Tuesday, October 23, 2012


So I am out in a Branch again, and we only had twenty-seven people at church on Sunday. Which seems like it is less than usual for out here but I've only been out here for a few Sundays so far.

When I got out here I expected to be in small towns most of the time. When I thought small I thought like Stanwood back home (Stanwood is a 4A school for those wondering how big!).  When I got to Ramah I saw what a small town actually is, everyone was related and there were only about 5 streets! Compared to that Toadlena isn't even a town. It really is just a tiny community with a trading post, a couple churches and a gas station that is 12-ish miles from most of the people. Just a tiny little place, but from our trailer and the church, which is at the base of the mountain, we have the best view over the whole place. Some nights we can see the lights of Farmington from where here.

This week was very different from normal. P-day was way good. We climbed part of  Bennets Peak (way steeper than we thought it would be) and then climbed up the mountain behind us. It was also way steep but I just went up the side of it and the view from the top was amazing! Then on Tuesday we got to have a zone conference with Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Seventy. He spoke on some really great things. Some of the most interesting was that they had been considering changing missionary age for about a year but didn't decide until now. Along with that age change comes another change. All missionaries, starting January 1, will spend only 2/3 of the time they do now in the MTC, so for English speakers its down from 3 weeks to 2 weeks. More responsibility will be placed on the trainers of those missionaries than ever before. Its going to be very different out in the mission field in the next few years. And I have already started to see the change in peoples' decisions. A friend from school wrote to tell me she was putting in her papers in the next couple of months. I never thought that she would serve but now she is and she will do a wonderful job out in the field. Then after our zone conference I had exchanges with Elder Vawdry from back home (Arlington 3rd) which was pretty fun and really different from my last exchanges. When I got back to Toadlena I got pretty sick, I think I threw up 5 times on Friday and wasn't really able to work or go out till Monday. We think it might have been some lead poisoning cause I found some shot in the venison I ate the night before, but whatever it was it was not fun. And so i didn't even get to teach in Toadlena this week because of that.

Those days you are sick feel like such a waste of time. Other than that it was a really good week and I can't wait to get back to work.

The gospel and the priesthood truly will and do bless our lives so much.

Elder Alex Huff
Baptismal Font

Hauling wood with our truck.

Old Zuni Mission
Look close and you will see the "roads" on the reservation!
Kachinas painted on the walls.
Sunset over Ward building in Ramah, NM

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Good Place to Be


This week has been awesome! We spend so much time out doing service, usually up in the mountains hauling wood for the people and trying to get people back to church. Its hard work but it is satisfying to see the change come into peoples lives as we work and help them realize what the gospel can do for them and why it is so important.

My companion and I are starting a diet this week :( no sugar and lots of veggies and chicken. We are also doing the Insanity Asylum workouts in the morning, which is nice since I left the weight room we had in Ramah.

We were hauling wood Friday and Saturday and got way up on the mountain behind us and got some amazing views of the flat lands and of the mountains. Today for p day we are gonna climb a lone peak out in the desert in our area and then take the rest of our district on a hike up the mountain. It should be a really nice day.

We finally met with one of our investigators, who is very different than most people out here. He is a white guy who is rather involved with his faith, both of those things are the rarities out here in the rez.

I have really been noticing the land this last week. I can and have literally seen places that make the scriptures about rough places becoming smooth and smooth rough and cities being swallowed and destroyed, come to life. You look at them and you just know that it couldn't have been like that before but that it is like that now. I love seeing the scriptures like that.

I am way excited for tomorrow we have a general authority(one of the ones I got to listen to at the Stake Conference we had last month) coming down and speaking to us, Paul V. Johnson. It should be really good.

I finally had my first sacrament meeting out here in Toadlena and it was different. The schedule was backward and Sunday School and one of the talks were in Navajo.  I couldn't understand those. I am trying to learn it but it is way hard with all the little differences that it has and how none of it makes sense.I have to say it is the language that makes no sense to outsiders and very little sense to the natives. But it is fun to learn and to figure out and to make a little progress with. Teaching would be so much easier with some of the people if we spoke it already but I see why they don't teach it, since not many people speak it fluently any more.

Daily study is so awesome! I have been learning so much from the scriptures and seeing so much more of the connections that is in them already. I wish I had been doing it at home already.

Something funny that happened this week was that we noticed a rock we always drive by is shaped like a thumbs up, and its funny cause that stretch of road has a crapton of hitch hikers!

Everything is getting cold here and all the leaves on the mountain are yellow or orange by now and tons of them are on the ground already. I am grateful the Lord chose to send me here, its a good place to be.


Elder Alex Huff

New Area

The new place is really different. The Navajos are completely different than Zunis. Finding is really hard out here once you tract out the government housing, after that you have to go "hogan hunting" which is pretty much taking a dirt road and seeing if people live on it.

It is way hard to find out here. But I like it, it is great! I just have to be real careful with eating fry-breads otherwise i will gain a ton of weight. We usually eat them with powdered sugar or honey, which tastes awesome but when they are the size of a dinner plate you can really be putting on some weight if you aren't careful. I will make some for everyone when I get home.

The people are great, and crazy. It seems like most of them love the missionaries but will never follow through with much. We will go over and talk with them and they will tell us they know the church is true but then they will never show up, which is kinda odd. And if they offer you something you pretty much have to say yes or you will offend them, which is different as well.

The area isn't to much red sand just brown sand. We went up in the hills on Friday to go chop some 'woods', as they say out here. We took 3 axes with us and we broke one, lost the head off another and threw a huge splinter off the third(we didn't have anyone with us, so no chainsaw). I felt pretty bad that we broke 'em but Elder Eging doesn't care. Elder Eging is great, i have been getting along with him really well, although it was a little odd with the change. He cooks really well so we eat pretty well and people just give us food too.

We watched conference with a less active and in Shiprock, and in our district the news about missionaries caused quite a stir. Oh and you will never guess who I have in my district. Nick Vawdry from back home, he was friends with Ash and from one of the Arlington wards. That was quite the surprise to have happen.

The transfer stuff wasn't bad at all, I just went into Gallup early and spent 4 or 5 hours with my zone leader and another elder who was being transferred. We taught a lesson and tried to find some refferals. Then the transfer van came back from Holebrook and picked us up and off we went. We probably got to Farmington around 8 and to Toadlena around 9:30-10 pm.

We had some surf and turf yesterday with the less active which was pretty cool, big ole steaks and some crab legs. We also helped rescue a golden eagle. The eagle had a broken wing and we called the ranger and helped get it into a box and stuff, that was fun and I got some great photos. The views out here are amazing, my camera cant even do them a little bit of justice.

This p day we are going into Farmington and gonna check out some trading posts and jewelry shops that give us killer discounts.I'm looking for a keyboard to start spending a good amount of time practicing when we go home for the night. I have been working on learning Navajo from elders and from the people we visit but it is slow going so far but its only been a week. I would really love a Navajo to English dictionary for Christmas.

I can't think of much else that is going on except we will be climbing Shiprock and Bennets peak on p day next week which will be way cool.

Elder Alex Huff

Monday, October 1, 2012

My First Transfer

Hey Family,

So, I have kinda stopped trying to learn Zuni since I learned that I am getting transferred this week. I have to be in Gallup at 12 Tuesday and will work with one of my zone leaders and another elder as I wait for the transfer van to go out to Flagstaff and Winslow.  Then it will come back for me, and take me up to Farmington. Once I get there I meet up with my new companion, Elder Eging, and will ride back down towards Gallup again to get to my new area. I will be serving in Toadlena, which is deep in the Navajo Res, I will have a real hard time understanding the people. But I will get to go into Farmington for most of my pdays which will be nice, and it will be nice to talk with President a little more often.
President is sending me out there to help the elder and the area, I guess. The elder is a little homesick (he only has 6 months left so it is kind of understandable). I guess the area is right on the edge of being super productive, so it will be a really big change and it will nice to have it be different. The area will be super different, out here they have trees and sage and a little bit of grass but out there I guess it is just red sand. If you can think of some of the more desolate places in the John Carter movie then you are probably pretty close to imagining what it is like. They will live in hogans which are their houses, which are circular and one room and dirt floor usually. I have heard there are no cattle fences so livestock: sheeps and elks and cows and deers(as the navajo say), will be all over the road and everywhere else. 
This week has been amazing. The baptism went through and both President and Sister Batt were there and they both spoke. On Sunday we got to confirm and ordain him to the priesthood which is amazing. Then he got up and bore his testimony of his own choice which was so cool.  President Gibbons asked me to sing the closing hymn in Sacrament meeting. Everyone knew I was leaving so it was kinda special. Then right after that our Sunday school teacher asked me to sing a song for Sunday school to help her emphasize the lesson which was rather fun. I love being able to share my talent so much with these wonderful people.
On Pday Elder Bankhead and I went out to some natural bridges above Ramah. As we were hiking up I split my pants in a big way. I had been patching them with ducktape till I could get another pair but President Gibbons gave me a pair of his which was pretty nice. So I am good for pday and service pants right now. On Saturday we were doing service for some folks fixing a fence on one of their fields and we heard some elk bugling. We went to take a look and I saw a couple but Elder Bankhead said he saw 6 or 7 bulls and a bunch more cows, that was pretty cool.
President Batt said something about me training in the future so I have that to look forward to in some of the next transfers. I think that would be really fun but also really hard to teach someone and our investigators at the same time and also to be in charge of an area. Being in charge of an area is kind of a scary thing to look at. I dont know how I'd be able to do it but I know that the Lord will never ask me to do something that he won't support me in.
It is so amazing to read through the Book of Mormon slowly and to be praying to learn what I need to know each day because when we do that we get things that we never would have seen or even noticed before, and it just reaffirms my knowledge that this church is true and that Christ is at the helm and that he is teaching us what we need to know as we need it and as we will accept what He is teaching. Christ is my savior and my redeemer.

Elder Alex Huff