Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February 21st, 2012

Hello everyone,

    It is a beautiful 75 degrees in Tucson!   I have to say I really like Tucson right now! It is a lot greener then I thought it would be and it is perfect for me. I love all the cactus and the palm trees and everything! 
    As ASL missionaries we have a lot of things to do. In addition to the normal missionary work my companion and I,  are also the 1st and 2nd counselors in the ASL Branch Presidency. That is very interesting as we pretty much run the branch, we do all the tithing and the welfare an we are pretty much the entire home teaching group as we visit everyone in the branch.
    Church on Sunday was interesting in the deaf ward. There are only about 25 people there, but the meetings are as loud or louder then a full other ward. Deaf people make the funniest noises because they don’t know they are making them. It is interesting sitting on the stand and doing all of the things that bishoprics do! I am too young for this! Haha!   I am going to need to grow up a bit! I am going to start teaching priesthood next week, so that will be interesting! 
    We also had a deaf fireside on Sunday, which was really cool.  We went to a members house and the church had it set up on the VP's (video phones) for deaf branches all over the country. We could see them and they could see all of us so we could ask questions and everything. It was really cool. I really like the deaf branch, they are all so accepting and nice. There is a lot of work to do there though.  
    We also teach an ASL class every week at the institute at the University of Arizona to try and get some referrals. That keeps us busy as well. Being ASL we don't have a specific area but we drive all around Tucson to try and find people. We actually drive around the whole mission to see if there are deaf people we can teach. We spend a lot of time driving from place to place. It is really cool but really hard because the success (in terms of baptisms) for ASL Missionaries down here is really low. It is maybe 2 or 3 the full 2 years. Basically like a European mission. Right now we have 3 investigators. One is a deaf man who does not really know much American Sign Language, he knows Mexican Sign Language so it is really hard to teach him. He has been an investigator for a while now so we'll see how that goes. One of our other investigators is a Interpreter that knows that the gospel is true but has a few addictions that she is trying to overcome, so we are working with her on that. Our other investigator is actually a really strong investigator and we are discussing a baptismal date right now after two lessons! I am so excited to keep teaching her!    
    We had a really cool experience on Wednesday at dinner. A nice couple took us out to eat at a restaurant and while we were eating a lady came up, introduced herself, and explained that her husband had a serious infection in his leg and was rushed to the hospital the day before. They were brand new to the area and didn't know anyone so they didn't know anyone that could give him a priesthood blessing. They had prayed to find someone, then the wife went to go get dinner, she had the feeling to go to that particular restaurant and we were the first people she saw when she went in. It was the coolest story about how God answers prayers. We went to the hospital and were able to give her husband a blessing. My companion being the good trainer he is, let me give the blessing which was a little overwhelming but a great experience. We actually saw that woman again on Sunday and she told us that he is healing very well. It is awesome to be a witness to these experiences and stories where God's love for each of us is manifested like that. I love being on a mission! I love being here and teaching these people. I will write back to everyone that writes me but it might take a little longer being that we are so busy here! I love you all and wish you the best!  

Elder Banner

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