For the second time I got to ride horses with Brother Norton. Abby Christensen also came. This time I was properly dressed, because I borrowed Papi’s cowboy boots. They were tight, but it didn’t bother me much since I was in the saddle. The weather was perfect and the fall leaves were beautiful. It was so much fun! Brother Norton told me that next time we’ll ride in the snow. That will be a new experience for me.
On P-day I learned a great new trick. When I pull my shirts right out of the dryer the minute they’re done—and then hang them up, it saves hours of ironing! This week I didn’t have to iron a single shirt!
My calling in the ward is Priesthood Music Coordinator. When the bishop called me to this I was really surprised. I was hoping to be called as deacons’ quorum advisor. But whatever the Lord calls me to do, I will do it to the best of my ability. So for this music calling, it’s my job to select the opening hymn for Priesthood meeting in the cultural hall, and connect my phone to the sound system. Before I got this calling, the brothers were trying to sing without music and it sounded terrible. It’s much better now, and everybody’s sings. At first I copied off the words and handed them out, but decided to save paper. So now, everyone reads the words from their phones.
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.
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.
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.
Working with severely disabled students is really hard. They can’t help it, and I love them, but they’re really hard to manage. I have to learn different techniques to use with each one. I can’t mention names and specifics because of confidentiality. Some are obedient and easy. Some are stubborn. Some are hitters or runners. One day, as I was walking one of my favorite students from the school to seminary, he got frightened by the noisy lawn edger going along the grass right next to him, and he held his ears and fell down and was kicking and screaming. This student doesn’t like loud noises. I can’t believe the lawn guy was allowed to edge during school hours. Seems crazy to me.
I really love my mission. I’ve been pretty busy this week. I started Monday working at the Dan Peterson Seminary. These kids have severe disabilities, so I help them get from the school to the seminary building, and sit with them during class. And assist with whatever they need. I’m getting used to some annoying behaviors that they can’t help. Sometimes I sign when they can’t speak. Then I take them back to school and pick up another student. That’s what I do at the seminary. Haha—that’s a picture of me in a wheelchair with a restraint, which protects students from falling during transport.
We cleaned the church Friday. My job was to use the biggest vacuum called “The Beast” to clean the halls. Guess who I got to meet? Lloyd Newell was on our cleaning team. He’s actually famous. He gives an inspirational message on the program called “Music and the Spoken Word” every Sunday at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. He’s done this for 27 years. His voice is familiar because he also introduces General Conference on TV.
It’s been a busy week. After serving at the bishops’ storehouse on Monday, I helped Papi mow the lawn, and then we went to dinner with the Chens, our neighbors from Taiwan. We ate traditional Chinese food. My favorite was sesame chicken.
Tuesday after work I finished weeding our neighbor’s big flower beds. I didn’t finish until dark—actually, I was still working when it was pitch dark. But it’s done!
Wednesday was my last day at the bishops’ storehouse until summer. I will miss helping the patrons fill their orders. But Elder Young and I will be working in the temple baptistery together.
Papi and I attended a training meeting at the Dan Peterson Seminary. I will start working there on Monday.
My first day working in the temple baptistery was Saturday from 8 to 1. It was a good day.
I have a new church calling. I will choose and print the hymns that the priesthood brothers sing during opening exercises for priesthood. Brother Gee said we probably won’t be singing, “As Sisters in Zion.” Haha!