Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Serving an ASL Mission #Embark

Everything is kinda weird over here with our house completely turned upside-down with our many construction projects and house repairs.  But we are happily moving along, spending lots of time in close quarters, and trying to do our best to continue the most important things that make us who we are as a family!

One of those things is family home evening...the other is singing loudly to the 2011 Muppet Movie, which we only recently discovered!  It's brought us some fun memories!

But I'm hear to talk about the family home evening that we had last night.  Scarlett stayed home sick from school, so in the afternoon, I asked if she'd like to help give our FHE lesson that night.  

We had recently received another mission letter from Aunt Emmalee who served an ASL mission in the Phoenix, AZ area!

Since sign language is another thing our family is way in to, I asked Scarlett if she would like to learn to sign her testimony and share it with our family during FHE tonight.  She was very excited to do this!  

First, she wrote out a brief testimony in her own words.  Then we tried signing it using the signs we already know.  (She knew a bunch of church words, because they're learning to sign "I Know That My Savior Loves Me" in Primary right now.)  The other words we looked up real quick googling ASL + the word.  One sign that was new to us was "the Articles of Faith," which you'll see is signed by making an "a" followed by an "f" on the palm of your hand.

Anyway, we here's Scarlett's testimony:

We really enjoyed learning about Emmalee's mission experience and her great faith was evident.  I liked that she told the kids that she had wanted to serve a mission from an early age and as a result she did a lot through out her life to prepare herself, by studying  the scriptures, attending Seminary and Institute, and, in her words, "paying the price" to know for herself that the church is true.

In college, she was excitedly anticipating serving a mission when a friend cautioned her to make sure serving a mission was the right thing to do.  Emmalee asked the Lord in prayer if she should serve a mission.  The answer came.  The Lord assured Emmalee that she should serve a mission, and that she would serve, not just for the sake of serving a mission, but she would serve THE LORD'S mission.

Emmalee served in ASL areas and was also sent to serve on a Navajo Reservation, where she taught in Navajo and served where President Kimball did on his mission.

I love how Emmalee said, "I never thought a little deaf girl would learn how to speak Navajo, but I did.  We would sing in Navajo to share our messages."

She closed by encouraging our children to study the core doctrines of the church, to know them, and to share them.  She said, "Wherever you go, ask the Lord to help you know why you were sent to that area.  He will show you."

I love having so many examples of missionaries in our family who set a great example for our children!  Emmalee's commitment to prepare to serve the Lord from a young age and then her faith to humbly follow where the Lord would lead is a great example to us!

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

50 Shades of Lies

I watched a brief clip of 50 Shades of Grey last night on Jimmy Fallon, so I could be a little more informed about the book/movie before giving my opinion. In the scene, the female is renegotiating the terms of her sexual contract with the male. They are sitting very far from each other at a dinner table. He says, “…so you’re saying that you want to leave (the relationship)?” She says, “Yes.” He says, “But your body is telling me something different.” So, let me get this straight. “Your words are telling me No. This stack of papers that you refuse to sign is telling me no. But your body, which is sitting far away from me in a modest/retreating pose, is TELLING ME YES.” This IS rape talk, if I’ve ever heard it…and yes, I’ve heard it. I cannot imagine anyone who has actually been victimized or abused or mistreated or manipulated into staying in an unhealthy intimate relationship could ever stomach a movie like this. Out of respect for myself and any other woman out there who has ever been victimized I will speak up and say, don’t see this movie.

Don’t buy into the lie that this is normal, good, acceptable behavior among “consenting” adults. Don’t buy into the lie that seeing this movie won’t damage YOUR OWN SELF-ESTEEM and change the way you feel you are perceived by men and society. Don’t buy into the lie that this movie’s acceptance by society won’t severely jeopardize a woman’s credibility when she SAYS NO (and lower the chances of her NO being respected and accepted by her aggressor).

Celebrating and glorifying the rape mentality, casting women’s bodies as “things” that can be “contractually signed over” to men for a period of time, will (and does) harm our society. Women and girls are sold into sex slavery every day, and I find it deeply saddening and offensive that as a culture we would seek entertainment in a practice that, in reality, enslaves and damages the lives of so many women, children, and men both here and abroad. Don’t tell the lie. Don’t sell the lie. DON’T BUY THE LIE.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Chocolate Law

As I've mentioned, our house is under some pretty major stress with multiple construction and repair projects going on simultaneously.

I'm learning just why God's house is a house of order...and ours should be too.  It's hard when things are not in order.  Among other things, I'm not able to spend as much time teaching and preparing special lessons for my family, because we are instead in a season of work right now, very temporal work.  And work has its own opportunities to teach and learn.

Anyway, I have wanted to do a mission map for our family for a while now, so last week, as I was cleaning up some atlases that Honor had been playing with, I decided to email our family and ask them to send a letter to our children talking about the missions they have served (both formal and informal)...where and when they served, what they did to prepare, and any lessons learned.

Last night, for FHE, we read the first letter, which came from my sister-in-law Renae.
We didn't tell the children who sent the letter at first.  We made it a mystery for them to solve.

Renae shared how she prepared in specific ways and some really memorable stories of faith.

She said that in Brazil, where she served, instead of knocking on doors, she would stand outside of the gate and clap loudly.  (The children enjoyed learning how to clap loudly!)

One fun detail that she shared was "Lei o Chokito" which was a rule she and her companions had for each other.  Whenever they were caught not using Portuguese or talking about home (when it was not P-day or they were not asked to do so by a Brazilian) then you had to buy your companion a candy bar called "Chokito"!  It's literally the Chokito Law!

I had hidden a Hershey's candy bar (which I had on hand) in the room earlier.  So the children had to find it first.  Then we played our own version of The Chocolate Law.  We sat in a circle and asked each other questions.  If anyone responded by using the words I or Me (or mentioned anyone's name) then we all called out "Chokito!!" and everyone ELSE in the circle got a piece of the candy bar.

The kids really enjoyed learning about Aunt Renae's missionary experience, marking where she served on our map, and playing the Chokito Law game.

I have to laugh, because I couldn't find the map that I had originally planned to use, and the one we ended up using has these words across the top, "We find out where conditions are the worst--the places where other are not going--and that's where we want to be."

I don't know whose slogan that is, but it can sure be said of the missionaries who go out across the world to places both desirable and suffering to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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