Sunday, May 25, 2014

Life in LA continues to be great. We ended up doing a lot of service and checking RVs this week. At our District Meeting on Monday night, one of the sisters asked if Owen and I could help them pack up their trailer. The mission is getting them a newer one, and they thought they had a week to move everything out and into a temporary trailer in Gallup. Then Monday afternoon they found out they needed to be out by Wednesday. So we canceled our trip to Sawmill and went to Tohlakai. Owen called the mission housing coordinator and told him of the dilemma. He showed up with a van and trailer and six elders. WOW! It was amazing how fast things were moved. I worked with Sister England (who is blind) packing things into boxes and let the elders handle the big things.

We went back to Tohlakai on Wednesday to check on the mice problem there at the RV, and the England's car was at their trailer. I went over to check on them, and they were finishing up the odds and ends. So we stayed and helped for another couple of hours, plus took a load of things in the truck to Gallup for them.

The fun thing of all this is that it will probably be only two weeks and then they get to move back to Tohlakai into their newer trailer. Hopefully it won't be the rush job that moving out was.

The appliances in the trailer were removed and rather than just put them in storage, they were giving them away to someone who needed them. We have a sister in our Branch who has been looking for a kitchen stove for several months. She has been praying that Heavenly Father would help her find one she could afford. She went to Gallup on Monday to try and buy one, but her check didn't come in, so she didn't have the money. When Owen called her on Tuesday and asked her if she wanted the stove, she was so very excited. She says it is a Godsend. Neat to be able to play a part in Heavenly Father answering her prayers.

We haven't been to White Mesa for a while, so we decided to take a road trip (over 400 miles) and check on the RV. The wild flowers along the way were in full bloom and made up for the long drive. We have finished checking on all the RVs just in time for a new month and to start all over.

Later in the week, Sister England called and wanted to know if I would take her shopping. They are going home for a few days and she wanted to take some gifts with them. Owen said the best place to go would be The Nugget because we get really good prices there. He offered to go with us. If he had known it would take us over three hours, he might not have been so accommodating. It was a fun experience and really made me realize how much we take the gift of vision for granted. She would pick up a necklace and say, “Now tell me about this piece.” “Would this look good with the outfit I have on?” “Help me find some plain silver earrings.” Course Owen ended up spending more money than Sister England did.

We had a change in our Branch Presidency today. Our Branch President was released and the 1st councilor is now the Branch President. We have a new first councilor who lives in Gallup, and the second councilor stayed the same. It will be a time of adjustment for our little Branch. Our Branch President lives in Gallup, but he brought his family here to Church. His wife played the organ and was the Primary President, his daughter led the singing, and his two sons were the Aaronic Priesthood and took care of the Sacrament. They will leave a big hole in the Branch for a while. Speaking of the Branch President, check out page 59 in the Ensign, conference issue. That picture is our past Branch President and one of his sons. The new Branch President is a very special man. He has such a strong testimony and so much love for the people. He was the very first person we met when we moved here. He is our go-to-man whenever we have questions about the Navajo culture and customs.

The Lord continues to watch over us and bless us in so many ways. We are grateful to be able to serve in LA and among these special Navajo people.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


In among trips this week, we managed to squeeze in some missionary work. Our trips were to Farmington to have my eye checked because I was seeing spider webs in my peripheral vision. Turns out things are okay, just getting older. The RV trips this week were to Kayenta, Chilchinbeto, Sawmill, and Polacca, plus two trips to Gallup to get parts and/or supplies for them. We now have added 'exterminators' to our missionary resume. We had to do some major patching of holes, cleaning, and putting out a lot of D-Con in and around the trailer in Polacca. They have moved the Elders out for a couple of weeks, and hopefully the mouse problem can be under control by then. They had already trapped 18 mice by time we got the call for help. The other two trailers don't seem to be having any problems, yet. But we are not responsible for them, thank goodness.

We met with several Branch members and continue to try to meet others or visit the ones we know and also know where they live.

We met several times during the week with our 19-year-old investigator to finish up reviewing some of the Laws and plan his baptismal program. It has been special to see the change in him during the last several weeks – the change that can happen when you let Christ into your life.

The baptism on Saturday went really well. He was baptized by his uncle, who is the Branch's 2nd councilor. There were uncles, aunts, and cousins from his family there to share this special event and support him. His father, who is less active, was there and seemed touched by the proceedings. Another uncle gave a nice talk. He drove over from Albuquerque to be here for this special event. He mentioned that in just the last six or seven months, he has seen a conversion change in their family. There have been nine or ten people in their family who have become active, baptized, or received temple ordinances and how it has brought their family closer together. He also said that if you had told him a year ago that his nephew would be baptized, he would not have believed it, and now it has happened. We feel we were truly blessed to have been led to this young man and to be an instrument in the Lord's hand to help him accept the Gospel. We also feel very blessed to know this special young man and have him a part of our lives. We are going to continue to nourish and help him strengthen his testimony. Who knows – maybe someday he will be called on a mission.

Our Branch President confirmed him today in Sacrament Meeting and gave him a nice blessing. Owen was very touched and couldn't resist giving him a hug at the end of the confirmation. He is such a shy young man, but he didn't seem to mind and hugged Owen back. Now if that had been me giving the hug, he would have probably been embarrassed.

The owner of the truck stop in this area was at the baptism. He is a member of the Church. Owen took the opportunity to talk to him about Lupton's fire department. He definitely agreed there is a need, if for no other reason than to cover his place which has thousands of gallons of gas, diesel, and propane. Owen found out that he already has a fire engine, and he agreed to put up a building for it so that the tank won't freeze in the winter. He said he would like to have as many of his employees who want to, to be trained and ready to respond when a call comes in. He is even willing to enhance the pay checks of those who do the training and when they respond. That was another very exciting thing for Owen that day. He might actually be able to see his dream of a fire department in Lupton come true.  Sometimes dreams do come true.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Mothers Day to all the special mothers out there. The days are quickly slipping away, and another week has come and gone hardly before we even realize it. The Lord's work is continuing to progress here in our Lupton area. The 19-year-old investigator that we have been working with passed his baptismal interview, so now we are finishing up a few details, reviewing, and planning the baptism program with him. We are all very excited.

We had the opportunity of going to the Albuquerque Temple again this week with the Senior Couples from our District. There were eight of the eleven couples there. The District Leaders were the witness couple. The prayer circle consisted of all the Senior Missionary couples. How awesome is that?! As I glanced around the circle, I felt a great overflowing of love for these very special people who have become our forever friends.

As we were driving home, we were facing a very strong wind. It was hard for us to stay on the road, so I don't know how the semis were managing. Then another day we had rain that turned into hail and laid down about an inch or so. It looked just like it had snowed. About an hour later, the sun was shining and it was all melted. We never know from one hour to the next what it will be like. One lady said that there are not very many places you can live where you can experience all four seasons in just one week.

Sunday our Branch President and family weren't to Church, as well as the 1st counselor. They had called us earlier in the week and asked us to speak. Not only were we the speakers, but I had to pick the songs and lead the music. Owen helped bless and pass the Sacrament He was relieved when the teacher for Priesthood/Relief Society showed up so he didn't have to teach. I went to do the Primary. There were only two little brothers, ages 5 and 2, three young women, and a young mother. Just as we were getting ready to start, the boys' mother came and got them. So now I had to do some quick thinking and change the Primary lesson into a lesson for Young Women. The blessings of living in a small branch.

We got a letter from a friend from home. She told us that they had met Doc. Misler, our long rider that was here a while ago. Her daughter lives in Wellington, UT. She had seen Doc and his horses at a hotel. She felt bad for him and invited him to her place and took care of his horses for about a week. Her husband is taking the missionary discussions. When they came for the discussion, Doc noticed their Elder name tags and told them that he had met a very nice Elder – Elder Owen Olsen. So now we know that Doc has made it at least as far as Wellington. Interesting that he would meet up with someone who knew us and make that connection.

The Senior Couple that had to go home early for health reasons, the Kellys, are going to be staying in our home for awhile. They don't own a home and looked around Utah Valley for a place to rent. Some nice, but expensive places; so since we had offered them our place to stay in while we are gone, they decided to take us up on it. Course that meant the kids had to go in and clean out a couple of closets and chest of drawers, etc. in order for them to have a place to put some of their stuff. Sorry, kids – I promise we will work on dejunking when we get home. So if you are ever in the Cleveland area, stop by and say “hi” to the Kellys. They are a super nice couple.

Monday, May 5, 2014

What started out to a slow week certainly ended on a spiritual high. It was the first week of the month, and it is hard to catch people home because they go to Gallup to shop and pay bills. All of our appointments canceled on us for one reason or another. Three couples in our district are going home, two because their time is up, and the third one for health reasons. We are really going to miss all of them, but are looking forward to meeting the new couples that will take their place.

Saturday was a trip of a lifetime, as Sister Padilla described it. That was the day we went with her to the Albuquerque Temple so she could receive her endowments. It is close to a three hour drive to get there. We left early because we needed to go to the Distribution Store to get her some garments before entering the temple. So when we went into the temple, we were a good hour early. We waited a few minutes in the lobby; and the counselor in the temple presidency, Pres. Himas, who was presiding that day, came and sat with us and visited. It wasn't long before they came and got us. We had to wait for awhile in the chapel, so Sister Padilla pulled out the scriptures. The book opened to Moses 2 and she started reading. She was so excited when she realized it was about the creation, so she was reading as fast as she could while we waited.

Our Young Womens president, Branch President, and his wife joined us for the session. They reminded me that our youth were scheduled for temple baptisms at two. Was it just by chance that we had scheduled the one o'clock endowment session, or did the Lord have a hand in that, to? Any other time and the people from the branch wouldn't have been able to be with us. In fact, Pres. and Sis. Lucio were asked to be the witness couple. Things couldn't have been more perfect.

We were sitting in the Celestial Room waiting for Sister Padilla when Pres. Himas came up and handed us an envelope that had her name on it. He said that when we were picking up her clothing, there was a man in there that felt impressed he should give her some money to help buy her temple clothing. He told the President that he had had the feeling throughout the session. So when Sister Padilla came into the room, I gave her the envelope and told her what the President had said. She stood there for a minute, letting it sink in and then started to cry. I put my arms around her and we cried together. She said that the money was a Godsend. I told her that Heavenly Father loves her so much and is truly looking out for her. WOW! All in all it was a fabulous day!!!

Sunday was another day when we felt the spirit so strong. I can't describe to you what our Fast and Testimony Meetings are like. You just have to be there to experience it. The faith and testimonies of our members are so strong. It felt like there was a big blanket encircling all of us together in its warmth.

The brother that Owen ordained an elder was sustained and set apart to be the Branch Clerk. He invited us and another family to his place for dinner. We watched part of the video, “The Testaments”, ate, visited, and just enjoyed each others company. I was eating my fruit salad, and the two-year-old came up to me and pointed to a banana slice on my plate. I asked him if he wanted it. Of course, he did. So I spooned it into his mouth. Then he pointed to another piece of fruit and shook his head yes. So I gave him that one. It wasn't long until all my fruit salad was gone. He didn't ask for any from anyone else. I guess he can tell a 'sucker' when he sees one. As we were getting ready to leave, Bro. Jay gave us an Indian blanket. Owen told him we couldn't take it. He said we had to because we had blessed his life so much. Okay, time for more tears.

We are looking forward to more adventures and finding out what it is the Lord has in store for us to do this week.