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

February 25, 2014

This is not the same New Mexico as Belen!

Hi Mom and Dad! 

It sounds like life is flying by. 

Sister Grigg, my companion, has been out about a year. We seem to get along great.  It’s only been a week, but it seems to be going pretty good. It really does make life so much easier being with someone you can actually get along with.  She has been in White Rock for 6 weeks, but 4 of those weeks she was deathly ill and couldn’t get out of bed.  So both of us don’t really know the area or what to do, just trying to get to know people really. 

And Los Alamos now has 3 sets of sisters. Which also makes life interesting because there aren’t any Elders anywhere near us.  So all of us sisters are going to Santa Fe in about an hour :)  Not sure why, but we are.

Working here in White Rock is very very different than in Belen. The ward has about 400 members and about 350 of them are completely active. 

You can see the effect of having twice as many missionaries.  So last year, the whole county of Los Alamos was covered by one set of sisters.  There aren’t very many people that live here. But now there are three sets of sisters in Los Alamos.

Sister Grigg and I cover a tiny little town of 4 thousand called White rock. It’s a very interesting place to serve.  Every door has been knocked on at least three times in the last year, so tracting is out. We talk to TONS of people who are super super educated and have read the Book of Mormon or taken the lessons. Everyone knows a Mormon.   We are doing a bible class for the youth.  It is fairly successful. Although I have only been to one so far.

The culture here is extremely strange as well.   The whole first day I was like "is this for real? This can’t be for real!"

National Laboratory
It’s a tiny town, but everyone is either a scientist brought here by the National laboratory. Or a millionaire.   Or both.  But they hide it super well. You would never know that it was a town of super geniuses or super rich people.  Basically everyone here was hand-picked by the government to work in the lab or in the schools or something.  It’s very different.  And everything in downtown Los Alamos is science based. 
It is a great opportunity.  I’ve met a lot of really nice people here.  People who sometimes use words that I’ve never heard before, but it’s a super nice ward and they are really eager to do missionary work, even though there aren’t a ton of people around here.

The missionary work is extremely slow here. So we are trying to see if we can find some service.  There isn’t really much here, but there are a few places.  We are going to try and get in at the visitors center at the national park.  We don’t know if we will be able to because it is a national park, but we are going to try.  Apparently this place gets super crowded about April because of Bandelier Nation Monument.  It’s a national park that has Native American pueblo structures from 1150 to 1600.

I’m learning a ton about the scriptures! I’m working on reading through the Old Testament right now.  After about the 5th person who knew their bible in and out I decided I needed to read up a bit on Israelites.  But it is super fun to study the Book of Mormon. The landscape around here, I can totally picture some of the Book of Mormon stories happening here 

I am also super excited. Only a month until we can go to the temple! Yay!

I hope all is going well :)

Love you!

February 18, 2014

White Rock New Mexico

Hi Mom and Dad!
I have a few minutes today to email you and tell you where I got transferred to. 

I am now in Los Alamos County at the northern most part of the mission.  In a town called White Rock.
If you don't know what Los Alamos is, you should look it up.  It is where the atomic bomb was developed. 
Definitely a different type of atmosphere, it is almost the exact opposite of Belen. Everyone is a scientist and works for the national laboratory.

I'm excited for the change and am looking forward to starting to work here.
Apparently there are like 400 members and 350 of them are active. So it should be an interesting place to do missionary work.
My new companion is Sister Grigg and she seems awesome! 

One more picture from Belen.
Angelia, Selena, Liberty and Tomasita.
Angelia and Selena are two of the girls who are working towards baptism in Belen

I'm not sure what my address is, but I’ll find out.  
But I would prefer if all my mail, for now, went to the mission office, that way I don't have to worry about all the transfers. :)
Love you so much!

February 17, 2014


Hi Mom and Dad,

How are you?  It’s been a long tiring week. We have been trying to prep four more people for baptism, and it’s been intense. It’s been a crazy week, especially now that I’m being transferred.  Just two days ago I found out I’m being transferred.  Don’t know where, just that I’m going tomorrow. I’m excited to go somewhere new.  It’s time for a change, I can feel it. It’s time for new people, new investigators, new ward, and new companion.  I’ve been trying to pack and to say goodbye to people and trying to get in the last few things that i want to do here in Belen but mostly I’m ready for a change.  I’m ready for something new.  I love Belen, but I need a change of something.  I’m sad that I won’t get to see the baptism on Saturday but hopefully I am going somewhere exciting! :)

Here are a few pictures.

This is Nevaeh and Jessica who will be baptized on Saturday.  I’m so sad that I’m leaving and won’t be there :(

This is a picture of Sister Nunez ( who goes home tomorrow) Me, Sister Mitchell, and Sister Walker

This is a picture of the Belen District!

This morning we went bowling and laser tagging with a huge group of missionaries :)

Hope to email soon!

February 11, 2014

The Work Continues

Hi Mom and Dad! 

Thanks so much for that story on miracles and specific prayer! It really is amazing.  There has been a big emphasis on that here as well.  Specific prayers.  Although, ours were never that specific.  Guess we are just going to have to try it!

Although we haven’t had a miracle like that yet.  The Spanish Elders in our district did.  They came to district meeting with this amazing story (and keep in mind this is the area that had one lesson one week. They have never had any solid investigators) apparently, they are now teaching an entire congregation.  They met this pastor and got to be good friends with him, so the pastor brought them in to teach his congregation and they picked up at least a dozen new investigators.  And several of them were at church on Sunday.  

We have had the usual stuff going on. We had our first lesson with a part member family this week. Teaching the two little kids Taylor and Tristan. The grandparents were there and the inactive mom seemed really engaged, but the dad got up and left as soon as I mentioned Joseph smith. Oh well. 

Pretty much that's the most exciting thing that happened this week. It’s been a fairly dull week.  Most of our appointments fell through or got cancelled. But that's the nature of missionary work.

The past few weeks have been some of the hardest weeks that I’ve experienced yet, but it is also the time that I’ve seen the most success on my mission.  I really love serving here in Belen. I've met so many wonderful people.  The ward is amazing and the people we talk to on the street are so nice. I am praying that I’m not transferred this next week, because this is the first time we have even come close to a baptism here. 

It’s the down time that makes me the most stressed.  It stresses me out to teach (as usual) but not having anything to do is so much worse.  Then you’re going around trying to stop in on other people or trying to find new people to teach.   It’s especially hard after 7:30pm. Most people aren’t too happy to have missionaries at their house late at night. Which can sometimes be awkward because we aren’t supposed to go home until 9pm.  It’s a little stressful.  Most nights we don’t have a dinner appointment, so we just go home an hour early to eat dinner.  Most people are super grumpy if you show up after 8pm. Not an ideal time to proselyte.  Especially if they have kids. 

Most people aren’t too rude. Just somewhat rude. It’s definitely interesting talking to all types. It doesn’t bother me so much anymore just walking up to someone and starting to talk to them. You learn to show interest in all sorts of things.  I really wish I knew a lot about cars.  It seems to be a common topic.

Yay!  We got more propane, so no more cold water. We turned off the heater so it’s kind of cold at night, but that’s fine. Haha! It’s already getting warmer. It’s not really the heat that worries me, it’s the sun.  I have this freckle on my arm that I’ve been watching for a while.  If it gets much darker, I’m going to call Sister Miller to get permission to go to a dermatologist. 

I know Brooke! I think we are Facebook friends actually.  It is actually really warm here as well. It snowed last Wednesday, but now it’s in the 70's.  I got a sunburn doing yard work yesterday.  We were helping the Elders.  There is so much dead desert grassy stuff here.  Lots of people need it pulled up.  Apparently the windy season is starting! Yay! Sandstorm time.  The first time I saw one, it scared me half to death.

This week we find out about transfers.  It has come so fast!  It’s interesting, looking back, I can see how much I have been able to learn from experiences and circumstances.  It seems crazy to me, when I look at a calendar, to see how much time has already gone by.  I'm at the point now, where my trainer was at when she was called to train me.

I love you!

February 4, 2014

No Propane!

Hi Mom and Dad!

I know! i can’t believe how fast the time is flying. I was just thinking that by the end of next transfer i'll already be at my 6th month mark. Craziness!

I love the dresses! The Spanish Sisters were like, “That is such a cute dress!”  They are super comfortable!

The beach sounds nice! Nice and warm! :)

It’s been a rough week here.  We ran out of propane... Which means no hot water or heat or stove....  The lady we live with was bringing over some heaters because she can’t afford to fill it up yet. So I’m not sure what’s going on today. All I know is that I’m annoyed beyond anything else with my comp.
She complains "I’m not showering in cold water! Whah!" 
And I’m thinking, I’m sorry your life is so difficult. Leave me alone. :)

Yeah, it’s not the heat that bothers me.  We have a wood burning heater, so that’s no biggie. But the fact that we can only cook in a microwave and there’s no hot water is hard.
I just wash my hair in the cold water. It’s not that bad. :)
I actually really like the wood burner.  It’s nice, and I've gotten really good at starting fires.  It’s amazing the things you learn on a mission. :)

Splits with the Training Sisters was good.  I really like one of the STL's Sister Brown.  She is nice and I feel like we get along great. We actually got to teach some people, and had this awesome dinner with a member. 

Hey Mom, I met your long lost younger sister this week.  Honestly it’s crazy.  She looks like you and your sisters, has the same personality and the same laugh.  It’s really weird.  And some of the wedding pictures she has look a lot like Aunt Corby. It’s very strange.

Dad, that’s so awesome that you gave out a Book of Mormon on the plane.  Good job!

We had stake conference here this weekend, and it was super good.  The theme was missionary work. I saw Sue Brauning at stake conference.  Her ward, Ladera, just got added to the Los Lunas stake not even a month ago. So it was awesome to see her.  One of the YSA's who I’ve worked with a lot when I’m on exchanges was asked by the Stake President to open his mission call as part of his talk.  It was so great. And it was all about member missionary work.

[Darcie had told her the story about the Johnson’s lost cats]
That’s such a funny story! Mr. Fluffy Guy, that’s a really funny name for a cat. Poor Aunt Katherine. :) She has seven kids and now three cats.  That definitely was a laugh that I needed. It’s been a really really long week. I’m so exhausted.

[Darcie had shared a story about an investigator she spoke with at church Sunday]
Yeah, that sort of questioning attitude is something that we get all of the time.  We tract into pastors and "well educated" people all of the time.  A couple of days ago we knocked on this door, and this lady came out. She was very nice and sweet and we talked for almost an hour.  But halfway through it turned out she was the mother of one of the pastors at this huge New Mexico based chain church, known for Mormon bashing. We get all sorts of crazy questions all of the time.  And people make all sorts of weird comments that make absolutely no sense. 

"Who wrote the Book of Mormon?" 
Well, it is a collection of writings by ancient prophets-
"But it’s not written by God, like the Bible is!"

Or we got one the other day where this lady told us that Moses didn't write his own Bible like Joseph Smith did. The whole time, in my head, I was like 'Moses did write the Bible' 

We meet all types! :)  It can actually be entertaining.  And it’s nice being a Sister because sometimes little old ladies let us in.  Some random catholic let us in for lunch the other day. She was very nice.  The Elders never get that. 

We are still on date for the 8 and 9 year old girls, which is good. The baptism date for Jessica and Nevaeh is the 22nd.  So I’m praying that I don’t get transferred, because that’s the week of transfers... I would be so sad if I left before that :(

And we also got an appointment for next week with a part member inactive family who wants the kids to be baptized, so another little girl and a little boy, who will most likely happen. Yeah it’s been a great experience. I’m really excited for the other little girl and boy. The girl is 12 and the boy is 9. So about Warren and Minas age.

And it’s also exciting to see that some of the girls that I helped teach with the Elders are still active. That’s always one of my worries, that they will go inactive after being baptized.  It’s just something to work for, I guess.  So many of the in actives that we work with went inactive within a year to two years after their baptism :(

We've also had some great experiences with some of the families that we have been teaching.  We are teaching a family and the Mom isn't all that interested but the Dad is super into it, and he read 100 pages of the Book of Mormon in a week and when we asked him to be baptized he said that he would have to be sure it was right for his family and he would have to see the church, but most likely yes.  It was so exciting!

Love you! 

February 1, 2014

We have a baptism date!

Sue Brauning and Sister Mangum
She used to live in the New Philadelphia Ward but now lives in Albuquerque.

Hi Mom and Dad!

How are you?
It’s been a long week, but a few good things have happened :)
I got your package. The dress fits great! I love it!
Yay!!! I’m super excited to use the dresses! I can’t wait! 

I heard about the big storms.  Crazy!  We were at a lesson and one of the guys was like "There was a huge storm on the east coast."  But that’s all I heard…

We finally have a solid baptismal date, it is a nine year old from a part member family, so I’m not sure it had much of anything to do with us.... but at least it’s finally someone solid and it’s been fun teaching her. :)  

Do you have any ideas on teaching the word of wisdom to an 8 year old and a 9 year old?  They are super cute and funny but they need something to keep their attention. I keep thinking about having an apple and a cookie, or something like that.  

It’s funny, we are teaching the girl, but her mom isn’t a member and she sits in and listens too.  Their great-grandpa is the one who wants them to be baptized and we were talking and he was like "we could do it at the church." and the mom was like "no, do it here, it’s really interesting."

Last night we got to help the RS President at the high school because she is the drama teacher, so we helped paint sets. It was a lot of fun!  I spend some time talking to the RS President’s son, who is 12. And he reminded me sooooo much of warren! It was so cute

Exchanges are tonight, so I’m happy that I’m getting a break from the area for at least a day :)

This week was rough, it was a week of cancelled and fallen through appointments, which was somewhat frustrating but we tracted a LOT.  We talked to a lot of people, a few semi interested, a few rude.

It’s hard for me to believe that I’m already 4 months into the mission. Crazy!

It’s so funny that Dad is in Salt Lake right now, and I’m not. I still feel like I should be at school right now in downtown. :)

Thanks for the music CDs! They got here today and it’s so awesome!

My watch died. Can I send it to you so you can switch the battery? I’m not sure where I can go to get it done here. There really isn’t much in Belen.

Love you!