Monday, April 19, 2010

Two Pictures from Facebook

Pictures taken by a David Spencer from the Torrance 4th Branch for the Deaf.

Sunny Days At the Beach

Hi all,

Today, we had a spedial beach p-day where our zone got to frolick around in the sand, smell the brisk salty air, and get some real UV rays. And also play some beach volleyball. Granted, we was allowed only two hours per who knows how long, to go to the beach, but it was fun nonetheless.

Manhattan Beach makes me crazy, you know? They have all those incredibly nice houses that descend towards the beach, so there's a nice view of everything. It makes me want to live in Manhattan Beach for the rest of my life. The real shocker, however, is that I found out that it costs at least $1,000,000 to own the average house (I think) in Manhattan Beach. Yikes. For that much money, I could get an mansion in Utah with all the spiffs and still have money left over to get a really nice car and start a college fund for my kids. One day I'm thinking living in Utah is better, than the next day, I'm thinking Manhattan beach is more awesome. BUT IT'S SO NICE. BUT IT'S CLEANER AND FRIENDLIER IN UTAH. but it's near a beach! but there's a bigger deaf ward in utah! It's near a lot of californian events and tourist attractions! but there's lots of nature in utah! we get nature in the yosemite mountains too! Yes! No! Yes! No! Absolutely! Definitely not! For sure! NEVER! maybe? hrrrf. I'll just have to see how much money I get our of my future successful career as a comedy writer, and also see what my future wife thinks about it all.

Yesterday was kind of a sweet-to-bitter day. In church, we have a member called Angel Sorto who is quite active and the missionaries and I am good friends with him. He seemed content, was friendly, and liked to chat often. Well, after churcdh, when most everyone went home, my companions and I went ahead and used the Video Phone to arrange appointments with all the investigators and Less-Active members (like we do every sunday). In the midst of that, we received a phone call from Angel Sorto that shocked me to my soul. For one, the person we saw on the computer screen wasn't the one we saw at church today. His face was ashen and despondent. We learned that he found his wife in the bathroom, having already departed from this world during the time that he was in church. Angel was in a panic and at a total loss of what to do. I immediately encouraged him to calm down and then soon we had President Suttion take control of the situation. The funeral date is not yet set, but we have been asked to help Angel in any way necessary should he ask for it.

Misionary work is always so full of surprises.

-E.T. (Many of the missionaries nicknamed me that because of my initials. Nice, huh?)


- Me! (Think I look slimmer now?)
_ My Entire Zone: Let me see if I can recall all their names, from top to bottom, starting from left.

Cordy, ZL Amundsen, Isaacson, Lingam, Rogers, Richins, Shimta, Welling, Trinidad, France, Hadlock, ZL Gardner, Hoggan, Sisters Tittle and Nef, Vizcaino, Sung, Vaca-Guzman, Western, Leavell, [can't remember :( ], Me, McDonald, Salazar, Gishie, and Wells.

Blog: Zone Conference, Long Beach, and General conference into one week.

Hi all.

This week was intense. first of all, a little spider bit me on my arm. Nothing serious, just some yucky stuff oozing out and then the wound healed up over a few days.

Last wednesday, we had another Zone Conference. It was fun and spiritual, and once again, we had a giant sandwich buffet for lunch. The two topics in Zone Conference was about committing investigators to baptism, and chapter 5 in the Preach My Gospel about how to give an investingastor a better understanding of the Book of Mormon.

Last Friday, we finally got special permission from our mission president to cross over yonder into Long Beach, at least, for one member-present lesson appointment. we teamed up with a deaf woman called Fatjema Taijbee, who used to be an ASL missionary and now lives in Long Beach. The person we were teaching is Neelika, who herself came from distant Sri Lanka. She is a deaf mother of two children, who lives with her parents. All of them identify themselves as belonging to the Buddhist faith but are interested in learning about God's restored church. What made all this a very interesting experience is that, since them came from the other side of the world, their sign language is a little different from ours. They even spell the british way, what with all the different gestures associated with signifying a letter. We spent the afternoon explainig into depth who Jesus Christ is, and why he is the central point of the church.



We got a special interpreting feed into our stake center ans many of our deaf members got the opportunity to watch General Conference into American Sign Language. I recognized and knew some of the people who interpreted (Some from the MTC, EFY, and the Provo deaf ward that I used to go to occasionally), especially a woman who sang during the Sunday Morning seisson called Rachel Friedman. Gues what? She's right from our branch!

As usual, the prophets and apostles never cease to amaze and enrich our spirit and knowledge with their inspired talks, especially from Elder Holland (My favorite Apostle) who pratically shook the ground with his remark on the dangers of lust and other sins, their damaging consequences and how we should all throw these destructive things out of our lives.

One thing that added to the amazing General Conference weekend is that three of our investigators showed up at church to listen to the prophet. Evry one of them was touched by his words. Amazing, right? We're SO committing all of them to baptism!

A scary thing happened yesterday just after general conference. At about 3:30, I felt a short but strong tremor. At first, I thought it was just one of these LA tremors since the city is built on a huge fault line, and I thought nothing of it. Only two hous later, at dinner at a member's house, did I learn that there happened yet another massive earthquake, this time in northwestern Mexico, an area called Mexicali, which happened to be just about two hundred miles from where I was. The fact that we were lucky enough to be far away enough to feel only the very edge of the earthquake shocked me. I think it was the closest to an intense natural disaster that I have ever been. Yikes.

The unusual frequency of massive earthquakes ofer the last few months have made many people here really nervous. In fact, on bthe way to the library, we happened to drive past a little parade of doomsayers all proclaiming the inevitable. "The end is near!" "Judgment is upon us!" "Repent now!" and so and so forth. I wanted to take a photo, but I remembered that the missionary handbook told us to not "Take photographs of civil unrest or demonstrations" so out of respect and obedience, I didn't.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Adventures in Vermin Metropolis

As hinted by the title of my letter today, we discovered roaches en masse into our kitchen cabinets this morning. Basically, we spent the better part of the morning squirting every bug we could find with window cleaners (instant mess-free roach killer) and now the whole apartment reeks of lemon soap. Whee.

This week was kind of slow. first of all, none of our investigators came to church, including those taught by the other ASL missionaries. We did a lot of (cough) tracting (cough) because a lot of people we tried to taught wasn't home, and some blew off on our appointments. We just had to drop three of our investigatoes because there were zero progress among them. One asked us to not see her anymore (got fed anti-mormon crap by her friends and she believed into these). A bird pooped on our car thrice. We very narrowly escaped a crossfire between two gangs. Actually, I was kidding about the last one.

As of transfers, Elder Lingam and I got Elder Western, and Elder Cordy and Hadlock got Elder Franco. Yipeee! Our new missionaries is getting the better hang of how the ASL program works, which is good. We're also helping them brush up on their ASL skills. Recently, I've talked with President Blackburn that, if everything still goes well, we should divide everyone up into three companionships, and arrange for one to work the Long Beach area, and officially re-establish the ASL program's presence into Long Beach. We really hope so, since there are a LOT of potential investigators and even less-actives in Long Beach. The Long Beach mission does NOT have an official ASL program, which kind of leaves those poor deaf people isolated, which really isn't very fair.

Elder Cordy should transfer out of the program soon, which means we will be able to get our last ASL missionary into the program: My good old companion Elder Van Dam. He really will be a valuable asset to our work, primarily because he knows spanish and ASL both very well. Los Angeles has a LOT of spanish-speaking-only people.

A funny thing happened last sunday. After church, we visited one of our investigatoes, an interesting old waman named Nina Miller. As it turns out, she opted to have dinner with us, though we already had a dinner appointment! After some pizza with Nina, we drove right to dinner (ha ha) with President and Sister Sutton. Afterwards, we were just SUPER full. That didn't end there. Oh no. no. Later tat night, we decided to visit another investigator named Robert, who was holding a little chili party at that time, and insistently offered us a big bowl of his famous 3-alarm chili! By the time we got home, our stomachs were near to bursting, and we basically just planned a bit, prayed, and plodded straight into bed. FYI, 3-alarm chili does NOT mix well with a lot of food. At that, I woke up at 1 AM in the morning, and high-tailed it right for the bathroom, where I proceeded to spend the next 30 minutes on the john, with molten lava coming out of my rear end. If you've heard groaning at that time, that was probably me.When I was fairly confident that the pain was over, I crawled back into bed and passed out right there.

By the way, there was no mail yesterday, because our whole zone did maintenance service at the temple. Sorry, but they brought it up at the last zone meeting so I had no way to let you know about it.