Anyway, today has been very very long. We knew it would be long, but we didn't realize it would be sooooo long. Of course we had our usual three hours of church, followed by choir practice, and then we stayed longer so we could have our interviews with the bishop to get our temple recommends! Eeee! He sat down with each of us and talked about the temple a little before getting to the interviews, so it took a very long time.
After the interviews, it was time for Break the Fast. I think I may have explained Fast Sunday before, but just in case I haven't, in the LDS church, we're encouraged to fast, and to make it easier for everyone, we set the fasting day as the first Sunday of each month. I think it's possible that the reason we don't have a metaphorical fast for Lent every year is that we have a literal fast every month. This time we had Fast Sunday a week early, because next week is General Conference, which is super awesome, because what better way to celebrate Easter than to listen to men of God?
Anyway, in young single adult wards, it's common practice to make a big social event out of fast-breaking, so we have Break the Fast every month, too. We usually don't go, because our pickiness makes social events centering around food very awkward, but this time was special, because the Relief Society and the Elders' Quorum had a bet to see who could get more of their visiting/home teaching done, and the Relief Society won, so the Elders' Quorum had to provide the dinner. We wouldn't have cared that much anyway, but one, we were already going to be at the church until it was time to start, and two, they said it was going to be Italian themed, so we figured there would at least be some garlic bread or something for us to eat.
So we went to Break the Fast and had a lovely time talking with the ladies at our table (mostly wives of the bishopric). Ponyo had promised to drive us home from Break the Fast, but she disappeared somewhere along the way, and she was nowhere to be found. As we hung around talking with people, it was eventually decided that we would stay for the fireside.
This fireside featured a man who... okay, when he was growing up, President Howard W. Hunter was his stake president, and he decided that their stake needed to learn more about the children of Israel. So he started a program in the stake for them to do just that, and a bunch of the youth (LDS term for "teenagers") formed a dance troupe that performed Jewish dances. They got to be really good, and performed in synagogues and temples all over the area, and then the president of Israel asked them to perform in Israel, and then the then-current president of the LDS church asked them to perform in Salt Lake City on their way home, and he was fifteen years old and thought it would be super awesome. But for some reason, he ended up not going. He never said why. After that, he grew up and got married, and complained to his wife every day about how he never got to go to Israel. So one year, as a Christmas present, she signed him up for... I don't remember what he called them, but he was basically studying Judaism in depth from a rabbi, learning Hebrew and stuff. And because of a bunch of details I'd rather not explain, he ended up accompanying five rabbis on a trip to Salt Lake City a few months ago, and now he was at this fireside to talk to us about it.
The whole fireside was amazing, but there are two main things I want to share. First, he was talking about how the Jews loving joking around, and how he was able to use one of his jokes from seminary. They were talking about Noah, and he said to the rabbi, "You know, Noah was on that boat for a very long time. Do you think he did a lot of fishing?" And the rabbi was like, "What kind of a question is that!?" And he thought about it for a while, and he answered that we don't know if Noah did a lot of fishing. So this guy said, "That's okay, Rabbi. He didn't do that much fishing." "How do you know that?" "He only had two worms!" Aaaaah ha ha ha ha ha.
And on the more serious side... We've been talking about temples a little lately, but one thing I forgot to mention is that, before a temple is dedicated, they open it to the public and conduct tours through it and stuff. When this guy and the rabbis went to Salt Lake City, they had recently finished the Draper, UT temple, so they took the rabbis on a tour (and closed down the temple to everybody else, so they had it all to themselves! whoa! poor other people, waiting out in the snow...). A lot of amazing stuff came from that tour, but there's just one thing I wanted to share.
During the entire tour, the rabbis were allowed to ask any questions that might have come to mind. At one point, one of the rabbis mentioned how he didn't see a single crucifix or painting of Jesus on the cross, and he wondered why. The tour guides took the group to another room in the temple, where they had a painting of Jesus's garden tomb, with the stone rolled away, empty. He told them, "This is how we like to remember Jesus Christ: alive."
Such a great message, with Easter only a week away!
After the amazing fireside, there was a table set up with various items of significance to the Jewish faith. There was a ram's horn, and a dreidl, a Hannukiya (which is not the same as a menorah, we learned), and... a bag of M&Ms? So everyone who came up to the table asked the same question: Are M&Ms significant to Judaism? The answer: They're kosher. XD
We spent some time talking, and finally Brother and Sister H drove us home after a very nice, but very long day at church.
Today I'm thankful for having the opportunity to go to an amazing fireside, getting to have a very nice time talking with people, getting those last three abilities for Aqua, being done racing the Grand Circuit (at least for a while), and having fun books to read tomorrow (Mom was sick, but Steve was kind enough to deliver the ones we asked to borrow).