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.