There was always a lot going on at Uncle Ben’s house with the Weirs and Whettens—lots of noise and games and laughing (and good food). Later Uncle Ben took me out on his Razor and let me drive it. He uses it mostly to shovel snow in the winter.
Back in Alpine, on Sunday I went home teaching with my new companion, and after that I taught the Plan of Salvation lesson to Lloyd Newell and Sister Newell. It went really well. Brother Newell is the one who does the Spoken Word, and Sister Newell writes books. They are very nice people. I’m making lots of good friends in the ward.
For Thanksgiving, Papi, Gram, and I made the trip to Monument, Colorado to visit family members who live there: Uncle Ben and Aunt Bri, and my six cousins, and Uncle Erin and Aunt Becca and three cousins. Uncle Curt and Aunt Mollie and my four cousins from El Paso drove to Monument too, so it was a big group and we had lots of fun. Also, Uncle Mike and Aunt Patti came to visit which was awesome. Family is really important to me.
Uncle Erin drove us on a steep, rocky trail up Mt. Herman in his cool truck which is a lifted Toyota Tundra 4×4 crew cab which seats 6. The trail was so narrow there was barely room for one vehicle. Great views at the top. Colorado is beautiful.
Later Erin and Papi and I made a table for Aunt Becca in a heated garage, which was a good thing because it snowed that day.
After work I hauled some boxes from the Smiths’ basement apartment to load on the truck because they were moving to a new house. They are a nice family with three little boys.
On Wednesday the missionaries and I were asked to help with a YM/YW activity where we had to taste and judge desserts made by the Teachers and Mia Maids in our ward. It was super fun.
In seminary today I hooked up the Apple-TV box so it would mirror the i-pad to the big TV. I ran into a little problem and the audio only came through the TV and not the sound system. So Brother Weaver is going to pick up a cable and then I’ll hook it up to the sound system for better quality and volume. There will be a teacher i-pad in each room and also a student i-pad which I’ll assist the student to use. This will be a big improvement for teaching these students.
Since the temple is closed for cleaning, Papi, Gram and I hiked up Horsetail Falls. It was a perfect day for a hike—sunny but cold. It was a beautiful hike and we could hear the creek rushing down next to us, but we couldn’t see it because of the trees.
One day after picking up my student, I was asked to take an extra wheelchair into a classroom. I let my student push it which he thought was fun. When we got back to the seminary, he sat down in the doorway and had a tantrum, kicking and screaming. I had no idea why. I tried everything to get him to stop but he wouldn’t. Brother Weaver came out of his office and asked what was going on and I explained. It took both of us to finally quiet him down. I never did understand the cause of his meltdown. I love this student. He’s usually well-behaved, but I guess we all have our “off” days. He was probably frustrated that we couldn’t understand what he wanted. I try every day to show my students that I love them. That’s the most important part of my job.
One of the highlights of my mission is that I’m learning to look beyond my students’ disabilities and see who they really are, as children of God. Some of them can’t speak or walk. Some talk too much or to the wall, others fall asleep in class and can’t respond to the lesson. But they are pure spirits. When I first started my mission, Brother Weaver told me that most of these students can understand more than it shows. I think even when they don’t look like they are getting anything out of the lesson, they really do understand some things. But even when they can’t understand anything, they can feel the Spirit. That’s why seminary is important for these youth who have severe disabilities.
At seminary today there were two students assigned to me because we were short-handed. Usually I only have one. When I went to pick up the first student, which was at the farthest end of the school, he was still eating lunch—and he eats super slow. He was sitting at his desk, and it was hard to get him to cooperate so we could help move him to the wheelchair. Finally, when I got him strapped in, I set off pretty fast to get him to seminary. I parked him in the classroom, and asked the teacher if it was ok for me to leave him for a few minutes unattended while I picked up my other student. She was ok with that. Then I raced to the other end of the school to get my second student. He could only walk slowly, but we finally made it to the classroom just as the teacher started the lesson.
Sometimes this student asks, “I see a firetruck? I see an ambulance?” He really wants to see one, but usually there’s nothing to see. One time, as soon as I got him settled in class and was on my way back to the seminary, an ambulance raced down the street with flashing lights and siren in a code blue situation. I felt so bad that my student just barely missed it.
I would like to bear my testimony that I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I’m grateful to be a missionary and serve the youth at the Dan Peterson Seminary, the Bishops’ Storehouse, and at the Mt Timpanogos Temple. I’m grateful to be able to teach the Plan of Salvation lesson to families in our ward. I’ve been thinking about my Patriarchal Blessing and some of the promises about my mission that are already being fulfilled even though I’ve only been out for a little over three months.
Our wood floors are finally finished, and we were able to move the furniture back into place. Papi and I did the heavy lifting, while Gram worked on the pad that goes under the rug. When we were finished, I grilled steak for dinner. Gram likes the way I cook it, so it’s always my job to grill whenever we have carne asada.