August 27, 2018


Piqua, Ohio


Elder Tavis Smith

I am not Deaf

Well this is my first week in Piqua! My companion is Elder Smith who is from Idaho.  He was trained by my trainer as well!! (Shout out to Caleb Erikson)  We are getting along really well! This first week was definitely an adjusting week, but I know none of you want to hear what things I had to adjust to, so I will just go right to the good stuff!Thursday evening we had a lesson with a recent convert and his family.  He was baptized last Saturday.  The thing that made this lesson different was everyone in the family is deaf besides the daughter!!  Elder Smith had to prepare me for the lesson.  He told me that it would take some time to get used to teaching them, but I would eventually learn to love them.  Then he warned me by saying, "For deaf people they talk/sign a lot!"during the lesson we would speak to the daughter and the daughter would sign to her parents.  Then the parents would sign to the daughter and the daughter would then tell us what they said.  The husband could speak a little bit though. Anyways, the plan was to have them watch the ASL version of the Book of Mormon, while we read the same chapter.  Then we would come together to discuss.  They told us that they were on 1 Nephi 4...Throughout my mission I have had some pretty funny experiences as i have read 1 Nephi 4.  The reason being is during this chapter Nephi is commanded by God to kill Laban.  Which could be something that people really enjoy, or something that people think is ridiculous.When they told us this Elder Smith and I looked at each other and kind of chuckled then began to read.Periodically I would look up and see what the ASL video was showing.  I could never really understand what any of the signs were so I would just go back to reading my copy of the Book of Mormon.When I finished I looked up again to see what was happening on the video.  Just as I did they were beginning verse 18 and the only sign that I knew was the sign for Nephi cutting off Laban's head.  When that happened the husband and wife looked at each other and gasped.  Then continued watching.After it was over we all came together to discuss.  We asked them what happened in the story and the husband began to explain.  By saying, "Nephi, went to get the plates and found a drunk guy on the steps.  God then commanded him the cut his head off, so he did."  Then he paused for a second, looked at his wife, threw his hands in the air and said, (Remember the husband can talk) "Would you cut my head off if God told you?"... Then the wife looked him straight in the eye and made the sign for "Yes sir"  Then the husband said, "Good I would too"I was amazed!  That is obedience!At times we may not want to be obedient.  It may not be the popular thing to do, or we could "have more fun" doing something else, but I know that by being obedient it helps us to progress, it helps us to become more like God, who knows all things, and who made the "rules".  Being obedient may not be the most popular thing to do, but in the end we will be glad that we did. Doctrine and Covenants says, "I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise."He promises us that we will be blessed by being obedient.  Those blessings will come.  They may not come immediately or in ways that we are expecting but they will come.
-Elder Johnson


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