Tuesday, July 21, 2015

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 

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