Sunday, September 28, 2014

This past week turned out to be quite interesting. We took a member to Crown Point so she could be there for drug court. Crown Point is 90 minutes away from here. It was a new place for us to see and visit. The court went well, and she is making an honest effort to try and turn her life around. So we just pray for her and hope she will be strong enough to resist all the temptations that are around.

The next day we ended up going the other direction to Wide Ruins. Two of our younger friends had missed the bus for their boarding school. The great grandmother wanted to know if we could take them. No one in that area has a car, so the kids would have to miss the whole week of school because the bus picks them up on Monday and then brings them home on Friday.

On the way home from Wide Ruins we stopped at a trading post and decided to get a Navajo taco for lunch. They are so delicious. Later that afternoon, we grabbed a quick bite of supper and went to Oak Springs for an appointment. The lady there had a pot of beans cooking. She said if we would stay, she would mix up some fry bread and we could have chili and fry bread. It is impolite to refuse an invitation to eat, even if you have just recently eaten. So for the second time that day we had fry bread and chili beans. I am sure you get the idea of what the rest of the evening was like. The fun part, however, was that the sister gave us a lesson on how to make fry bread. I am not one that likes to just estimate how much of each ingredient. I like to measure things out, which they do not do. Once the dough is mixed up, then it is the tricky part. She made it look so easy. I didn't have much trouble until it came time to do the flapping of the dough back and forth between the hands. Mine just did not want to work. I got it way too thin in the middle and too thick on the edges. Owen actually had an easier time doing it than I did. We sure laughed and had a good time. Instead of our dough turning out into a nice round circle like hers, our dough would resemble different states. So we had fun trying to name the state – California, Florida, Alaska, etc. I don't know if I will ever be able to develop the knack for making fry bread.

We are continuing to teach the missionary lessons and Temple Prep. lessons to some special people. They are progressing and have strong desires to take the next ordinance. But, Satan is working overtime, and it is hard to resist the temptations when they are all around you. Hopefully, they will be strong, and they will be able to realize the blessings that can be theirs if they can make the right choices. So we shall see.

I picked up our two young girls (Navajo grand daughters) on Saturday afternoon and brought them up to our home. We made a big batch of waffle cookies and played a couple of games. They were in no hurry to go home. I took them back home after about three hours, and then went back an hour or so later and picked them up to go to Gallup to the broadcast of the Women's Conference. It is fun to see their reactions to different things, things that have become common place for me because I have seen them my whole life – like the Conference Center, how the meeting works, etc. During one of the talks about temples, the one young lady leaned over and asked me, “Will I be able to go there, to the temple sometime?” Seeds are being planted in their lives.

Our daughter-in-law is recovering from the accident. Heavenly Father has certainly blessed her and the family. She might get to go home later this week. Course she will be in a wheelchair for a while until her bones heal sufficiently to support weight, then she can graduate to a walker.

A dear sister (the 91-year-old that we went to her birthday party a while ago) has been in the hospital for the past week. They brought her home on Wednesday, but had to take her back Thursday morning. We rode into Gallup today so Owen could help give her a Priesthood blessing. She didn't look very good. She is a very special grandmother whom we have come to love.

If any of you are considering going on a mission with your spouse, we recommend you request the New Mexico Farmington Mission. It is the BEST! Not only will you fall in love with the beautiful people and scenery, but it will be an adventure you will never forget.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

This was the first week in a while that we didn't have to make any long trips. The RV elders reported that they had no problems. We didn't have any meetings in Chinle or Farmington; nor did we have any porches to build. However, I think we made four trips to Gallup and one to Window Rock, so I guess we were still on the road.

We had a tough decision to make on Wednesday as to whether to go home or not. We received word that one of our daughters-in-law had been pinned between a truck and a van and that she was on her way to the hospital in an ambulance. We were so worried about her and really felt that we were needed at home. But, the tender mercies of the Lord were again evident. Family members and people throughout the community stepped forth and have been such a comfort and help to their family. Because of that, we decided we better stay put and continue doing the Lord's work. How grateful we are for family and friends who are willing to go the second mile and be of service when someone is in need. When we got the report later, we found out that she had broken her pelvis in five different places, but the bones were still lined up; so the doctors did not feel that she needed surgery. It is bad, but really could have been so much worse. We feel she had guardian angels surrounding and protecting her. She was in the hospital for three days, and is now in a Care Center where she can have physical therapy daily, a little extra care until she has healed sufficiently to be able to get around on her own, and then she can go home. The injuries to her right side are non-weight bearing, so she has to be extra careful for a while until things start to heal.

The Young Women were having an activity this week that I was able to help with. They took a place mat, folded a long side up part way, and sewed it into three little pockets so they would have a special carrier for their Personal Progress booklets. They turned out pretty cute, and the girls were excited to think they had made them themselves. They all had to come over to the trailer to show Elder Olsen their finished projects.

Saturday was a very special day for us and two young girls. It was their baptism day, and we are so proud of them. They have really come a long ways in their knowledge of the Gospel. The only thing I felt bad about was that no one from their family were there to support them. We had asked the Young Women's President to give a talk, but she had to go to Phoenix to spend some time with her cousin sister who is under critical care. So her sixteen-year-old daughter offered to give the talk for her mother. I was impressed with her willingness to do so. We picked up her, the younger sister, and the other two girls and headed to Gallup. There was another baptism going on at 10:00, so we had to wait for a little while; but it gave the girls an opportunity to see someone else baptized before it was their turn. We ended up having eight missionaries there (three senior couples and the elders). The Branch President's son was able to do the baptizing. The program was very special and everything seemed to go very well. The Branch President felt impressed to do the confirmations after the baptisms. Talk about Priesthood power (five full-time missionaries and the Branch President). The Branch President gave them both beautiful blessings. They are going to have a lot of challenges in their lives; so we hope and pray they will be able to be strong, that their testimonies will continue to grow, and the members in the Branch will step up and support and be there for them after we are gone. They are very special young girls, whom we have come to love.

After the baptism and all, we took the four girls to lunch at Pizza Hut. I don't know if the girls enjoyed it as much as we did; but all in all, it was a very special day for us.

We continue to love the work, both the ups and downs. We are so grateful for the Lord's help and how He strengthens us so we are able to continue to serve among these beautiful Navajo people in the Lupton area.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

This week we had the opportunity to travel to two places that were new to us. We went to Wide Ruins so the mother (and grandmother) could check two of her kids into the boarding school there. We have driven by the turn-off for Wide Ruins several times, but never driven through that area. They have a big, nice school there, dorms for some of the students, and new homes for faculty housing. This nice facility sits out in the middle of practically no where. There are a few homes around that can be seen, but not much else. A bus will pick the kids up at their home on Monday morning and bring them back on Friday afternoon. It is about 1 ½ hours from here.

We also got to see some of the sights at Dennehotso, (just over three hours from here) that is once the thick fog cleared. We went there to work with the porch crew again and put a roof on the porch for a senior couple. It was so foggy when we got there, we had no idea where to go. We ended up at a boarding school and called the couple to find out where the church and their trailer was. We had missed the turn-off about two miles back. We were finally able to find the church. Once the fog moved out, the church was easily visible from the road. Oh well, next time we will know. The guys did a good job on the porch. The ladies had a nice visit and fixed lunch. We were headed back home by 2:00 p.m.

We figured we could be back in time for our Family Home Evening group. We stopped along the way and took pictures of some interesting rock formations. When we headed up the pass from Ganado to St. Michael's, there had been a wreck up ahead and traffic was not moving. We waited for a while, then Owen noticed cars taking off on a dirt road and decided to follow them. Not my idea of a smart thing to do. But we wound over, about, and around the trees on a fairly good dirt road and finally ended up back on the highway on the other side of the wreck. We pulled into our yard just right before 6:00 p.m. and a car pulled in behind us. We didn't even have time to regroup because they were here for FHE. We found out later that others had come when the gate was still locked or before we got home.

Owen's birthday was also this week. He didn't seem to happy to be starting another decade. He spent most of the morning trying to help the pump truck find the septic tank on the property so we could get the sewer (especially at the church) working again. They never did figure out where it was. They did run a long sewer tape down the line that loosened up a clog and seemed to solve the problem. Then we decided to drive to Gallup and have lunch at the Sizzler (missionaries get their meals for half price). We had a while before our appointment, so I decided to let him go shopping at the Nugget. Big mistake – of course he found things that he “needed”. We just got back from our appointment when the senior couple from Gallup stopped by with a small birthday cake for Owen. That was so thoughtful, and we had a nice visit with them.

We were able to begin the Temple Preparation lessons with a man this week. He is so excited about the prospects of going to the temple. It is going to be fun teaching him. He has such a special spirit and very strong testimony, just an all-around special guy.

The young man we are teaching missionary lessons is moving right along. Before we met with him this week, we looked at the calendar and decided to ask him about being baptized on October 11th. When we asked the big question, he and his wife just looked at each other with big grins on their faces. He said, “That is my birthday.” His wife told us that he had been wondering if he could be baptized on his birthday. What a neat birthday present!!

Another day after an appointment, we were driving down this road we have been on dozens of times. We went passed a home. I told Owen we hadn't stopped there yet and that their gate was open.

First he said we would another time, but then started to turn the truck around. We got to meet a very nice man and his son. He isn't a member, but his wife and son are. They go to church in Sanders rather than here, though. Drats! After visiting for a while, we got up to go, and he said, “No, sit down and let's visit some more.” He wants us to come back when his wife is home so we can meet her.

On Saturday we had the two young girls come up to our house, and we planned the program for their baptism. They are getting excited for the big day (the 20th). While they were here, we made a batch of cookies for them to take home and share with their family. When we took them home, they asked if they could come again next Saturday. I told them it sounded fun, but we would be busy with the baptism of two special young women (meaning them). They just grinned at us. Cute, cute kids!

We are looking forward to another week full of new adventures and experiences. The Lord continues to bless us as we try to do what He wants us to do.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Another exciting week full of new adventures. We left at 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday and drove to Monument Valley. The new trailer for the Seniors up there had only a wobbly metal porch. So the Zone leader made arrangements for some of us to get together and build a new, wooden porch for them. There ended up being four sisters and six elders (all senior missionaries) who came to help. I said it looked like a High Priest service project seeing all those guys working together on the porch. There wasn't much the sisters could do, but be in the way. So we hung out in the church and enjoyed the day visiting, fixing lunch, etc. We spent most of another day in Tohlakai working on the RV there and making two trips to Gallup to pick up parts.

My foot had started hurting me in the joint by the little toe. It just kept getting worse and swelling up. So I finally went to the doctor. He said that I had a bacterial infection just under the skin (cellulitis) and gave me a prescription. He advised me to stay off of it for a few days and try to elevate it as much as possible. Thank goodness the antibiotic is working. Most of the pain is now gone, but there is still a little swelling. The Branch President came by and assisted Owen in giving me a blessing which, I am sure, is the real reason it started improving.

Last week was the Navajo Nation Fair in Window Rock. It is really a big thing. Due to our trips and my foot, I wasn't able to see any of it. Owen did go up and spend a short while. We were assigned to man a booth representing the Church on Friday, but had to forfeit that opportunity to someone else.

Saturday we picked up the Sister Missionaries in Gallup and headed to Farmington for the Mission Conference. The one sister from Portland, Oregon has been out three months. She is training the new sister (been out less than a week) from California. We had received word earlier in the week that our visiting authority would be Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and two members of the Seventies. We pulled into a nearly empty parking lot (Owen always likes to be plenty early), and could see several men standing on the sidewalk talking. Two of the men we figured were security guards by the way they were acting. Then we realized that Elder Holland was there among the group. We went ahead and got out of the truck. He started getting into a car, then said he wanted to shake hands with these people before he left. He came over to the truck and shook hands with all of us, as did the members of the Seventy. Then he said he would be back in an hour, got in the car, and left. Our timing was perfect! That was really special to be able to shake hands with a General Authority. The Bishoprics and Branch Presidencies had a four hour meeting with him in the morning, and Elder Holland shook hands with all of them. The next meeting was for the Stake Presidents. Then the meeting for the missionaries (prospective missionaries in the missionary prep. classes in the area were also invited) finished off the day. We were privileged to have a two-hour meeting (which stretched into 2 ½ hours) with them. Only a few people got to shake hands with Pres. Holland as he was coming in or leaving the Chapel. So that made us feel even more special. I was excited that we had the opportunity to shake their hands and especially excited for the new sisters that were with us. A neat experience to be taught by a general authority who testified so adamantly about the importance of missionary work. Definitely something to write about in our journals.

Another special event happened on Saturday We had a grandson baptized. When we called to talk to him, he wanted to know when we were coming home. I told him it wouldn't be until he finished the second grade. He told me he was lonesome without us being home. It is the grandkids and moments like this that can make serving and being away from family hard. Sure do love them; and hopefully, we are setting an example for them of the importance of doing the Lord's work.

Sunday the young girls we are teaching had their baptismal interviews. The Zone leaders came out from Gallup and met with them at our Church. They were pretty nervous and didn't know what to expect. But they did fine, and we are so proud of them. Their baptismal date is set for the 20th. We can't do it this coming weekend because of stake conference.

In amongst all our comings and goings and pampering my foot, we were able to squeeze in several visits to people in our area and lessons for our investigators.

The work of the Lord continues to go forth here in the Lupton area.