Here is Brock’s email to us. I guess I need to be more than an hour patient prior to assuming that Brett is the only letter. So proud of him and know he is loving it!
The Amazing Adventures of Elder Allen
I’ve been assigned to the coolest place in the world. I’m serving in the Papago Ward which gives us pretty much free range to leave our area to teach anyone who is Indian.
We’re like the Special Forces for the Mesa Mission. Our main turf is the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community, also known as The Rez, short for the Reservation.
Do you understand what I’m saying, I’m TEACHING INDIANS!!!! How freaking cool?! (For my oversensitive political correct friends out there Yes, they prefer to be called Indians, and sometimes Lamanites)
Anyways, here’s the crash course on my area. The Rez is huge so we get a manly pick-up truck, (Don’t worry, I’ll eventually be unwillingly transfered out to some place that requires a bike and camelback)
This doesn’t even take into account that we have responsibility over anyone in the valley with Indian blood, or dating or married to someone who is. We have one ward, and that’s the Papago Ward.
Papago has 1400 members on its records, of which 200-250 actually show up each week. My companion Elder Hannesson says about 100 of those people on the records are dead. To say the least, this ward is crazy.
You know how some people say stuff weird stuff happens “Only in LA” or some singles place, well The Rez has those sort of things too. Only its “Always on the Rez” because everything out here is weird or different from any other area on the continental US. There is little to know leadership and the records are obviously in need of a major overhaul. 7 year olds have been accidentaly baptised and non baptised boys have received the priesthood. Half the attending ward has a gambling or addiction problem and 3 of the last bishops went apostate. Its okay cuz a 4th bishop reactivated them all.
The Rez from a physical standpoint has resisted white man suburbanism. But they have embraced trailer trashiness, this is manly an indirect result of the Casino. The tribe pays all of its members huge amounts of money every 3 months called Per capita or “Percap”. This causes just about everyone to have easy access to too much money too soon, leaving broken families, broken homes, and miserable lives in the wake. Its sad, and humbling to see people living in indescribable poverty but it allows us as missionaries to reach out and touch them with our message.
This is my (modified) report I made to my mission president about our efforts in my first week in field:
We worked with Clarence to finalize details on his Baptism which will now of course be taking place on the 27th, due to his family not having a car to come down from the Reservations up in the north. We were only able to drop off a Book of Mormon in 7 huge Braille binders to Rene for her daughter Sarah because she was out of town or running errands all scheduled appointments. We’ll be visiting both Clarence and Rene today hopefully and continue preparing them all for baptism by reviewing reading and reemphasizing past lessons.
Progressing investigators include Rick and his wife Paula, Garfield, and Raymond. Rick and Paula have alot of faith in the gospel and are consistent with their reading. We just need them to be married so they won’t be in conflict with the Law of Chastity. Garfield was my first First Lesson and clearly wants to make a change from his drug/gang degenerate life and be there for his family. He’s come to church the last two weeks and is probably going to have to wait out after his probation before being baptised. Despite being the son of a member he has almost no knowledge of the most basic tenets of the Gospel, yet has expressed his desire to baptise his son who will soon be turning 8. Raymond seems to have fully given up smoking and simply need to wait out for the end of his probation next May, other than that he is GOLDEN. He has truly been brought low and humbled by the Lord, and I have cherished the few moments I’ve spent with him, as well as with all the other members and investigators here on “The Rez.”
As far my companion, Elder Hannesson has been an awesome trainer. He’s a goofy Canadian who loves Hockey and Christian rock. He’s my size and just a little taller. I know I was sent out here to be trained by him. The only tiny moments of conflict I have noticed are when I am green enough to let my pride get in the way of being teachable. But Elder Hannesson does a great job at getting past such flaws of mine.
Untill next time,
My name is Elder Allen and I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints possesses the restored gospel and that President Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet on Earth today.