Monday, February 22, 2010

Mission Life in Many Farms

Letter dated 2-08-2010

It's always good getting your emails.

The town we are in is very small- there is a small government chapter house that we can go to to use their computers. They only have 2 and there is usually a line- because not many people out here have the money for computers or internet access. So I only get like 15 minutes to quickly read ya'lls emails and reply- so sorry they're not that great. We come mainly to email President Beck for our weekly report.

It has been very interesting here so far. This is almost like a third world country. The Navajo Nation is a sovereign nation- so federal government has no power here- no state patrols or anything (taxes). The Navajo Nation has it's own taxes, own cops (or policemen, for mom), etc.. All the houses out here are very tiny. Most places are the size of our trailor home (2 rooms, kitchen, living room). We have only seen about 5 two story houses here. I shouldn't say houses- only very few actual houses here. Most live in trailor homes like us or in a traditional hogan, which is very small. A lot of people still don't have electricity or running water in their house. Only the homes and trailors do. Most houses have wood stoves that they use to heat the home up. So everyone here has to chop wood. We have already chopped wood- Elder Nielsen taught me how. In the Spring/Summer we'll get to learn how to shear sheep for the wool.

Most people here speak English- only the older people (60+) are usually only Navajo speaking. We have some Navajo Book of Mormon copies to give out.

Most people here are very poor and live from paycheck to paycheck- we've been asked many times for cash.

The people love the land too- everyone lives on a couple acres at least- this makes it very hard to tract. There are some government housing which is more compact which we can tract out. People live in family units most of the time.

We have gone through our book and only have like one or two real investigators. So we have a lot of finding to do here.

The Navajo people are very nice though which is good and bad. People respect us and will listen and/or talk with us but will never be baptized- so it's tough to find real investigators. A lot of them are very traditional and have their ways and don't want to change. So far, we have only seen like 10 other white people who live here (other than missionaries). Not really a culture shock, but just a totally different lifestyle here.

Here's the past week:

February 1 P day, rested, laundry, shopping, bball, washed our truck (we get about 40 miles a day to drive- not much- so lots of walking- we will park off the main road and walk down the dirt roads usually). Have a bad cough, Elder Nielsen gave me some pills to help. At the store we got cussed out because we didn't give someone money (there are a ton of pan handlers here).

February 2 Lots of tracting- no success- pretty cold and windy.

February 4 Chopped wood this morning- still have bad cough.

February 5 Had zone meeting today- had to play hymns, opening and closing. Learned that I am in the .000% of people to live on Earth to be missionary for the LDS Church- this was related to Abraham 3:22-23. We got pizza! The only store in Many Farms is a Conoco Gas which we go to a lot, we tract, go use their bathroom when out and get a drink. Talked with a drunk Navajo guy who prayed and sang traditional stuff for us. There are so many dogs here! Every house has on average 3 dogs. You gotta learn how to calm them down and how to act around them. Elder Nielsen gave me a foot long club- now we each keep one in our backpacks just in case.

(Marti's commentary: When Kellie and Conner read this, they thought it meant a foot long Club Sandwich! It was hilarious!!)

Back to Tyler...

February 7 Played in Sacrament Meeting and Priesthood, I get about 2 hours a week to practice. Met a man from India with thick accent. Talked with him for about an hour at his place. Very cool person. Talked about his Hindu beliefs- now I can see a bit of what dad's interactions are like. Kind of hit me that I'm teaching the descendants of the Book of Mormon- the Navajo ancestors ARE the Lamanites- pretty cool.

February 8 P Day- laundry, emails, shopping- I bought: bread, Coke, Dr. Pepper, 2 boxes of Cheese Its, 24 Ramen packages, a bag of cereal, 4 frozen pizzas. I also have: hot dogs, bologna, pancake mix, PB&J, tuna fish, mac and cheese, tomato soup, burritos, corn dogs, bagels, eggs, french fries. We can only buy the cheep stuff. We do shopping in Chinle- kind of far so we're only there like twice a week (pday and for meetings). There's a Burger King- so we eat there on Pdays for lunch.

Well, that's all I have!!

I am very excited to get Many Farms going again. Tell everyone HI!


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