Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Might be short.


Aa' (how are you)? This past week has been slow, but good. 

On Tuesday, we went and saw Nigel Sam, and talked to him about receiving the Aaronic Preisthood. He was super excited for that and had a lot of questions. That entire family is amazing. Valentina, the mom, is trying to get back to the temple not only for her, but for her family as well. Niyah is being baptized this Saturday on her birthday. She is excited. After she get's baptized, She is headed to Youth Conference with Nigel next week, and they are going to the Temple in Monticello. Valentina, Nigel, and Niyah are all really excited for that.

On Wednesday, we had Zone Conference in Cortez. It was great! It was super long, but very uplifting and helpful. We did How to Begin Teaching roleplays, and I was paired with Elder Lewis, one of the Assistants. He thought I'd been out longer than I had. He was very helpful with just giving me compliments. He goes home at the end of this transfer, so it will be super hard to see him go. He's super cool, and just down to earth. During ZConf, Elders Nichols and Hudson did a training on teaching with the Spirit. My favorite quote from the day was from Elder Nichols, he said, "If you want to drop a spiritual A-Bomb on someone, bear testimony!" Elder Middleton and I could not keep it together after that. We died laughing. After Zone Conference, we went to Wal-Mart with Elder Nichols and Elder Hudson. We did some shopping and left the thriving metropolis of Cortez Colorado. 

On Thursday, we went and saw Eric Begay. He is super open to hearing from us, but the thing he struggles with is the Word of Wisdom. We haven't taught him that yet, but we are for sure going to be listening to the spirit with that one. We went and did some service for Leroy Boy, a member. We also shared with him the Gospel Principles lesson about the Gifts of the Spirit. I felt like he got a lot out of that. Later in the day, we went and saw Rose Goodman. We aren't sure if she is a Member or not. We had some time to kill in between appointments, so Elder Middleton got the impression to go to her. She was very happy to see us. Her grandson just died at only 4 months old. She was super upset about that, so we shared 2 Nephi 32:9 and told her to pray and seek the strength of the Lord. She Invited us back, so we are going to see her this week.

On Friday, Nobody was home. We did weekly planning, and we got out to the Reservation and pretty much came right back in. That was hard.

Saturday was the same as Friday, except we got a lesson with a less active member named Don Tsosie. We are trying our hardest to get him back to church. He comes every so often. But the branch needs him there more!

On Sunday, President and Sister Adams came to church in Bluff. It was nice to have them there. They are such amazing people. After church, we went out to the Sam's for Nigel's youngest sister Pia's birthday party. It was a lot of fun. We got there late, so all of the mutton was cold. Let me just say that cold mutton is pretty much the worst. I ate about half of my mutton and couldn't do it anymore. 

We have Zone Training this week, and Elder Middleton and I are training on Goals during that. Well that's pretty much it. I hope you all are well. Ayoo Aniinishni (Love you all)


Elder Breinholt
New Mexico Farmington Mission 

First of the month is hard on the Rez

Sent July 13, 2015

So this week has been pretty difficult. This email might be shorter than those in the past, because  it's the first part of the month, so all of the natives receive their monthly check from the government and they leave for weeks at a time. We haven't seen a lot of the people we teach regularly for about two weeks straight. We have a less active and a nonmember that we are teaching named Wilbur and Jolanda Williams. Wilbur's dad is a practicing Medicine Man, and he has been trying to pull Wilbur away from the church and to practice again. Wilbur is a Roadman (Medicine Man) for the NAC, or the Native American Church. He says he wants to go to church, but he never comes. We have been trying to see them this week and they have been gone for about 2 solid weeks now! It's frustrating, but if they aren't home, we usually go over to Betty Bigboy's. She always feeds us, and that cheers us up. She taught us how to make real fry bread this week, it was awesome.

On Wednesday, no one was home, so we went exploring. We stumbled upon an Anasazi cliff dwelling just south of the San Juan River. Anasazi is Navajo for 'The Ancients, or Ancestors'. It was super cool. I'll attach some pictures of that! It was a bit of a hike, mainly because it was super steep, but it was well worth it. Elder Middleton and I  were discussing how crazy the Anasazi were. They must've been really skilled rock climbers. The climb down must have been really scary for them. It was super neat walking where an ancient people walked. We also taught the Laughings on Wednesday. we taught them about prayer, because we want them to have a solid testimony so they can ask for themselves before we invite them to be baptized. They are so close to being ready!

On Thursday, we went up to Blanding for District Meeting. It was good. Sister Brady did the training on following the spirit. It was super helpful. After district meeting, we ate lunch and went back to the Rez to work. We taught the Tuni's. Tiffany Tuni is a recent convert to the church, and her husband Lyle has been a member for some time. They rodeo competitively, so they have been gone a lot this summer. They are a good family. As soon as rodeo season slows down, I'm sure that we will see more of them at church. We also taught Paxton (14) and Pearlphina (20). They are brother and sister and are really benefiting from the lessons. Elder Middleton threw me in the deep end and told me to lead the discussion. I was reluctant, but it was good. For the first time, I felt like he and I were working as a team. The spirit was so strong in that lesson. And Pearl and Paxton could feel the spirit and they understood the importance of prayer.

Friday was a crazy day. We had weekly planning, and as we were about to leave, Elder Middleton lost his wallet. So we called the Vehicle Coordinator, Elder Jensen, and he told me to drive. I didn't want to. I feel like I didn't know the area well enough. But it turns out, I know it better than I thought. We retraced our steps from the day before, thinking that his wallet was on the Rez some place. We couldn't find it. We got Fry Bread, and that was good. We didn't see anybody that day. It was discouraging. We went back to Bluff and Lo and Behold, His wallet was in the pants that he wore the day before. It was a funny moment.

Saturday was also very slow. We drove on the road out to Betty's. One of our investigators named Dwayne Lameman lives on that road. We drove past and saw a Tee-Pee. That's not a good sign out here. When you come into contact with people out here, they may say that they are traditional. Traditional may mean one of two things, they practice the Navajo traditions, or they are members of the NAC. Tee-Pee's are not traditional among the Navajo. Navajo's have Hooghans. When we saw the Tee-Pee, we were both like, "NOOO! NAC!!!! WHY!!!???" The NAC doesn't like the Church. They like that we talk about Christ, but they don't like anything else that we teach. It makes it hard to teach members of the NAC.

Sunday was good. Since it was the second Sunday, the branch does a pot-luck. Kasey Boy, a native man, made mutton stew. It was so good! We went out and got Niyah Sam's Baptism all scheduled and planned. That family is so great. The mom Valentina is trying to get to the temple. The oldest son Nigel is receiving the Aaronic Priesthood next Sunday. Niyah is getting baptized on the day she turns 12 (July 25th). Damien is getting closer to baptism. They are such a strong family. Elder Middleton and I are so excited for them.

Anyway, that's all for this week.  

Elder Breinholt
New Mexico Farmington Mission 

Finding Hope Through Disappointment

Sent July 6, 2015

Man... this past week has been pretty hard. Tuesday was cool because we got to talk to Eric Begay. Eric is a man in his mid 20's who lives in a hogan (the traditional Navajo dwelling) with a dirt floor. Hogans only have one room. It was pretty neat. He is in a band called The Lower Deck Band. He claims that they play, "Country Rock... Rez style." He breaks horses for a living and from my understanding, Is pretty good at it. Anyway, we went to his hogan and saw that he had all of his instruments all set up (yes there is a drum set :D). He invited us in, and it was quite hot in there. We sat down on his couch and talked to him for a bit. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw a chicken. I looked at Elder Middleton and he looked at me, and we started laughing. We asked him about his chicken and he said that he found it on the side of the road about 3 years ago. It just roams around his hogan and poops on the floor. It's dirt, so I guess it's okay, but still really gross. I kept on eyeing the drum set, and he said, "You can play it if you want!" So, me being me, I did. It felt so good to play. Even though the drum set was not very nice, it just brought back so many memories. We shared a scripture with him and he invited us back and told us he would have his stuff set up so that we can jam with him. After that, we went and saw Neilia Jone. She is a shima in her 90's and only speaks Dine Bizaad (the language of the people), but her son Cody, who turns out to be an investigator is her translator. We went to her last Friday (June 26th), and she was in bad health, because her oxygen machine was not working. She asked for a blessing and so we gave her one. We came back last week, and her oxygen pump was working again, and she was feeling a lot better. We shared a scripture and tried some more people, but since it was the week leading up to the 4th, everyone peaced out and went to either Shiprock, NM or Cortez, CO.

Wednesday, we only had one lesson. We met with the Laughing kids. They were super receptive to the message that we shared about Commandments. Mainly, because we played Simon Says and gave them candy. They are super cool kids. The invited us to their Cousin, Eli's birthday party. Eli participates in the lessons with us. He's a cool little kid. 

On Thursday, we only got to meet with Leroy Boy. He is a less-active member who goes to church every Sunday, but he doesn't stay for the entire time. His issue is the fact that he lives with his girlfriend. We are trying to help him become fully active again. He is a great guy. He has a bad back, and we do a lot of service for him. We usually pull weeds and stuff like that. We went to Eli's birthday that evening, and it was under the bridge that is over the San Juan river. It was a sweet party spot. Eli was really happy to see us there. His cousins Wally 7, Trevor 4, and Christian 2 or 3 (we're not sure), are super funny. When we were walking towards them, Wally and Trevor said, "The church people are here," and then they ran off. Christian, however, stood there and looked at us and yelled, "MORMONS," he ran off as well. It was so funny.

Friday, we had our "Get to Know You" Zone Conference. We got to meet President and Sister Adams. They are really cool. President Adams was the Stake President for a YSA Stake in Logan, so he gets us young hooligans. He has a vision in this mission for Activation over Baptisms. Our main focus as missionaries is to activate those less active members. There are so many inactive members that there could probably be a ward in Bluff. With the branch presidency called from those members. Our branch leadership is almost all from Blanding. We are working with President McPherson to reactivate those less active members of the branch. That is our main focus in Bluff right now.

Saturday, the Zone Leaders invited us to Blanding for the Fourth of July. If you want a good 4th celebration, Blanding is the place to be! It was awesome. All of the companionship in the zone minus one, were all in the parade, on this 8-man bicycle contraption. I forgot my camera in the truck, so I don't have pictures. We also had a booth on the fairgrounds. We just talked to anyone who came up. We had this Navajo man who came up and asked for a Navajo Book of Mormon. We didn't have one at the booth, but the White Mesa (Ute Rez) Elders went to the zone leaders house and grabbed one for him. He and I talked for quite a while. We talked about music, and the blood disorder that he has. He was probably in his 70's. He was pretty cool. We left Blanding at about 5:00 and went back to Bluff. Bluff doesn't have fireworks (Blanding steals all of the festivities) so Elder Middleton and I had to make due with glow sticks. 

Yesterday was interesting. We went to Branch Council and that was cool. The Bluff Branch has 2 groups. They have one that meets in Bluff, and one that meets out on the reservation in an old Pre-School that Leroy's dad bought and turned into a community center. There is a small group that meets out there, to better meet the needs of the Navajo people out in the isolated reservation. It's pretty cool. We went out to the Rez later that evening and all of our plans fell through. We knocked on this door, and the lady said, "Come in!" Natives just let anyone come in willy nilly. So we walked in, and she said, "Oh... Sorry..." I went to shut the door, and she said, "Don't close it. You need to leave now." It was super awkward. All I was thinking to myself was, "If you don't want certain people in your house, why do you let everyone in with a 'Come in'?" It was super uncool, but it wasn't detrimental to my day, so it's whatever. 

Anyhow, that is was my week. I hope you all are well. Do all the member missionary work that you can. It helps us out so much! Love you all!


Elder Breinholt
New Mexico Farmington Mission


Sent June 29, 2015

Well. This week has been pretty great! On Monday when we got to the mission home, they had pizza for us, which is good, because traveling all day made me really hungry. The pizza was pepperoni and green chille it was pretty delicious. They told us that you will either learn to love green chille or eventually hate it. I love it, and that will never change. We had our interviews with President Batt, and in mine, I told him that I wanted to learn Navajo (Dine Bizaad (Language of the People)). I am just glad that he took that seriously. That night, we stayed at the AP's house, it was a zoo!!! Transfers are super crazy here! There were so may elders there!! it was hard to find a place to crash.
We went to the Mission office Tuesday morning. The orientation training meeting that morning took forever! We found out who our trainers were. Elder Middleton is my 6'5" trainer. He's pretty cool. When I found out that I would be serving on the reservation, I got super excited. I also found out that we could order Navajo name tags, and so of course... I did! We left and went to Bluff, and since the hippies in Bluff are all descendants of Apostate members, they don't like us much. We live in Bluff, but proselyte on the Reservation. Since we couldn't proselyte, we went over to the fort. Bluff Fort is like 50 feet from our trailer (which is on the Church grounds). The people that work there are all senior missionaries. It's like I've inherited 12 new grandparents!! They're all great.
I got my Initiation to Rez culture on Wednesday, when we went to visit an investigator named Leo Blackhorse. They were having a cook out, and I got to experience eating some interesting food! I ate ach'ii, which is sheep intestine wrapped around the fat of the animal. It was surprisingly good! I also ate chopped intestine with green chille on a tortilla! I enjoyed it. Tell Annie, that the natives point with their lips. I also got to meet a member named Betty Bigboy. She reminds me so much of Grandma Breinholt. She cares for her 103 year old mother (shima) so she doesn't make it to church all of the time. We saw Betty three times this week, and she always feeds us when we go over there. In Navajo culture, it's offensive to decline an offering of food. If a 60 year old shima offers you food, you take it! Even if it is to-go. We taught this man named Dwayne Lameman about prophets, and he completely understood! He is definitely ready for baptism. We are also teaching a Part Member family, named the Laughings. we are teaching the kids. They are frustrating, but also fun. They were in the pool when we were teaching them, and they decided it would be funny to squirt us with their water guns! It felt nice, but it was not so nice on Elder Middleton's planner. We're going to try to commit them to baptism next time, because they were asking if we could baptize them in their pool.
Thursday was super slow. We had District Meeting, which was good. After that, we went and did service for a less active man named Leroy Boy. He's pretty cool. We dug up weed's in front of his dad's house. It was really hot that day, it got about 105. Elder Middleton and I were dead after that. No one was available the rest of the day! It was tough! There are no addresses out on the Reservation, so we have to remember where everyone lives. That's really hard. We drive a Nissan Frontier, and have to blaze our own trail sometimes.
Friday, we got to eat Fry Bread (Da' Dinilgahzh) the size of steering wheels, at the flea market near White Rock. It was delicious. Friday was pretty slow as well. We tried to find some people and they were out of town. So that was pretty difficult.
Saturday was good. We ate at Betty's house and she made enchiladas. The food that the natives make is either really hot, or really bland. It was bland, but with salt, it was very good. The work out here slows down on the weekends, because everyone is out of town, usually in Shiprock, New Mexico or Cortez, Colorado.
Sunday went well. Church is only two hours, so that's nice. They have the Bluff Branch, and also the Group out at the Todahatakani Community Center out near White Rock. Leroy Boy and his dad own it. After church Elder Middleton and I went and taught the Sam family. Their Mom, Valentina, is single, and Nigel the 14 year old son, is the father figure of the home. They're both members. He is such a great kid. Next Sunday, we are going to get him ready to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. He is so ready. We are teaching Nya, 11, and Damien, 9. We committed Nya to baptism and she is going to be baptized on the 25th of July. We're pumped.
Well, that was my week! It was pretty fun! I can't wait to do it again this week! This gospel is so true! I am so happy to be out here! The people are amazing!
I hope you all are well! Love you all!


Elder Ben Breinholt
New Mexico Farmington Mission

And the fun begins!

Received June 23, 2015

Yateh Shima!! (Hello Mother) I'm being trained in Bluff by Elder Brock Middleton. We live in Bluff (P.O. Box 116 Bluff, Utah 84512) but can't proselyte here. We do most of our work in White Rock which is on the reservation! I'm learning Navajo! I'm so exited!!!! Elder Middleton is super cool.  Its so hot here!!!! I'm so happy to be able to be here. There's not much in Bluff, but our trailer is on the church lot, and is really nice! I'm really sad that President Batt is leaving!!!!! He is super cool! This email is really only for you! I'll give you more details next Monday. We have cliff dwellings in our area! I'm pumped. Tell you more next week!!!!


Sent on June 17, 2015

Today is my P-Day. It's crazy to think that I've been here for a week. It feels like a month! On Sunday's devotional address given by the administrative director here at the MTC, he said, "You can split your mission into three parts by perception. (1) Your first three days in the MTC (2) the rest of the MTC and (3) the rest of your mission. I absolutely believe that is true! The first three days felt like an eternal round. Elder Lethco is my companion, and he is so cool. He is incredibly smart and definitely listens to the spirit before making decisions about what to teach our investigators. He and I get along really well.

Wednesday was insane, mainly due to the fact that I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. I seriously felt as though I had taken a fire hose to the face! During the New Missionary Orientation, a member of the MTC Presidency said that, "The MTC is the second most holy place on this earth, because in both the temple and the MTC, you have to be a worthy holder of a Temple Recommend." I strongly feel that within these walls. The spirit dwells so strongly in this place, that it's almost tangible.

I sincerely appreciate Gym Time in the MTC. Not only does it promote physical activity, but it also promotes gaining friendships within the districts. We have a mean Four Square streak in all of us (the District). Elder Vineyard is ruthless!!!! Everyone gangs up on him in FS because he is so mean! Every member of our district is going to Farmington. I'm really glad. I've come to love and appreciate every single person in the district. The sisters in our district are so great! They all have such strong testimonies.  

Thursday felt like the longest day. I don't remember much about it, except for the fact that I felt the spirit so strong. We had our interviews and meeting with the Branch Presidency. On Thursday night, they issue assignments that come into effect on Sunday. Our District leader is Elder Anderson, he is hilarious and also super spiritual. The STL's for our zone are Sisters Cardon and Scoffield. And the Zone Leaders are Elder Lethco and me. Before President Gerke (Grrr-Key) pulled me in to interview me, I felt the spirit tell me that I was going to receive an assignment. I was scared to death!!!!!!  Luckily, its not that responsibility heavy. We just have to make sure everything is going well in the districts. 

Friday felt like forever ago, so I don't remember it.

Saturday also felt like forever ago. 

Sunday felt like yesterday. It was so spiritual! Sacrament meeting was so uplifting. We had the Sunday Walk around the spaceship (Provo Temple) It was just nice to know that the outside world still existed. We had the Devotional, which I quoted in the first part of my letter. It was great and we talked about the power of prayer and recognizing answers given by the Holy Ghost. After that, it was film time. One of the members in the Branch Presidency challenged our entire district to go see Character of Christ, a talk by Elder Bednar 4 years ago at Christmas. They have show it every Sunday since. Our entire district was in tears. It was so moving and uplifting, but at the same time made you feel like crap, because you know you need to be better. It is seriously my favorite talk ever. 

Monday flew by.... We taught our first investigator. Her name is Sharon, she is from the Bible belt in eastern Tennessee. She Loves Christ but doesn't love God, because she feels that God has never been there for her. As we learned of her concerns, I developed a great love for her. I also hurt because I know that God wants to hear from her. She won't pray, even after committing her, she says she'll "think about it." In missionary terms, that pretty much means, "I'm just saying this to get you off of my back." She is frustrating. We also taught an investigator named Ashton. He is about in his 20's, and was really willing to listen because he lives at his cousin's (Members) house and was really interested in what we had to say. Our first lesson with him was over Skype, because he was at home sick with strep throat. We were glad to teach him.

Yesterday, we went somewhere with Sharon... We got her to understand that God does want to hear from her. This is what we needed. We were really down on ourselves due to the first lesson that we had with her. She said she was still unsure about prayer, but said she would honestly and sincerely think about it. We felt like it went better.

Our Devotional last night was given by Elder David F. Evans of  The Seventy. We talked about Work and Obedience. My favorite thing he said was, "Just don't be stupid!" 

Well, I must sign off for now. Talk to you next week! I love you and miss you all!

With love,