October 9-15, 2017

In seminary one of my students had chocolate milk for lunch and it gave him a sugar-high during class. I had to take him out to the foyer to settle him down. I thought the fresh air outside would help, but he didn’t want to go. He said, “I’ll be good.” So I took him back in the classroom and he was good.

I’m learning how to handle hitting. First I say, “No, don’t hit,” and then I redirect him to something he likes to do, such as playing with blocks. Most of these disabled kids don’t respond to the word, “No” by itself. They have to be redirected to an acceptable activity. Gram said this also works with little kids. Maybe this mission is preparing me to be a parent someday.

After work, my grandparents and I went to the Draper Temple to do sealings for some friends from Poland. The Polish names were impossible to pronounce and the sealer butchered every name. But that’s ok because the Lord knows these people. I’m sure I mispronounce lots of names when I work in the baptistry. Foreign names are hard.

 

October 5-6, 2017

It was my turn this week to give the spiritual thought and scripture in our seminary devotional. My topic was the Holy Ghost. I told a story from Conner’s mission, and used the scripture: 1 Nephi 13:37. I bore my testimony that we need to act upon impressions that come to us from the Holy Ghost.

The best part of the week was when my Uncle Caleb (bishop in his Idaho ward) and his wife Susie brought 40 youth to the Salt Lake Temple to do baptisms. They all brought family names. I met them at the temple and helped with baptisms and confirmations. It was a great experience to be in that beautiful temple. It was Elder Hales’ funeral that morning, and the temple was closed until 2pm, so we were able to attend the funeral. It was a great experience to be in the Tabernacle. President Uchtdorf conducted the meeting, and we heard talks by Elder Ballard, President Nelson, and President Eyring. In his talk, President Nelson said, “I know Elder Hales’ heart—LITERALLY!” That’s because President Nelson performed heart surgery on Elder Hales.

October 2-4, 2017

One of my students is blind. Even though it’s not always successful, there are ways to help him participate in class. Sometimes he cooperates, but sometimes he gets up and starts walking around the room. Of course I have to help him back to his desk which he doesn’t usually want to do. Every day is different. I’m learning skills to manage my students in a positive way.

One of my students can’t talk, but she knows the signs for God and Jesus. She makes the sign for Jesus and then points to His picture on the wall. She smiles her biggest smile when she does this. I believe that when people have disabilities, they are given a strong spiritual connection to the Lord.

Another student has a screen attached to her wheelchair, and when she focuses her eyes for more than 3 seconds on a certain square, it will come up with “I want…” Then she focuses on another square to show what she wants. Today, her message was, “I want to talk about cars.” So before class started we talked a little while about cars.

September 28 – October 1, 2017

 

One of my favorite students can pray. He is more high-functioning than the others. His voice is sweet and innocent like a child. Even though he’s hard to understand, I can understand what he’s saying.

We watched General Conference this weekend and it was excellent. Gram had this idea that we should each listen and choose a meaningful truth from one of the General Authorities, and she would display it in a glass case for us to remember. My favorite talk was Elder Oaks about the Proclamation on the Family.

After conference, my friend, Loren McClure came to visit me from Provo where he is going to school at BYU. He recently returned from his mission in Puerto Rico. Good thing he isn’t there now with all the hurricane devastation. We played foosball and guess who won?

 

September 25-27, 2017

 

I gave my seminary student a book of sign language and taught her to make some letters. She liked it and kept turning pages and practicing new letters. I found out that she can type. I need to get permission from Brother Weaver, but if he says yes, I’ll let her use my phone to write a message. I wouldn’t trust most of my students with my phone because they might throw it or destroy it. But this particular student is calm and can be trusted.

 

Papi and I have been working to rip up carpet, tack strips, and baseboards getting ready for the new wood to go down in a week. I’m glad to help because it’s a lot of work for my 72 year old grandfather to do alone.

 

September 18-24, 2017

It has suddenly turned super cold. Today we had sleet! Sort of like snow but it didn’t stick on the ground. There’s snow on the mountains though.

Another busy week at the seminary. I’m usually assigned to the most difficult students because I can handle them. But one student is really difficult to manage his behavior. I talked to his teacher when I went to pick him up at the school, and asked for tips. She told me something that worked for her. So, I got authorization to try it, which I will do tomorrow. Hope it works. I found out some unfortunate things about this student’s life that made me feel bad for him. I really do love him. I love his spirit. I try to remember that he can’t help the way he acts.

The baptistry was busy on Saturday. The temple was closed half day because of Women’s Conference, so it was packed with people. The workers on our shift had planned a picnic afterward at the bowery, but it was cancelled because of pouring rain. Everyone was given a food assignment. My assignment was potato chips. But I didn’t think it was appropriate to carry a Walmart bag of chips past the recommend desk. So I stuffed them into a camera bag—and no one noticed and I walked right through to the baptistry. I was disappointed we didn’t have our picnic though.

I had an interview with my stake president/mission president Sunday night. We went over the principles in the missionary handbook and I reported how things were going. President Henderson is pleased with my work.

September 14-17, 2017

After work I whacked some weeds at the missionaries’ house. The house belongs to a woman who is 108 years old, and can you believe she is still living? But she moved away to live with her grandson, so the missionaries live there now. As I was finishing the weed-whacking, the missionaries arrived and thanked me for the hard work, and said, “Is there anything we can do to help you, Elder?” I told them, “As a matter of fact, yes—we could use your help moving furniture next week.” Missionaries should serve each other when they can.

Today one of my seminary students had something in his eye and it was bothering him, so I said, “Let’s go in the break room and wipe it with a wet paper towel. It will make it feel better. “As I was leading him into the break room, the director ran after me saying, “Elder—wait!” He told me that students weren’t allowed in the break room because of the food in there. Some students have food allergies or uncontrolled cravings. So, I learned a new rule today.

I taught the Plan of Salvation lesson to John Lilly today. He is a great man. He gave me a framed picture of the motorcycle he used when he was on the highway patrol in California—CHIPS.