Monday, April 19, 2010
Blog: Zone Conference, Long Beach, and General conference into one week.
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.