People are working around the clock trying to find an antidote. Nothing is working. California. Oregon. Arizona. Florida. Massachusetts. It's as though it's just sweeping in from the borders.

And then, all of a sudden the news comes out. The code has been broken. A cure can be found. A vaccine can be made. It's going to take the blood of somebody who hasn't been infected, and so, sure enough, all through the Midwest, through all those channels of emergency broadcasting, everyone is asked to do one simple thing: Go to your downtown hospital and have your blood type taken. That's all we ask of you. And when you hear the sirens go off in your neighborhood, please make your way quickly, quietly, and safely to the hospitals. Sure enough, when you and your family get down there late on that Friday night, there is a long line, and they've got nurses and doctors coming out and pricking fingers and taking blood and putting labels on it. Your wife and your kids are out there, and they take your blood type and they say, "Wait here in the parking lot and if we call your name, you can be dismissed and go home." You stand around, scared, with your neighbors, wondering what in the world is going on and that this is the end of the world.

Suddenly a young man comes running out of the hospital screaming. He's yelling a name and waving a clipboard. What? He yells it again! And your son tugs on your jacket and says, "Daddy,that's me." Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy. Wait a minute. Hold on! And they say, "It's okay, his blood is clean. His blood is pure. We want to make sure he doesn't have the disease. We think he has got the right type."

Five tense minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses, crying and hugging one another - some are even laughing. It's the first time you have seen anybody laugh in a week, and an old doctor walks up to you and says, "Thank you, sir. Your son's blood type is perfect. It's clean, it is pure, and we can make the vaccine." As the word begins to spread all across that parking lot full of folks, people are screaming and praying and laughing and crying. But then the gray- haired doctor pulls you and you wife aside and says, "May we see you for a moment? We didn't realize that the donor would be a minor and we need...we need you to sign a consent form." You begin to sign and then you see that the number of pints of blood to be taken is empty.

"H-h-h-how many pints?" And that is when the old doctor's smile fades and he says, "We had no idea it would be a little child. We weren't prepared. We need it all! But-but...You don't understand. We are talking about the world here. Please sign. We- we need it all -- we need it all!"

"But can't you give him a transfusion?"

"If we had clean blood we would. Can you sign?

Would you sign?"

In numb silence, you do. Then they say, "Would you like to have a moment with him before we begin?" Can you walk back? Can you walk back to that room where he sits on a table saying, "Daddy? Mommy? What's going on?" Can you take his hands and say, "Son, your mommy and I love you, and we would never ever let anything happen to you that didn't just have to be. Do you understand that?" And when that old doctor comes back in and says, "I'm sorry, we've-we've got to get started. People all over the world are dying." Can you leave? Can you walk out while he is saying, "Dad? Mom? Dad? Why-why have you forsaken me?"

And then next week, when they have the ceremony to honor your son, and some folks sleep through it, and some folks don't even come because they go to the lake, and some folks come with a pretentious smile and just pretend to care. Would you want to jump up and say, "MY SON DIED! DON'T YOU CARE?"

Is that what GOD wants to say? "MY SON DIED. DON'T YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I CARE?"

"Father, seeing it from your eyes breaks our hearts. Maybe now we can begin to comprehend the great Love you have for us."

Author Unknown

Friday, November 22, 2013

Institute Reflections

As a freshman at UW I started my Institute adventures by taking a single class. I took Book of Mormon with Brother Knowles. I enjoyed it but didn't throw myself into Institute involvement. By my senior year, four years later I had come a long way. The institute and therefore the gospel was completely incorporated into my daily life and I am grateful for that. 

The Seattle Institute became the place where people knew they could find me. There were a group of us "Institute Dwellers" who spent time there daily. It wasn't always for classes, and in fact, I spent more time there not for a class than I did for a class. Aside from classes, I would go there to eat lunch between my school classes, meet up with the missionaries for member lessons, study in the library, or meet up with friends. The spirit of the Institute became more than just the spirit of the gospel, though being the house of the Lord obviously does contribute to that. 

But the Institute is so much more than that. In classes we learn about the Savior and our Heavenly Father. We learn gospel truths and we learn how to incorporate them into our lives. We apply principles by studying the scriptures and the words of prophets. We learn how to become better Saints by learning the parables that Jesus Christ taught. We study General Conference talks to better fortify ourselves in these Latter Days. The teachers teach by the Spirit which is consistently felt. They and the other wonderful Institute staff teach with love and the examples that they serve as are inspiring. Institute classes help us bring the gospel into our lives. Get to know your Savior by attending class. 

I consistently visited the Institute library to study for my school classes. It is a quiet (usually- sometimes we get off task and chatty) place of learning that combined with the Spirit makes an irreplaceable place to learn and grow. Some of my best papers were written in those cushy blue chairs and some of my most quality test preparation happened there. Utilize the resources that the Institute offers and increase your secular education. 

So many of my experiences at the Institute were service oriented. Whether it was serving ward members at FHEs or helping out with Friday Friendship Feast (FFF) the Institute is a great space to serve. Most notably was Friday morning committee meetings. Seven thirty is early (especially in college) and often much needed sleep is sacrificed. However, the blessings that come from attending Friday morning committee meetings are wonderful. Seriously, you get to help make decisions regarding the institute like activities, you get to eat a delicious homemade hot breakfast, and you get to spend time with wonderful people. Attend Friday morning committee meetings and be blessed for your service.

This brings me to another reason that the Institute was such a big part of my daily life and another reason that I miss it. The people at the Institute are quality people that you will not meet anywhere else. My best friends and my favorite teachers have come into my life because I attended and participated at the Institute. Where else are you going to find your contemporaries getting up early to serve the Lord and His people? Where else are you going to find teachers that love and know you like those of the Seattle Institute do? Make life long friends by getting involved. 

You cannot replace the experiences you will have that are similar to the ones I had at the Institute. Without the Institute I am sure that my testimony would have still grown, I would have still done well in my UW classes, and I would have had great friends and great people in my life. But the experiences would not have been nearly as sweet or productive. The Lord knows us and He knows what we need. I know that He has given us every tool that we need to be happy in this life and to learn and grow so that we can return to Him. I know that the Institute, both classes and otherwise are tools for us to gain that eternal joy. They are imperative to our well being and we should incorporate them so that they become so intertwined with who we are that we cannot separate them. So this is my shameless plug for the Seattle Institute of Religion. Please, find a class and get involved. I promise that you will be edified and your life will be fuller.  

-Tayler Thompson

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Blessings of Institute

This quarter at UW has whizzed by. Time has raced onward, professors keep giving large loads of homework and institute keeps hosting fun socials and activities to attend. Initially when I moved up here I thought that 10 weeks would be an eternity, however I soon found that it to be the contrary. I wished time could slow just a little.

I found that I was so busy that I could easily stay up into the early hours of the morning studying, get three hours of sleep and repeat the cycle the next day. In fact this is what I did for the first couple of weeks. I'm learning a new spoken language and a new programming language and adapting to both has required significant investments of my time. Initially I thought, who has time for institute? Who has enough time to maintain their grades, attend institute and then attend all the activities that they host? Did I at least have time to attend the institute class each week, or was that too great a time commitment?

Mentally I told myself institute seemed like a huge commitment. My grades- I thought- would define my life and success in college, effect what jobs I could get later in my professional career and what schools I could apply to for grad school.

However, spiritually I knew this wasn't the least bit accurate. I knew that I would need the strength that Institute would provide from the spiritual calamities that I encounter every day- foul language, beliefs that are in direct contradiction to mine and people challenging to do things that I knew to be wrong. Although it didn't really make sense to me mentally or mathematically, I told myself that Institute was worth the time commitment and I told myself that I would attend class every week without fail. I even told myself that I would attend the committee meeting held every Friday morning to serve the Lord and the Institute.

As I tried this out the first couple of weeks something astonishing happened. Although I was spending less time on my studies, and was giving up a morning once a week, I found that my grades actually improved and that I was succeeding in all of my classes. I was going to institute, the meetings on Friday and all the socials and doing less work and study, but my performance had increased.

I know that this is because the Saviour is seeking to bless me for giving Him my time. Matthew 11:28- 30 states: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light."

Through application I have come to know that this scripture is true. Mentally we may feel like we don't have enough hours in the day to do all that needs to be done. We may feel like we have so much that we can't fit institute in. But I know that if we put the Lord as our first priority everything else will fall into play. I know He loves us and seeks to bless us for following Him and that by attending Institute we can build our relationship with Him. If you want your burden to be light, come to institute!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Learning to do the Lord's Work at Institute

Elder and Sister May are fabulous teachers! I have been learning so much about family history. Before this quarter I had no idea how to do family history work and now my tree is HUGE. I come from a family of nonmembers, so there is a lot of work to be done! It is so exciting to find more and more family members whose temple work needs to be done. I am looking forward to taking family names to the temple for the first time at the end of this quarter!

This week we learned how to use documents to find new people. Through an old census record I was able to find that my great great grand parents had seven children, all of which need temple work done. It is so exciting to find new people, it is like solving a puzzle. They are all waiting to be found and to have their temple work done for them, and I am excited to be that person for them. I am thankful for the opportunity that the Institute has provided for me to learn to do family history and learn about the importance of family. Institute has blessed my life, and it can bless yours too! It's never too late to sign up for a class!

Hope to see you at Institute,

Friday, October 18, 2013

We Want You!

The institute got off to a great start this quarter with our new mission president, Elder Choi.  He and his wife spoke at the Back-to-School fireside and inspired us all to be positive!  And Sister Choi taught everyone to sing, sing, sing because everyone loves to sing a song! Sing, sing, sing!
Our Opening Social we played several TV game show games - Minute to Win It, The Price is Right, Know Your Neighbor to Win.  Those who stayed and played had a great time and got to meet a few people that they didn't know before.
General Conference gave us inspiring words of wisdom.  Counsel we can all take part in, and hopefully we will.  Those who came to the institute got to see it on the big screen!  And eat lunch prepared by our new Couple missionaries - the Mays.
Institute classes have been wonderful.  Inspiring messages have been heard.  We want you there to join us!  Time is not an issue as there are classes all day!  Come along and bring a friend.  Listen to our marvelous Prophet's words:  "Think of it.  Friends will be made, the Spirit will be felt, and faith will be strengthened.  I promise you that as you participate in institute and study the scriptures diligently, your power to avoid temptation and to receive direction of the Holy Ghost in all you do will be increased.  Divine favor will attend those who humbly seek it.  That is a promise which I leave with you."

Our next institute activity is November 1st.  We'll be having a tailgate party!  Ask your friends to come and join us for a hot dog and making posters to support our girl's volleyball players!

We're grateful for you!  And want to see you soon!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

No Matter How Rough

It's really nice to be able to have that hour in the day twice a week, outside of church, to get together with other people my own age who share the same beliefs and values to grow together in the gospel. Each week I know that no matter how rough everything is going, I will have these great opportunities to feel the spirit and study the doctrine of Christ, it has been a great blessing to me. 

-Quinn L'heureux
Freshman, University of WA
Rugby Club Team

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Great Expectations

Last Saturday, approximately 50 teenagers gathered at the institute for the annual Great Expectations event. This year's theme was inspired by President's Monson's announcement about the lowered age requirement for missionary service. The event started with a video by President Monson and some remarks by Institute Director Todd Knowles. It continued in a moment of epic proportions, 19 return missionaries and 6 current missionaries entered the gym singing Called to Serve and a question and answer immediately following. With several institute students leading, the teens broke into groups and went into the community. The goal was to engage strangers in brief conversations and give them a small gift that would brighten their day. After debriefing, the group broke into workshops that were led by institute students. The event was great for all involved. It was wonderful to associate with future missionaries and to see institute students lead these marvelous youth.

Below is the video of 25 young adults singing Called to Serve.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Sing the Song of Redeeming Love"

I love Institute!  I am strengthened as I learn from the testimonies and examples of those attending class with me.  Their goodness reflects the Saviour's light and illuminates me.  I become so excited about the gospel that I often do not know how to express what I am feeling inside.  

This is why being a part of the Institute Choir has been a great blessing for me.  Through music, I am able to share my testimony in a way not limited to words alone, but truly convey the tender feelings of my heart.  No wonder those illuminated with the Gospel of Jesus Christ feel to "sing the song of redeeming love."  

Weekly as I participate in Choir, I am able to feel with greater magnitude of my Saviour's love for me and to express to Him what I feel inside because of the Spirit and our Saviour's goodness.  I am grateful for the chance to unite in music with so many others in Institute as we share testimony and praise our Lord!  

-William Brooke
Seattle Institute Choir Director

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to the Seattle Institute! Classes are starting on Jan 7. Make this quarter the quarter the quarter you GET INVOLVED. Get involved in CLASS, in leadership COMMITTEES, in institute CHOIR, in building FRIENDSHIPS, in OUTREACH projects. In short, get involved in the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ. 

For those who want to know "What is Institute?", see the video below, courtesy of the official LDS Institute webpage: