Sunday, June 22, 2014

This week the Church had the trailer in Tohlakai ready for the Englands to move back into. So we went to Tohlakai early in the afternoon on Monday. We helped them pack and unpack for about three hours before time for the District meeting. I went back on Tuesday and helped Sister England most of that day, too. She has found out that she has really bad cataracts on both eyes. They are going home for a month and will have them removed. Then they will check her eyes and see if she is a candidate for a retina implant. If she is, and they decide to go ahead with it, there is a very good possibility that she will be able to get her eye sight back. She has been blind since 16 years of age. The miracles of modern-day medicine.

Our RV trips this week were to Steamboat and to Sawmill. We put the insulation behind the skirting of the trailer in Sawmill. They are probably going to move the RV from Steamboat to Monument Valley sometime in July. So we aren't going to worry about any weatherization there yet.

In our post of March 16, we mentioned that we had been to Crystal and then came home through Bowl Canyon Recreation Area past Asaayi Lake. We both commented on how pretty it is up there – one of the prettiest places on the reservation. Now there is a huge wild fire up in that area that started over a week ago. Last weekend the winds blew horrible for five days straight – gusting up to 50 miles per hour. Because of the wind, it was unsafe for the fire fighters to attack the fire and the helicopters couldn't fly to drop retardant on it. There are a lot of people that live up in those mountains or take their sheep and cattle up there for the summer range. There have been no fatalities, some loss of structures and animals. On Friday it had burned over 32,000 acres and was only 20% contained. They say it is the biggest wild fire in the history of the Navajo Nation.

We made some good contacts this week and had some great visits with some very special people. About three weeks ago Owen gave a guy a ride home. He told him who we were, where we lived, and what we do. One morning this week, there was a knock on our door and it was that guy. He had dropped his wife off at the Chapter House; and as he was pulling out to go home, he remembered that we lived just down the road. So he decided to come for a visit. We had a nice visit with him for about two hours. He isn't a member, had a lot of questions, and seemed interested in learning more. So we will follow-up with him in the coming weeks and see where it goes.

Our little baby, Marianya, and her parents have decided to move to Gallup. Her dad works there, so it will save time and gas money it he doesn't have to drive back and forth every day. Now we will have to make arrangements when we go to Gallup to stop by and visit with them. She sure is a sweetie and growing so fast. We definitely want to keep in touch with them and continue to have snuggle time with Marianya whenever we can.

We had eight people show up for Family Home Evening this week. The word is spreading, I guess, about how much fun we have. I don't know if it is the lessons, the games, or the refreshments that the people come for. We have taught them how to play Thousand Aces. It is a simple game, so you can still visit and have fun while you play. It makes for a special evening, one that we look forward to every week.

We continue be amazed at the blessings the Lord bestows upon us, the little everyday miracles, and how blessed we are to be serving in this special area with wonderful, wonderful people.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

We had the opportunity this week to visit the Petrified Forest National Park. It isn't too far away from where we live. We were both amazed at the beauty we found there. The north end of the park doesn't have much petrified wood, but they call it “Painted Desert” for a reason. The colors and formations were great. Traveling on through the 28-mile-long park, more and more petrified logs began to appear. They are agatized and very beautiful. Owen had to walk around with his hands in his pockets so he wasn't tempted to pick up some rocks. On the south end of the park, the petrified logs are everywhere and very plentiful. It was neat to walk the trail through the logs and see the different colors and sizes of the petrified trees. If you happen to be in the area, that is a good place to stop and visit.

We also went to Polacca to work on an RV. Owen wants to take advantage of the warm weather and start winterizing the RVs, hoping to prevent some problems during the cold winter months. We have a little more to do out there, and then we will move on to another one.

The Senior Center was having a party for Father's Day. We stopped by to give the guys a treat and the cook told us we better stay for dinner or she would flatten our tires so we would have to stay. So we stayed. We enjoy visiting with them and meet new people every time we go there.

Even though we did stay for dinner, we still got a flat tire, but I don't think it was the cook's fault. They found a little stick in the side of the tire which meant it couldn't be repaired. It was one of our new tires so it still had some road hazard protection, so we didn't have to pay full price to get a new one.

We met a couple of new families this week. The one family is not members, but the other family is. They just haven't been coming to church for many months. They have five children – 4 girls and a boy (17 years age difference between the oldest and youngest). They were a very nice family and we will continue to visit them and encourage them now that we found where they live. The

non-members also has several children. They didn't seem too interested in our church, but Owen got talking to the dad, and they have a lot of interests in common. So we shall see. . .

Friday we had the opportunity of attending a Mission Tour Conference in Chinle with Elder Bruce Carlson, from the 2nd Quorum of Seventies. The meeting was scheduled to go from 9:00 a.m. to

5:00 p.m. This is the first meeting we have been to that was held with the younger missionaries. Our District and Zone meetings are just the Senior couples. So it was neat to see so many young elders and sisters in one place. They actually divided the mission in half and had some attend the Conference on Thursday in Farmington. Lots of good advice and information on becoming a consecrated missionary. The question was asked, “Are you a full-time missionary or a life-time missionary?” By time we drove back home after the Conference, we had been gone over 12 hours (including travel time). So it was a long day, but well worth it.

We had a Father's Day dinner invitation yesterday with a member. He had also invited his father, sister, and some cousins who are all non-members. We had a delicious meal and got to meet and visit with some of his family.

Then today after Church a sister invited us to her place for dinner (barbecued ribs). Another delicious meal, and the best part was – I didn't have to cook either of them.

Owen had asked our potterer/silversmith friend about making him a belt buckle. He finished it last week. It sure turned out nice. Owen had the center jade stone and told him he wanted turquoise on it also. So it is an original – one of a kind. I am amazed at the talent that some of the people possess.

We feel we have been truly blessed to have been called to serve among these special people and to be able to get to know them and feel of their spirit.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

In spite of it being the first of the month when people are in town, we were able to make several contacts and visit with several people. It felt good to be 'back in the saddle' again.

Today was another special day for our new convert. He was ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood to the office of a Priest. I can see so much growth in him, and other people have noticed it, too. He is now the only active Aaronic Priesthood in our Branch.

We spent a day out in the Manuelito area visiting with members and trying to find other members whom we haven't met yet. It is kind of discouraging when you drive all the way out there and find a gate closed or a 'No Trespassing' sign. There are only a few families in that area, so we wanted to touch base with them and see what we can do to help them. We will just have to keep trying, a way will open somehow.

When we went to visit one family, Owen noticed an old log cabin on their property. He asked them about it and they were planning on tearing it down. So he showed them his book on O'ville and what he has done there. They were very impressed and had him go out and look at the cabin. I think he has 'cabin fever' again. If he had had the materials, he probably would have started that very day on restoring it. So we shall see.

We haven't been able to visit at the Senior Center for a couple of weeks; so when we went last week, they all seemed happy to see us. We were happy to see them, too. One lady said they thought we had gone home without saying good-bye. Never!

El Morro National Monument is in our area. So we decided to take a ride over there and check it out. We took one of our friends with us. It is out on the Zuni Reservation by Ramah. It was very fascinating. I wanted to do just the ½ mile trek; but Owen took off on a trail and before I knew it we were hiking, and hiking, and hiking. We ended up doing the two-mile hike (up the mountain, across the rocks, around the box canyon, and down the other side). We got to see the Atsinna Pueblo ruins up on top which were built around 1275. They figure the pueblo was about 200 by 300 feet and housed between 1,000 to 1,500 people. It had multiple stories of interconnected rooms. Cisterns on top of the mesa collected rain water. There is a pool – 12 feet deep – at the base of the sandstone bluff which was used by the native Americans, Spanish explorers, and early travelers. On the walls at the base of the bluff are over 200 inscriptions and petroglyphs. The oldest inscription is the 16th of April 1605. It was quite a hike, but very interesting and beautiful scenery. I kept stopping to take pictures – at least that is what the guys thought I was doing. I was really stopping to catch my breath and rest.

The little family that we helped take care of the burial of their baby has decided to move to Salt Lake area. We are hoping this will be a good move for them, and they will continue to strengthen each other and stay active in the Church. We will miss them and their little boys; but Salt Lake isn't that far away from our home, so I am sure we will be able to see them when we get home.

We have a mission conference this week in Chinle, RVs to work on, places to go, and people to see. So I am sure we will be busy as we go about doing the Lord's work.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Our missionary work was kind of slow this week, but there wasn't much we could do about it. Owen was sick the first part of the week with an asthma attack; which, I think might have been more than just that because I got hit with a bad sinus infection for the rest of the week. I finally went to the doctor on Friday. We did not feel at all like going out, and I am sure no one would have wanted us around anyway spreading all our germs. We didn't have any RV checks to make either. Good thing because neither of us felt like driving.

We did finally make contact with a family that we have been trying to find out where they lived. As you drive down the road and come to a fence, you see a 'No Trespassing' sign. We had started down that road another time, but turned around when we came to the sign because we weren't sure we were even on the right road. This time we could see someone walking further up the road, so we decided to be brave and drive up and ask her if she knew the family we were looking for. Not only did she know them, she was one of the family. We didn't visit very long because they were getting ready for a closing school program, but we were glad to finally make connections with them. Did we just happen to be on their road at that time of day when she was walking? We were on our way home from Gallup, after getting the truck serviced, and decided to exit the freeway and try again to find them.

We are still teaching and working with the young man who was baptized, and we can continue to see him grow. He will soon receive the 'next ordinance' and be ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood. Since we have none right now in our Branch that are active, that will be a good thing all the way around.

I have been compiling a list of the unique names of landmarks, towns, etc. as we have been traveling around. Some of the town names related to rock are: Shiprock, Many Rock, Window Rock, Rough Rock, Round Rock, Chimney Rock, Rock Point, White Rock, Twin Rocks, Church Rock, and Steamboat (named after a nearby rock formation). Other towns are Wheatfields, Many Farms, Mexican Water, Little Water, Red Lake, Pine Springs, and Oak Springs. Then there is Black Creek, Crazy Creek, Fish Wash, Burnt Creek, and Dead River. Some of the roads are: Jackrabbit Road, Two Guns Road, Buffalo Range Road, Twin Arrows Road, Smoke Rise Road, and Silver Saddle Road. Then we have Gray Mountain, Blue Mountain, Low Mountain, Red Mesa, White Mesa, First Mesa, Second Mesa, and Third Mesa. I am sure there are many more creative names out there we will come across before our time is up. It would be interesting to know the history, how, and why the names were chosen. There are a lot of very interesting and beautiful rock formations all around here.

We are hoping to have a much more productive week, so we will see how things go.