Monday, April 27, 2015


So this last week was pretty different. We got special approval from our mission president to go and visit and speak at all of the Phoenix Mission zone conferences. Why? Since our area covers all of the Scottsdale and Phoenix missions, we wanted all of the Phoenix missionaries to start searching for deaf and hard of hearing people and getting referrals for us in their perspective areas. We talked at all of the conferences and taught them how to recognize a deaf person (i.e. their using sign language) and how to see if someone lives in a building who's deaf (i.e. the I-Love-You hand signs, deaf doorbells, people who can't hear you...). Then we taught them how they can communicate with them (Pencil and Paper) and how to act/look (Happy) and how to send those referrals to us. We also taught them how to say hello, goodbye, and emphasized that deaf people don't need braille Books of Mormon, that's only for blind people (you'd be surprised how often we get that :).

After we finished with just 2 of the zone conferences, we had received several referrals for the valley, but most of them were in Flagstaff, Prescott, and Prescott Valley (all 2 hours north of Phoenix). So we decided with our mission president, that it would be a good idea to go up to Flagstaff and stay there for a couple of days just contacting all the deaf people that we had referrals for. By the end of our little trip, we had gotten almost 20 referrals for that part of Arizona. Quite a large amount for deaf people who live in pretty small towns. We met with a really active member who's hard of hearing and has a deaf, autistic son and she visited a couple of people with us (set up all the appointments herself) and was really helpful in the actual teaching of those lessons. I really wish we could make her a group/branch mission leader up there...she was awesome!

So we only had time to contact about 10 referrals, none of them lived even close to each other, and we got a couple more referrals from those along with a new investigator and a few other ones that we haven't quite figured out how to teach yet. VP's (a video phone) are an option but some of them don't have VP's, and we still need to contact more people. So we're planning on going up there maybe every 2 or 3 weeks to just get a branch or group set up there. It was real cool.

Also, the Phoenix mission has this really funny Preach (Fight) Song that they sing at every zone conference, I've sang that thing more often than half of the missionaries that serve there now :)

Love you all!

Elder Sands

Monday, April 20, 2015


Hello again everyone!

I've gotten a few inquiries about the driving thing so here is how it goes. It's the responsibility of the most senior companion to drive everywhere. Unfortunately, this last Thursday, Elder Burr was on Exchanges, and Elder Walker spent the entire being sick, so it was up to me to drive my Exchange companion a total of 128 miles that day. That was scary. Complete with Highway Value Package (which includes a little bit of good highway, with a whole lot of really crowded, 5 mph 1/4th of the time, the rest 0 mph, highway. It was fun. I almost ran into a pole, but all is well. The car is untouched and I am still alive. No ticket either! Wow, when I drove though, I realized how much of a better driver I am than my companions. Not bragging but I take it seriously. I'm paranoid about staying in my lane (thanks for those sleepless nights of “STAY IN YOUR LANE!!” nightmares dad :) ) and they always aren't. I don't brake like I’m about to hit a deer all the time and I actually follow the speed limit.

This last week our investigator came to Sacrament again! It was wonderful, unfortunately, she's one of the few deaf people I have a really hard time understanding. Always room for improvement! She's recently expressed some concerns about getting baptized so hopefully her attendance at a member's FHE tonight and our lesson with her tomorrow will alleviate some of those concerns.

We went to the temple on Saturday with our branch and wow, the entire deaf temple experience is pretty cool. There's a lot of interpretation going on. Afterwards we went out to eat with a member at about 3:30 and our dinner appointment was at 5. At the end of the Dinner appointment, Elder Burr said that he was full and then our member said “finally, he's full. I've succeeded! That’s the first time!” None of us really wanted to tell her why :)

I know this church is true and that there is much that we can do to bless other people's lives and especially the importance of the temple in our lives.

Elder Sands

Monday, April 13, 2015


This Last week, though it felt quite short, has had some really good opportunities to serve/teach. I actually felt like I was getting things done, which hasn’t really be happening that last couple of weeks. This last Saturday, our zone and another zone got together and volunteered at the March of Dimes walk (a walk to help support babies that are born pre-maturely and probably a few other things in that general area of research). We were there for a good 6 hours, but oh, was it worth it. I must have gotten 50 “Hey Elders!” as people recognized us, and a good 15 “It’s good to see you guys out here.” I feel like our presence was noticed and we were able to accomplish something that proselyting has a hard time doing. At the end, the Coordinators said that we were the largest, earliest to show up, last to leave, most organized, and hardest working group they’ve ever had volunteer. I would call that a great success!

We also had our first investigator show up for church yesterday. I must admit, I was quite skeptical whether she would show up or do her reading assignment from of the Book of Mormon, but when we called her to follow up on Friday, she said that she read the whole book of Enos and was planning on coming to church. I was really excited about the reading assignment part, but I had heard the whole “sure, I’ll go to church this Sunday...” before. Then she showed up to Relief Society and she really hit it off with one of the members. I don’t know if this applies to hearing wards or not, but when an investigator can get to church, they are instantly surrounded by branch members and they leave with many more friends, and they are 1,000% more likely to come the next week. I think she felt the spirit in the wonderful lessons that were taught, and she said she enjoyed the whole experience when we talked to her about it afterwards.

We also had a record attendance (since I’ve been here) at Church. 27! Wow. Now that number, may look pitiful, but what it was, was a miracle.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember, getting them to church, helps a TON in their willingness to continue the discussions, get baptized, and ultimately go to the House of the Lord, make sacred covenants, and endure.

Elder Sands