Monday, March 23, 2015

It's times like these where missionaries normally say a greeting in their language so show that they are learning the language and have not just left home doing who-knows-what.

Unfortunately, ASL does not provide such a luxury so you will simply have to rely on my word and my spiritual experiences/thoughts to know that I have not just left home doing who-knows-what.

The language is coming along great. I remember in the MTC about 2 weeks before I left, my teacher, Br. Featherstone, told me that my signing is very good and quite beautiful to see (can't say that much about other languages ;) but my receptive skills (understanding what others are signing to me) was dreadful (or awful, terrible, not-good-at-all...such can the sign that he used be translated). I remember my first week at church, I understood about 10% (optimistically). That is the time you truly learn how to smile and nod. One sister signed to me that first week and I caught signs where it looked like she said "last week...tree...shocked...sawing do before?" By this time, I’m thinking she said, "last week, a tree got struck by lightning so they had to cut it down outside their house and it was a lot of work. Have you done that before?" so naturally, I respond "no". Now that I know a lot more and can remember (mostly) what she signed, she actually said, "3 weeks ago a tree fell down on my parent's house that scared them half to death (you would use 'shocked' as the sign for that). They were really sad because now they have to move to a different house while it gets rebuilt. Have you ever moved before?" COMPLETELY different story. Thankfully the Lord has been blessing my learning skills and I am now able to translate in Sacrament meeting, Priesthood, and take a larger part in our discussions.

FYI: our mission has been approved for Facebook when the iPads come in, but our companionship has been given approval to start now. So I’ll be using my Facebook quite a bit now.

We got our first new investigator for this month this last week. His name is Gordon Flash (I thought he was pulling our leg with that one) but he's a great guy who was very interesting in the gospel. Surprisingly, he's actually a Jehovah's Witness. The majority of the JWs seem hostile towards Mormons, that’s unfortunate, but he was very open, set a return appointment after we taught him the first discussion and I felt he was really touched by the spirit that was there. That just adds to the many evidences of the power of the spirit and the truthfulness of the gospel. I am so honored to have been chosen to serve a mission and to assist His children in any way that He sees fit. Have a great week everyone!

Elder Sands