Thursday, November 29, 2012

November 26, 2012; this one is a long one!

What a week! This is one of those weeks that I wish I had a little more time to write about! One of the most interesting things about this week was the contrast of everything that happened. In this week alone we had one experience that was one of the craziest and most terrible on my mission thus far. I will not go into any detail about what happened but it was interesting as I was able to see myself and how I've changed. Through this awful experience, there were those that let anger, fear, and doubt ruin them. This brought the lowest I have seen in certain people. Now what was interesting is that I was ok. I was very upset and scared but at the same time, I was able to see how much I trust our Father in Heaven. I was able to stay calm and be the head of reason through this ordeal. It was a very interesting experience! Now that it is over, I am grateful of it and grateful that I now know I can handle things like that. Also on the bad end of the spectrum, I was more stressed then I have been for a long time this week from Sunday to Wednesday. That experience before mentioned, which happened on Monday, did not help any with that but that was not the cause of my stress. 

We have been having some problems with our computer at the church and we were unable to get out welfare or anything like that. It came down to where we had three families without power on Tuesday. Several hours on Sunday and Monday were spent trying to prevent this problem. Several hours on Tuesday and Wednesday were spent trying to solve it. Thankfully it was all solved Wednesday afternoon! It is not over but at least we were able to get their power on and get to a point where we are a little ahead of everything. We are still going to have to try and solve this problem this week. These two experiences were the bad; they were the bitter that made the rest of the week so sweet! 

We'll start on Tuesday...right in the middle of all the problems! We had a lesson planned with Laura right after Tuesday night's ASL class. About an hour before ASL class was to start we got a text from Laura's friend Ashley (who has been helping us with everything and coming to all of the lessons) that Laura's car had just been stolen so they were not going to be able to make it that night to class or the lesson! Ya talk about a bummer! We felt (and still feel) so bad for her! So we went to class and not too long after it started, Laura and Ashley walked in! It was really surprising and we were really happy to see them! What had happened, as we came to learn, is that as they were sitting there after finishing the police report and everything, Laura's family had yet to answer her calls and everything so the two of them didn't know what to do. Ashley had the thought and mentioned to Laura that they should go and see the Elders which were on the way to her (Laura's) house. She agreed and they came. That was a really cool prompting as we had a really fun ASL class planned which hopefully distracted her. And then we were able to have a really good lesson about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is Faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. It was a good lesson and I felt like a good teacher during that lesson as I was able to see her understand everything I was teaching her! ------ Funny side note- I realized this week that Laura is only the THIRD person I have been able to have more than one real lesson with! All of you that have served missions imagine that. In one year there are only three investigators that go past the first lesson. And it is not like we find a lot and they just aren't interested, I've probably only "found" around 15 people thus far! Talk about a lesson in patience and long-suffering! Ha-ha ------ Sorry, anyways I felt like I was able to teach her pretty well! It was a wonderful lesson and I think a great experience for her to have, being she just went through the problems of having your car (and everything inside it) stolen but then being able to go to a lesson and feel the spirit! It was a pretty cool! Of course, because of everything else that was happening at that time, we couldn't end perfect! Ha-ha we had a comment at the end that was a perfect example of deaf and hearing culture colliding in a ball of flames! I just had to put my head down and shake it, No no no! Ha-ha It wasn't that bad and it was actually really funny if it wasn't during a lesson! All is good now but it was a very interesting thing!

Wednesday....the only things to mention are that we were finally able to fix that problem and I had a lot of time to read my book. I am reading "An Approach to the Book of Mormon" by Hugh Nibly...It is an amazing book! I would encourage all you that can to read it! There is no possible way to doubt the book of Mormon once you get to even the middle of that book! Ha-ha

THANKSGIVING!! Definitely one of the best days ever!! We woke up and left our apartment at 5:30 (yes I am wondering myself how it could be one of the best days ever with a start like that also!) to go do some service with Elder Kim and Elder Ellison for their ward mission leader! It was a good project, I still have a few blood blisters, but we were able to get it done really well! After it was finished they (the ward mission leader and his wife) fed the four of us breakfast! It was super good! They had fried bread (like scones) and eggs for us! So much food! It was wonderful! Following that we went, picked up some other missionaries, and went to a turkey bowl!!! Oh I love football! We played with those two wards from about 8 to 9:45 and it was really fun! We had lines (me and another Elder that played Guard in HS did really well on the line) and everything! I did Linebacker for most but would also play guard/center on offense! It was so fun! Then at 9:45 we went to the Camino Principal Ward with 6 other missionaries to the turkey bowl there! That one was my favorite! Both were awesome and just playing football again, like that, in contrast to everything else that had happened that week, oh man it was heaven! But the reason I really really enjoyed playing with CPP ward is because it was a lot more organized and everything! It was an actual tournament and had many teams! Each team had two missionaries, not necessarily a companionship but due to a communication issue me and Elder Nelsen were on the same team! Ha-ha not like that is a bad thing! He had three good completions and one touchdown by the end of the day! When I first looked at my team, I judged too harshly and I thought we were in some serious trouble! Mostly because we had lots and lots of kids on our team. But those kids could actually play really well and we ended up doing really good! I did mostly defense but I had a touchdown in each of our first two games and three or four completions in each so I was doing really well! Each game went to 5 touchdowns. But on our second to last game (semi-finals) I did really well! I don't know why but I just kept getting open and our quarterback was really good! I had three of the five touchdowns myself and I setup the other two within fifteen yards! It was awesome!  We ended up winning the whole thing! It was great! I also must mention that while these games were happening we had many appetizers spread out for us and it was great! The reason I need to say this is for one in particular which the best appetizer I have ever tasted was quite possibly! It was a jalapeno pepper that was filled with cheese and wrapped in bacon and grill perfectly! I must have had six or seven (and that was me holding back!) So football was very fun!

After 4 and a half hours of it we went home, changed, and drove up to Nate and Elisa's (my aunt and uncle that live here!) That dinner was amazing! The food was amazing! But most of all it was so good to eat with them and play games with them and everything! We played cranium and it was way fun! Spending time with people you love is the best!
After we had dinner with them and played some games we headed back down here and went over to the Belnaps to have Thanksgiving with the Belnaps and Agardys! That also was great! Needless to say by that time Elder Nelsen and I were pretty full so we didn't eat so much there! It was more just talking with them and enjoying their company! I am so grateful for all of the amazing people I have met while down here! It was a wonderful day and we went home so tired and full!

On Friday we went over to the Kerastas' and had a Thanksgiving dinner with them that was also wonderful! And afterwards we helped them put up their Christmas tree! That tripped me out! How is it Christmas time already! I can't believe it! That was the most I have ever decorated a tree! There were so many ornaments on that thing it was insane! Next time we are over there I will take a picture to send back to show it! On Saturday we went over to the Krakowiaks for a Thanksgiving dinner with them and their whole family! It was really good! It was an interesting experience to have some many people there, have it so loud but yet with so much signing! All the people there except for Elder Nelsen and Pres. and Sister Krakowiak were hearing but all of them could sign (being that they grew up with Pres. and Sister Krakowiak as their parents)! But it was a really good meal and a really enjoyable experience! Ya talk about a lot of turkey and potatoes! Not to mention that all the thanksgiving food we received from the branch activity like three weeks ago only ran out on Monday! Needless to say, it will be a while before I crave turkey and potatoes again! Ha-ha

Ok last (I know finally! Sorry it was a crazy week!) Is a funny experience that happened yesterday in church with the branch! So on Saturday at dinner President Krakowiak asked the two of us to speak in church on Sunday. That is fine; it has actually been awhile since I spoke in the branch so we planned to do that. I gave my talk on Spiritual gifts and Elder Nelsen followed with the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The interesting and funny thing that happened was something I didn't hear about until after church! Apparently, while I was giving my talk, Sister Slade was "interpreting" for Corina. Corina doesn't know any ASL, with her it is mostly just facial expressions and body language so every week she sits next to one of the members and they do their best to convey what is being signed. Anyways apparently Corina kept asking Sister Slade what I was saying but Sister Slade (mind you, she is one of the most influential and involved members of the deaf community in Tucson [meaning of course that she, herself is deaf], signing all her life and everything.) kept saying to her "I don't know, he is signing too fast!" ha-ha This might not be funny or interesting to you but for me it is! Apparently my signing is getting good! Now I know that I was signing well, clearly, and better ASL and not just signing English because the other members of the branch were able to come up and talk to me about it afterwards! All of them were surprised how much my signing is improving! I am no longer fumbling to get through a talk! I am finally confident with the language! Ha-ha I don't know if you enjoyed that but I thought it was pretty funny! I didn't think I was signing fast, I was just going normal but I guess that from now on I am going to have to take it slow! Ha-ha

Well that was our week! Hope your Thanksgiving was great!

Elder Banner

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