Besides the World Religion and Tolerance Society receiving an interfaith award, I now have instead some much much bigger news which has transpired as of late. I am beyond excited to say that I have been accepted to receive full funding for a trip to attend the United Nations in New York City for the World Interfaith Harmony Week with the United Religions Initiative! This is an opportunity that URI extends to just 3 individuals every year in North America, with an application process preceding it. The World Religion and Tolerance Society has had the great privilege to be an official Cooperation Circle within the United Religions Initiative which is itself a global grassroots interfaith network. The trip itself will take place around the beginning of February and will last for 2-3 days. During that time, I will be able to get to meet other members of URI, various faith leaders and interfaith representatives for the United Nations. At this point, that is all the information that I know about the trip; I will make sure to share more details about it as I get closer.
One of the most profound lessons that I have learned thus far on my interfaith journey is the tremendous potential that exists in just small acts of leadership, networking, and devoting time to a passion or goal. A little over a year ago in October, I was but a nervous yet determined 17 year-old riding the Trax down to the Salt Palace Convention Center to speak at the Parliament of World Religions. I had applied earlier that February, against my mothers wishes mind you (though a story for another time), to present and lead a 45-minute seminar on promoting interreligious education and tolerance among youth. Somehow, the stars aligned in my favor and I was among several lucky hundreds out of thousands to get accepted. Now, I am still nervous and determined but a year older. That experience quickly transformed and opened up my immediate future to more speaking opportunities and personal growth. Richmond, Phoenix, Provo, Tempe, and Guadalajara -though my parents actually put a stop to that one- all soon followed. Now, I almost feel like the entire ride is moving faster than I can handle; but I believe there is a purpose to it. I am confident in the path that God has placed before me, though I know not where it leads. Whatever happens, I am ready for it (after a two-year LDS mission first though!)
Regardless, one scripture that I constantly comes to mind is from the Book of Mormon in Alma, thirty-seventh chapter and sixth verse which reads,
“…behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass..”
-Image from the Libyan Mission UN–