Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Silent Life

Well, I have had my first week in my new area assigned to teach in Mongolian Sign Language.  You forget you can talk sometimes.  At least, you forget that most people can hear you.  I am learning so much.  We teach in all areas of the city as needed, which means a lot of time spent on busses.  Of course, that means teaching and meeting wonderful people!  But it also means we get to see some of the surrounding countryside, as much as most American missionaries get to see, anyway.  In the summer, the mountain outskirts where many of our investigators live are very green and nice.

Learning signs in Mongolian Sign Language isn't too hard, but the language isn't really standardized.  Many people who are deaf don't speak it that well, and so it can be difficult to interpret what they are trying to say.  We do a lot of miming.  And sign language leaves out grammar; you just sign root words to make yourself understood.  If you do a sign one way, it might mean "teach me," but the same sign done another way can mean "teach you."

It is fun to teach about the Restored Gospel in Sign Language!  The signs are cool.

In my district, the sister missionaries know some sign language and one of the other Elders was the previous Deaf teaching missionary, so we all get along well.  My companion is very hard working and he knows the city very well.  We work hard.  I can communicate with him fairly well.  It can be hard to understand others sometimes because everyone signs differently, but I'm getting there.  Yesterday, we taught a brief lesson to a speaking family (which we can also do), so I taught most of it and also translated for my companion.  Actually, I have to translate a decent bit now.  So when we go to a store, I do the talking and I translate for my companion.  Probably seems weird to Mongolians to see an American do this.  It's great training for me in both languages!

Since I don't teach English during the summer, we have three months to be full-time missionaries!  Hooray!

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