My birthday was great! as great as a birthday can be on a mission, anyway! This amazing friend of ours, Marsha, made us cupcakes and she gave me my favorite gift: a phone call telling me where RYLEE IS GOING ON HER MISSION!! I'm sooo happy for my niece, Rylee!! Houston Texas mission already has 2 of my friends and now it will have my niece. I'm not sure, however, how I feel about missing her completely. She enters the MTC 8 days before I get home. erg. Maybe they'll let me chat with her for an hour. Or I'll just walk in with my name tag on and meet her. I was hoping we could talk for hours before she left, but I guess not! I also got tons of great presents and packages from home on the birthday, thanks all of you!! Sister Oliphant made a banner and hung it over my desk!
We had a Deaf branch ASL Christmas dinner last Friday. We had 34 Deaf nonmembers there!! Holy cow! Most of them are just friends of our members or they heard about free food or whatever, but we were so happy to have all of them come. The dinner went really well and hopefully they were touched enough to be more curious about our church! Our Deaf investigator Leon came, and he missed his bus home, so he sat outside at the bus stop after the Christmas party until midnight. It was freezing cold, too. We didnt know until the next morning but we felt bad! Hopefully he will come to church soon.
I spoke in Sacrament meeting with a 3 minute warning. Our branch president doesnt really prepare people to give talks, we just all have to be ready each Sunday. Its kind of annoying, but I did it anyway. He just said "give a talk. and relate it to Christmas." okay. So I did. Yay for impromptu talks. Speaking of Sunday in the Deaf branch, here are my two favorite quotes from our Sunday School lesson on the Milennium:
"I dont care when Jesus comes, I'll already be dead."
"When the morning of the first resurrection happens, all the Deaf people wont hear the rooster crow, so we'll all sleep in!"
Sister Oliphant and I have discovered that we attended a party together in March of 2011. haha. Oh Provo is so small. Even though she's from Wisconsin, she's spent the last 3 years in Utah county at BYU so we really feel that Utah is our home. She knows people that I know and understands Utah county. We talk about Provo all the time.
We have a stinky Deaf investigator. She has 13 animals that live with her. One night, we went to go contact her and we couldn't even approach the door because we almost threw up. She loves animals so much that she takes in all the strays. She's only 20 years old. Instead of being obsessed with animals, I wish that she could instead see how important Heavenly Father is in her life! We'll keep working with her, but it's hard to even be in her apartment. I heard that on the Hoarders tv show, the people put Vicks Vapo Rub under their noses and it helps them stand the stench. Maybe we'll try that next time we go. She's really nice, though! You know whats funny? She told us the other day that she has a "Deaf nose!" She doesnt smell anything, so its hard to control your stink if you have no idea you're stinky! Poor girl.
So...I may have mentioned the socials that we have here, but I'm not sure I explained them well enough, so I am going to do so again. ASL missionaries have discovered that we can meet tons of Deaf people in concentrated places, like Deaf socials! Starbucks is probably our best one. So what do we do? Go into Starbucks (I hate the smell of coffee.) and seriously just chat with people. We invite all the ASL students to come to the branch and count it for a school assignment. We try even HARDER, though, to meet Deaf people there and it's probably the most success we have in one night. There's a pizza social twice a month, icecream once a month, and other random ones. Its really fun to just go and show people that Mormons arent that weird. Its not a great place to pray with people, but we always teach when we can and do our best to explain why we sign so well and what we do with our ASL. This way, we aren't attacking Deaf people at their doors. (Some of them flip out. "How did you know I lived here!?? How do you know I'm Deaf?!?") So...yeah. We chill at Starbucks all the time. No biggie.This is Kathy, one of our Deaf investigators. And this is an example of a "Deaf Doorbell" that the mission is always looking for. The wire attaches to a light inside that blinks when you push it instead of making sound. We have one other investigator who uses Ukranian sign language. I dont know Ukranian sign language. She doesnt know ASL. Its interesting to communicate with her. We're trying to teach her, but all she does is sign back all these weird signs that we dont know what they mean and she speaks in Russian. So....I kinda wish I could speak Russian. Oh well, pictures will have to do!
To end, I call all of you who have procrastinated writing me to repentance using Alma 60:6 "and now behold, we desire to know the cause of this exceedingly great neglect; yea, we desire to know the cause of your thoughtless state."
I love you all!