When we received Lani's first letter home she told us about all the missionaries in her district. In passing she said there is an Elder R who's father is deaf. Twenty five years ago I served a mission. I had the blessing of being called into the deaf program and learning ASL like my dear daughter.
While my daughter was growing up I shared with her the conversions stories of the people I had the opportunity to share basic lessons with of the doctrine of our church. This is one of those stories:
Do you remember me telling you the story of a young man named S that I taught while on my mission. He use to come to church with his friend named D. She was an interpreter at the Community College. Her parents are deaf and she was fluent in ASL. My companion and I introduced ourselves to him and told him that if he ever wanted to learn more about the church we would be happy to meet with him any time. Several weeks later he asked if he could set up a time to meet with us.
That evening we had dinner with him D and her family. He they went on to tell us his history. He said when I was 10 years old I found the true church and the sisters were teaching me and then one day they stopped coming. I always wanted to find that church again. Then when I met D at the college we would talk about what we belived and church... I told her I had already found the true church I had a book from that church and that I was going to find it again. She asked me to bring the book to school and I did. It was a Book of Mormon reader which ASL missionaries often pass out to investigators as an introduction to the stories from the Book of Mormon. That night we asked him if he was ready to have lessons to prepare for baptism and when he knew that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was the true church on the earth if he would commit to be baptized and he said yes.
We lived with members of the church in this area as housing was really expensive. When we arrived home we were so excited and we shared the story with the S family. Bro S said “ I knew I recognised him.” He went on to tell us that he was the bishop when S was 10 and he felt impressed to tell the sisters not to baptize him. He felt strongly that he wouldn't have enough support to remain active through his teen years. He felt that he would come in contact with the church again when he was older. The sister discussed this with his parents and they agreed and the never returned. I had the wonderful privilege of sharing the lessons with him and seeing him get baptized.
While he was learning and preparing for baptism a national Single Adult conference for members of our faith that communicate using ASL was held in our area. We were asked to assist with checking in all the attendees. While we were doing this we were chatting with D and S. All of sudden S became very excited and was signing really fast which was hard for me as a new signer to understand. When he calmed down I learned that a woman had walked in the room he recognized as the sister that had taught him all those years ago. They were able to reconnect and she later came out to visit again for his baptism.
I was transfered shortly after that. S went on to serve a mission. Dad and I went to the deaf ward one weekend shortly after we were married. We were pleasantly surprised to able to see him just before he went home. I have not had contact with him since. I have a feeling that the Elder R in your district is S's son. I think S went on to marry D.
I did some research and I found S and D and I sent D a Facebook message. If I am right this is such an exciting thing for me to reconnect with them after all these years.
This experience has strengthened my faith that there are no coincidences in life but that we are all kept in the hallow of his hand. That my daughter is meant to be in the district that she is in in the MTC. That she is meant to be serving with whom she is serving and that there are people prepared to learn the gospel from her at this time.