This week I feel like I have gotten a lot better at sign language. I'm starting to practice at church this week, I'm teaching or translating all the classes. It's like having a Spanish branch in your ward, but we have a deaf branch. We have a couple of converts and a few investigators that are completely deaf. It's really neat to work with them. When I was little I thought that all deaf people could read and write. But now I'm realizing that they never would have learned how to sound out words. I've been learning sign language. There is English sign language, there is Spanish sign language, and then there's Colombian Spanish sign language. They are all really different.
I translated the Priesthood class this week for our deaf brothers, which was really awesome. It's very cool to get to know them, and understand what they feel like. They are very sensitive to people. They have very few people who listen or understand them, so they have very little communication with anyone. A few years ago some missionaries took time to learn how to sign, and were able to speak to them. They baptized some of them. Then they taught more of their friends, and now there is a deaf branch.
This week we have been teaching a sister named Geditsa, She was a referral from a returned missionary. She's the state boxer here. She has had a lot problems with bad spirits that she thinks touches her during the day. So we taught her about prayer and the power of the Holy Ghost. This week she decided she would pray when she felt scared. So when bad spirits came near her, or touched her, she would turn on the lights, say a prayer, and she felt the spirit, and her whole night changed. She's been sleeping better, and doing all the good things she is supposed to do. We are so excited for her. She now has a testimony of prayer. She has accepted a baptismal date. She's been reading the Book of Mormon, and this Sunday she is coming with us to church.
In bigger news--this week there was a drug plane--A big drug lord loaded it up with drugs. To disguise it, they spray painted "US Army" on the side of it, then they tried to send it out. But as soon as it was up in the air, it was shot down and landed here in our area. So our whole zone went out to see it, and took pictures. It was pretty awesome. We touched all the drug planes.
I received a very cool thought from my Grandpa this week. He was visiting my Aunt in Georgia. He was talking about how the driving is different because there are no mountains to help orient you to where you are, there are just a lot of trees that line the roads and block your view. In Idaho and Utah, there are no trees, so you can always see where you are going. And there are big mountains to reference, so you always know where you are and where you're going. But in the rest of the world, it is no-reference driving. It's the same here in Valledupar. There are a lot of trees, and you can only see 2 blocks in front of you, and no where else.
It's just like this when we teach people about the gospel. Most people live their lives only seeing a few blocks in front of them. Most do not know where they came from, where they are, or where they're going. The only thing they have to help them is a good map or a good compass. As missionaries, we have the responsibility to give them a good map and a working compass, so they can find the mountains and know where they should be going. We help them find a connection with Heavenly Father through prayer and scriptures.
We always need to have our reference. Sometimes we need to rely on the little things we have in front of us. We need to always read our scriptures and pray daily, do the important things that keep us on the right path. We need to watch every single step we take, if we want to end at the right destination--the Celestial Kingdom. I hope each of you will think of someone you can refer to the missionaries this week.
No, I didnt feel anything from the earthquake in Ecuador. I'm glad to hear Christian is ok. Yes, I like being a Zone Leader. I really love being able to help other missionaries. However, the thing I don't like is being in a trio. It's terrible for teaching. Both of my companions are really great guys but teaching in three is just hard. I could teach any lesson with a new missionary or a new priest or an old timer or whatever you want because it's just 2 and the person you're teaching. But teaching in three is pretty rough. I realize the Godhead is three and the First Presidency is three, but marriage is two, so...there's something to that. Companionships should just be 2. It's ok, everything works out in the end. : )
We talked to a couple of missionaries from the states this week and Wow, they are spoiled!!! Freaking iPads and cars and smart phones... A mission there and a mission here is sooooooo different!
I'm loving Valledupar. I'm really glad I'm here. Hope you guys are great. I tried to write more. Send me questions.