Week 2, ASL Brighton Area

Sept 28th
Church
I guess Sunday being a day of rest doesn’t apply to missionaries
because I was packed with meeting and appointments and stuff. Sacrament
meeting was fun because I got to meet all the Deaf people In the ward
and they were all super nice to me. And the old Japanese couple came!
I love this ward, not only because they feed us like kings every
night, but because they all are united and they all have such strong
testimonies. I know this because today was testimony meeting and my
companion gave me the “go up there look” and so I went up also. After
sacrament meeting we went to Doctrinal Studies and a little Italian
man was sitting in there waiting for everyone. You could tell he was
an investigator because he was wearing jeans and a golf shirt. I went
and sat by him, trying to talk to him but he kinda just whispered and
mumbled everything he said and he had Italian accent so I couldn’t
really understand him but also I think he said that he’d been to
church once before. Anyways we sat through all of doctrinal studies
and then it was time for the closing prayer so I leaned forward bowing
my head resting my face on my hands. When I did this I noticed that
Eddie (the little Italian man) did the same thing right after me, so I
sat up and folded my arms and I opened my eyes a little to see Eddie
watching me and sitting up and folding his arms. I could have started
tapping my head and rubbing my stomach and he would have copied me
without question but I didn’t take it that far haha and after the prayer I
explained what the deal was with prayers. Cool guy tho.

Sept 29th
Healing Power
It’s the morning of the 30th right now because last night I bawled
myself to sleep all because yesterday after our P-day activities at
around 8 a lady in our ward asked for a blessing of comfort and
healing. When we went over there she was sitting on her couch just
super frustrated. We quickly started talking to her and found out that
her son had run away from home and how another one of her sons has a
sexually transmitted disease and how she might have cancer and how her
husband is a “A hole” and that she felt like she was just going to
burst. While she was saying all this my favorite scripture kept
popping into my head, Alma 26:12. I asked her to read it and she
agreed and when she got to the part that said “I will boast of my God, for
In his strength I can do all things” she bursts into tears. It
was such a spiritual moment. After that we gave her a comfort blessing
for her kids and a healing blessing for her cancer and the whole time
during the blessings all I could think about was my grandma Pope. How
I’d give anything to give her once last hug and tell her how much I
love her. I kept praying in my heart that she would make it through
two years so I could see her again. Later that night in my bed I just
burst into tears thinking about my grandma, family, and friends and
just being super homesick. I knew this would happen sooner or later
because I’ve been holding it in this whole time I’ve been in the
mission field. It was well needed and it felt good to get all my
emotions out. Now that it’s morning I feel a ton better.

Sept 30th
LYDIAH IS GETTING BAPTIZED
Made a new goal today to give out a Book or Mormon everyday so we’ll
see if that works out. Well we helped this old Deaf guy out named
Edgar this morning with setting up his mailbox. The thing about Deaf
people here are all of them have a sense of humor. They love to be
sarcastic and joke with you and Edgar is definitely a comedian. Later
that day we talked with a recent convert who was named Mark who told
us his super cool conversion story and spiritual moments he has had in
his life. His stories reminded me that I need to let the spirit direct
me in all that I do and then I will see spiritual moment and miracles
more often. After that we had dinner at a members house who just moved
here from Mapleton! You know I thought I was going to starve here but
I think we’ve only had dinner back at our apartments once and the rest
have been at members houses, and on top of that we just received our
dinner calendar and we are booked almost everyday this month. Wow.
Later that night we went to the Library to check our Emails and I
found out my friend Lydiah is being baptized!!!!! That made my night
until I got home to find a video message on the video phone from
Takeashi Yamaji (the grandpa from the old Japanese couple) who asked
why we had called earlier that day and who we were… He’s loosing his
memory and he forgot about us đŸ˜¥ hopefully his wife will remember us
because there is a lot of potential in those two and I know that
someday and somehow I’ll get them to be Baptized!

P.S. Yes I do realize Takeashi’s name is really close to something
funny but I’m a missionary and I can’t laugh at that sense of humor
anymore.

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Oct 1st
Kenneth being Baptized
Well I quickly figured out that giving a Book of Mormon away is a lot
harder than I thought it would be… So pretty much my goal is a no
go. That’s all because today we tried for the first time approaching
someone at the park they were super nice and stuff but it probably had
to be one of the most awkward experiences of my life. BUT I learned
from my mistakes and I feel a lot more confident next time we approach
someone. Also WE COMMITTED KENNETH TO BAPTIZM! (the Deaf friend of
Maria who is the Deaf old lady I met the first day I was here) like he
was so willing to get baptized it was crazy. Than we ate a sausage at
Brian’s house, literally just a sausage for dinner. Then taught the
young women ASL for mutual and video messaged Takeashi and he
remembered us so I guess you could call that a good night.

Oct 2nd
Tracting 1st time
My companion and I were walking down the nicer part of Rochester today
and I pointed out this house that I thought was really cool to my
companion. My companion then turned to me and said “let’s find out who
lives there” and I said “no way” but before I could argue my companion
bolted up to the door and rang the doorbell. It ended up being some
super nice lady that was actually was looking for Mormons to find out
more about the church, not so she could join but so that she could
“teach her student”? We said whatevs and gave her a Book of Mormon. Later that night we visited Takeshi and he had many great stories for us (like always) but he also showed us this very inappropriate calendar he had with pretty much naked ladies riding dragons on it. It didn’t seem to faze him that there were naked women on there and the fact that he was showing that calendar to missionaries. He was just super intrigued by the dragons and very proud of what he had found.

Oct 3rd
Getting my “sign name”
So they made a new rule that new missionaries needed to study for 6
hours every Friday so that’s what we did. I think there needs to be an
exception for ADHD people because I don’t think they understand I can
only sit still for 2 hours at most and I’d rather be out there looking
for people but you know I’m trying to obey with “exact obedience” so I
have to push through it. Anyways we went and visited a Deaf
investigator today named Lashanda. She was very interested in what we
had to say and I think she has a Baptism date coming up soon. She also
gave me a sign name! Which is an abbreviated version of your name so
that Deaf people don’t have to finger spell out your whole name. It’s
cool because the only way to get a sign name is if a Deaf person gives
it to you. My sign name hitting your chest (where your missionary tag
would be) with your hand in the letter shape “E” which stands for
“Elder” than tapping your left wrist with the letter shape “H” which
Lashanda says it’s “because of your cool watch and your last name is
Holmberg”. Guess I’m now officially part of the Deaf crew. After that we
went to this house that smelled of cat urine and cigarettes, where
lived this little ADHD 8-year-old boy named Matt who was ready to be
Baptized! While we sat on the living room floor trying to teach this
boy (because they had no furniture) about tithing, his dad was in the
next room over playing “Call of Duty” on full volume cussing away at
this game. It was an interesting experience trying to get Matt to stay
concentrated. After that we ate dinner ate a recent converts house
named Mark Kelley but he asks all the missionaries to just call him
Mark. He reminded me of an old version of my friend Shae Johnson. He
told us when he was just starting to join the church the missionaries
took him to the Hill Camorah and it was one of the scariest experience
of his life. He said he had a bad feeling in his gut when he first
drove on the property then when he got to the top of the hill he heard
this voice in his head that the missionaries were going to slit his
throat. So he quickly escaped the car and started running. When he
realized that missionaries weren’t following him he realized what he
had done was pretty foolish and walked back to the car to the confused
missionaries and apologized. Haha the way he told us the story was what made it funny tho.

Oct 4th
General Conference
Started off the morning by inviting an investigator we’ve never met
before to this members house for crepes and he came! For once we were
not bailed on! He’s a super cool dude named Ryan and he’s Deaf but he
has a Cochlear Implant which technically makes him hard of hearing but
he can talk pretty well. After that we all watched General Conference and
Priesthood. I’m pretty proud of myself because never in my life have I
sat through a whole Gen Con but this one I did easy! I realized when I
actually listen to the speaker that it goes by much quicker. Who knew.
There were some great speakers but one that stood out was one by
Jeffrey R. Holland and it’s worth watching again. It reminds me of my
parents and my Grandparents and how selfless they are. Great great talk.

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