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posted Oct 24, 2017, 12:22 PM by Christine Merrill
Elder Ronald A. Rasband said a few weeks ago, "Through the experience of my own life’s journey, I know that the Lord will move us on [a] seeming chessboard to do His work. What may appear to be a random chance is, in fact, overseen by a loving Father in Heaven, who can number the hairs of every head. Not even a sparrow falls to the ground without our Father’s notice. The Lord is in the small details of our lives, and those incidents and opportunities are to prepare us to lift our families and others as we build the kingdom of God on earth. Remember, as the Lord said to Abraham, “I know the end from the beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee.”

Here are some of the "coincidences" that have happened in our lives....

  • Almost 20 years ago, Marriner was called as a missionary to Ukraine, speaking Russian. But he spent 6 months of his mission serving a deaf congregation, speaking Russian Sign Language. 
  • 7 years ago, our oldest son, Lige, was bored in Kindergarten and not having very much fun in life. We decided he needed something fun and challenging to do at home to make up for the tedium of his school day. A lot of prayer and thought took us to two things: he started piano lessons and we decided to learn a language all together as a family. Of course, our natural direction was to learn Spanish: it's useful, it's similar to English, Latin roots are so darn useful, etc. But somehow, we just felt like we should learn ASL instead. And, Marriner's experience with Russian Sign Language and his semester college class in ASL would be very helpful to us. We checked out all the Signing Time movies we could from the library and started practicing what we'd learned at dinner time.
  • Two weeks later, Marriner arrived at work and met a new hire named Kevin. He was deaf and became Marriner's dear friend. Marriner's ASL improved a lot, and he shared with the rest of us!
  • A year later, Marriner was called as a temple worker. He was asked to work two shifts a month, and Friday night was really the only time he could do that, so we gave up our date night (we moved it to Saturday or Monday) and Marriner started working at the temple. It turns out that Friday night is the ASL temple session, and Marriner was soon put to work on the ASL session.
  • Last year, the ASL branch (congregation) relocated from the Silver Spring stake to our stake. Our family re-focused on improving our ASL, since we'd be seeing our friends that we'd met at the temple more often now.
  • Marriner was serving as a High Council member, and was assigned to work with the branch during the transition.
Those are some of the little moves on the chess board of life that have made it so our whole family was able to answer the call to serve in the ASL branch.

If I got to pick God's brain for a few minutes, I'd like to ask, "Why us? Why ASL? And where is this whole journey going, anyway?" But, when I asked, He seemed to respond with a smile and, "That would ruin all the fun, wouldn't it?" 

Interestingly, I have a sister who also speaks ASL, for completely different reasons. She lives in Baltimore, an hour away, and interprets her church services for some deaf members in her area. But that's a coincidence we'll have to ponder another day...