Monday, July 23, 2012

Pioneer Day in New Mexico

On Saturday we were manning a booth during the Pionneer Day celebrations, and some girls from Utah came up and said that it was a tradition of theirs to send pictures of missionaries to their parents so that they know everything is alright. And so thats what happened. The other guy is Elder Bankhead. That was a rather fun celebration, a pagent and then a tiny parade and booths. It was really quite cool to see how, as a missionary, you don't have to worry about food or drink too much, people were bringing us water and snocones and burritos. The promise to missionaries to take no thought for food or drink is really true when out serving these people, especially the Zuni, always giving us food or drink.

Today was not much of a normal p-day I guess. We went to work out at 6 in the morning with President Gibbons(really cool guy). Then we ran out to Zuni to help this older brother who can barely see put down some roofing and to switch out some sheets of plywood. They don't really do shingles out here, its rolls of stuff and if not that, then its sheet metal. Parts of the places we go look like a 3rd world country, its kinda crazy. But most people live in mobile homes with some houses in Ramah and more houses in Zuni. After the roof, we ate lunch in Zuni and then came back for a bit of study and to wash our truck cause we have zone conference on Friday. 

Zone conference is in Gallup (NM) which is 45 minutes away going about 65 the whole way, and its just our zone, and the Zuni Branch(which only had 45 members there this week)  are supposed to be feeding us. Elder Bankhead and I have to leave our apartment at 7 that morning to get there in time to meet with President Batt. I did learn that one of the guys from my district in the mtc is out in my zone with me, Elder Meng, the one who's shoulder I messed up. Its pretty cool to see him at zone get togethers. 

Our normal day right now is wake up 6:15 go work out till 7:15ish then come home eat oatmeal and drink some protien, shower then study from 8 to 11, with 2 of those hours being companion study, that's part of the 12 week in-field training. Then we have been eating lunch in our apartment with a little bit more study til we leave at noon. Our apartment is tiny by the way, take a couple feet off every direction in the garage and that"s pretty much it. I'll send some photos of it soon. then its out to work, and we have to leave Zuni around 8:30 to be back by curfew, its 30 minutes out. 

We have been teaching this one family for awhile but as seems to be the case with Zunis the committing is one of the hardest parts. We also have this man who is ready to commit he just doesn't think he will be able to be ready before the end of the year and that will be too much time, cause he doesn't really have any major things he has to change. Another guy is probably only 35 and he will get baptized as soon as his probation is over. Then another guy who is just not sure he wants to give up the Zuni religion entirely because he likes the Zuni dances, but he doesn't have to give that up just as long as he realizes it will become culture instead of religion. Not much else in the way of investigators but we spend lots of time with less actives just because there are so many who have been baptized but chose to be offended or just quit coming. 

Yeah most days kinda feel long but looking back its hard to see it as a month and more that has gone by. Every day is just so similar you can't really keep track. The worst days are when all your appointments fall through cause you know they are there but they just aren't willing to talk with you that day. 

I got the card from grandpa and grandma, make sure my emails get forwarded to them, and also the wedding announcement, nothing much else comes hahaha. It has been way more of a sauna down here, mom haha, especially since its monsoon season for a little bit more, but supposedly then it will all quit raining most afternoons.

I will be singing 'A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief' in Zuni Branch a couple of weeks from now. President Gibbons is pretty good on the piano and a music teacher so he will be playing along, he is the one who suggested I sing. 

Its pouring rain and thunder right now, I can hear it. That is really all I can think of right now, maybe I'll think of something later but that really is pretty much everything.

Elder Alex Huff

Oh and I ate a halepaeno (Mom's translation-jalapeno) green chile the other day and it wasn't that hot!

Monday, July 16, 2012

My First Area

I got the package that you mailed when I left the mission home on the 10th. My Trainer is Elder Bankhead from east of Pocatello.  He is a farm boy and that is what he wants to be when he goes home.  We are in Ramah, New Mexico, which is 45 minutes south of Gallup, which is where our district meets and the zone leaders are.

We drove 3 hours last night to get here.  The area holds Ramah, all the Zuni rez and all the Navaho rez but we mostly work with the Zuni.

Oh, and my trainer is only at 4 months.  Gotta go.


Yes, I have more than just Ramah, we have the whole Zuni res as well and a part of the Navajo res around Ramah. Yes, I got the water pictures in the package and I got the candy and thought that it was kinda funny.

I love the area. The people are so kind, the Zunis will give you food or water when you go into their homes, as a show of respect for what you are doing. We met a man who is kind of a perpetual investigator, and he does lots of stuff with the culture and stories down here, which will be really interesting and helpful to talk with him. 

Most of the work we do is down in Zuni, simply because the people of Ramah are baptized or they don't want to be at all. Most of our appointments fall through though. We had a whole day that was full of appointments and then we had none of them go through. And the ones we have taught always have the one thing that is holding them back, like common law marriage or the priesthood or other stuff, but its always just the one thing.

And 78* is a very cool day out here. Most days its up in the 90's if not more. Almost every evening there is a rainstorm or lightning and thunder, although they somehow miss Zuni and Ramah. 

My companion gave me a letter that Wilford Woodruff wrote talking about the natives, that said most of the Pueblo Indians are actually Nephites and that the other tribes that were raiders or nomads were usually Lamanites. When I see the people and the attitudes and the history, I really believe it. There is such a difference between Zuni and Navajo, in looks as well as in work attitude and focus. Zuni jewelery is way better than Navajo stuff, usually. 

My companion, Elder Bankhead is cool. He is a farm boy from Malta, Idaho area, worked as a diesel mechanic for years before he came out. He's 26. He and President Gibbons have got me heading to the gym and working out in the early morning. I don't know what else to say about him. 

I have really been working hard to do everything like I should and be exactly obedient, its not that hard but you have to work for it. President Benson once said that "When obedience ceases to become an irritant, and becomes our quest, then will God endow us with power." or something really close to that. That is my goal and my quest. I began reading Jesus the Christ by James A. Talmadge and I really like it. There is so much knowledge there to learn and to have brought to my understanding, I may want a copy sent out later. 

I have eaten more beans than I would really like to have in the past couple days but that's what the food is down here so that's what I'll eat. Oh, and I ate sheep stomach but that's no biggie. Well, that's all I've got this week.

Elder Huff

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Travel Day

(This post is written by my mom.)

Alex emailed on Sunday to let us know that he would be calling around 4:45 local time.  We were stoked!  Rob set his alarm to be awake for our call.  Chris was up waiting for the call as well.  4:45 came and went, no call.  We assumed there just wasn't time so we looked forward to hearing from him during his 1 1/2 hour layover in Denver.  The phone never rang at home or either cell number.  After 4:45 pm rolled around we finally accepted the fact that he wasn't going to have that opportunity to call. I kept checking my email to see if he sent a short note from the mission office in Farmington.  There was no email.  We had given up this time.

While I was cooking dinner at 8pm the phone rang.  I didn't think anything of it until a few minutes later I got the sign from Rob that Alex was on the phone!! I turned everything off, pushed things off the heat and picked up the extension.  It was wonderful to hear Alex's voice.

I had missed out on a few things so Alex repeated his adventures of the day thus far.  Alex and his 9 travelling companions (7 elders and 3 sisters total) all headed to the New Mexico Farmington Mission left the Missionary Training Center bright (well, maybe not bright) and early at 3 am.  They arrived at the Salt Lake airport at 4:15 and made it through security by 4:30.  All tried to call home but the calling cards they had would not work at the airport. (It was nice to know that they tried.)  Their plane to Denver had some problems.  They couldn't get them all fixed so they needed another plane.  They left 5 hours later than their original departure time.  They were only scheduled for a 1 1/2 layover in Denver so they missed their connection to Durango, Colorado.  They were told there would be another flight at 9.  They were cool with that.  It turns out that was 9 am the next day!!  The airline gave them some food vouchers and put the lot of them up at a Holiday Inn in Denver.  Once they were settled in they all called home. Alex's comment on the hotel was that there sure wasn't much to do in the hotel when you are missionary! No tv and no swimming!

It sounded like they were having a good time but they were travel weary and were ready to begin this next phase of their missions. They will arrive in Farmington on Wednesday around lunch time. From their they will meet their new companions and head out into the mission field to begin this next step!

Alex was very happy and ready to get out there and go to.  Please send him a note if you think about it.  His address is just to the right. Don't send mail to the Provo, Utah, address, they won't forward.

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2nd 2012

 This week has been awesome! I got my travel arrangements on Wednesday.I will leave the MTC at 3:00 in the morning and my first flight takes off around 6:50, lands around 8:10ish. My second flight takes off at like 9:50 and lands 10:40. I go from Salt Lake to Denver then Denver to Durango, and its a car trip from there on. 

We had some amazing stuff happen this week. We had a devotional from L. Tom Perry where 10 of the 12 were there. I have been able to see a bunch of Elder Bednar's devotionals here. He is such an amazing speaker. If you can you should read or watch them. Character of Christ and Becoming a Missionary are the 2 titles. 

I have felt the Spirit so strong this week. Some of the lessons that I have taught with Elder Poulson have just been so filled with the Spirit, its amazing. Then our fireside last night was interesting and spiritual. It was by Ted Gibbs, a member of the 70 and he played the part of  Willard Richards as he described the story of his conversion and the martyrdom. It was so powerful. You should read that story again, and really think about it. 

I'm gonna dry clean my suit today and get a hair cut appointment, not that i need to cut my hair but I'm gonna see if they can give me a fade without cutting the top, but I don't know maybe not. So close to heading out its not even funny. 

I got a package from Matt, which had a Ducks button in it, which was pretty cool. 

My friend Hunter should show up Thursday so I'm excited for that.  I hope to see him a bit. We vacuumed stairs for service this last week which was weird because they were tile stairs. We don't get to go to the temple again.

I think my closing thought will be on some of those talks I heard this week. Elder Bednar talked about being baptized by fire being as important as being baptized of water, and President Benson had a talk where he spoke of that when we accept the Lord as our captain that we catch fire and that we can transmit that fire to others. I know that the fire that they both spoke of are the same fire and that it is the fire of conversion. My hope is that I will be able to kindle that fire in myself and let it burn long and hot. I know that what I am preparing to do is the right thing and that this church is true and that the Savior lives and that Joseph Smith restored the gosple of Christ and was a great prophet. I know that our church leaders today are prophets just like Moses and Abraham.

Elder Huff