OK, there are lots of tiny stories from this week, so I'll just start writing and see how many I can get to. Our ward's Relief Society President is wonderful! Her husband is a non-member, so we spend time over there occasionally. He trains race horses, and we are hoping he'll let us come over and take care of them one weekend. Since he's a non-member, years ago, missionaries would get approval from the president to go with him to the horse races. Apparently some of the missionaries put money down on the horses, and were in quite a predicament when they actually won and had to get their picture taken with the horses! It was a funny story.
We were looking at the phonebook this week. There is a section all about visitor/historical sites in our area, and we were trying to get ideas for things to do on P-day. Shiprock is an Indian reservation nearby, and it is famous for its mountain formation. This is what the phonebook had to say about the area: "There are numerous Navajo legends about 'the rock they call Tse Bit'a'i' or "winged rock." One is that it was a phantom ship that once bore the Navajo people away from the North and warring neighbors, saving them from annihilation. "WOW! Now... which story makes more sense given this legend? The "land bridge theory" that we are taught in school or the fact that Nephi and the Jaredites both used ships to get to the American continent? Pretty interesting. I just LOVE learning about Navajo traditions. Speaking of, we met with one of our Navajo investigators this week, and she told us all about the different plants, herbs and remedies that her people use to cure sickness. They really know how to live off the land. She HATES coffee and thinks the earth should be used sparingly. It's amazing how her native ways lend themselves into the Word of Wisdom pretty well. Thank goodness she doesn't use Payote, or alcohol.
Here are 2 Navajo words for you today. I have to spell them phonetically though.
Gomony means "Mormon"and
Yatehey is "hello".
We have dinner with a particular family in the ward at least once a week. The dad likes to pick on me since I was so quiet at first, but now I know that I will be the one giving opening AND closing prayer AND the member missionary lesson. It's tradition now I guess, and it's kind of funny. He loves to make salsa with HOT chiles. So at dinner this week he made the hottest salsa he could, and tried to feed it to us. Neither my companion or the Spanish elders who were also at dinner would dare try it. But since I'm still trying to prove myself to the family, that I'm not as quiet as I was at first, I willingly dove right into the salsa and took a HUGE portion. It was really hot, but I played it off like it didn't even bother me. I guess it was super amusing when I started coughing and sweating a few minutes later. But I still maintain, that it WAS really good. I actually would eat it again.
We had mission president interviews this week. I didn't really know what to expect, but it went well! I just love President Anderson and his wife. His advice on tracting has really helped. Always try to leave something at each door with the missionaries telephone number so that even after we leave the homes that seem kind of "anti", the Holy Ghost can convince people to call us back. I love seeing how my public relations training can help me even in tracting. As my professors would say, always make your message appeal to people's rational self interest. It also helps to remember who I represent, and realize that I am the spokes mouth through which our brothers and sisters can hear the message.
Tracting is getting less intimidating! We also met with lots of elderly people this week. One of them reminded me a lot of Grandma Waters, because she LOVES to make homemade candy. She had such a positive outlook on life. There are at least two returned senior missionary couples in our ward who are so fun to eat with, because they can relate to our schedule so well. There are also several women in the ward who are returned missionaries themselves. Now that I'm on my mission, I can see how well missionary service prepares you to not only be a good leader in the church, but also to be an excellent mother. Looking back on my childhood, I can see things that Mom had us do as kids as far as fellowshipping, that I think may be a direct result from her mission experience. I am so grateful for that upbringing and example.
Jeffery R. Holland gave an AMAZING talk on the Atonement at the MTC back in 2000. Most missionaries are probably familiar with it, "Teach the Atonement." Well, we were impressed to use that talk as the inspiration for one of our lessons this week. Originally, we had planned to go over the 1st lesson again, but I'm so glad we followed the impression to teach about the Atonement and it's enabling power to get through life. Like Dad used to say, "We don't know everything about the atonement and how it works...we just know that it DOES!" and it's powerful. The man we taught is trying to quit smoking by March 17, and at the end of the lesson he said that it was especially what they needed that day. I was glad that I was able to look them in the eye and say. "This wasn't our message for you today...it was your Heavenly Father's." When an apostle of the Lord commands you to teach the atonement, it is powerful. As D&C directs, whether a message comes from the Lord Himself or by one of his servants, it mattereth not.
We are starting to get paperwork for our booth at Bloomfield Days. The lady at the chamber of commerce even invited us to be in the Bloomfield Days Parade. Missionaries? in the Parade? Only in New Mexico. We'll see what happens with that one.
Oh! We were going to teach a German lady. I got SOOO excited. We even had a German version of the Liahona to give her, and I loved trying to remember all the German I learned in High School. But unfortunately, we found out that she isn't in our area.
We have run into lots of Jehovah Witnesses lately. Some of our investigators study with both sets of missionaries...which can be 'interesting' as you can imagine. But we tracted into one Jehovah Witness family the other day, and the daughter let us come out into her barn and showed us her ponies and the tricks they do. So cool! I love America, because of the freedom of religion, how we can share experiences and the truths that we share with other faiths.
Well, those are the highlights from this week. Missionary work is becoming more and more comfortable. It's getting warm here, and I love it! I hope all is well back at home.
XOXO Sister Waters