My post for this week is a little late, but for a good reason. We have had family visiting us. They came down on Saturday and left today. It has been 2 ½ years since Owen has seen them because they left on a mission to Kirtland, Ohio about 16 months before we came on our mission. Of course, when they got home last August, we were gone. I had taken a trip with my sisters out to visit with them, so it hadn't been that long for me. It was so great to see and visit with them again. We had a lot of catching up to do. We really enjoy having visits with family. We took a ride on Sunday and showed them some of the surrounding area (our elephant rocks, the balance rock, and Window Rock Park, etc.). The weather kind of put a crimp in some of the plans we wanted to do. We wanted to show them Chaco Canyon, but knew we couldn't do it if it rained or snowed. Sure enough, the weather obliged us; it rained and snowed both. However, they did get a glimpse of what our days can be like. On Monday, we got a phone call as we were finishing breakfast. A family wanted Elder Olsen to come and give their mother a special blessing. She is 92-years-old, bedridden, isn't able to eat or drink now, and they aren't sure how much longer she has to live. We took Annette and Dan with us – another Priesthood holder is always good to have around. It turned out to be a very spiritual experience, not only for the family, but for all of us as well.
We then showed them a few of the sights around Gallup, including the Nugget Store, and had lunch before we came home.
Our little Marianya's first birthday was also on Monday. So we had a cake and presents and went out to visit her family. Mari warmed up a bit to Annette and even gave her a quick love. She can sure melt your heart. From there we went out to give a PMG lesson, but the mother wasn't home. So we decided to wait for another day.
We were just getting supper ready, when we found our girls outside. The one girl and their brother needed a ride to Wide Ruins because they had missed the bus in the morning. It is a boarding school, so the bus only comes once a week. So we took off around seven at night and headed to Wide Ruins. Too bad it wasn't light so that Annette and Dan could see what that part of the Reservation is like.
We woke up to about five inches of snow this morning and it continued most of the morning. When it began to let up, they decided to head for home. We will just have to take a road trip after we get home, come back down, visit, and show them some of the other unique places.
The senior missionary couple in Sawmill had family coming down to visit last week. They took a wrong turn and ended up stuck in a snowbank on top of a mountain about 11:00 p.m. Thank goodness for the Lord's tender mercies: (1) they had good cell phone reception (which can be rare on the Reservation) with the couple the whole time; (2) the missionaries knew how to work coordinates, so they knew exactly where they were; (3) even when the missionaries got stuck going up the mountain to help their family, a truck came along; (4) the driver of the truck was a member, had being doing audits for some of the Branches, had a job where he checks the radar tower once every four months on top of the mountain where the family was stuck; and had decided that even though it was late, he would go check the tower since he was in the area; (6) the man had access to a snow cat and was able to get the missionaries unstuck as well as the vehicle on top of the mountain once they were able to jump the battery (fortunately one of the three vehicles had jumper cables); and (7) eventually all vehicles were able to make it down off the mountain safely. I don't believe all of those events were pure coincidences and neither do the families that were stuck. They finally made it to Sawmill at 3:00 a.m., very, very tired.
Last Wednesday we had two things in our planner – a trip to St. Michaels and Family Home Evening. While Owen took the member to St. Michaels to the Employment Center, I made the treat for Family Home Evening, two double batches of banana bread, and cleaned the trailer. He had only been back a short while when some members came by to visit. After they left, we went out to do some visiting. We were able to catch three different people in one stop (not bad). When we were heading home, the phone rang and a lady needed a ride to Gallup. Her grand daughter was in the hospital, her daughter needed some things, and she didn't have any way of getting the things to her. So we picked her up, dropped Owen off at home so he could cover Home Evening, and I took the lady to Gallup. By time I got back, Home Evening was all over with. Owen had been a little stressed, but I am sure he handled everything fine. He had had ten people come – six of whom are non-members. We had a full, busy day and felt good about the things we were able to accomplish. One thing we know for sure is that we definitely have to be flexible. We never know what is going to come up. Sometimes all it takes is one phone call, and our whole day can completely change.
While we were visiting at the Senior Citizen Center, a lady mentioned that their wood-burning stove smoked really bad and they couldn't use it very much. Later we checked out the stove and decided to run new stove pipe straight up and out the roof rather than the way they had it angled going out a window. Her son helped Owen, and they were able to get it done. Now they can have a fire in their stove to warm their little, humble home without worrying about breathing smoke, or worse, carbon monoxide.
We can't wait to see what the rest of this week has in store for us. The Lord continues to bless and help us as we serve.