Sunday, February 23, 2014

Life is great in LA (Lupton, AZ) except for the wind. We have had some pretty strong winds. It was blowing so hard the other day, I thought it was going to blow the roof off of our trailer. We were driving home from Sanders and big tumbleweeds were blowing across the freeway. Some places the tumbleweeds are piled up so high against the fences that you an hardly tell there is a fence there.

We were able to give a very special sister the first Temple Preparation lesson this week. She has such a sweet spirit. Her home is very humble, but she is happy. We all felt of the Spirit as we taught her and answered her questions.

When we went out to teach our two young men, Thomas was there but Anderson was not. Owen sent Thomas over to see if Anderson was coming. He was eating, so he wouldn't make it today. We started our lesson with prayer and Thomas removed his ski hat (first time), he also left it off the whole time we were there. We are beginning to see a change in his demeanor. At first he was just being polite, but you could tell he would rather be doing other things. This time, he had his Book of Mormon, looked up scriptures, participated in the discussion, and even gave the closing prayer. When Owen asked him to, he kind of hesitated, but said he would. We are keeping our fingers crossed that he will be to Church on Sunday.

We are enjoying being missionaries and learning to trust in the Lord to lead us to the people He wants us to meet. It is a little scarey for us to knock on a stranger's door and talk to them, but Heavenly Father blesses us when we do.

The first week of January we knocked on a hogan's door. A young girl, Mina, came out and talked to us. She said that she was a member, but hadn't been to Church in a very long time. Her younger sister, Roqui, and her had talked about going to Church, but she didn't know if they would or not. Owen and I were thrilled on Sunday when we saw Mina, Roqui, and their older sister, Cassandra, come to Church. Not only did they come to Church, but they came to our Family Home Evening on Wednesday. The younger sister didn't come, but a young man, Warren, and Cassandra's two little boys (ages 3 and 5) did. We had a lesson and played some fun games (blowing Q-tips out a straw that Natalie told us about). While we were dishing up the treat, the little 3-year-old starting going around to the back of a folding chair, crawling through to the seat, then standing up and jumping off. He was having so much fun doing that. I quit counting how many times he did it when I reached ten and he was still going. I challenged Owen to join in the game with him. Don't you think that would be funny to see Owen try to climb through the back opening in a folding chair and then jump off??!! :) We had sheet cake and ice cream for treats. They LOVED the cake, so we sent the rest of it home with them.

We spent one day in Tohlakai on the RV installing detectors and trying to get their shower to work, plus running back and forth to Gallup for parts. Now if the water pressure cooperates, the Elders should be able to shower. We also had to go to Steamboat to get the broken fans, so the RV place in Gallup could order replacements. Then it will be another trip back to Steamboat to install them.

Margaret and her daughter that are also taking Temple Preparations lessons were not able to meet this week, so we have had to reschedule them. They have come to Church, though, so that is a step in the right direction.

We are meeting new people each week and also trying to keep in contact with those that we have met already. We have been doing some Home and Visiting Teaching since that is part of our assignment.

Thomas didn't make it to Church this week. But we will keep working with him, and I know that the Spirit will help us to be able to touch his heart. Cassandra and Warren came to Church, but her two younger sisters didn't. Then I found out that Mina had gone into labor early Sunday morning, and they had flown her to Albuquerque because she isn't due until March. Sure hope things go okay for both mother and baby. Owen was walking back to the trailer after Church and had two little friends right with him. They wanted to know if he had any treats. I think that is a hint that we need to have cookies or some kind of treat on hand for the children on Sundays. Didn't take the little girls long to figure out Owen's weakness. All they have to do is smile at him, and he is ready to give them anything.

We are looking forward to another full week. We have several appointments, a meeting in Sanders with the Fire Department, a trip to Steamboat, and who knows what else might come up. But we enjoy the variety, and especially do we enjoy the work, and being here among these chosen people.

Monday, February 17, 2014

On the road again. This turned out to be a busy week with three trips to fix RVs. On Tuesday we drove to White Mesa which is by Blanding. We had to go into Blanding to get some parts and make arrangements to have the broken window replaced. Blanding isn't too far from home; but alas, we headed back to Lupton. We stopped in Bluff and walked through the historic Fort Bluff site. All the buildings were locked for the winter, but we peeked through the windows to see how they were furnished. The main difference between that pioneer community and ours is that they had only one original cabin and it wasn't restored; where our cabins are all original pioneer homes. It was a neat place to visit.

Wednesday we started out to make visits and realized that many people were getting ready to go to the funeral in Gallup. We drove out to Oak Springs to try and find a member there. We did talk to her nephew and found out she works, so we will have to catch her later in the day. Then we picked up Bro. Robertson and took him down to Sanders. On the way we asked him about talking the missionary discussions. He said that he would. While we were there, Owen got a call saying he needed to check on the trailer in Tsaile (again). One of their three CO detectors was going off. So we headed out, stopped by the house to pick up a few things and were on our way. Owen checked everything and couldn't find any problem. He thinks the detector might be faulty. So we will replace it for them.

While I was waiting for Owen, I visited with the Rogers. Sister Rogers shared with me an experience she had had with prayer. They had been on their mission for awhile when she got a rash that was very painful. She went to the doctor and he told her that she had shingles. He said there wasn't any medicine he could give her that would help with the pain and that she would just have to wait six to eight weeks for it to run its course. When they got home, they checked on the internet and found some OTC things that were suppose to help. So they drove to Gallup, talked to the pharmacist at Wal-Mart, and he recommended some things to try. She had been sick for about a week and a half and was only a little better. Her husband had also given her a Priesthood blessing. She said that that night when she said her prayers, she told the Lord that she had come on this mission to work and that there was work she needed to be doing, but she couldn't do it if she was laying in bed. She also told the Lord that she knew that He could move mountains, part the seas, and heal people who were sick. She told Him that if He could do all of that, He could make her shingles go away and that she expected to be healed by tomorrow. When she woke up the next morning, she was pain free and by the end of the week her rash was gone. It had been only two weeks since she went to the doctor. That is a testimony of the power of faith and prayers.

When we got home, Owen realized he didn't have his wallet. We looked everywhere and it was not to be found. He called Elder Rogers and asked him to check and see if it was in the trailer. Sure enough, it had fallen out of his pocket. The Rogers were planning on coming to Ganado on Friday for a District Meeting, so we will just meet them there and get the wallet back.

The next morning Owen pulled out of the yard and realized the oncoming car was closer than he thought, so he stepped on the gas to get ahead of the car. That car passed him, but the next car turned on his red/blue flashing lights. Sure enough, it was a Navajo Nation policeman pulling him over. The first thing he wanted to see was his driver's license. Ooops!!! After talking to him and explaining about his license, he gave him a verbal warning and told him to be more alert. That was a close one. They have told us that the Navajo police won't bother us because they are so few and far between, and their main focus is to pick up drug runners. Wrong information!!

We were able to meet with a young man on Thursday. We are working with him to try and help him build his testimony and come back to Church. His father is in the Branch Presidency and he has a brother on a mission. So hopefully the Spirit will touch his heart. His cousin was there with him. He is a non-member. We talked to him about taking the missionary lessons and gave him a Book of Mormon. We will meet with them again in a week and see how things are going. We also gave a mother and her daughter the first Temple Preparation lesson.

Since we had to go to Ganado on Friday, we decided to drive on up to Steamboat and fix some things in that RV. We met the Rogers and picked up the wallet and the detector that kept going off. While I was sitting in the truck waiting for Owen, the CO alarm started chirping. It didn't matter what I did, even sitting on it, wouldn't shut it off. I guess that is proof enough that it was defective.

I made up a bunch of sugar cookies and decorated them to take around to different families in our Branch for Valentines Day. It was fun to see the children's eyes light up when they saw the cookies.

We have started carrying around a little bag of jerky because there are so many dogs out here and you never know if they are friendly or not. When we stopped at a house the other day, two dogs came towards the truck. One was on my side, but it wasn't barking or anything. I opened the door of the truck and started talking to him. He looked at me, sniffed the door of the truck, grabbed the bag of jerky that was in the door compartment, and ran off before I could even react. I tried to get Owen to go take it away, but he wouldn't. He said we will just have to buy some more. Anyway, that dog had a good treat and will probably expect another bag of jerky the next time we come.

Another home we stopped at, Owen got out first. He walked to the front of the truck and stopped. He told me to come and look at this. When I walked around to the front of the truck, I saw a black pot-belly pig right at his feet. You would have thought it was a dog. It was just moseying around, checking things out. That is the first time we have seen it in all the times we have been out there.

Life continues to be interesting. We really don't have a set routine, still knocking on doors to meet people and find the Branch members. We do have some appointments with some of the members on a weekly basis, which we always enjoy. We stay busy and are enjoying the Lord's work here on our mission.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

      Greetings from LA (Lupton, Arizona)!  This week turned out to be an interesting week.  We went to two different birthday parties.  The one last Sunday was at the home of a 97-year-old grandma.  There was standing room only in her home.  She looked like a queen sitting there on her cot, surrounded by her family.  When we gave her our present, she shook our hands and started talking in Navajo.  Her relatives said she was thanking us and that she always has to give a speech.  Didn't understand a word she said, but she was so sweet.  We stayed only a few minutes.
      Yesterday's party was for a 91-year-old grandma.  They held hers at the Stake Center in Gallup.  There were also a lot of her family members present.  She wasn't there when we got there.  They said they were getting her ready.  When she finally came, she was dressed like a queen.  She had on a long skirt, lots of her turquoise jewelry, a crown, and even a sash that said "Celebration Queen".  She was so proud and really loved all the attention she was getting.  It was fun to see the interaction between her and her family members.  Her 96-year-old sister-in-law was also at the party.  They hadn't seen each other for quite a while, so they were really talking and talking.  It seems like most of the older people do not speak English, only Navajo.  They have a matriarchal order, so these grandmas are very revered and honored, as well they should be.
      After the birthday party, we stopped at the Chapter House for the fund raiser they were having to raise money for the family of a man who died.  Everyone brings food, so they have like a pot-luck meal.  Someone is at the microphone talking (in Navajo) the whole time, and people will go up and donate money to the family who are sitting at the front of the room.  We took our food and then had to leave so Owen could give a blessing.  We stopped in when we got back and they were still going strong an hour and a half later.  Interesting.  We left after a while, so I don't know how long it lasted.
      Tuesday we planned on taking our road trip to Bitter Springs, but when we got up it was snowing.  We decided we would head out, and we could turn around if it got worse.  It actually got better the further we went.  It is a 263 mile trip (4 hours) one way.  Owen had picked up the parts that he thought he would need to fix the water leak; but when he got into it, he found that the pipe was 1/2 inch and he had parts for 3/4 inch.  We were a long ways from anywhere that would have parts.  (Tender mercy)  There was a maintenance truck at the Church.  Owen walked over and talked to the guy who was the facilities maintenance person.  He found parts that were the right size.  He had chosen that day to drive up from Flagstaff to fix a plug in the Church's kitchen.  He had finished the job and was gathering up his stuff to leave when we got there.  The Lord blessed us that day by having the maintenance man there, at the right time, with the right parts so the trailer could be fixed.
     We are working with a young man who wants to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.  He was baptized when he was 17, but became inactive for a number of years.  Now he is back and very sincere.  He was asked to talk in Church this week.  It would be the very first time he has given a talk in Sacrament Meeting in the 20 years he has been a member.  He wanted us to give him some advice as to how you go about preparing a talk, etc.  By the way, he did a fine job on his talk in spite of being so nervous he even forgot his tie.  So Owen slipped home and got him one of his to wear.
      The facilities maintenance man in our area came this week and repaired the walls in the frontroom and started painting them.  He still has one more wall to do, and then he is going to paint the bedroom, too.  That will be so nice.
       We had three people show up this week for Family Home Evening.  We gave them a short lesson on being friends to everyone and then I helped the little six-year-old make a couple of Valentine decorations.  They didn't want to stay too long, though, because it was starting to get dark. 
      Friday we woke up to about four inches of snow.  We decided to check in at the Senior Center since we hadn't been there this week.  There were only three people there because the bus can't get around to a lot of the areas to pick them up when it snows or rains.  They warned us that if we were going out visiting, to not get off the paved road.  The gray and red clay sticks to your tires so bad or we might get stuck.  We did stop by one home that wasn't too far off the highway, but we saw in a hurry what they meant about the red clay sticking to our tires and our shoes.  So we decided we better play it safe the rest of the day.  The good thing is that most of the roads do dry up pretty fast, so that is good.
      We are loving this work more each day - sure it has some challenges - but that only makes it more interesting and adds to the adventure.  We are grateful to the Lord for this calling and for His help and inspiration as we serve these Navajo people.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

         I ended up getting sick last weekend, good old sinus infection.  So we called a doctor on Monday and was able to get in that day.  While we were there, we took the truck to have the brakes checked.  He said they needed new pads.  As it turned out, the owner of the place is the Branch President up in Sheep Springs.  So we had a nice visit with him while they worked on our truck.
        We had an appointment with a man on Monday, but  he wasn't home when we got there.  He had problems with his stove and was in Gallup trying to get it fixed.  So we re-scheduled for Friday.
When we got to the home on Friday, I was surprised to see five other people waiting to hear our message.  We had prepared a lesson on the Restoration, but soon found out that wasn't what they needed.  The one man is a past Branch President and his brother had served a mission.  But, for one reason or another, they have fallen away from the Church.  I think they want the younger family members to know about the Church.  We had a special visit with them, and they told us their door is always open, so we could come back anytime.  They invited us to a birthday celebration on the 8th for their mother who is turning 92 years old.  The grandson and his wife had to leave early to take their baby to the doctor.  The baby had had heart surgery when eleven days old to repair a kinked aorta.  This was his first check-up since surgery.  They asked Owen to give the baby a blessing before they left.
        We ended up not having to make our road trip.  A couple that served in Bitter Springs was coming down for a funeral and said they would fix the water leak.  Owen was very relieved.  The afternoon when we would have gone to Bitter Springs, a sister called and wanted Owen to go to the Indian Hospital in Gallup and give her sister-in-law a blessing.  She lives in a care center and had fallen and broken her hip.  I had Owen call Bro. Tom, our 1st Councilor, who works in Gallup.  They made arrangements for a time to meet at the hospital.  She is an older sister, and doesn't understand a lot of English, so Bro. Tom gave her the blessing in Navajo.  No idea what he said, but the Spirit was there, and he felt she would be okay.
        We met with Sister Yazzi (the lady we met at the post office).  Her and her daughter are interested in taking the Temple Prep classes.  Her sister was also there and has a 15 year-old-daughter who hasn't been baptized.  We will be meeting with them soon to see how we can help them.
        I had made up some ideas for Valentines decorations and picked up a few supplies to go with the ideas.  We dropped those off at the Senior Citizen Center on Tuesday.  When we went back a couple of days later, they had really decked out the Center.  She told us that everyone had gotten involved, even the men.  Some were still working on projects.  It was fun to see all their decorations and how they had even come up with some of their own.  I think it made them feel good to know that they helped to make the Center more festive.
        We rode out to Sanders to see Bro. Bitsue's workshop.  He has some pretty interesting rocks that he and Owen were trying to figure out what kind they were.  Then he showed us the silversmithing items he was working on.  He gave us a big bag of clay that is ready to work, and said he will come over some day and demonstrate how he makes pots.  He really has an artistic talent, and we enjoy visiting with him.
        We make our plans in the morning, and one phone call, or a thought one of us will have, can totally change everything.  Each day is a new adventure.  We can see the hand of the Lord guiding us and helping us find people who need the Gospel, or those that for one reason or another have fallen away.  I pray that the Holy Ghost will help us to be a positive influence on them to help them have a desire to return to the Church.  The work is great!