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“Celestial Accounting” by Katherine Cowley

Subject: 1st Ward Sacrifices Report

From: jodi.schmidt@celestialbooks.org

To: ana.pereira@celestialbooks.org

Dear Sister Pereira,

I created a summary of the sacrifices by 1st Ward’s members last year. As you can see, I’ve tried to focus on the big picture. For example, on average, each ward member had 1.7 major sacrifices, 15.5 mid-level sacrifices, and 200 minor sacrifices over the course of the year.

Sincerely,

Sister Schmidt

Subject: Re: 1st Ward Sacrifices Report

Dear Sister Schmidt,

You’ve put great efforts into this, and it’s a great start, though it’s not quite what I’m looking for. Do you think could give it another pass? Perhaps you could make it less of a summary and a bit more comprehensive.

Also, have you read the book of Numbers? It’s my favorite Old Testament book.

Sincerely,

Sister Pereira

Subject: Re: 1st Ward Sacrifices Report

Dear Sister Pereira,

I’ve added some statistical analysis, as well as a section on ROI (return on investment) in terms of sacrifices and resulting blessings. I’ve also added a section explaining how I determined the difference between a major, mid-level, and minor sacrifice.

I’ve also added 20 graphs which break down the sacrifices into category and illustrate the efforts of ward members visually. You may find the outliers interesting—while most ward members had 1.7 major sacrifices, one ward member had 8, while a handful of ward members had 0.

At your suggestion, I reread the book of Numbers. My favorite Old Testament books are Ruth and Esther.

Sincerely,

Sister Schmidt

Subject: Re: 1st Ward Sacrifices Report

Dear Sister Schmidt,

I have never seen such beautiful charts. You have a real skill with number crunching.

I’m a little worried that we’re losing sight of the individuals in the ward who performed these sacrifices.

Also, what did you think about Numbers 7?

Love,

Sister Pereira

Subject: Re: 1st Ward Sacrifices Report

Dear Sister Pereira,

I was an accountant during my life on earth. Numbers come easily to me.

I can’t believe I forgot to include the ward members’ names. I’ve added a complete list of names at the end of the document, after the charts.

Honestly, Numbers 7 is a little dry for me. Each of the Twelve Tribes contributed the exact same offering—an assortment of silver bowls and spoons and gold and incense and all manner of animals. Instead of spending verses 12 to 83 listing the same contributions twelve separate times, once for each tribe, they could have just said something like, “Each of the tribes, on their own appointed day, brought the following offerings,” and then listed them once. That would’ve taken only 6 verses instead of 72, and would be much more readable.

Once you’ve approved my file, let me know. I look forward to moving on to a new project.

Sincerely,

Sister Schmidt

Subject: Re: 1st Ward Sacrifices Report

Dear Sister Schmidt,

I am sorry if this project is frustrating you. Keeping the celestial books is a gigantic task, and I really appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into this so far.

I’m asking everyone on bookkeeping to pray about the best way to fulfill their tasks. Do you think could pray about this project and take one last pass on it?

Love,

Sister Pereira

Subject: Re: 1st Ward Sacrifices Report

Dear Sister Pereira,

I’m sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. After praying about it, I decided to start over from scratch.

I reread Numbers 7 and I think I understand why each of the tribe’s contributions is listed separately. It’s because each of our sacrifices is significant, and is noted by the Lord. Even if it’s something someone else also sacrificed, He still finds my personal sacrifice significant, and will take note of it.

I’ve decided to pattern my report after Numbers 7, giving each person a section. I still haven’t included every minor sacrifice (there were about 200 per person, and they are all listed in the daily life records I drew from) but I did try to create a sort of portrait for each person for the year.

For example:

The offering of Sophie Chen to the Lord. This year, Sophie stayed faithful to her testimony through two rounds of chemotherapy. She wrote letters to the women on her visiting teaching route every month, even when it hurt to hold a pen. She found beauty in nature and appreciated the world the Lord has given. She stood with her children through their trials, took care of three grandchildren when her daughter was ill, and learned to ask forgiveness from her family members.

Let me know if there are any changes you would like made.

Thank you for your patience with me and for giving me time so the Spirit could teach me what I needed to learn.

Love,

Sister Schmidt

Subject: Re: 1st Ward Sacrifices Report

Dear Sister Schmidt,

Great work! Your final report on the 1st Ward sacrifices for the year has been added to the celestial books.

And don’t worry—I’ve kept all your previous work. The charts and the graphs weren’t quite right for this project, but I think they would be perfect for a new book I’d like to start. Could you prepare a presentation on the analysis techniques you used to give to the department next week?

Love always,

Sister Pereira

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