Things have been going about the same in seminary and the temple. Nothing new to report. Took a bike ride with Papi. Saw lots of deer in our yard—mostly bucks with racks. When we took pictures, they hardly moved. It’s deer hunting season. Maybe the bucks thought it would be safer to hang out in our back yard than in the mountains. Lots of leaves are falling and our grass is covered—hardly showing any green. I rode the tractor over the leaves to vacuum them up, then blew the rest off our patio. Still more leaves coming down, which means more work to do.
Sunday night we celebrated Gram’s birthday at the Dunns’ house. Ate a delicious dinner and Maddi made a cake. Amy couldn’t find candles but we sang “Happy Birthday” and then made her tell us the story of her birth. It was during World War II when her father had been drafted into the Army and deployed to Belgium. It was an interesting story. Some of the details I hadn’t heard before.
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.
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.
Every day is an adventure at the seminary! Who would have thought a missionary would have to go dumpster diving! One day a sister accidentally threw out the trash can along with the trash and I had to go dumpster diving in my white shirt and tie!
Today when one of the students started misbehaving in class, Brother Webb stopped to take care of it, and asked me to continue teaching. So I taught the doctrine and scripture part of the lesson. I had to use my hands with signs and talked slowly so they could understand. We use lots of interactives with the students—things they can put up on the board with Velcro. It helps them learn.
One of my favorite students—I can’t use his name because of confidentiality—had a tooth ache today. When I went to pick him up in class, his teacher said he probably wouldn’t want to go to seminary because of it. He was lying down. But I went over and nudged his leg and said, “Hey_____, do you want to go to seminary with me today?” He sat up and immediately started putting on his shoes and socks. Then he waved his hands in the air and said, “Ready!” This boy really likes me. Sometimes he kisses my hand or leans over and pats my shoulder. I am sorry that he has to struggle with severe disabilities, but he has a very sweet spirit. In the month I’ve been working at the seminary, the kids are starting to show their preference for me. I have to be firm with them sometimes, but I’m always kind.
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.