So far, for most of my service as an LDS missionary I was able to serve in Poplar, Montana. My Native home. Poplar is located in North Eastern Montana and rests on the Fort Peck Reservation. It was a blessing and an honor to live among the Sioux and Assiniboine people. I loved it and will be sure to return. But I decided to make a list of different things that I had learned from serving here. The first are somewhat funny things I picked up on while I was there, but the last are my more serious observations. So here it is....
|He wasnt one of the mean ones. We named him "Franklin".|
#2: Spike or be spiked on.
The volleyball crew.
Every missionary in the Montana, Billings Mission knows that if you're going to Poplar you better be prepared for some serious volleyball. I will always remember for the rest of my life the spikes thrown down on me by Izzie and Bubba while I was in Poplar.And we did follow the direction of the ball...-1 Ne 16:16
#3: Never say "No" to food...Or seconds.
Indian Tacos will be had in Heaven.So Good!
One thing I love about the Native culture was the love they have for food. This was something I had in common with them. It was very important to never say "No" to food being offered to you. This was something that the Natives wanted to share with you and expected you to receive it. Also, the same principle is applied if you are offered seconds. I will always remember the time we were eating Indian tacos around the campfire at a Pow-wow with the Red Eagles. Rose offered seconds, which I was more then happy to have. But the missionary I was with did not want any. Bubba then said "You can tell who has been here longer."
And it came to pass that when they prepared all manner of food...-Ether 6:4
#4: If someone says "Ehhh" after something they say, Its a joke.
So if you ever hear me say that, you better laugh.
Everywhere Ive been on my mission Ive heard people talk differently. For example, it was in Great Falls where I first heard "behg" in normal conversation replaced for "bag". And when I got to Poplar I would hear "Ehhh" after people would tell jokes. It would make me laugh so much. After 7 1/2 months of being surrounded by it, I started saying it. So you better laugh if you hear "Ehhh"!
...so that all that hear will laugh with me..-Gen 21:6
Now for the more serious ones.
#5: When youre a missionary, "Devils' Alley" really isnt all that bad.
Posting it up at Devils Alley
Posting it up at Devils Alley
When I first got to Poplar I opened the Area Book and something caught my eye. In the Area Book there was a section that stated places to avoid. Under this section was "Devils' Alley". Poplar has quite the reputation for being a rough place. But I soon learned that the missionaries were respected and these potentially "scary" places weren't scary at all. The people knew who we were, and who we represented. We were safe, even in Devils' Alley.
...and others said he was sent by the Great Spirit;-Alma 19:25
I truly felt safe. I believe this is because many of the great people on the Fort Peck reservation understand and respect the missionaries calling. They understand we are doing the Lords work and as a result, we are safe.
Yea,, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.-Psalms 23:4
#6:The Book of Mormon is truly a history of the people on this continent.
|Burying deep their weapons of war.|
After spending time with the people here in Poplar Ive realized how much they do resemble those in the Book of Mormon. It truly is amazing. I will give some examples in the scriptures of how.
*Why did ye not come to the feast on that great day when I made a feast unto my sons, and unto my people?-Alma 20:9
In this scripture King Lamonis Father asked why he hadnt made it to a feast that he had organized. This brought me back to Poplar way quick. I loved the many "feasts" that we were invited to. The feasts were most of the time opened to everyone. So reading this scripture made me think of "feeds" as they are called.
*Now this was the tradition of Lamoni, which he had receieved from his father...-Alma 18:5
I love the story of Ammon teaching the Lamanites in the Book of Mormon. It is one of my favorites. In alot of the things that you can read about them, you see a resemblance in the Native people now and the Native people that he taught. This is one of them. Traditions are a big part of the culture. With religion and with just everyday things. Traditions would pass down from generation to generation, just as King Lamoni who Ammon was teaching. To read Ammons full account as a missionary teaching Natives in 90 BC, check out Alma 17-24.
*And Ammon said unto her: Blessed art thou because of thy exceeding faith; I say unto thee, woman, there has not been such great faith among all the people of the Nephites.- Alma 19:10
This holds true with many Natives that I met at church. It was amazing to see the great faith that the Natives can have. They truly are a spiritual people. I felt blessed to be surrounded by this.
One of my favorites stories of this great faith in the Book of Mormon was when Ammon converted many of the Lamanites. In Alma 26 we read about the great devotion that the Lamanites had after coming to the truth of the gospel. As a sign of the devotion that they had toward God they buried all of their weapons of war and made a covenant with the Lord that they would never make war again. They refused to even fight their brethren who were attacking them for learning of the truth.
#7: Endurance is Key
Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
Endure to the end. There is a reason that it is a principle of the gospel. An abundance of hard times and trials was definitly prevalant in Poplar. It seemed as if there was a wake (Service for someone passing) every other week. But our Father is aware of this. He loves us and wants to help us. He will help us to endure the tough situations, the trials. We must but search for this.
My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
If you would like to read Ammons missionary account among the Lamanites they are found in Alma 17-24 in the Book of Mormon. I took many scriptures out of these chapters and they are my favorite.
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