From: Jade Swayne <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: BIRTHDAY!!!!!
To: "Penny Paxman" <email@example.com>
Date: Monday, November 5, 2012, 1:15 PM
Where do I even begin to describe this week...Tuesday? Yea. let's go with that. Ok first off, We went-a-tracting! Which, by the way, is the junior form of people watching, Im convinced. Just imagine two cute girls on your door step trying to tell you the most bizarre story that you've ever heard....Are you imagining this?? I hope so! Because that is the only way that you will understand some of the expressions, greetings, and answers we receive from the people of Gallup, New Mexico. They know exactly what we're about as soon as they see our black name tags. We have had some people, after we've knocked on their doors, sneak up to the door so we can't see them in the window and lock their doors so we can't walk into their homes.... yea! Are you confused by this too? It's like they think Sister Stewart and I are some big Amazon women that are going to beat down their door, pillage their homes, eat their food, steal the natural resources from the land and say "Be baptized or I will cut you!!" While they are cowering at the point of our jugular aimed Samurai swords! They just...I don't know lol I don't understand the whole locking of the door part.
But anyways, Tuesday was full of fun people and people with the saddest stories you've ever heard. One man named Victor, told us how he had been an alcoholic for 10 plus years...and how after he let go of drinking he became subject to prescription medication for about another 10 years. He has two sons who are, to his knowledge, going down the same path of destruction that he was at their age. He expressed how helpless he felt. How he wants his boys to have a better life than he did, but they don't listen to him. He even told us that he had thought about shooting his sons if they didn't shape up...to him, I guess, death is better than what he suffered. He also wanted to shot one of his doctors and his wife...crazy. The saddest part of this whole discussion with Victor was the fact that he wants to come to church but can't decide if going without his family would be wrong. He seems to think that it would be disloyal to his family if he were to save himself and leave them to essentially "burn in hell"....So it's a very tough situation. And we don't know how to help Victor.
That same Tuesday we meet a family living out on the Rez. One is from Mexico, Rosando, and his wife, Deann are from the Rez. They have lived in the Gallup area for about 3 months. They lost their business and had nowhere else to go. Rosando is from a very very wealthy family in Mexico. While Deann is from a Rez town that had no electricity or running water..The two came together and have helped each other in some very amazing ways. When they first meet, Rosando was a major meth user and was close to death. Deann came into his life and taught him what love was..she helped him with his addiction, but in the end he was beyond human help. This is where the Lord came into their lives. Deann was a part of the placement program and was baptized into the LDS church, she has some basis on Christianity and prompted Rosando to give his addiction to the Lord. She knew that God was the only person that could save her husband. Rosando was so stubborn about prayer and all of the repentance stuff..but Deann was persistent. And eventually her persistence paid off. Rosando was freed from his Meth addiction and now has a beautiful testimony of the power of Jesus Christ. He told us how God was the only one who could help him..he would have died if God had not helped him to overcome. This man had me in tears...I could fell his testimony and his true faith in Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. My own testimony was strengthened that day..and I look forward to going back to that families home. I want them to know about the fullness of the Gospel and how it can bring a person EVEN closer to their savior and redeemer. I am so excited to see them again.
I went really in depth with those stories. I apologize...but I hope you liked them :) For time's sake I'm going to skip to Friday and the greatness that occurred that day.
There is a brother in our ward named Brother Craig. His is native American and has a United States sized heart. This man has really been through the ringer. He is a Vietnam vet (so we hear a lot of "back in Nam" intro's in our conversations with him). He has been through two divorces and suffers from intense Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But with all of that said, Brother Craig takes the sister Missionaries out for lunch every 2 weeks. He loves the sisters...they saved him from, this is a direct quote, "a path of self destruction". So again, he loves us. in a non-creepy,psycho war vet way. lol.
This past Friday we went to a Mexican restaurant with Brother Craig. He is not a very positive person and began to go on about how the people in the ward are hypocrites and how he hates hearing them get up to the pulpit and talk about living the gospel when they are the biggest offenders of not living that same Gospel principle. He went on like this for a few minutes and Sister Stewart and I just sat there until he was done. That's when I was instantly inspired with a thought...I decided to bare my testimony to Brother Craig about how yes, there are many people who do not live the Gospel the way they should, but that is not stopping him from living it. Sister Stewart and I both went on to tell him that he doesn't need to worry about what others are doing, that he can be a self sustaining member who depends 100% on his savior...I don't remember all that we said, but boy was this guy eating up our words! Haha, it was amazing! When we met Brother Craig at the restaurant he was in negative mood, but by the time we said goodbye to him after lunch he was clearly happy. He told us that he always feels so happy when he talks to us and I knew that he really meant it.
These are all simple stories of missionary life. And I don't know, maybe they don't mean much to anybody but me. But I just wanted to share the stories of the amazing people of Gallup, New Mexico. In hopes of expressing how great missionary work is. Whether we are helping a post-addict understand that he can be free of the shame and guilt that he feels everyday, helping a family learn more about the God that they already worship or giving a lonely soul a new view of life...I know that this is the work of God. And I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can answer all of life's questions. I know this because there has not been one time that I have felt like I didn't know what to do to help a person...the Gospel covers every concern and every question that any of these people present to us. The hard part is getting them to believing...
But we will keep on pushing ourselves, finding prepared individuals and testifying of what we know is true...I pray that our daily efforts will be enough to help these people. I am truly feeling a new love for them that I didn't feel when I first arrived...my heart is softened and I really really want to be able to bring the light of the Gospel into their lives permanently.
Everybody reading this please read the Book of Mormon. It's truly is the word of God...it will change you life. I promise.
Love Sister Swayne