Friday, February 6, 2015


May I first begin by giving a nice warm, friendly, nice, long, good, kindhearted, cheerful, wishful, well-wishing, comforting, funny, annoyingly-long, detailed, warm-hearted, happy, loving HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Uncle David, and Amber! I miss you guys and wish you a...well, you get the idea.

Happy Birthday!

Also, to all who read this letter, please read ALL the things I write, regardless of who it's addressed to. Things meant to apply to other people can still apply to others in unforeseen ways. I also like to think I make some pretty good jokes every now and then (or at least make you look down and shake your head thinking "my goodness").

Sebring and Steph:

OH WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously though, last week I really wanted to ask you guys...

Oh, "Jesu, joy of man's desiring". Nice.

Sorry, I’m listening to the MOTAB music stream. It's one of the few approved music sources at the MTC.

Anyways...I was about to ask you "is Stephanie pregnant yet?" but then I remembered Sebring getting super blushy and angry the last time I asked him that so I decided not to :) (Love you Sebring *thumbs up*)

I'm super excited for both of you. One of my teachers got married about the exact same time you guys did and they're going through similar things so don't sweat it too much.

But is vomiting out of a moving car considered littering...?

Levi + Julie (mostly Levi):

You remember when you said that a mission would be good for me why? It would help me become tactful, but let me tell you, it's doing almost the exact opposite. The deaf community is not one known for tact. I'm becoming more and more blunt, and the greatest part is that it makes learning and speaking the language so much easier, and it makes it easier for other people to understand you. (Oh wow, I just noticed my ASL grammar is seeping through to my writing [see the first line of this paragraph])

I remember just yesterday my companion and I were watching Br. Featherstone (our only deaf teacher [and the best]) teach one of us on a one on one basis. He was talking about attending church and how important it is and he was SO DIRECT it was kind of scary, but that's the way the language works and it turned out really well. I guess with the spirit, even the blunt can be sharpened into a sword to piercing even the hardest hearts.

Since I’m the only accompanist, I get special privileges of being able to request music from my personal archive (AKA: you dad) whenever I’m out of class.

I will send some pictures in some emails, to give you an idea of what my zone looks like. Ugh, English is difficult. I keep messing up my grammar. ASL is so different. It's also really bad when you're writing something and when you get to something like "first vision" or "for example", this is what my thought process is:

I don't want to write all of that! I’ll just sign it and write the rest of it"

"Wait, how to you write the sign for 'for example'?"

"Ugh, I guess you can't write sign language. That’s annoying"

"Okay, I guess I’ll have to write it all out..."

Even as I write I’ll hesitate on big words or phrases and will want to sign it, because it's like, 100x faster to sign than write it.

I bought a shoulder bag here, it has been recommended that I have it, and a CamelBak for my mission so I just bought it here at the MTC. I also purchased a card reader. Let’s see if it works.

As for all the music I’m doing, the Lord is totally incredible. He helps me learn all these things fast enough to play them perfectly in front of 1000 missionaries and General Authorities every Sunday with only an hour of practice. It's pretty awesome.

I apologize for the short letter last week, as I was short on time but I just wanted to share something with you all that I learned this week that I thought was really nifty, useful, powerful, and something I have seen work firsthand.

Close your eyes (well, I guess you have to read this, don't you...) and imagine yourselves in a lesson with an investigator. Just you, your companion, and the investigator. I want to discuss the 4th person there with you. As you all know, the spirit is a constant presence but you don't feel his presence constantly at one level, it fluctuates as your speed in a car in the city, it always going up and down.

When teaching a lesson, the spirit will touch their hearts, but there is always one point in a lesson (if the spirit is with you) where the spirit will be the strongest. This is called the Peak. The goal should be to quickly get the spirit into the room, teach the lesson, bear your testimony, and then get them to commit to something such as baptism or prayer or church. The spirit will fluctuate a bit, but when you bear your testimony, it will skyrocket, this is the time when the investigator will think and ponder, and most importantly, feel the spirit the strongest. Just a few seconds after this point is reached and a few seconds of silence have been observed, that is when you invite them to come closer to Christ (via commitments).

This happened in a lesson we had a few days ago. The spirit was there, and we felt the spirit, and we reached what we felt was a peak near the end of the lesson, but we decided not to act on it. We continued to teach for a bit, and then, when all 6 of us bore our testimonies, we reached the true pinnacle of the influence of the spirit far overpowering the feeling we had before. Using this power and feeling, we invited the investigator to be baptized, and he accepted.

The spirit then, was possibly the strongest I have ever felt in my life, in that moment erased any possibility of doubt that this work is the work of god. His work. This truly is his work.

I wish you all well in the week to come and you will hear from me next week.

Until then, God be with you.

-Elder Sands-