Dear loved ones, I love you.
Its been a great week here with the Deafies and hearing people. We ran across a crazy Jehovahs Witness earlier in the week. We couldnt get away from him, but he was nice to us. He was all buffed-up and cocky about the way he looked. "Look at me! How old do you think I am? How old?" Sooo.. I responded. "fifty-seven?" "FIFTY-SEVEN?! OH MY GOODNESS! IM NOT THAT OLD!" Well, buddy, thats a dangerous question to ask. He was only 51. oops. I was just trying my best to compare him to Dad.... haha.
We went to a dinner with the ward and this super old guy walks by us an joyously exclaims "Isnt it WONDERFUL how food takes away your hunger?!" I love members of this church. We're so happy. Doing exchanges with these women is a lot of fun. Since sister Despain takes off once a week, I get to spend 5 hours with some of the RS sisters.
We had a miracle this past week. I went out with one of my precious members, Sister Christy Satfield. She's an older single woman who wanted to serve full time but health wouldnt allow it, so she is serving a mission right now in the Family History Center. Anyway, she came out with me for splits and I randomly picked this guy in our ward to visit because he was less active. His name was Christopher Holt. We went to his house and a woman just happened to be home and she didnt know who Christopher was. She said the people who used to live there had moved to next door. So we went next door. A lady named Dana answered the door. Said Christopher didn't live there because he moved to Utah. So, we started talking with her and found out that she was his sister and she was also a member. She looked at us and said "I havent been in 20 years. I want to come back. Ive forgotten all the basics of what we believe, can you teach me?" uhhh.....SURE! I guess I could do that! So we will set up an appointment soon to go back and teach her the discussions, even though she's a member. She is soo wonderful and what's even MORE crazy is that Christy grew up in the same ward as Dana's mom! Also, Dana was working on family names for her ancestors and needed some help, so Christy is going to help her figure all of that out. There were just too many coincidences for it not to be a miracle! I love finding people who want to come back to church! Its fantastic!
I forgot to tell you what last weekend was like for me. Turns out when you interpret for 5 hours, your body requires that you go directly home and take a 4-hour nap. Interpreting is exhausting, but I liked it. Now that Sister Williams isn't here during church, I do the voicing for the ward too. The branch members stand up and sign their talks and I voice it on a microphone for those who dont sign very well. I make lots of mistakes, but I'm getting better. Also, we cancelled ASL class. We just don't have time for it. It will give us an extra hour every Wednesday and we never really found anyone by teaching that class, so even though it was a good thing to do, it wasn't the BEST thing we could do with our time. Bittersweet.
We went to see a different less active lady in the ward (we've been doing a LOT of less-active work since we don't have any hearing investigators) and her name was Penny. We got to the house and there was a woman outside so we were happy to catch her! We got out of the car and walked towards her and she looked at us coming. I said "Are you Penny?" and she RAN inside the house and shut the door. She was yelling something and we were both really confused. Finally, we knocked on the door and she just yelled at us from the other side. "NOBODY HOME! DONT SPEAK ENGLISH!" Nobody home? I know you're home, I just saw you outside. And you're talking to me. So I yelled back. "ARE YOU PENNY?" "DONT SPEAK ENGLISH! NO ENGLISH! NOBODY HOME!" We tried to figure out which language she did speak, but that must have been the only English sentence she knew. And I'm fairly certain we terrified her because she kept the door shut and wouldnt turn on the lights. I even tried to tell her we were nice church people. Hmmmm. Maybe Penny moved?
With all these less active people Ive been seeing, I want everyone reading this to make me a promise. If I ever go less active, I want all of you to punch me in the face. Being a member of this church and turning your back on covenants that you decided to make with God is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. Its awful. All these people are missing out on so many blessings because they refuse to accept Heavenly Father and His plan. Most of them are terribly miserable, too. I never want to be that way. I never want any of you to be that way. If I ever lose my testimony, I want all of you to drag me to church until I feel the spirit again.
Well, that seems like a strange kind-of sour note to end this email, so I need to talk about what I did on Saturday! Mormon Helping Hands! Do we DO these in Utah??? Why have I never been to one before?! We were assigned to help clean up and re-build a nature-park down the street. There were snakes and birds and all kinds of animals. My group re-created a children's playground made of wood. We basically shoveled dirt, shoveled wood chips, moved big rocks, weeded a lot, and built a wood play-place for kids to play on at the park. It was a blast and I worked my tail off! I had sore muscles that I never knew existed. I love being a missionary and I cant believe this Thursday is my half-way mark. Keep up the faith and love one another!!