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

December 18, 2013

Winter Weather

Hi Mom and Dad!

It’s been a crazy week, but a good week.  The time seems to be going by faster and faster.  I can’t believe that I’m almost already 3 months into my mission. Its mind blowing.   How is it going?  It’s crazy here, I can’t believe that it’s almost Christmas already!  I’m going to try and get my package mailed off today, so I hope it get there before Tuesday. But tonight we have exchanges, so I’m not sure it will get done.  But it will be coming at some point in time :)

SNOW!!!!   Sister Smith and Sister Mangum in Belen

At our home in Belen

This week has been good. It’s been a long week, but it’s been good.  Less than a week until Christmas!
 We did a lot of service this week.  Even though it was in the 20's almost all week, we spent most of it outside pulling weeds and building fences and cattle shelters. We had to build a pen and a house for some baby cows this week, it was awesome!  All the babies have their own pen.  They are so cute.

So Cute!
Haha!  That’s one of the baby dairy cows.  

Haha, yes I’m going to be able to run my own farm when I get home.  Llamas are also a very common pet here. So cute! I really want a horse now and a gun.  Funny what living in the middle of nowhere will do to you :)

It snowed this past week, which is super unusual for New Mexico.  Everybody was freaking out! It was fun though, because we had another set of Sisters staying with us for the night!  Don’t worry I’m warm enough, it makes me work harder, to keep warm.

We also had zone conference this week. That was interesting.  It was great to see a bunch of the people i was in the MTC with and to hear from the seventy that was there.  He had some really good points about member missionary work.  Apparently the number of missionaries has nearly doubled in the past year, but the number of baptisms hasn't increased.  Then he made a very good point about how it’s the members that are the factor that increases baptisms, not the missionaries.  It was really good, I was kind of sad we had to leave early. We had a ward Christmas party that night and some of the investigators were supposed to be coming. All of ours flaked (as usual) but the elders had a couple there.  It was ok. 

 It’s really interesting being in a ward that isn’t your own.  But I love being a missionary at Christmas time.  Even if my companion hates Christmas and won’t let me listen to Christmas music.

Thank you for the package and presents!  I got one from Grandma and I got one that I think was from the Relief society and I got one from Dad.  I also got Christmas cards from Angie and Katherine. The Johnson kids are all so big!   And Abby looks like she is 20 in their Christmas photo.  The chocolate was super good! And I used the DVD you made me! It’s awesome!  My district loves the DVDs with the other Mormon messages.  

I also got a package from the Weavers! They did 12 days of Christmas for me!  It is super sweet of them!  

The package from the Ward was a bunch of cards, most of the names I didn’t recognize. And there were some gifts. Some lotion and shower gel, and candy and some Walmart gift cards, which are awesome!  Maybe it was from the young women. There was a gift from Emily Hatfield and a letter from Holly. I also got the cutest letter from Warrens buddies.  It was from Gabe and Eli Montoya and one of his other Minecraft friends!  It is super cute!

We had an interesting lesson this week. One of our super solid investigators, well, ok, our only even sort of solid investigator totally freaked out when we taught the plan of salvation.  It was really weird.  Whoever was filling out the teaching record before i got here lied.  It said that she had been taught everything, but apparently not.  She freaked out over the kingdoms of glory. Then she didn’t come to church even though she said she would. It was very sad.  She said she would pray about it and I tried to explain that God loves all his children and doesn’t want them to burn and she will progress farther than those who don’t try, but it just seemed go in one ear and out the other. Then my companion wasn’t even listening to her questions and just kept making it even more confusing.  It was kind of terrible.

It’s ok though. Tonight is exchanges, so I’m a little nervous.  I’m going to another area instead of staying this time, so it should be ok. But we will see.

What is your Skype address?  Here is what i understand of the plan on Christmas:
We have a breakfast at 9 probably won’t be out of there until 11- 11:30 ish.
Then all 4 of us are going to the church to call or Skype.  We each get 40 minutes, so it could be anywhere from 12 to 3:30 ish (New Mexico time)
If I decide to Skype, I’ll call to get it set up right before. :)

Love you

December 10, 2013

I love Christmas!

Hey Mom and Dad!

How are you?  It’s been an interesting week.  Definitely have had some experiences this week that I will never forget :)  It makes me a lot more grateful for the protection of the lord, and the knowledge I have of the gospel and about what comes after this life. Also, I have been super stressed when it comes to teaching appointments, but the holidays are coming soon, so that will help a little bit.

It is fun to see all the Christmas stuff around town and in people's homes.  It really puts me in the Christmas spirit and is a good reminder of why I am a missionary.  I am sure I will miss the family but I am sure that Christmas will be special here in New Mexico as well.

Dad before I left you told me there would be days like these.  :)  You also told me there would be companions I would struggle with.  :)  Lucky me!?

As a new missionary I don’t really feel like I know what I’m doing yet or what to say.  My companion is supposed to be training me, but as new as she is I don’t feel like she really knows what she is doing yet either. 

Like last night, we had a dinner lesson. The mom is recently baptized and she has good potential, and I feel like I could really relate to her, because our personalities are really similar and some of her main issues are stuff that I struggled with when I was younger. But during our discussion everyone was talking and loud and obnoxious, and you know me, I have a really hard time cutting in and talking.  Then during the lesson, my companion just turns to me and says "Teach this..." And I freaked out.  Yeah, it kind of caught me by surprise.

I really like my mission president. He is very nice.  It was funny everyone freaked out when he walked into Zone training last week.  I was going to talk to him then, but then one of the other sisters was having a huge emotional breakdown so he was dealing with her.  I have spoken with my district leader several times and he is really supportive.  He suggested I start leading the companionship like a senior companion.  Not sure that helps the stress level but I appreciate his support.

All I can do is keep pushing forward. Sigh.  And it’s almost Christmas! So I’ll be okay!

We have been doing some Christmas stuff here as well.  On Wednesday we had a ward Christmas party invite activity. Apparently it was the Sister before me that set it up, so it all got dumped on me and my companion. Basically the ward has a list of 100 in-actives that are recent in-actives or have potential, so they had us divide up the list and make 20 routes and had the ward deliver cookies and Christmas party invites. Dad, I don't know what it was like in Guatemala, but here most of finding in-actives involves driving for hours in circles only to find out that the house is empty, the address doesn't exist, or that the people have a big mean dog with a locked fence. So that was interesting.  I’d say, probably about half got delivered.  So we got dumped with the rest of the names and cookies. Too many cookies and nonexistent houses. But that night was interesting. The Elders and us and a couple young women went up to the mesa and got lost, so that was entertaining.

Thank you so much for downloading some new Mormon Messages for me! I'll have to ask around about which ones are good, but not on the DVDs so I know which ones to request :)  My companion really wants one by Elder Holland called a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and my district leader keeps talking about one about climbing mountains.

Do either of you have any ideas for a talk I have to give on the holy ghost at a baptism?  The baptism is for twin girls who are 18 that the Elders have been teaching.  They’ve been taking the lessons for a while now, but their grandma wouldn’t let them get baptized until they turned 18.  So they are getting baptized on the 21. They are super sweet!  We got to go to a couple lessons. I really don’t know why they asked me to speak, I’ve never really talked to them. But whatever, it’s only 5 minutes. But I want it to be really good but also really simple :)

Yay more letters and packages!  That makes me really happy. The best part of the average missionary day is getting mail. Occasionally there are really good days, but most days are just sort of blagh. :)

Thank you for the packages I already have and those you said are still coming.  Something that I would really love for Christmas, if you could manage it would be some things to help teach.  Like the children's Book of Mormon or anything creative that you can think of :)  We are always looking for cool things to help teach kids and people who are having a hard time understanding.

So, on Christmas do you want to Skype or just call? We might be able to Skype around 11-1 ish, if the church's Skype works.

Another question. What do you want for Christmas?  I got some NM t shirts, but I wasn’t sure if you wanted one or not, or I could just send some NM style food, you do like spicy stuff, right?

Thank you for all of your love and prayers of support! Contrary to my comments of frustration, I am really happy and know that I am where I should be, a missionary and serving her in New Mexico.  I really am blessed to have the gospel as such a strong part of my life.  It has changed my life and I hope it can change other's lives as I share it with them.

Love you!


December 3, 2013


November 25 Letter

Hey Mom & Dad!

Surprise, since its Thanksgiving and transfer week, we got to have p-day on Monday instead of Tuesday. It’s just for this week though. 

This week has been pretty good, busy but good.  Just a lot of the same. :)

How is it in Texas? Having fun?

How’s life at home?  It’s really cold here.  It snowed yesterday and today, and apparently it never ever snows here.  So church was cancelled after sacrament meeting. Just my luck, because I was speaking. I had to speak on President Monson’s talk "I will not fail thee nor forsake thee." Grandma saved me when I had to speak.  She sent me some talks and one was perfect for my speaking assignment.

The day before we had been at the Ward Mission leaders house helping him with some stuff and all of his kids were saying if they got snow that church would be cancelled, and it was, but not until after I had to speak.

Teaching lessons and doing service is tiring, but it’s a good tiring.  Feel like I could just lay down and go to sleep right now.  

Missionary life is tiring and a little stressful.  Well, it’s not that anything is specifically stressful.  Just everything is a little stressful and it just adds up such as:

Not surprising, I don’t like contacting or tracting but we have to do it and so I do try to do it.  However, my companion won’t do it because she doesn’t like to do it either.  So we only get 3 new contacts for the week, then the District Leader gets in trouble with the Zone Leaders.

Also our investigators won’t come to church because it is too early, and they won’t stop doing drugs, and I don’t know what to teach and my companion doesn’t seem to know what she’s doing either, and she won’t stop flirting, which is annoying and a billion other little things.

It’s all very tiring.  Most of the time a very good tiring and contrary to my complaining I still love being a missionary.  I can certainly see why they worry about depression and forgetting about the world outside of missionary work.  You don’t need to add that stress to an already busy life.

Yes, we now have Thanksgiving dinner.  We kept being asked if we had dinner and at the time we didn't, so we would say no.  Now we have like 3 dinners.  All I really want to do though is nap. :)

For P-day today we are going into town to some stores with the Elders looking for New Mexico Christmas presents :)

I get to stay in Belen for at least another transfer.  Almost all of the missionaries in my district are staying.

I got the oranges! They are great! Thank you! The box was huge!!! There were so many oranges in that box :)

Love you!


December 3 Letter

Hi Mom & Dad!

Sounds like your Thanksgiving was fun! My Thanksgiving was pretty good.  We did end up having 3 dinners, which was a bit much, but it was fun getting to know the members of the ward.

The ward here is doing a cookie invite thing where we are splitting into groups and going around to in-actives to deliver invites/cookies.  So the missionaries are going in one group. Not sure how well it will work out, seeing as most of those people are either moved or are in-active for a reason. But oh well, should make for an interesting night.

This week was really really long, my companion seems to be really having trouble with a lot of things.  I'm trying to be patient, but I mostly just get frustrated.  Especially when she starts being mean.

We got to help someone move this week. It was a huge project that took more than one whole day. It was a nonmember and both of the Elders were helping along with us.  I really appreciated it when one of the Elders told me that he was really glad that I knew how to work and had the ambition to do so. Because my companion was off goofing around with one of the teenagers and wasn't really helping at all. So that was the high point of my week, with my companion being immature and difficult.

If I send some really really hot New Mexico food that I have to eat almost every day, would you eat it?  :)   Be expecting some awesome New Mexican food.

Question from Mom - Do you need anything?  What do you want for Christmas? So do you get cash to buy groceries? How much do you get? 

Answer from Emily - We get $130 a month for everything.  Usually I can make it until the last week of the month before running out, but this month will be tight because of Christmas, and we have practically no meals so far.

If you could get me some more mascara, that would be great! Also if dad would be willing to figure out a way to get some of the Mormon messages on a DVD or a couple DVDs. There are some that you can buy, and we use them all the time, but there are dozens of other ones that we would love to be able to use in lessons. Also, I would love a copy of the new Johnny Lingo. And some other church produced movies :)  That would be awesome!

So, a few days ago we decided to go down a road in our area that we hadn't gone down yet, and as we were driving we noticed a bunch of dirt roads going off the side. 
This is completely normal for new mexico. Most of the roads are dirt, so my companion, who was driving, decided to go down one. It was definitely an adventure.  There was quite literally nothing.  The road was really worn, it was driven on all of the time by trucks, and some of the tracks looked really fresh, like from earlier that day. But there was miles and miles and miles of nothing.  Finally we came across a makeshift shooting range.  But we decided to turn around after we couldn't see anything anywhere. 

Well, these pictures basically describe our area of New Mexico! :) 

It really is very pretty out here.  The locals all hate it.  They call it the "Land of Entrapment" instead of the "Land of Enchantment."  But I think it is pretty! 

Mom told Emily that the cats say "hello."  Emily responded, I haven’t seen many cats, but way way way too many dogs. Nasty loud mean dogs.

Love you!