Sister Emily Mangum is a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving in the New Mexico Albuquerque Mission.

November 19, 2013


Hi Mom & Dad!

It’s been a pretty good week.  We did a lot of service this week for a lot of different people and we also had a lot of different appointments.  It's been interesting learning how to do a lot of different things.  One of the Recent Converts of the Ward is a horse trainer, so we went over to help her fix some flooring on Thursday.  So, not only did I learn how to lay flooring, but we also got to work with her horses, which was amazing.  We also built some fences and de-pooped baby cows and I don’t think there will ever be another situation where we are called to dig a hole for a dead dog. I love doing service because I feel like I’m actually doing something worthwhile, and its fun.  I am learning so much about farm life, it’s crazy.

We are going to do some district stuff today for P-day.  One of the Spanish sisters goes home next Tuesday, so we are going to go bowling or something.  Not quite sure :)

Most of the people here are very conservative, but it is a mix. This is a very rural town. Guns and cows and guns and horses and more guns...

Sunday's are actually our busiest days.  We tend to have a lot of regular appointments on those days, the only downside is that people insist on feeding us at like 3, which means we can’t have lunch and then can’t eat again until 9 when we go home.

It’s been a crazy week here in Belen, but that’s a good thing, because it just means the week goes by fast. I can’t believe that this is already the last week of my first transfer. Since I’m being trained, I probably won’t be moved this transfer.  President Miller said he was going to try and keep trainers and trainees together for the full 12 weeks of training which means all the missionaries should be staying in Belen.  I hope we all do, because that would mean that we all would be together for Christmas, which would be awesome.  I really love my District.

We also got a new investigator this week.  Apparently he used to play for the Miami Dolphins.  When we told the Elders they didn't believe us, and we couldn't go in by ourselves, so they come with us to our lessons. And they confirmed it, and one of the Elders even recognized his name.  We still aren't entirely sure why he is living in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico.  But in any case, he is extremely interested in the gospel.  He has said several times that God wants him to come back, that’s why he sent two girls to his door, because God knows his weakness. And when we were teaching the Book of Mormon, Sister Smith was trying to get another guy in the room to take a copy and the guy we are teaching comes forward and was like "I want one!!!" And he has actually been reading it, which is exciting.

Our other investigator, the one with the baptismal date had to be taught the law of chastity this week.  That was awkward.  So he has to get married or move out.  We hope that this won’t scare him off. He was super solid, so we don’t think it will, but his girlfriend might be a different story.  She doesn’t want to learn about the gospel.  Our only hope is that she wants the lessons for her boyfriend.  She thinks it would be good for him.

It’s interesting that the girlfriends of people we are teaching are against getting married.  Isn't that weird?  And we have several families in the same situation where the woman won’t get married, even though they have been together for years and have kids and the man wants to get married... it’s very strange.

I'm so glad that you are doing stuff with the Haskells!!! That's so exciting for a missionary to hear.  One of the girls we are working with is a recent convert who is inactive.  We are trying to get her back to church, but she said she doesn’t feel welcomed and feels like all the women do is gossip about her.  It’s frustrating.  I wish there was more that we could do, but really there is only so much that we, as missionaries, can do to help.

We have been asked to teach the lessons to the members when we go to dinner appointments.  Last night we were at one of the Stake Presidency Councilors homes and we got to teach the first lesson. It was actually really fun and it was good practice.  I was happy that I got to teach about Joseph Smith, which is one of my favorite parts of all the lessons.  
If there is something that I have learned in the past couple of weeks it is that Member Missionary work is one of the only effective ways to do missionary work.  Of all the people who remain active after baptism, most of them are member friends or family.  While tracting sometimes works somewhat, its sooooo much easier for the missionaries if that person has a friend in the ward who invites and introduces them and welcomes them.  

I got to share Joseph smith's first vision this week too.  That was great as well.  But it is true that when you share it, it is always interrupted by something.  Multiple people told me that, but this week I experienced it for the first time. It’s true, it is always interrupted. Always.

I'm so grateful for your support and prayers and love! Thank you!

Love you!

November 12, 2013

Preparation day is now Tuesday!

Sister Sara Smith and Sister Emily Mangum

Dear Mom and Dad,

So now P-Day is on Tuesday and I am so glad that it is P-day. It’s been a very long week :)  A lot of the missionaries in Albuquerque were having issues because a lot of libraries were closed on Mondays, so they had to email on Tuesdays and the area authority didn't like that.

I like the new person idea that you mentioned....change of heart and many other things!!!!  And I really do feel like a different person, just in a month.  It’s crazy.  Yeah, it’s amazing.  Everything that everyone says about a mission is almost completely true. :)

Being out in New Mexico has definitely been an eye-opening experience. The culture is so different, and we have been so blessed.  Most of the people here don't have near the opportunities that I have had. 

Thank you for the oranges!!! That will be awesome! Everybody calls me sister Mango because for some odd reason nobody can pronounce Mangum. And everybody asks about the Oranges in Florida, so that will be great!!! Thanks!!!

Grandma and Grandpa Mangum probably drove right through my area this morning on their way to Texas.  The highway goes right along the Rio Grande and down past Belen.  That’s so cool that they will be on their mission this week. I looked up the town they will be in and it’s right on the border, right across the Rio Grande.  Very comparable to El Paso probably.  

I've had a couple of run-ins with Spanish and it’s crazy.  I think I need to learn how to do a door approach, there are so many Spanish speakers here, even up north close to Albuquerque.

The Spanish missionaries are always complaining about the tons of people who invite them in to talk then don’t really care about the gospel message. The other night we were tracting and we came across an elderly couple who only spoke Spanish, luckily my companion’s dad is from panama, so she knows a bit of Spanish because I was completely lost.

Mom Question – You mentioned a pepper spray story?

We had this investigator who lived in the middle of nowhere, and my companion was telling one of the Elders about it and he freaked out. So he dug out the pepper spray. Its super old and the most extreme kind. He was like "Close your eyes and don't spray it in your face, we aren’t sure how old it is and it might kill someone."  But it is the type that will make you go blind.  I just wonder why the elders had it in their apartment. There is all sorts of weird stuff in old missionary apartments. 
I’m not sure if we are allowed or not, but sister smith carries the stuff that the Elders gave her, but I actually do want some, just in case, but I don’t know where to get some. The pepper spray is actually a really funny story (At least to me it is) But the Elders are super over protective.

We didn't end up going because we didn't feel safe. It may have been Elder Lee's paranoia rubbing off, but we felt better to be safe than sorry.  That's the thing, we never go anywhere that we don't feel comfortable.  There are a lot of strange people, so we always pray and make sure we both feel completely comfortable before getting out of the car.

Tell Josh I loved his note!

Dad question – Do you have your District Meetings on your P-days?

No, district meetings are on Fridays, we just don’t have studies on that day. Did you ever do exchanges?  We did that this week and it was kind of awful.  I’m not sure why, my companion didn't really prepare me very well, and they left me in charge of Belen, then the Sister Training Leader wasn't very helpful, but it turned out okay in the end.  I’m just glad that it’s over, at least until next transfer.

Mom Question – Are you close to a reservation? What’s the area like?

Well, I don't know.  It’s like an hour away and sisters don't serve there, but they are in my zone.  There is one smaller town close to it with sisters, but I’m glad I’m not there because I know one of the sisters there and she said the state mental facilities are down in her area, so they get crazy people all the time. 

If you think of the places that you see in movies with the really really poor people who live in the desert in a small trailer.  That’s basically where I am.  Not quite so bad, but about the same type of circumstances.  It really eye opening to how lucky and blessed we are.

Anything new at home? The weeks are going by faster now, so that good.  I can’t believe that this week will be the first whole month out in the mission.

Missionary Work is tough, really tough, but it is so worth it.  It’s exciting.  We've only been able to have a couple lessons that I have felt have gone really well.  The English missionaries in the states have to work really hard to find people to teach, but once we find a couple people that have potential we are able to find that one person who really needs the gospel and is willing to accept it. Right now we are trying to work with this recent convert who fell away right after her baptism. She is super sweet and has two adorable little boys, but she is having major issues with the Word of Wisdom.  We are trying to help her with that, but it’s hard.

If I have one thing to say about missionary work, it’s definitely get the ward involved.  The missionaries are the ones who do it all day every day, but it’s the members who make a difference.  The only active converts from the past few years are the ones who have been friends or family of members.  That Fellowshipping is absolutely everything.  Without it, nothing will ever get done.

Question from Mom – How is the tracting?  What happens if a man answers the door and invites you in?

If a man asks us to come in we have to make sure there is another female in the house or we just teach on the doorstep.  A lot of the time we try to have members come with us, so we don’t have to worry about that sort of thing and to help fellowship the person we are teaching.  But it’s really hard.  Don’t worry, we are always careful about that sort of thing.  Tracting is kind of awful.  But it’s the only way we have to contact people. It’s super hard, but we have managed to find a couple of people to teach.  One of the guys' last name is Montoya, I wonder if he is related to the Montoya’s from our ward. 

The family going to Texas will be fun.  Still don’t know where we will be. The Elders have a dinner but we don’t.  We might end up with the Bishop or Ward Mission Leader, but that would be ok too :)

I was informed last night that I have to give a talk in a couple of weeks in sacrament meeting.  It’s on President Monson's talk from conference, but I can’t remember which one.  I’m sure I'll figure it out :) 

Love you!


Jessica said that we could post her handwritten letter from Emily for all to see.


Oh my goodness!  This week has been something, definitely!  They are all telling the truth when they say that mission is one of the hardest and most stressful times of your life.  But they are all also telling the truth when they say it is the Best time of your life.

It's only my 2nd week, but i have already met so many wonderful people.  Most people are extremely sweet and kind!  I've also met a lot of really weird and rude people, most through tracting.  But is makes like interesting.

Luckily I've been told the hardest time of your mission is the first transfer which is 1/3 over!

Its funny, as a missionary you get very little free time to do whatever.  Most nights you come home so exhausted that you just collapse right into bed.

Now i'm on the fourth week.  I can't believe that I've been our for almost a month.  It's kinda crazy.  But I love it.

Most of the people I meet are super nice, even the ones who are devout in their own faith.  I have had a few run-ins with some crazy's but that's okay, it makes life interesting.

We do have a few really good investigators now that we have high hopes for.  Unfortunately both of our promising investigators have a girlfriend that doesn't want to get married, so that's an obstacle to overcome because you have to be married if you're living with someone before you are baptized.  But we are going to be working hard to help them be ready.

How's school going?  Is junior year of AICE killing you yet?  Well at least the holiday's are coming up.  That's sort of a little break.

Yesterday was kind of awesome.  So about 2-3 weeks before I came to Belen the Elders started teaching this woman, who is what we call "golden" because we was so excited to be baptized right away.  She loves everything about the church and will probably be active forever.  Yesterday we went up to Albuquerque to walk around the temple grounds with her and her daughter.  It was so cool and she is so excited to be able to go through in a year.

It is definitely interesting being a missionary.  No matter where we go people recognize you from your name tag.  Whether for good of for bad, lots of people want to talk to you and lots of people don't want to talk to you.  Tracting is certainly interesting.  I've already had my first anti-mormon, my first threat, and my first preacher trying to save my soul.

We ran into this couple who have their own ministry.  The husband was kid of rude but the wife was crying as she went on and on about how Christ is our Savior and to be saved we have to accept him.  My companion and I were just standing there and nodding like "yes, that is true."  It was kid of funny, before we left we had a prayer and she prayed that we would come to know Christ as our Savior.  Oh well.

We have found a couple of investigators who have a bit of potential, so that's good.  But we do have a bunch of work to get them to the point they need to be at to be baptized.

It's also true that all of the new missionaries get sick.  It might be the stress, the change of environment, or even a bit of temptation or maybe even all of the above.  But one of the Elders in the same ward as me, who was in the MTC with me is really sick with bronchitis and his companion has a really bad infection in his kidney or at least that what we think it is.  Both me and my companion have really bad colds but gratefully that it's not worse.

I hope you have a good time your junior year.  I hope you have a great time with Homecoming and your friends. 

Love you!

November 4, 2013

Halloween Week

Hey Mom & Dad!!! 

It’s actually been a pretty good week, they seem to be going by faster now, which is good.  

Belen is BEAUTIFUL!!!  You should look it up. On one side are the Sandia Mountains and on the other side is a mesa and in the middle is the Rio Grande.  The past 2 weeks have been the only weeks where the leaves change and they all changed to a gorgeous golden color. It was so pretty.

Oh my goodness, yes! So much good food. A lot of it is just stuff that I had never thought would go together and green chilies on everything, and when I say everything, I mean everything. The style in New Mexico is very different but good.  It’s a mix of American with Mexican and Native American. Spicy spicy spicy food. But is really good!  Guess what! One of the members fed us Coney dogs! Except New Mexican style with beans and green chili on top of the hamburger :) It was so good. 

Halloween was ok, an Elder hit his year mark and apparently when an Elder his a mark its tradition to burn something. 6 months=a tie   one year= a shirt so he burned a shirt on Halloween.  It was kind of amusing.

It has been a pretty good week except for the sickness.  One of the Elders who came out with me and is in this ward has Bronchitis, and I think I have it too. The others are calling it the "new missionary sickness" apparently everybody gets sick in their first area. 

It’s been going pretty well. This week we had a couple of lessons with some interesting new people.  All of the people that we are working with are former investigators who were dropped. The one with real potential was found tracting a few weeks before I was transferred into this area agreed to be baptized at the end of this month.  He’s really nice, a big Native American guy.  But we definitely have our work cut out for us because he and his girlfriend aren't married and we also have to teach all the lessons.

I really don't know what the missionaries before me were doing because it doesn't really seem like much has been done or accomplished and we are starting from scratch with almost everybody. But that's alright, it has been a really good experience for me.

Tomorrow, we are going up to the Albuquerque Temple with one of the Elder's recent converts to walk around the grounds, so that should be fun.

Love you!