Tuesday, July 29, 2014

This was somewhat of a slow week for missionary work. We had several appointments, but only a few were home when we went by. We were able to contact or meet some new people and we will continue to follow up with them.

One morning Owen was sitting in the front room and decided he needed to go check the mail. When he got back, he had talked to four different people (all non-members). Two wanted him to come by and check their homes for security and one asked if we would come by and visit her. The other one we have visited several times at the Senior Center and once at her home. Owen asked her about coming to visit her again at her home. She said she would be happy to have us come by. Her son has been baptized, so some seeds have already been planted. We will do what we can to keep in touch with them and see what happens.

On the 24th of July we thought we would ride over to Ramah and see their celebration. Ramah was settled by the Mormons and also has a museum there. A couple of things came up the day before and we decided not to go. The afternoon of the 24th we got an email from the District Leader telling us that the activities in Ramah were Friday evening and Saturday. Thank goodness we had decided not to go on Thursday. We would have driven all the way over there for nothing.

We were excited to have a visit from our son, Ron, his wife, Charlotte, and the four kids. They came down on Friday evening and stayed until Monday morning. On Saturday we went out to the Petrified Forest National Park and went through that. When we got back, we decided to ride in to Gallup and check out the Nugget store (chuck full of Indian artifacts) and the flea market. The Nugget was closed, and the flea market was winding down. They had a rainstorm go through, so most of the vendors had already left. Usually there are three, double-sided, long rows of vendors and tons of people.

Our kids didn't even have to speak in church on Sunday. There was a family from Gallup that came out to speak (all seven of them) in our Branch, and then they stayed for the second meeting. We had a total of 38 people in attendance at Church (13 of them were visitors). We are awaiting the day when our attendance hits 50 or more, hopefully that will happen while we are still here.

We visited the Window Rock Park so the kids could see the arch and the Code Talker Memorial. The boys wanted to hike up to the arch, but the family was in kind of a hurry to get on the road for home. We are grateful for the time we had to visit with them. It is hard to tell them 'good-bye', but the way the days and weeks are going swiftly by, it won't be long before we will be home again.

We have been asked to teach Seminary this school year. So we are trying to get the materials gathered up, find out who wants to take it, when to hold it, and things like that. We will only be able to teach it once a week, so it will be the Home Study course. One more thing to add to our missionary resume.

We continue to be amazed at the tender mercies that God gives to us. We do not have the ability to see what each one will open for us, but we continue to have new experiences, new challenges, and new adventures; each of which puts love in our hearts for the Savior and for these people.

Monday, July 21, 2014

What a relief to have the trailer moved to Monument Valley. Owen and I went to Steamboat on Wednesday. The housing coordinator met us there and we took the skirting off and fixed the utilities so it would be ready to roll. We met him there again on Thursday, hooked up the trailer, and followed him to Monument Valley. We did what we could on that day. Arrangements had been made for us to stay in Kayenta at a senior couple's empty trailer. That was good so we didn't have to drive 3 ½ hours home, just to turn around and come back the next day. I told Owen I wanted pizza for supper. We stopped at a pizza place there in Kayenta and were pleasantly surprised when she told us that missionaries eat there free. That pizza was even better than I had expected.

On Friday we had four elderly elders, two young elders, and me to work on the trailer. I thought with that much help, there really wouldn't be much for me to do. That is what I get for foolish thinking. When I wasn't helping on the insulation and skirting, I was helping the housing coordinator do some cleaning and moving stuff in the new trailer for the senior couple that will be coming in a couple of weeks. There is a new chapel there in Monument Valley, so now they have moved a trailer and an RV in for missionaries to live in in order to open up that area to missionary work. It is a beautiful setting, but I am glad it isn't us going to be there. I am quite satisfied with where we are.

Saturday was a very special day for two very special ladies. We had the privilege of teaching a mother and her daughter the Temple Prep. lessons, and that was the day they were able to go to the Albuquerque Temple and receive their endowments. They got hung up in traffic on the way in, so we missed our scheduled session and had to wait an extra hour and a half for the next session. But, that was still better than trying to cram all the preliminaries in for them in 45 minutes and really having them flustered. The 2:00 session was clear full anyway, where the 3:30 session had five men and ten women on it. Members from the Branch that came to be with them still went on the 2:00 session because they had kids doing baptisms at the same time. The Branch President and his family waited until we were through, and then we had some dinner before we headed home. In spite of everything, it turned out to be a wonderful day, and the things that were important were taken care of.

Our District (all senior couples) meet together every other week. Usually our meetings are held in Tohlakai, NM (32 miles away); but this week we drove to Blue Water, NM which is 75 miles away. The couple that live there are service missionaries and will be finishing their mission on July 28th. They invited us all out to their home for the evening. We really enjoy the evenings when we get together. It gives us an opportunity to get to know the other missionaries better, to share experiences, and bounce ideas off of each other.

Another day we drove to Chinle to see some Native American dancers in full costume. Chinle District had arranged this activity and invited the other districts to participate. There were four youth that demonstrated different dances It was very interesting to watch, and their costumes were fabulous with all the beadwork, etc.

Doesn't sound like much of a missionary week, but we were able to teach the young girls a couple more lessons, visit several people, and make more contacts. I have to keep reminding myself that the RVs are part of our missionary work, also, since that assignment came directly from the Mission President. We continue to enjoy the time we are serving and especially being around such wonderful people.


Monday, July 14, 2014

This was one of those weeks when we were 'on the road again.' Monday we drove to Farmington for an eye appointment. Tuesday - it was to Tohlakai to put more insulation behind the skirting of the RV. Thursday was a Zone Conference in Gallup; and Friday, we checked on the RVs in Polacca and Steamboat. This week we are planning on helping to move the RV from Steamboat and set it up at Monument Valley – should be interesting.

In spite of the time on the road we did manage to make some good contacts, visit with several people, and do some more teaching. We were able to meet a couple of times with the children I mentioned last week. The youngest has decided he isn't interested in the lessons, but we are continuing to teach the other two. It is a challenge to figure out how to adapt the lessons so that the children are better able to understand them and what we are talking about, and still teach the same concepts that are in Preach My Gospel. But we will do our best. It is very humbling to be in their hogan, sitting on five-gallon buckets for chairs, and to smell the delicious aroma of great grandmother's fry bread cooking. I told Owen all that is missing is us giving the lesson in Navajo, but I don't think that will ever happen. The two girls did come to Church today, so that was exciting.

I guess the monsoon season has started here. We had that nice, big storm on Friday, the 4th. Then the storm on Tuesday made Friday's storm look like a sprinkle. We had driven out to check on our friend who had hurt her foot. We had only been there a few minutes when it started to sprinkle. Owen decided we better head back. They live quite a ways off the highway, on a dirt road, and through an underpass that is a wash turned into a road. It is a good thing we left when we did. By time we got back to the paved road (Route 66), the rain was really pouring down. Cars on I-40 were pulling off to the side of the road and stopping because they couldn't see. There was water running everywhere. The underpass before the Chapter House had some water pooling up in it, but we made it through it. We heard that it got three feet deep there before it started to drain off. We drove around later after the rain stopped to check out some of the places. I was wishing I had taken my camera. There was a lot of water running off the hill where we live, even took out a road to some of the homes, a large stream of water was running in front of the Chapter House and some even got in it. The Rio Puerco River had quite a bit of water in it, too. It had a little water in it back in December when we first got here; but has since dried up and and been dry for months. So it was good to actually see some water running down the river. A lot of places were badly eroded because of the sandy soil and the force of the water – new gullies, ruts, and adventuresome roads. We have had a storm every day this week, usually in the afternoons or evenings, but none like the one on Tuesday. We took some pictures from our front porch of some pretty cool rainbows that spanned the whole sky. Made me wish I had special lenses on my camera so I could get a picture of the whole rainbow, because we could literally see it from end to end.

We had a pleasant surprise yesterday. Our little family that moved to Salt Lake was back in the area and came by to visit. It was so good to see them again. We have really missed them. The two little boys made themselves to home – just as if they had only been gone a few days. The family is still trying to adjust and get a place of their own, but we know that the Lord will bless them.

As the new week begins, we can only guess what adventures God has prepared for us; but I am sure He will be letting us know

Monday, July 7, 2014

The days are speeding by, and we had a busy week. We were able to teach the first missionary lesson to three young children (ages 9, 10, and 11). Their grandmother has been baptized, but is less active. They seemed anxious to learn about baptism. None of the family members in their area have a ride (car), so we will make arrangements to pick them up so they can come to church.

We were able to make a number of visits, some to new people, and have started Temple Preparation lessons with others. We have talked to three different couples recently that say they want to start coming to Church again, so we will continue to nourish them and see what happens.

How was everyone's 4th of July? Ours turned out to be a pretty fun day. For the first time in many years, Lupton had a parade in the morning, activities and food by the Chapter House in the afternoon, and fireworks in the evening. The parade consisted mostly of motorcycle riders, a few politicians, plus a few other things; but it was still fun to watch. The activities were supported really well by the community.

Our Branch had planned a 4th of July pot-luck dinner for the evening. The Branch President and his son came around 3:30 and helped get the tables and chairs set up outside and the grill ready to go. We had finished and sat down to play Thousand Aces while we waited for people to come when it started to rain. It wasn't too bad at first, but gradually got worse until it was pouring for about 45 minutes. We moved our game over under the canopy. I kept suggesting that we go inside and play the game, but my pleas fell on deaf ears. Periodically the rain would pool up around the top of the canopy and come showering down on us. The score paper got so damp, I could hardly write on it anymore. But the game must go on! They are some die-hard Thousand Ace players. The only thing that made them stop was when hungry people began to show up. We were worried with the storm that people wouldn't be able to make it through their muddy roads, but I guess the majority of the storm was just in our area. We ended up with about 30 people here, lots of good food, and the storm had even past over by time we started. Our former Branch President and his family came out from Gallup for our dinner. It was good to see all of them again. I think a fun time was enjoyed by all.

Sunday turned out to be an interesting day. The Branch President had asked to go visit a lady who had been thrown from a truck. We rode out to her place, but no one was home. On the way back, we decided to drive out and see if the guy who came by our trailer a couple of weeks ago was home. We have been trying to contact him, but haven't had any luck. They were home today. We noticed that his wife was limping pretty bad. She said she had fallen the night before and hurt her ankle. Owen thought she should have it checked out, but they didn't have any gas. So in a few minutes, the four of us were on our way to Gallup to the hospital. While we were sitting in the waiting room, a man came up to me and asked if I was okay. I told him I was and that I was just waiting for some friends. Owen was sitting a few seats away talking to a Vietnam Vet, but came over while the man was talking to me. He said he had gotten a phone call asking him to come to the hospital to give a blessing. Owen offered to help him. They went up to ICU, but I stayed in the waiting room in case our friends came back. The hospital staff was preparing the young man to be taken to Albuquerque and the family wanted him to have a blessing before he left. Owen didn't even find out what had happened to him.

Our friend ended up with torn ligaments in her foot and a set of crutches to deal with. On the ride in and back, we got to know them better. She had been on Indian Placement for seven years. She asked if we would come back and visit and teach them. Her husband isn't a member (yet).

Was it just coincidence that we showed up at their house when they needed help, or was in the hospital at that particular time so that Owen could assist in a Priesthood blessing? The Lord continues to bless us and help us in His work.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I am later getting the blog written this week, but for a good reason. As you look at the pictures above, I can blame it on them. Who wants to write a blog when you can be playing with grandchildren?

We worked hard on missionary work the first part of the week. Found a family with three children who haven't been baptized. We set an appointment to begin teaching them. We did a lot of visiting of Branch members. It seems like between the RVs and the missionary work, we never lack for things to do.

Wednesday evening one of our sons, his wife, and children came down to visit us. We were so glad to see them. I realized how much I have been missing their hugs and snuggle time. They arrived in time for FHE and got to play a couple rounds of Thousand Aces with some of the members.

Thursday we went hiking on the hills with one of the members, went shopping at The Nugget trading post in Gallup, and went through Window Rock on the way home to see the Window Rock arch and Code Talker Memorial.

Friday was a trip to the Petrified Forest National Park. We took one of the boys from our Branch with us. He fit right in with all the other boys. We took several of the hikes to see the different sites. It is a pretty fascinating place. The Agate House is ruins of the ancient ones that built their dwelling out of petrified wood. The older boys ran everywhere – didn't seem to be any stopping or slowing them down. The youngest one (almost four-years-old) kept up pretty good. He doesn't want to be left behind, no matter how tired he is.

Saturday they got to ride one of our friend's horses and play with their kittens. Then we went to Window Rock to the museum, the little zoo, a flea market, and shopping. Our friend called in the afternoon and said he was home if they wanted to come out and hike on his property to some Indian ruins. That was really interesting to be able to see the ruins and walk through them. It is a good thing their family likes to hike because we did a lot of it in order to be able to see some of the special things around here. Course, there wasn't enough time to do it all, so now they will have to plan another trip to come back.

Owen had asked the Branch President earlier in the month if he wanted our kids to talk in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday. Of course, they graciously accepted the invitation. After Church some of the members came over to visit and to tell the kids good-bye. We had a member come in the evening and share some of his life experiences and things he learned from his grandfather with them. It was very interesting. He has had quite the life.

Our daughter-in-law made the comment that Owen told her she would fall in love with the people here. She didn't think that would be possible in just the few days they were going to be here. But, their family got to spend some time and do some activities with some of our special friends in the area. She was surprised how easy it is to love them when you get to know them. The boys would ask me which ones were Navajos or how many of the people at church were Navajos. When I told them they all were, they commented, “Wow! Navajos are awesome!”

Monday was a sad day because it was time for them to head back home. We decided to follow them as far as Chinle and see the north rim of Canyon de Chelly. The canyon is massive and so pretty. At one of the overlooks, you could see a hogan, a couple of fields they were farming, and then at the base of the mountain (not too far from the hogan) were ancient ruins. Imagine having something like that in your backyard. If you stayed on the main road, you wouldn't even know the canyon existed because you can't tell it is there as you drive along. Time for good-byes and then we parted our ways. It was so good to have those few days to spend with them.

We had a District Meeting in Tohlakai in the evening. As we were leaving, we found out that the Elders were locked out of their RV. So we spent the better part of an hour trying to figure out how to get their door open because their key was locked inside the RV.

Now we have to change hats and get back in our missionary mode. We have several appointments this week, RVs to visit, and a Branch pot luck dinner the evening of the 4th. We continue to be blessed in our work and to receive blessings in our family as we serve the Lord.