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?
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.
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.
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.
I had my interview with the Mount Timpanogos Temple president. I will start working in the temple baptistery on Saturday, August 26th. I’ll be working with my friend from the bishops’ storehouse—we’re on the same shift. It won’t be hard because I’ve had experience working in the Gilbert Arizona Temple baptistery. Even though the Timpanogos Temple is bigger than the Gilbert Temple, I was surprised that the Timpanogos baptistery is actually smaller.
On Sunday I taught the Plan of Salvation lesson to my cousin and her husband. They are a good example of having an eternal marriage. I have a testimony that Heavenly Father has a plan for the happiness of His children. I know it’s true. This plan answers the three most important questions people want to know: (1) Where did I come from? (2) What is my purpose on earth? (3) Where do I go after I die? If you want to know the answers to these questions, click on this link: https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/topics/plan-of-salvation?lang=eng
Every morning we have companion scripture study at 6:45. I’m already showered and dressed in my shirt and tie. Reading the Book of Mormon is a good way to start the day. After scriptures, we pray and have breakfast—waffles with buttermilk syrup, my favorite. Then I make my sack lunch.
On Monday it was really busy at the bishops’ storehouse. We were flooded with so many patrons, the service missionaries were called up from the warehouse to serve patrons in the store. Patrons always come first—that’s what we need to remember. When patrons need to be served, we drop what we’re doing and go help them. I’m looking forward to getting certified to use the forklift. I have to take a course in Salt Lake which I’ll probably do in May.
My grandfather (I call him Papi) and I cut up some dead trees with a chain saw and loaded them in the Toyota to take to the green compost dump. It was hot and sweaty work. We came home really dirty.
On Wednesday after work I pulled weeds for a sister in our ward. It was getting dark and I was only half finished, but I scheduled a day to finish up next week.
Friday is P-day and apartment check. I passed! Papi and I went to our ward “Fathers and Sons” activity in Midway. It was held on the property of a brother in our ward who has horses. It was really fun up there.