Greetings from LA. We have had another busy week. It seems like we just finish up one Sunday, turn around, and it is already Sunday again.
This week our District decided to visit Chaco Canyon (Chaco Culture National Historical Park). That is an amazing place. If you are making up a 'bucket list', consider adding it to your list. It is out in the middle of nowhere, and can only be accessed by dirt roads (which can sometimes be impassable). This canyon served as a major center of ancestral Puebloan culture. The brochure says that it is remarkable for its monumental buildings, distinctive architecture, astronomy, artistic achievements, and served as a hub of ceremony, trade, and administration for the Four Corners Area – unlike anything before or since. They have dated it back to 850 -1150 AD. Once you are in the Park, the road is paved. You drive around a one-way loop and can visit about six different sites (great houses). Some of them were three to four stories high. There are several more sites that you can hike to, if you are up to it. We thought it would only take a couple of hours to visit the sites, so we didn't plan a lunch or anything. There was much more to see there than we ever thought possible, and we didn't get to see it all. It is quite the complex of ancient ruins. For preservation reasons, not all of the sites have been excavated. It turned out to be quite a long day, but one we thoroughly enjoyed.
While we were having a late lunch/early dinner in Crown Point after visiting Chaco Canyon, the senior couple from Zuni shared an experience they had had the previous Saturday. They had gone out and were helping some of the members gather wood. They were just about through, and one of the guys decided they needed to take down one more tree to top off the load in a couple of pick-ups. The elder decided to video the tree falling, so he moved over to a 'safe' area by a place where trees had previously been removed. Suddenly he heard someone yell his name and told him to run because the tree was coming his way. He couldn't run, so he just jumped behind the pile of stuff he had been sitting on. He breathed a of relief when the tree didn't come down at that time. The next day in Fast and Testimony Meeting, the man who had been taking the tree down shared his story of the experience. He said that he had done everything right and taken precautions to make sure the tree would fall a certain direction. Suddenly he heard the tree start to crack and realized that it was going to fall on the elder. He said he put his hand on the tree and prayed, “Lord, don't let this tree fall and kill one of your missionaries.” As soon as he finished the short prayer, the cracking stopped, and the tree never came down. He was then able to make the necessary corrections to get the tree to fall where he wanted it. Missionaries are truly protected and blessed.
We have had a new member and his non-member friend coming to our Branch. We were all a little surprised when the member introduced himself as a world champion sumo-wrestler, has ran in three marathons, and is currently training to swim the English Channel. His family still lives in Idaho; so between visiting them and doing his sumo-wrestling he isn't sure how often he will be church. His non-member friend has already read the Book of Mormon. So we will see what happens there.
Another good thing for our Branch is that we now have a Primary president. Hooray! The Branch President did ask me to keep going to Primary and help to train her. She should do a good job, and it will be good to work with her.
An interesting fact about the New Mexico Farmington Mission. This mission takes in part of four states (Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado) and seven nations (Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Laguna, Acoma, Southern Ute, and Ute Mountain).
We continue to work with, teach, and nourish these special people. We have made some very dear friends who will always be in our hearts. The two young girls whom we taught and were able to see baptized have told us that they want to come home with us when we leave. They usually come over on Saturdays, and we make cookies, play games, etc.
We love the work. It has really made us stretch at times, but we know that the Lord is with us and strengthening us as we serve Him.