Did I say that this week might be a busy one? Remind me not to ever say that again, because busy doesn't begin to describe our week. We did find out two things, however. First, life as missionaries can be like a roller coaster; and, second, that we can do hard things – with the Lord's help.
Owen and our friend went to Sawmill on Monday and met Elder Hunt and his f riend. Together they all worked on the RV. They put in a long hard day, but got most of it ready. We made a trip later in the week and got it ready for move-in. We also made a trip to Steamboat to check a CO monitor, but things turned out to be fine. Nobody is taking any chances when it comes to the RVs and the safety of the Elders.
Our special little family that has been coming to Church and FHE had some sadness this week. Cassandra called on Monday night to tell us that her baby's heart beat had stopped. She was 21 weeks along and would be induced in the morning. Of course, we felt terrible. We went to Gallup the next day so Owen could give her a blessing. Later in the day, she called and said that they wanted to bury the baby, and asked if we could come and get it. It needed to be kept in a cool place (the refrigerator) until burial. They don't have any electricity at their place. So we went to Gallup and picked up the little one. The hospital had prepared the baby so that we could easily transport it. At first I was squeamish about having that little package in the fridge. But, then the feeling came over me that I should feel privileged to be in the presence of this special little spirit. He had so recently left Heavenly Father's presence for a brief moment of earth life and then was called home to be with a loving Heavenly Father forever.
Owen built a little wooden box the next morning, and we covered it with fabric. I typed up a program for the family to keep, and Owen helped dig the grave. He officiated at the graveside service with just the immediate family and us there. Then little Hayden was buried in the shade of a big cedar tree, and a huge yucca plant to the side, on the hill behind his parents' home.
If someone had told us before we left home that we would have to do something like this while on our mission, I think I would have said, “There is no way I can do that. Would you please assign me some place else.” But, with the help of the Lord and the love we have for this special family, we were able to do it. We were grateful for the opportunity to serve and help them. Hence, we found out we can do hard things!
We finished the work on the little box about 30 minutes before we had an appointment with our 19-year-old investigator. We finished up the 4th discussion and asked him about getting baptized on May 17th. He accepted, and we were thrilled. As we were leaving his place, I told Owen that I thought our young man was glowing as we talked to him about baptism. He has truly been touched by the Spirit; and, in turn, is having a positive influence on others in his family.
The roller coaster of emotions was working overtime that day. We weren't even disappointed when no one showed up for FHE that night. We were emotionally exhausted, especially Owen.
Two days later we were returning from an appointment and saw a lot of black smoke off in the distance. Owen couldn't go on home and ignore it. Our first thought was that someone's home was on fire. We drove out to the area and found it was a brush fire between Route 66 and I-40. If it jumped the frontage road (66), then homes could be in danger. Owen remembered that he still had the shovels in the back of his truck from digging the graves; so he hopped out and proceeded to fight the fire. Soon two other guys showed up to help. It was 45 minutes before a fire truck finally came. How grateful we were that it wasn't someone's home.
Sunday was Fast and Testimony Meeting. We were thrilled when both of our investigators were there. The 19-year-old also had his cousin with him. His cousin is a member but hasn't been to Church in years. He has been to all of the missionary discussions, though. We can see the seed of faith beginning to grow within him. He even bore his testimony today. Cassandra bore her testimony, also. We are so glad that she had the Gospel, and a special family, to support her during this difficult time.
More good news! A young man (30-ish) whom we have been meeting with almost every week, had his interview today in order to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. He should be sustained and ordained next Sunday at Stake Conference. Also, one of our sisters we have been teaching Temple Preparation lessons had her interview to attend the temple. I didn't walk home after Church, I floated!
One of our sons said to Owen, “Dad, aren't you the one who said a six-month mission was long enough; and now you are thinking an 18-month mission isn't long enough.”
This mission has stretched us further than we ever thought possible. It never ceases to amaze us the things we are called upon to do; and that we are able to do what needs to be done. We really feel that the Lord is with us, even in the small details of our lives.