Friday, December 24, 2010

Learning LSE and Christmas Plans!

Hello family! It's been a great week this week and I'm excited to share my experiences.

First off, we just barely taught Isaac, our friendly deaf investigator. In our last lesson (the one before this one) he had expressed the desire to be baptized, which made Elder Holub and I very happy. However, we still haven't been able to "cover much ground" as far as the lessons and doctrines go. I realized the other day while I was riding the train from Segovia that there is no way that Isaac can enjoy the gospel fully without an interpreter. There are no Church materials in LSE (Lengua de Signos Española), no videos are translated into that language (almost all are translated into ASL, but that does Isaac little good as the two languages are as different as English and Spanish.) Also, reading in Spanish is difficult because there are many words, especially scriptural language, that he does not understand. This is to say nothing of the Church meetings which, as you can probably imagine, are mind-numbingly boring for him. We'd looked high and low, in Villalba and Madrid, for an interpreter member of the Church who could volunteer their time, but we found no one. We could pay to have a professional interpreter come, but that isn't a sustainable option.

So, I saw no other option than to buckle down and learn LSE for myself: not just a token effort to get across some broad principles, but actually learn it. I wanted to be able to teach Isaac better and to be able to interpret for him during Church meetings. I've dedicated my daily hour of language study time during the day to learn LSE, and I also take time during meals and right before and after sleeping to studying it. I checked out a LSE grammar book from the local library (where we do weekly emails) and I've been going through it. I'm enjoying learning, but after our lesson today (which went great) I see how important this really is. I love Isaac and want him to be able to share the blessings of the gospel that I've received, and as long as he's still willing to learn the gospel, then I'll be willing to learn and speak his language. In the meantime, we've gotten two of the members of the ward to start learning so that when I leave, there will still be someone here to interpret.

Our hearing investigators are doing great, too. :) We met a man named Mario, a very energetic Spaniard in his mid-30s who's looking for the truth. He loved the Restoration movie and is really diving in to the Book of Mormon. He's learning a lot, and he understands the importance of the Spirit. We talked about baptism, and he expressed concern about getting baptized because of his addiction to smoking. We explained that we can help him quit and he was very excited about the idea! We'll be visiting with him today to teach him more, and get him started on the quit-smoking program.

Natalia, a young Spanish-Brazilian investigator, passed her baptismal interview this week. Her baptism is set for the January 3rd, and we're very excited for her. Also, Michelle Coello, another investigator from Ecuador, has recovered in part from her surgery and is feeling ready to get baptized. We are all praying to know what her date will be.

Christmas and Christmas Eve Day are somewhat lame in the field. Why? Because almost no one wants to meet with you on those days. Everyone's spending it with family, or at a party with friends, or something else. No one seems to want to spend it with the lame, boring, weird missionaries. Well, that's not true. There are a few families who have invited us over: one to eat at mediodia Christmas Eve and one to eat mediodia Christmas. Besides that, we'll probably spend most of our time in the streets contacting Muslims and Chinese people. Fun!

We've been saving packages and putting them under Elder Holub's little Christmas Tree in the corner and have been enjoying a variety of Spanish Christmas-y delicacies.

Hampson [the leg of ham] is holding up well. We hit bone on one side of the leg, so we've started cutting in on the other side. This second side is much more juicy and tender than the first. Mmmm....

I love you all and I'm anxiously looking forward to being able to talk with you! Merry Christmas, everyone! I love being a missionary, even though it restricts some of my ability to celebrate Christmas the normal way with all of you. Know that I have you in my thoughts and prayers.

Till next time,

-Elder Knorr