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Second Languages in LDS Homes of Faith
The day that I stepped off the airplane just hours after being prepared to teach in English from the MTC, I saw the disappointment on my new mission President’s face as he realized that I was not the signing sister missionary that the Jacksonville, FL Mission had prayed 10 years previous for. St. Augustine FL, hosted one of the largest U.S. Deaf and Blind schools at that time in our nation. Harboring near to the school were the many deaf families of deaf students receiving it’s educational services. I quickly saw that I was the one that could not hear what the deaf had to say. I learned then the powerful influence that the Spirit can have to edify the learning and teaching in a foreign language. Since my unique mission in American Sign Language, I have gained a testimony of second languages being taught in LDS homes. After my return home, I studied more about the Deaf language and culture and thus taught ASL for 11 years most commonly to small children or in family groups. Growing up my family hosted and fostered 8 children of Navaho, Paiute, Japanese, Dutch, or Thai descent in our home, each bringing their native tongue and traditions that enriched our families relationship with God’s children around the world. I married a man that was passionate about the Spanish language and upon his college graduation moved to Mexico to study the language and it’s people there. Currently my 7 year old son participates in a Chinese dual-immersion school program and we are grateful to be the host parents of a young Chinese HHS exchange student to encourage our son’s Chinese language development. I hold a Ricks College Associates of Science in Speech Pathology/Audiology degree, a BYU-UT Bachelors of Marriage and Family Life degree, and I am a licensed instructor for the award winning and emmy-nominated Signing Time Program for children. Li’l Einsteins Montessori Preschool in Hurricane is my current business where I spend my days now teaching American Sign Language to children. In addition, I offer numerous summer ASL workshops and Rachel Coleman’s ASL Signing Time program products throughout St. George and the Hurricane areas.