I have good news! We had a baptism! Our deaf investigator, Odgerel, was baptized on Friday and confirmed on Sunday; it was very nice. The font water was even warm! Odgerel told us later that when she went home she cried for joy of feeling the Spirit. It was a real testimony to me of the power of the Holy Ghost.
It's hard for deaf members, but I hope she will be able to endure to the end. Meeting with us has improved her life in many ways. She has first off found the Gospel, her sign language has improved significantly, and it seems to me her confidence has improved a lot, too (it's hard being a deaf person that doesn't really know sign language). I remember what a struggle it was for her to ever try to pray in the beginning. She'd sign "Dear Heavenly Father," and then bail out. It grew until she finally learned to pray and now she prays great. I'm grateful to have been able to help her... now we have the period of the new member lessons to lay a good foundation for her.
At our last zone conference, we watched Faith In Christ, the Church DVD about Christ's life. At the end, it shows the apostles going off on missions that would last the rest of their lives. I thought about these men, ordinary men living ordinary lives until something extraordinary happened that changed their lives forever. Of course, they had been foreordained in the pre-mortal life, but they didn't know that when they encountered Christ at first.
And did any of the apostles--when they were getting beaten and reviled or were alone or facing hardship--regret for a minute that this had happened to them? Meeting the Savior was a fantastic experience, but the only reasonable response was to serve him forever. It changed their destiny and put them on a path far different than what they might have lived. I wonder if Peter or anyone ever wondered what it would have been like to have lived a normal life. But that is only from a mortal perspective; their Apostleship changed not only their mortal destiny but their eternal destiny, as well. They will go on to inherit eternal glory, all coming from their being born in 1st century Judaea and following the call to "Come, Follow Me."
A similar thing happens in our lives, when we are born into this time into families with the Gospel. It sets the course of our lives, putting us on eventually a very different course than our fellow men. Being members of God's church and partakers of His holy temple covenants puts us into a different track than our peers. This difference does not only affect our mortal lives but our eternal destiny. If at any time the responsibilities we assume by having the Gospel seem difficult, we can remember that our eternal destiny will be one of everlasting Glory. And it is our responsibility along the way to help others get off the "normal" track and onto the eternal one, to change their destiny forever and find the joy of the Gospel.