Life as missionaries can certainly be exciting and full of surprises at times. We were headed out the door one morning to go visit with a sister when the phone rang. It was someone we haven't met before. She wanted to meet us at the church and talk with us. She is struggling right now (recently lost her job, her husband is in jail, and her eight-year-old son is giving her problems). She just needed someone to talk to and to give her some advice. So I guess now we have entered the counseling realm. She was very nice, and we enjoyed visiting with her and her son. Among other things, we suggested they come to church. We were certainly thrilled on Sunday when they did show up and stayed for both meetings. She knew a couple of the sisters at church, and they were glad to see her and visited with her. We will be meeting with them again this week, continuing to encourage her, and will probably do some teaching with the son so he can be baptized.
On Sundays I have been picking up the two girls that we are teaching. Their uncle, his wife and baby usually come to church with us, also. Yesterday the uncle said he wanted to be baptized. What??! We assumed he was already baptized. Lesson learned – missionaries should never assume someone has been baptized. So we will also start teaching him this week.
When Owen took the family home after church, one of the girls' cousins (16 years old) asked if he could be baptized again. Owen visited with him for a few minutes and explained how that works. He also told him about the Seminary class we are teaching. He said he wanted to come to that. So Owen brought him back to the church for Seminary. He seemed pretty overwhelmed at first, but then started to relax and participate some. We are praying that he will have the desire to continue with Seminary.
When we gave the girls their lesson this week, we sat out in the yard. They sat on the buckets this time, and they had found two chairs for us. We set a baptismal date for September 13th, but then found out that is the same day as Stake Conference, so we will have to look at another date. With school starting now, it will be harder to find a time when we can meet with them, especially if the younger one goes to boarding school. But, I know with the Lord's help, things will work out for them.
One of the ladies we met at the Senior Center had invited us to come and go hiking out on her property. We decided to take her up on it. She lives back in against the unique red rocks. It was just a short hike up to an area at the base of the rocks where her grandpa use to pen his sheep. Up on a ledge was the remains of an ancient dwelling, but the weather has taken its toll, and there isn't much left of it – just enough to tell what it was. All over the sides of the rocks were pictographs and petroglyphs. That was so cool to see all of them. One can only image how long that place was inhabited by ancient ones. She shared with us different stories from her past as we walked along and explored. Anyone ever tried 'Cactus Candy'? She says it is really good, but she has lost her mother's recipe.
This week was the Gallup Intra-Tribal Ceremonial at Red Rock Park outside of Gallup. That is a very nice facility. We wanted to go to the parade, but ended up having to go to Sawmill to fix a sewer problem for the elders. We did make it for the evening performance, however. That was pretty cool to see. There were several different tribes represented and performed their traditional dances in full costume. We got to see Zuni maidens dance while balancing a pottery pot on their heads, the basket dance, buffalo dance, deer dance, the Apache dancers, fire dancers, Aztec dancers, and several others. All very good. We went to the Pow Wow for a while and got to see and hear the drum circle – 13 men sitting around a big drum all playing in unison – others were dancing around the arena. Course we didn't understand the significance of their songs or dances, but we enjoyed them nonetheless.
We are constantly amazed as each week passes at the happenings in this valley of the sun. How grateful we are to be able to be here and having these experiences as we serve the Lord and these beautiful people.