Today marks three months since we began our mission. Sometimes it seems like it hasn't been that long; and other times, it seems like we have been here longer than that. The time is going by fast, though, we do know that.
We took the car to Gallup on Monday morning to have the noise it was making checked. We knew we would have to leave it, so we took both vehicles. We had District Meeting that evening in Tohlakai which is to the east of Gallup, so that was another trip. Then Tuesday we went to Sanders to teach an investigator. As we finished up, we noticed that a tire on the truck was low. Since that was the second low tire in just over a week, we decided we better heed the warnings and get new tires. So off to Gallup we go again. On Wednesday the car was done, so on the road again to Gallup to pick it up. Friday was a trip to Steamboat for the RV trailer; and Saturday, back to Gallup because I had an appointment for a hair cut. We certainly hope the trips to Gallup will be less this week. In spite of all the trips to Gallup, we were able to get some missionary work done and had a pretty good week.
We went to the Senior Center on Wednesday. Amelia, the cook, asked Owen, “Where have you been? We have been waiting for you to come so we could do some crafts.” So I guess we have our monthly assignment – craft ideas for the Center. We were ready and shared with them a few project ideas. A few people started cutting out shamrocks, and soon nearly everyone was involved in making the decorations. There were 25 or so people there that day. I was going from table to table helping out those that had questions or needed help gluing because they said their hands were too shaky.
I talked to one elderly man, George, before everyone else got there. He was having a pity party and was really discouraged. He has financial problems, some health issues, etc. He said that sometimes he felt like just giving up. I talked to him for a few minutes and offered words of encouragement. When the crafts started, he got some patterns and before long he had his shamrocks decorated. He put them on a piece of green paper, and wanted me to hang it on the wall. By now he is starting to smile. A little while later, they announced that he was going to sing a song. I was expecting some song in Navajo. I was very surprised when he sang his own rendition of “Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog.” It was so fun to watch him. Afterward he asked Owen what he thought of his song? Owen complimented him. George said he wished he had his guitar because he even had the moves to go with the song. I would have loved to see that! When we left over three hours later, he was all smiles.
I was moving back and forth between tables helping people and didn't realize that it was lunch time until I heard Amelia say, “Sister Olsen, why don't you take a break and come and have some lunch.” Sounded like a good idea to me.
We both really enjoyed the time we spent there. There were people there that we hadn't met before, and they were all very friendly and talking to us. I just wish I knew all of their names. Some of the ladies were even trying to teach Owen different words in Navajo. One would say a word, he would repeat it back, and they all would all laugh at his attempts.
We had Family Home Evening later that evening. Cassandra and her boys, Duane and Ray, came. Owen was outside when they came. The little boys got out of the car, came running up to him, gave him 'high fives', just like he was their grandpa. We had prepared a lesson on “I Am a Child of God.” Owen helped Duane give the opening prayer (his very first prayer). After the lesson we played, “Don't Eat Pete.” Duane really liked that game. He played with the game board for the rest of the evening. We were just finishing the treats when Mina text Cassandra and asked if they could come, even if they were late. Of course you can come! When Mina walked in, she said, “We brought the baby by so you could see her, but you can't keep her!” We gave them treats and then Owen gave them a short lesson similar to the one we had earlier with the boys. We took pictures of everyone and had an enjoyable evening. Mina was bundling the baby up getting ready to leave. She said she was going to check the car seat when she left just to make sure the baby was still in it. I think she can tell that we think their little one is pretty special. We were so excited for them when we found out later in the week that Ray was able to find another job. He will be getting 36 hours a week instead of just 16 hours. He realizes that the Lord is looking out for him and his little family.
While we were in Steamboat, we got talking to the Elders. Owen expressed to them some of our frustrations about not knowing if we are doing the teaching right, etc. One Elder is waiting for a Visa, so he has to do an hour a day of language study. The Elder said he would help us during the time the other Elder is studying language and go over some teaching ideas and help with Preach My Gospel. How did these young guys get so smart? You would think it should be us teaching them, instead of the other way around. He has only been out eight months. He gave us some really good suggestions as to the sections of the book to read that will help us, how to get the investigators reading in the Book of Mormon, help them understand principles in the scriptures, and to help them have spiritual experiences. We both felt that it was time well spent and are trying to incorporate some of his suggestions. He said maybe he could arrange to have something break in the RV, then we would have to come back up, and could work together again. Most of the Senior Couples don't have to teach Preach My Gospel, because they have Elders in their areas who teach the investigators. We are learning a lot, do a lot of studying, and pray that the Spirit will be there to help us do and say the right things so that the people we teach will have their hearts touched and have a desire to embrace the Gospel in its fulness.