Hello to everyone. Tomorrow we will have been in the mission field for two weeks. Hard to believe. We had to talk in Church last week. Our Branch President was out of town for Christmas, so we just met him today. Seems like a nice guy. He lives in Gallup. I think he is still deciding on just what he wants us to do. We got to meet the Stake President today, also. He is just young, but very spiritual. He said to focus on the next ordinance, whatever it might be that the members need. He wants us to let the people know that not only do they need the Church, but the Church needs them.
We are still working on finding out where the members live because everything is so scattered out here. We did visit with Sister Padillia yesterday. She was glad to see us. We had a real nice visit with her. Her son was there, but not very talkative. He said that he goes to Church in Sanders, but we didn't find out which church he went to. He showed us some projects he does for his work - putting turquoise stones on old cow skulls, pots, and some jewelry boxes. Very interesting. Owen talked to him about making arrowheads and gave him a demonstration. That would be something that could be incorporated in with his other crafts.
We also found out where Theresa Green lives (we met her at the Senior Citizens' Center). Not sure yet if she is a member or not. She has a 40-year-old son with Cerebral Palsy who is confined to a wheelchair. She lives back in by the mountains and has spent a lot of time walking around. She has found numerous Indian artifacts that were fascinating to look at. She showed us pictures of three of her grandchildren that have been baptized.
They talk about the wildlife that they often see - mountain lions, bobcats, black bears, and deer. They can cause problems for their little herds of sheep, which a lot of families seem to have.
We have gone to the Senior Citizen Center a few times and have started to meet the people there. Owen gave a demonstration on arrowhead knapping one day. They were very interested in it and some want to learn how to make them. They were trying to come up with decorations for the New Year, so I showed them how to make the 3-D snowflakes. They didn't want to use the plain white paper, they wanted colored paper. They turned out really nice. One lady said that she didn't want to make one, but it wasn't long before she came over and was choosing her colors and participating. The cook even came out from the kitchen to learn how to do them. One of the older gentlemen came and participated also. The cook, Amelia, told me later that she was glad to see him participate. He had a stroke a few months back. Now he just sits and doesn't get involved in anything. So I felt good about that. They signed us up as members of the Center. Not just sure what that means, but I guess we will be finding out. They sure are nice people and are beginning to accept us as their friends.
We are going to keep doing what we can, finding out where the members live, and finding out how we can help our little Branch and its members. We have around 280 people on the Church rolls, but our attendance is in the thirties each week.
The Zone Leader has asked Owen to come up with an alternative housing arrangement for the Elders that are presently living in RV trailers. Our mission has seven of them, but they are having a lot of problems with them. He is trying to come up with a design for a small 18 x 20 studio apartment and the cost of building one. So we will see where that goes.
We went to Gallup on Christmas Day and had a dinner and played games with five other senior couples. New Year's Day we are going to BlueWater to a couple's home for lunch, games, and visiting. Our mission has the 2nd highest number of seniors out of all the missions. Nauvoo has the most with 90 couples and we have 75 couples in ours. We have the fewest number of sisters serving in our mission. Our District has nine senior couples. They like to get together twice a month for Family Home Evening. Looking forward to that and getting to know them better.
We send our love to all of you. We appreciate so much your love and support.