This man's name is Josh Martin. He is completely deaf. And so Sister Bay and Josh wrote questions and answers back and forth for about an hour. After that they set up an appointment to meet him at the library again with someone who could use Sign Language.
Sister Downey has a degree in ASL (American Sign Language) and they had asked her to help. She called asking me if I could take her to the other zone for this lesson. I said sure. When we got to the library, we discovered that the library is only open until 5:00 on fridays. We could not find Josh and left not knowing if they would see him again.
The sisters kept returning to the library and about a week later found Josh again. He was very happy to see them and they started with the lessons. After one of the lessons, when he heard that the Sisters were coming to a baptism in Stafford he asked if he could also attend. And so they brought him with them this last Saturday evening. He enjoyed the baptism and it answered many of his questions. After the baptism, Sister Downey asked if I could take her and Josh to the deaf ward the next day. The deaf ward is in Maryland and so it is out of our boundaries. This ward covers 3 missions.
So early on Sunday, I drove to Annandale and picked up Sis Downey and we went and picked up Josh. We then drove through Washington DC and on to Maryland to the deaf ward. This was a wonderful experience. Not just for Josh, but for me as well. It was beautiful to watch as Josh discovered an entire congregation of deaf people. He was smiling from ear to ear as the talks were given and nodding his agreement with what was being said. Sister Downey said they were answering all the questions he had asked her. For me it was a spiritual and tender meeting. It was so quiet and the spirit was so strong that it felt almost tangible. I enjoyed it so very much. They had an interpreter for the hearing members of the congregation. After the meeting, Josh saw a friend he knew and was so excited. This girl came over and they hugged and found out that she is a recent convert. Everyone came to meet him and I could tell how loved and accepted he felt there. We introduced him to the ASL missionaries and they will continue with his lessons in his own language. After Sacrament meeting, I had to come home for an appointment and we couldn't stay for the remainder of the meetings. When the Bishop asked Josh if he would like to stay and they would make sure he got home, his face just lit up and we said our goodbyes. I am sure Josh will be baptized and I plan to take Sister Downey to the baptism.
Sister Downey is a remarkable young lady. She is an excellent Spanish missionary and has a beautiful spirit about her. But the thing I witnessed with this experience was her incredible grace and love as she spoke in sign language. It was like watching a beautiful dance. Her expressions and movements were so full of meaning and I could tell that she is really a gifted signer. She has been an interpreter at the Marriott Center in Provo. I am so grateful that she invited me to have the experience with her. I loved every minute of it.