Monday, May 30, 2011

Sign Language

Dad, sorry to hear about yours and Brady's trials of surviving without Mom. I remember well my first week in country, when for the first time in my life I had to put more thought into my meals than just going to Taco Bell or buying some chicken breast at Walmart. Elder Horn and I went to the local Shoprite and did some shopping. As we were walking around, all of the different types of food felt so foreign to me that my mind kinda shut down and I decided that I had no idea what to buy. So I asked Elder Horn and he said that I should just buy some cereal or something. So, that first week I just ended up buying an excessive amount of corn-flakes and expensive, weird-tasting milk. I'm not gonna lie, it pretty much sucked.

We had some more baptisms this week, which is incredible as always. Things can get to you sometimes, so the baptisms that we have here are in some ways even more rewarding than baptisms I've had in other areas. Right after me and Elder Nash had finished baptizing our people, we were standing in a hall-way in between the font room and the restrooms and we shared a funny moment as we high-fived and had a mini-rejoicing. Elder Nash added, "Man this is what makes all the hard times worth it." Ahhh, so true. Those who were baptized are named Mahira, Cynthia, and Sania. These are all younger people that have really progressed with incredible rapidity in the gospel. We had a great turn out to the baptism and everyone was really excited to welcome in the new members. The best part of all, however, was to see the complete and starting changes of these people's countenances. From these young people, we have already started branching out to others in the families and neighborhoods. The work moves on.

Today transfers are coming out and everyone is ready to see just exactly what will happen. President Donnelly told all the Zone Leaders about a week ago that there were some major changes coming to the mission shortly. They are as follows: Zone Leaders would be companions with other Zone Leaders; Zone Leaders would be getting cars; and every companionship in the mission would be getting simple I-Pads to help in the visual aid department. These are all crazy and wild and new, and we're all waiting to see what will actually happen.

Being a District Leader is kinda like being a section leader in choir, or maybe even the senior member of a gang that has a lot of new jump-ins. In some ways it doesn't actually mean anything at all, but in others you find yourself beset with the all too-real mantle of leading someone, even if the number of these certain someones may be somewhat small. To drive this point home we had a District Leader training meeting this past week which brought a lot of very new things to the forefront of my mind. Things like doing more than just taking stats, than just doing baptismal interviews, than just conducting the weekly District meetings. At this point there are some tid-bits of leading people, in truth, and not just managing. The meeting we had was excellent and, leadership principles aside, highly uplifting.

A week and a half ago, after we had finished teaching English class at the church, Elder Collins and I were walking down the hall talking about the ends and outs of hypnotism (it's a long story lol). We were stopped in the hall be one very loving and wonderful brother named Jules. Jules is pretty famous in our mission because he is first, completely deaf, and second, completely awesome. He always greets all of the missionaries that he knows with a huge hug and smile. His testimony is pretty much second to none and you will never see him show a speck of sadness or depression. Frere Jules makes the most of everything he has in life. Everytime he meets up with someone new, he teaches them as much sign language as he can in whatever way he can. The first couple of things he usually does is to teach the new aquaintance "I love you" "I know the Church is true" "You are awesome" and the way to say the name of the church. If you didn't speak Malagasy than you'd have a difficult time learning the sing language, because he can only mouth words and make sounds in Malagasy. Anyways, he decided that I learned how to say the name of the church really quickly, so he would be coming to our Sacrement meeting so that I could translate for him....yikes.

When he arrived the next Sunday, the learning and tanslating started pretty quickly. I would have to write down words for him or mouth them for him so that he could read my lips, and then he'd teach them to me and Elder Nash. By the end of Sacrament meeting I was actually able to translate some pretty decently in-depth phrases without having to rely on Jules' lip reading abilities. During every song I would point at the words in the hymn book and Elder Nash and Jules would sign out all the words to the song. Before Sacrament I remember thinking it's gonna be a nightmare, and by the end Elder Nash and I were so pumped about learning more sign language and working with Jules a lot more.

Till next week...

Elder Cryer

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