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!
New Mexico Farmington Mission