Ya'da'la! (What the heck!) Maybe he will get used to braces soon. Otherwise it's going to be a long 2 1/2 years! Ok, so this week was a little slower because of Christmas and the baptism yesterday. We didn't get to go out and teach as much but it was still a really cool week! The two days before Christmas we went out and delivered some toys that we got from a ward in Utah and gave all of them to little kids we ran in to. It was a great way to get our foot in the door and talk to people and it was also great because a lot of the kids here don't get much for Christmas because of the poverty on the reservation. You should have seen the reactions we got from the kids when they got a gift! Yesterday the guy who competes in rodeo's who we have been teaching got baptized with two other converts from the other two missionaries area. It was cool to have 3 people all at once and the turn out was really big! They all have cool members who are there to welcome them into the ward. The funny part of it all is that we tried to fill up the font in Many Farms so we could have the baptisms here but the water was all yellow and gross so we moved it to the building in Chinle. That building is bigger anyways so it worked out well. It's awesome to think how far all of these converts have come since we first met them and my companion and I have nothing to do with their conversion processes. We joke around all the time and say that the Lord borrows our mouth when we teach and that all we have to do is be there. So to see the spirit speak to someone through us and then see that person join the church is something amazing! Well I have a picture for you and then I'm done for today. I will talk to you next week. Love ya!
Monday, December 16, 2013
Things are really good here =) Sorry it took so long to have the picture sent to you. The Anderson's and us are on Mormon/Navajo time these days haha. I told you last Monday that I was going to write letters to you guys but it never happened because we got crazy busy with Elder McCarry and I left in charge of two areas all day. I helped someone move in though last Monday and it was good. This week was super awesome! The guy we have been teaching who use to be a youth minister has his baptismal interview tomorrow and his baptism this Saturday! He is super awesome and Is going to be a great member of the Church! So.. Elder Nicholson and I have come to the conclusion that we are obviously not doing this mission thing right because we have WAY too much fun all the time haha. The other two elders must think we are crazy because we are always laughing. We have done a lot of finding this week and we have met some really cool people. The craziest part is that we have a really good success rate when we knock on people's doors. We pray all the time for the spirit to lead us to those who are prepared for the gospel and it works just about every day. It's incredible. Anyways, thank you for all the pictures this week and talk to you next week! Love you guys!
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
This week it snowed for the 3rd time and it stuck to the roads finally. It's was a cool view from the church because you could see the mountains in the distance covered in snow and all the mesa's were white with patches and streaks of red! It all melted already and made mud, but in the morning and evenings the mud freezes. It's easier to drive on the frozen mud. Church yesterday was good! A member asked the bishop if he could share an experience he had last week so he spoke for a little bit in sacrament meeting. He saw an older homeless lady in Burger king and he felt he should give her money to buy some food. She thanked him and walked into the bathroom and he waited at his table for 2 hours and she never came out. He said he thought she was an angel and god had sent her to test his Christmas spirit. He also said that everyone else didn't see the lady like she was invisible or something! It was crazy! A member of the high council talked about the true meaning of Christmas and compared Santa to Jesus. Elder Nicholson and I were driving in Valley Store south of Many Farms and we took a wrong turn and ended up knocking on this awesome lady's door who is super prepared for the gospel and talked with us for a while. It's cool because we don't know why we ended up finding her but I know God does. More proof that I don't do anything on my own. It's all him working through my companion and I. Anyways, Thank you for all you guys do and I will talk to you next week!
view from Josh's "house" :)
Monday, December 2, 2013
My thanksgiving was spent eating at three different people's houses. I was so stuffed it hurt! The first house we went to was an investigator's home and we had a very traditional Navajo food choice with a bit of regular thanksgiving thrown in. We had blue corn mush with steamed corn stew and mutton with sheep ribs and fry bread and tortillas. They also had potato, turkey, ham, and stuffing. The other two homes we ate at were members and the food choice was more like a regular thanksgiving. I enjoyed it all though! I'm glad I'm not too picky with food because I can eat all of it. We had a 4th dinner appointment but when we showed up they were just about done and they saw we were full haha so we just sat and talked to their family. SO! That Youth Minister we teach is asking people from his old church to come to the LDS church here in Many Farms! He has been busy the past 2 weeks so we pushed back his baptism to the 21st of December which is the same date as another one of our investigators (This guy is a roper and he goes to allot of rodeo's. He has placed 5th and 2nd in city rodeo tournaments in the time we have been teaching him.) Both of them came to church so we are more than likely to have two new converts on the 21st! The ward is doing really well and I love it here!
Here is a picture of our truck after it got stuck...
Josh's companions details of thanksgiving : ... we figured since we knew we were going to be eating a lot and it was going to probably hurt quite a bit, we thought we should have a contest. We weighed ourselves in the morning and we weighed ourselves when we got back into the house. The person that gained the most weight was the winner. I won. I gained 10 pounds that day, Elder McCarrey gained 8, Elder Petersen was 7 and Elder Beck was 5. After a few days we all got back down to normal, but man it was terrible! We could hardly move after that. .... We are on pavement a little bit, but most of the time we are on dirt roads. And when I say dirt, I mean that it's pretty much clay, some places more than others. And so when it snows or rains really slowly, the water sinks into the clay/dirt and makes the roads SUPER slippery. And it washes them out really really bad. ....Anyway, in one spot, it was so washed out that there was like a four foot hole in the road. And when little cars or vans tried going through, they got stuck and it takes a while to get them out. We were about to go on this road, cause our pickup made it just fine, and we saw a family out there shoveling sand and taking it over with buckets and dumping it in the hole. We stopped and helped cause we had shovels too and we filled in the hole pretty well and it was all good!" Elder Nicholson
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
A member is giving us their old Christmas tree. We already plan on having Christmas day with the Andersons and we are doing a secret Santa. Should be fun having a makeshift family Christmas! This week was AWESOME! it has been raining a lot, and it even snowed on Sunday. all the dirt roads are straight mud and we got stuck in some on Saturday for a few minutes until we were able to drive out. I bought some rain and mud boots at Walmart for 10 dollars and they are being used a lot already. We bought a shovel and I bought an ax so I can chop wood for people! Today we went to Farmington so I don't have much time to email. Talk to you next Monday!
Monday, November 18, 2013
....There's nothing to worry about because the second I got here my companion has supported me and I'm glad he's my trainer. We get along so well that we don't have to say anything and we already know what each other are going to say in a lesson But part of the reason is because we both listen to the spirit the say way. We had this cool idea last week to pray about what days we should set our investigators baptisms and for every single day we prayed about we both got the same answers. As a missionary it is great to see someone you teach grow in the gospel. you can almost see it in the person's eyes when they feel the spirit and finally get what you are talking about. As a missionary I don't do much for the people we teach. As a missionary all you have to do is let the spirit work through you and there have been many times where I have understood that I'm not the one talking., it's the spirit working through me. now all I have to do is be worthy and do my part which is studying the scriptures. I have been told many times that unless we are smart in the gospel the Spirit has nothing to use when he speaks through you. So as a representative of Jesus Christ I need to know Gods word before I declare it to the people in Many Farms, AZ. When I read the Book of Mormon, it's almost like I am in it and everything applies to me. In the introduction to the Book of Mormon it says that the Lamanites are the ancestors to the Native Americans. Everything that applies to the Nephites and Lamanites, applies to the Navajo people. I get to e one of the great missionaries in the Book of Mormon and use them as my example. There are a lot of prophecies that are in the book that I get to fulfill while I am out here. If you read D&C 49:24 it talks about how the Lamanites will prosper before the second coming. Our stake president quotes the scripture a lot and reminds the stake that they will "blossom as the rose." Pretty sweet when you can say you fulfilled a prophecy in the Book of Mormon. 1 Nephi 22:6-8 talks about how the gentiles will carry the seed of Lehi until they can prosper on their own.
The Church has done a lot for the Navajo people na if you think about it, it is like we are carrying the natives and teaching them. The best thing the church has done for the natives is the placement program. In the 60's the church started offering schooling for native americans if they got baptized and lived in foster homes in places like Utah, Idaho and Montana. It doesn't matter where you go as long as the kids live with an LDS family. The program stopped in the 90's but it was such a success that now everyone on the reservation knows who the mormons are and know wot the elders are. Unfortunately a lot of the kids who went on placement moved back to the navajo reservation and fell into inactivity. That is why there are so many less active members in our ward and that is why every time we meet someone we ask them if thy are LDS and if they have been baptized. Almost 40% of the people we meet are members but not active in the churt. But the greatest part about it is they have been part of the church before and have felt God in their life before. Sometimes thats what the people need because they get a chance to compare their life when they were with and without the church. They feel the spirit in their life again when we talk to them and realize it hasn't been there for so many years. It's great to see people light up and be excited when they talk about their experience in placement and how they still keep in contact with tir foster parents. Out stake president and his 1st counselor are from the placement programs and there are a lot of strong members of the church who are from the program as well. People bash on the placement program sometimes because a lot of the people never stayed active but I feel it ws truly inspired because everyone has already been baptized and as a missionary all we have to do is reintroduce the gospel into peoples lives. Being a missionary is amazing! I love every minute of it and I know I am doing the right thing being out here. Dad, I couldn't survive on your mission, I was so excited for conference and I can't imagine waiting for the talks to come out in the magazines. "Bind up their wounds" reminded me of when you took me to all your visits home teaching before I turned 12 and was your home teacher (companion) permanently.
We spent one p-day at Canyon De Chelly which is a famous cliff dwelling sight for Anasazi homes. We share a trailer with our district leader. He has been out the longest out of all 6 of us in the district. That not saying much though because he has only been out 9 months. If you total how long all 6 of us have been out on our missions it is 20 months, not even a full mission. We are the best district in the zone though. Pinon is the town here that doesn't like missionaries, they haven't stoned anyone but the missionaries don't stay out after dark because of the gangs. Many Farms has a "want to be" gang but Pinion is so much worse. If you're wondering about me and my testimony, just know that on a mission my testimony has grown so rapidly that it changes every other hour or so. It's strange but coll that my understanding of the Savior can grow so fast......the more you read, the more you understand, it's cool. I can pick out anything random out of the Book of Mormon and it will be what I need to know.
I listen to just about everything (music) throughout the week. My companion has even requested Christmas music already, ha ha.
I did have a scary situation almost getting stuck on the mesa. Mission president called me to be the driver in my companionship so I drive to all our appointments in our truck. Last week we were trying to find a family that we met before in the middle of no where an in the process of not being able to find them we got lost on a bunch of dirt roads. We drove around for 30 minutes trying to get off the mesa but there were too many side roads. I looked at the fuel and we were almost out of gas. By the time we found the main road to Many Farms, we were empty and had to run off fumes to get to the gas station. We made it barely, but it was close.
Don't worry about me keeping a journal. I had a hard time the first week remembering but now I write in it every day. I also have a study journal for when I read the scriptures and listen to talks. I'm sure it will only make sense to me though. There are a lot of things that if you were on the reservation you would be like "what??!" but I'm so used to it that it seems normal to me. I have a lot of native Navajo traits now that I somehow picked up like when I talk about wood, I call them "woods" with an s at the end. For some reason everything is plural when people talk. I have also picked up a lot of odd sayings like "I'll be back till next week." really, it means that you will be back next wee. Kind of strange because you never know if someone is saying they will be gone until then or after then.... confusing. I know. But understanding Navajo and speaking it is getting easier. I can have a small conversation with people who don't speak any english. The mission office gave me an English to Navajo dictionary and a study guide the day I got here. I have an hour after studies to learn Navajo so it never interrupts scripture time. No one out here can read Navajo, and a lot of people can barely read English too. If you want to hear something really cool though! Go to lds.org and go to the conference talks archive and change the language to Dine Bizaad. You can watch talks in Navajo! pretty cool to listen to!
Transfers are today but we get the transfer news the Saturday before. My companion and I are staying in Many Farms! Which means that we will both be here for thanksgiving and Christmas! This week was interesting.. My companion got really sick one day so he stayed with the Anderson while I went with the other two elders. It was ok, but I like my area better because our people are more fun lol Last Saturday we had 6 lessons in 7 hours which is a new record for our companionship! Usually we only get to teach 4-5 people a day. We have changed our tactics and we are hoping this next transfer will be awesome! Our youth minister is coming along. He still comes to church and we are almost done teaching him the lessons. He gave up his keys to the church he ran. He told us two days ago that he is ready to join the church! I'm supper exited for his baptism, because the ward already loves him :) Anyways, Things are Awesome and I cant wait to meet more people to tell them about the restoration of the church of Jesus Christ!
Pretty sweet stuff being on a mission! Talk to you next week, Peace out!
.....Just a few screenshots from a video he sent home :) (we aren't allowed to post the video at all)
"being a missionary is awesome. keep that in mind!"
.....Just a few screenshots from a video he sent home :) (we aren't allowed to post the video at all)
"being a missionary is awesome. keep that in mind!"
demonstrating how people point with their lips - "it's over there..."