On Saturday I slept in until almost 7am, this is for sure going to throw off my sleep schedule.

My mother and I went to a little gathering to celebrate Pioneer Day hosted by the Appleton 2nd ward and later went grocery shopping.

For a few hours, I worked on an arrangement of John Philip Sousa’s “El Capitan” march. I was invited to give a blessing to someone in the hospital in evening, but before I left I was trying to fill my vile and the bottle exploded all over my shirt and the floor.

I got to bed on Saturday around 7pm.

Saturday night at about 1am, I woke up and couldn’t sleep at all so I ended up watching the Pioneer Day concert with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Santino Fontana. It was one of the best concerts I’ve seen them perform, they performed a medley from Snow White, an organ/orchestra Jazz piece called “Hot Pipes,” and Santino Fontana brought the house down by performing a selection from West Side Story. I fell asleep immediately after watching the concert.

I woke up on Sunday around quarter to 6am, got showered and dressed, and got to church around 7am. I rehearsed for sacrament meeting and played the Washington Post march a few times, which is really starting to come together.

In Priesthood, Brother Josh Noffsinger gave a wonderful lesson from the Joseph Fielding Smith book on the Holy Ghost. We must be worthy to receive it and to keep it’s company.

In Sunday School, Lauren Hoffman gave a lesson on Solomon and his temple and his fall from righteousness.

In Sacrament Meeting, we had President and Sister Krehbiel from the Mission Presidency. Sister Krehbiel spoke about how sharing your testimony and a copy of the Book of Mormon will help others to appreciate your beliefs more and possibly lead to conversion. President Krehbiel, first counselor to the Mission President in Wisconsin, shared a message about missionary work with examples of from the scriptures. We do not preach the gospel to increase the numbers in the church, but rather to open the doors of the Celestial Kingdom of God to everybody. The strength of the Church is not in the number of buildings or the programs thereof, but rather the testimonies of It’s members.

Our hymns reflected upon the sacrifices of the Pioneers, who made it possible to have the Church on the Earth today.

Opening 81 Press Forward, Saints
Sacrament 193 I Stand All Amazed
Intermediate 98 I Need Thee Every Hour
Closing 30 Come, Come, Ye Saints

After church, there was a small get-together to eat some cookies that somebody brought. You can call me the human cookie monster.

I left church around 2:30 or so and arrived home before 3pm to have dinner with my parents to celebrate my birthday. We ate salad, quiche, brownies, and ice cream.

A facebook friend of mine from high school bought one of my monitors today as well and will possibly be buying another one of them soon. That’s another $85 dollars to help me be a little bit more flexible in my mission budget.

Before I retires to bed, I watched Music and the Spoken Word, a special broadcast celebrating pioneers. I loved Richard Elliott’s organ performance of “Shall We Gather by the River,” a unique interpretation of that beautiful song. The choir closed by singing “Redeemer of Israel.”

When our hearts ache, our feet are tired, or we face a fearful future. Even then, we can remember inspiring examples from the past and walk on.

– Lloyd Newell