Friday, July 8, 2016

a 10 minute summary of Becca's mission thus far

(a copy of the talk Linnea shared in Sacrament Meeting on July 10, 2016)

“Ya’ah Te’hey” (Yaah - Te-heh)  That’s “hello” in Navajo. 

Rebecca Cardon left for the New Mexico Farmington mission exactly 13 months ago today.  Although her mission includes the four corners of Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico, she has always been assigned to serve in New Mexico.

No sooner did she arrive in the mission field, than the mission president took them out for pepperoni and green chili pizza!  Apparently green chile is a “huge” thing out there.  They put it on everything. While the pizza wasn’t too bad, Becca said green chile ice cream was weird.  Her favorite food so far is the Navajo taco.  I am told that the Kentucky Fried Chicken in Shiprock is the only one in the world that serves Navajo Tacos and Mutton.

Shiprock is also the first area where Becca was assigned to labor.  At the time it was one of only 3 areas on the reservation where the sisters could teach.  She lived in a cute little trailer out in the middle of nowhere and drove a really big truck.  Last year for the 24th of July Becca got to be on a parade float because the ward needed white people to be the Jaredites, so the missionaries wore bath robes and rode down the street smiling and waving.  They also perfected their fry bread making skills.

While serving in Shiprock, they taught two sisters - the Keams girls.  Becca tried to get them to go to seminary, but the girls just weren’t budging.  It wasn’t until a missionary training meeting some time later that the senior missionaries approached Becca and explained her how the Keams girls had signed up for seminary.  Apparently, one of them had the spiritual thought and told how the sister missionaries came to her house and shared a message.  She decided after that message to turn her life around and enroll in seminary and be excited about church again. (Aug 31, 2015)

Another fantastic person they met in Shiprock was Ludene.  Ludene read the entire Book of Mormon in about 4 weeks and was able to give a very detailed description of everything she read.  They taught her about the word of wisdom, which meant she had to give up coffee, tea, tobacco and alcohol.  Ludene was more than willing to stop doing these things so that she could be baptized.  To help her out, the missionaries took a few items from her including tea and wine.  [Just for the record, wine is illegal on the reservation, so Becca had something against the word of wisdom and against the law in their trailer for a little while … it was a little sketchy.]  But Ludene was baptized.  “She was so funny when she came out of the water.  She looked at the little kids and said ‘and that’s how it’s done!  You pay attention so you can do it in a few years.’”  

Rebecca actually received permission to return and witness Ludene’s baptism as she had already been transferred to Flora Vista.

Flora Vista is where she had her first door slammed in her face.  According to Becca, “We knocked on the door, the guy we kinda knew opened it, looked at us, we said hi, then he said “Nope, not today” then proceeded to close the door and lock it without a second to spare.  We were both so surprised that happened that we couldn’t help but burst out laughing.”

No sooner had Rebecca passed off her 12 week certification program, than she was given a greenie to train straight from the MTC.

In October Becca was made a Sister Training Leader (the female equivalent of a zone leader.)  This gave her the responsibility to look after several companionships of sisters, going on exchanges and making sure they are doing alright. (Oct 31, 2015)

Becca placed a lot of emphasis on member missionary work. To quote her:
“Members bring absolute miracles when it comes to missionary work!! (Oct 26, 2015)

“Fully occupy the missionaries in your area.  Give them referrals!!!!!! Go out with them! Invite them into your homes!  Missionaries are the tools you can use in sharing the gospel, but you've gotta give them something to work with. (Nov 9, 2015)

“I want to challenge ALL of you to do missionary work!! Talk to people about your beliefs!  Tell them about the gospel!  There is no greater joy than spreading the gospel.  I love it with all my heart and soul.” (Dec 28, 2015)

In December Becca was asked to train another missionary.  (Dec 14, ’15)  She described her next trainee as super bold, super fearless, and super awesome.” (Dec 21, 2015)  They soon had 6 new investigators!  “What I love about new missionaries is their incredible faith in finding.” (Jan 4)

Shane Kirkland was a theater teacher at the local high school which Becca described as “the greatest thing since sliced bread.”  “He came to church … with the Black family, they gave him a Book of Mormon, he read the first 11 chapters, and instantly knew that it was true and couldn’t get baptized soon enough!”  Shane went from smoking a pack of cigarettes a day to nothing in 2 weeks.

“I never thought I'd be the person to say that as a missionary I met and baptized someone in 2 weeks, but now it's happening!  Heavenly Father has truly been working with Shane for a while to get him to this point.  And it's so amazing.  It's funny, some missionaries hear about this and say things like "wow, you're so good!" or "wow, you must be an incredible teacher"  but I have to say that everything goes to Heavenly Father here.  We did absolutely nothing, it was ALL the Spirit.  Missionaries never convert anyone, it's always the Spirit.” (Jan 18, 2016)

The sisters had an awesome activity at a scout pack meeting where the boys acted out the story of Ammon and King Lamoni.  Becca had cut out paper arms so the “bad guys” could actually lose their arms when Ammon hit them with his cardboard sword.  In the end, everyone fainted to the floor.

Tom Smith was found as a media referral.  They hadn’t even mentioned baptism when Tom asked how he could get to the temple to be sealed to his wife for eternity.  So they taught Tom and reactivated his wife Marty (who was more than willing to come back to church), so that they could be sealed together by their anniversary.

Melissa Dawes was baptized on the same day as Tom (Feb 22, 2016).  Melissa was introduced to the church by a coworker.  She is half Native and half Hispanic, so she calls herself a Navajo Taco.  When they asked Melissa to be baptized she said she was so excited she wanted to scream. (Jan 25, 2016) 

Melissa’s 24-year-old son Jeremiah loved the change he saw in his mother and was baptized two months later.  Unfortunately, Becca was not there to witness that baptism.  After 7 1/2 months in Flora Vista, her mission president determined that Becca had almost exceeded the time limit for being in one area and transferred her to Gallup, New Mexico. (20 Feb ’16)

Rebecca was in Gallup training her third missionary when she experience the biggest miracle of her LIFE.  She and her companion had set a goal for 2 baptisms in May because their mission president had told them that their zone would have 2 baptisms that month and there wasn’t a single person on date in the whole zone.  President Adams went on to talk about having the faith of a child.  And so they worked their tails off and said a TON of prayers.  The Chee family had been investigating the church for 2 years.  Finally on the last week of the month, the twins agreed to be baptized.  But President Adams said the twins couldn't be baptized without a parent, so Sister Chee agreed to be baptized!  It was like a rollercoaster ride, but they exceeded their goal by getting 3 baptisms instead of 2!  “Miracles happen,” Rebecca confirmed. “We just have to work and put our trust in the Lord.” (30 May ’16)

The missionary work is moving forward in Gallup.  This past week 22-year-old Antonio was baptized on July 5.  They were expecting the entire fire department to attend since Antonio’s family volunteers there all the time.  Antonio’s mother wrote to say that Becca and her companion sang at the baptism.  It “was so beautiful, you would have been … proud.”

Then while Becca was sitting in church last Sunday, her Catholic friend Deb leaned over during the sacrament to ask what baptism entailed.  Becca pulled out her scriptures to show her the covenants she’d be making, and Deb said, “no, I know that part.  I’m asking where is it held, what do I wear, and what would happen during the service.”  Becca just about died in that moment.  Then as they were walking out of the chapel Deb asked Brother Mortensen, "would you be willing to baptize me?"  Those are the moments that make missionary work all worthwhile.

Becca summarized by saying, “Life is … good.  Missionary work is awesome.  My companion is fantastic.  The members are amazing.  I’m just LOVING life as a servant of the Lord!” (smiley face.) (March 22, 2016)

Her only complaint is that time is passing much too quickly.  She will be home to give a full report of her mission just after Christmas.

To the youth of the ward she said, "I [love] being with future missionaries.  They have such an incredible Spirit about them.  And you [can] definitely tell who consistently prays, reads scriptures, and follows the example of Christ and who kinda does it once a week on Sunday.  The consistent [ones] were confident and had a very bright light in their eyes.  I loved seeing it in others!  And I know all of you can have that light in your eye as you do what Heavenly Father has asked you to do." (Oct 16, 2015).  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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