A Wonderful Goodbye and My Testimony

The Washington D.C. temple (photograph used with permission), Temples are places where members are taught, make promises and are, in turn, promised blessings.  Ordinances (sacraments) are performed here for time and all eternity for both the living and by proxy for the dead. We believe that those who upon this earth have not received the gospel of Jesus Christ will hear it in the after life and will then have the opportunity to receive it or reject it. In this way all of God's children may know of Christ and his atonement, be judged accordingly and that God wants to save as many of his children as possible. On each temple is written the words "Holiness to the Lord" and "House of the Lord." Psalm 24,
1 Peter chapters 3 and 4

June 29, 2015

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

I was wondering why I did not receive an email last week. I was not sure what was going on. So, I sent you an email; and then, I thought it odd you sent me things in return. And I went on. Then, I received a call from Sister Sopp, explaining the situation. I checked during our mormon.org time; yeah, I still have yet to receive that email. I do not know why. I will read it when I get home.

It has been fun, this last final week. It has been one of greatness. Our progressing investigator entered into the waters of baptism and is now a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has entered into the path of discipleship.

Monday, Elder Day and I enjoyed browsing through Staunton, one last time together. We had a baptismal interview for our progressing investigator. It was a bit delayed, because the heavens opened and the floods came rose up. The district leader was in Harrisonburg and got caught in the storm. Which meant we were delayed to dinner. The dinner was with the young couple who loves us. We warned them enough ahead of time and strove to head there as soon as the interview was done. Our progressing investigator did indeed pass the interview.

Dinner was great. It was very emotional for me, because I realized that it would be a while before I would see them again after I leave Virginia. We headed home afterwards, because it was late. 

At this point, I was not looking forward to the rest of the week, except for the baptism and the temple. I talked to Elder Day about all of these feelings, feeling a bit upset. Thank goodness for prayer. I decided that there was nothing I could worry about going home, that it is inevitable and part of the mission experience. I then talked to God about my decision and the rest of the week has not been emotional at all.

Tuesday, we tried to contact a few people before heading to the lesson for our progressing investigator. We saw the man first who is in pain and is struggling a bit. We gave him some encouragement. We, then, had the lesson with the progressing investigator. We covered a majority of laws and ordinances and encouraged her to go to the temple. The temple is a foreign idea to her, but she is trusting and will understand at some point. From there, we made many phone calls for the coming week. We had dinner and tried to see and contact a few people.

Wednesday, Elder Day needed his foot to be checked on; his wart is nearly gone. From there, we used our mormon.org time; then, we visited people in the hospital. The one man we usually visit is finally out of the hospital; the lady who used to belong in the health center also got moved back to the health center. We had dinner and tried to contact a few people. We headed in a bit early, because it was going to be an early morning.

Thursday, I woke up at 3:50 in the morning. I got ready to go to the temple and at 4:45, our ride took us to the Waynesboro Elders' apartment. Elder Day was subsequently dropped off and had his own day with the Waynesboro Elders'. I headed down to Richmond. From there, I joined the departing missionaries. I rode up with the assistants to the president and the majority of my MTC district. I was also with Elder Clifford and others. I got to hear some updates about Tappahannock, which was fantastic. The mentally disabled convert is now driving; I thought that was a bit impressive. The young kid convert is moving. The man who went to hospital-- that convert-- is doing well, other than a few medical bumps in the road. The family I stayed with is doing well, too. Happy to hear all of that.

From Richmond, we headed to Fredericksburg to pick up other missionaries. From Fredericksburg, we headed up to the Washington D.C. temple. The Washington D.C. temple is huge and beautiful. I really do think that I was able to see what heaven was like, in a unique way. President addressed us, that we needed to stay together, and that certain members from our previous areas might be here, such as the second convert from White Oak that was going to be sealed (Matthew 18:18).

(Used with permission Washington, D.C. temple at night fall.)

 I saw some members from White Oak even before I got into the temple. I went inside and met the bishop and the wife of the elders' quorum president from Appomattox. I loved the things that we did in the temple; I got a lot out of it this time around. It was really beautiful. It is really, really beautiful inside the Washington D.C. temple. We headed out about 1:35 pm. I was afraid that I had missed out on seeing the convert from White Oak. I didn't. I was really, really happy to see them.

We had lunch inside the visitors center, then we headed to the Christus statue. 

When were done at the temple we headed into Washington D.C. Man, the traffic. The traffic there is really scary, but it did not mar the experience I had in the temple. We toured a bit by driving past buildings and finally we were able to exit the car to see the Lincoln Memorial. It was really, really cool. From there, we headed to Fredericksburg, back to Richmond. 

Finally, I with a member headed back up to Staunton and got caught in the middle of a storm. It was pouring and pouring more days after. I enjoyed the rain, especially while I could. Then, we picked up Elder Day and made it home about 10:30 pm.

Friday, we got up and went to a meeting. From being condensed in a car for a period of 12 hours in total, I was sore and not looking forward to going back into the car. (I was extremely exhausted. So, do not be surprised if I am extremely tired when I arrive. For the next couple of days after Thursday, I had shadows underneath my eyes.) We had the meeting, had lunch, and headed to a lesson with our progressing investigator. We talked about the temple; still is learning about the function of temples, because it has never been taught before. I said goodbye to a family. We did some planning. Then we had dinner. Dinner was amazing; I had a salad, a really, really amazing tasting salad. We checked up on the man who was baptized when we got into the area. He is doing great; we are trying to encourage the family to continue to progress. 

Saturday, we got up and headed to the building where our investigator was going to be baptized. We began filling it up and cleaning it. Yeah, there were some creatures in there that did not belong. We bravely fought them off. We did some planning. Then, the baptism.

She was so happy to be there. She was happy to be baptized. She said that never in any of her previous baptisms had she been so emotional. (She had cried in the bathroom after being baptized; she was nervous and excited.) I know that she will stay active because she realizes how much this blesses her life. Understanding will come over time for her. She will continue to progress.
After the baptism, we had a lesson with some grandchildren of a member. We reviewed the baptismal interview questions and received understanding on what to teach. It is a complicated situation, making it hard for us to teach frequently. From that lesson, we headed to dinner, which was half an hour away. We had dinner and checked up on the people in the health center, including Dan the Man. I said good bye one semifinal time. He is still plotting his escape.

Sunday, our newest convert was confirmed. She was really happy. She decided to wear something really, really nice. Church was great. I was happy to be there. The Gospel Principles teacher asked us to teach next week... then she realized that I was not going to be there. From church, we did planning, we checked up on a few people and we headed to dinner. Getting to dinner was a task in itself. We decided to be there early, but we hit every single red light. I was tired of it and decided to go around the stoplights by going in a different route. I went the different route and there was an elderly couple in front of us. We were turning left and they were turning right... until they realized that they needed to go left and decided to cut us off completely. Then, we get stuck behind them, slowly going... Oh Virginian drivers. We made it to dinner unscathed. After dinner, we contacted a few people, but nobody was really available. We finished our weekly planning.

So, it is, my final week. I have done a lot. I am actually quite surprised how much I have done. Time has really gone by.

Believe me, I have not been plotting my return. I have been preparing, but that preparation really came over time. You are right; I will no longer be a full-time missionary. I am always a missionary in every other aspect. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ; and part of that means to stay peculiar. There are things I will not watch nor listen to anymore. I realize how happy I am now and what it will take to stay this happy. It is matter of staying spiritual; keeping the Sabbath Day holy, reading the scriptures, going to church and the temple, etc. I will go forward.

What I have to adjust to is, yes, the world. I feel like I understand the principle of living in the world and not of the world by living the commandments, keeping the standards; by those things, do I keep my self consecrated to the Lord. My future involves this, having a tie to God. What I do for a career; I am not sure at this point. I will discover that on my own.

I am Seth Todd, a disciple of Jesus Christ. I will follow in the footsteps of my Savior. I will listen and obey to His counsels, even the counsels given by the prophets and apostles. This declaration is not a pillar to set myself above others; it is a step to help lift others, to serve the Lord, and to continue to progress.

I know that Jesus is the Christ; he suffered for my pains, afflictions and sins, so that I could have faith and to repent. Through the Atonement, I know we and I can be cleansed. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God; God speaks and He loves us for He is our Heavenly Father. I know that because of this love, He gives us prophets today to guide us, so that we can have peace in the midst of our trials. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God; this book teaches us the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, testifies of the truths that are in the Bible, and witnesses that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know it is true, because I prayed to know, yearning for the living waters that I may no more thirst. What a blessing it is to be living in these days to rejoice in the abundance of gospel truths.

All is well for he that trusts in God will not be led astray.


Elder S. Todd
(Mom was overwhelmed with preparing for his homecoming. She survived and glad he made it safely home. The first one to hug him was his sister Bria on a layover in Salt Lake City where she lives. She met him at the airport. She allowed him to use her phone to call his mother which helped tremendously to calm her nerves. Dad is doing well, too.)

Teaching With All Diligence

How to Overcome Challenges in Life

And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. -Alma 7:11

Monday, June 15, 2015

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

With my bike, I was able to send it off. Yet, I was not able to do it Monday, but on another date. Long story on that. Now you know that, you can actually expect it. It should come tomorrow. It has left Salt Lake on Sunday. When I return home, I have plans to clean the bike. It is mostly clean, but it could use cleaning. 

Dan the Man was quite happy to hear that Moroni is alive; he still references from time to time silver plates and Moroni. Still have no clue on that. There was one day this past week that I found interesting with him. He was actually coherent; more talkative, different pitch of voice, etc.

It has been a good, long week.

Monday, after the usual chores, I headed to the bike shop for help in shipping my bike. The bike shop was closed; it had dawned on me that I got the box on Tuesday. I had not realized fully that it would not be open on Monday. I would have done it Tuesday, but Tuesday already was a busy day. We had scheduled an estimate for the car among other activities for Tuesday. I took care of dry cleaning. That night, we tried to stop by a few people that we had not seen in a while.

Tuesday, we had district meeting. I gave a training on effective study. We had lunch, then we headed back to our apartment. The gospel principles teacher and her husband showed up to take us over to a lesson with our progressing investigator where we talked about the Word of Wisdom. The gospel principles teacher shared her own conversion story and even told when the elders who taught her talked about the Word of Wisdom. They had been fasting for the lesson, but she had stopped smoking before they even taught her. Our progressing investigator decided to live the Word of Wisdom; she even bought apples and oranges to more fully live it.

After the lesson, we headed over to the dealership to assess the damage to the car. Luckily, we had picked up some screws when our mishap occurred. Most of the shield could be reattached. However, some of it was torn to some degree, so it has to be fixed. All of it is under a certain amount, so I do not have to complete an incident report. I thank God for that. From there, we had dinner with the elders quorum president and his wife. Elder Day, for the first time in his life, had watermelon. Everybody was surprised that he had not eaten watermelon. He enjoyed it. Now, he has to try Jell-O.

We were in the area, so we went to talk to a member family to help confirm dinner plans for the next day. They invited us to a family activity; we went finding around their area and got gas. They needed us to be judges for their children's cooking. It was good. We were able to help build member relationships and meet less active members. It was a plus for us. We also talked to the youth who is deciding to go on a mission; he does not feel pressure (my companion wanted to talk to him about it).
Wednesday, we studied. We had lunch and then, began the process of sending my bike off. It took a few hours, because it took a lot of packing and figuring things out. The person at the bike shop definitely helped out. Once I got the pedals off, as well as the handle bars off, the bike could mostly fit. I had to also take off the rear tire, just because of its difference. The bike shop weighed it. From there, I went to the library and went on the website given to me. I know you gave me addresses to Fed-Ex, but those were drop off boxes. The site required that I go to an official drop off location or something to that nature. Well, it was either the one in Staunton or the one in Fishersville. Although we were going to FIshersville that night, our miles have been reduced yet again, which makes us in the need of maintaining miles. I decided to go to the one in Staunton, full knowing it is attached to a gas station. Creepy place, but look on the plus side, we saved miles and it is on its way, still weighing 40 pounds.

We checked up on the young couple who is returning to church. The husband was not home; but the wife was with their child. We followed up on our last invitation. Then, we saw our progressing investigator, who now has a Book of Mormon. We had to order a large print, because she could not read the small print. It was a great spiritual experience for her. We shared two videos from Easter; we also shared a scripture from Alma. From there, we had dinner with the member family and we went to mutual to help with the missionary night the priests were having. They taught us while we were the investigators. They are definitely learning and it is good to see their enthusiasm.

And that night, I found the most creepiest bug in my entire life.

Out of all that I have personally seen and witnessed in Virginia, it won the award. Of course, it had to be in my bathroom. I saw it, walked out of the bathroom, and told Elder Day to go and take care of it. He did so, not realizing how big the monster was. Most ugly, thing in my life.

Thursday, we planned. We had another lesson with our progressing investigator; this lesson is a major hurdle. We taught the principle and gave her a priesthood blessing. It was very comforting to her.

From there, we... well, Elder Day helped on the farm. He was lifting hay bales, so that bishop would be able to feed his farm animals and not break his foot again. I just sweated, because it was hot. Then, we had dinner with the new young couple, who loved the trio and love us too. It was really, really fun. Then, we checked up on the man who is dealing a lot with pain and such. He is falling back into old habits; we realize there is not much that we can do, but what the ward can do. We plan to keep on visiting him, but he definitely needs the ward's support.

Friday, we went back to the bishop's house, thinking there was more hay to take care of. Instead, we helped his wife move things out of their barn. I had a blast doing that. One, I got to kick objects from a second story onto the ground. Some things had wheels, others not so much. Two, his wife is hilarious, just by her comments. Once we finished, we finished weekly planning. We had dinner with the recent convert man who was baptized the week Elder Day and I got here. It was a nice visit, but they were slightly in a hurry. They were going to Kentucky to pick up their cousins. After dinner, we had a prompting to check up on the people in the health center. We found one of them moved; we had no idea where she was. So, we checked up on Dan, who was quite coherent. He was unhappy with the place, plans on leaving, and such. He was talking about the people he was going to sue and such. I was quite amazed how coherent he was. He also gave me a cookie and Elder Day a soda.

Saturday, we completed our progress record. We checked up on our single mother investigator; nothing. We went out and did some finding. We cannot help but feel our own finding efforts are finding. We run into people who met with missionaries and are not interested. The areas we are finding are areas that have been tracted many times, because it is the areas that we can reach. It is imperative for us to work with members, because it is the way that things are going to go forward in Staunton.

Looking at our wall of names of people baptized, for nearly a year, the people that have been baptized were through member referrals or member influence. We had dinner that night with the ward mission leader and then, we began the search for the one person who moved from the health center. We had an idea and followed through with it. We went to this one nursing home near the hospital and ended up talking to the receptionist for nearly an hour. There is some potential there, so we will have to follow up. We gave her a Book of Mormon and several pass along cards. We talked about, somewhat, the Book of Mormon and modern day revelation. She found it interesting. We then found the place where the member was, which is in the bottom of the hospital. She was so happy that we found her; once we walked in, she was like, "My soul brothers are here!" We talked to her for a while about things going on and what she has been up to other than moving. She is happy to be there, because, to her, the food is nutritious among other things. She was quite happy.

Sunday, we had productive Church meetings;
I am waiting to see the actions that will happen.
I believe, as well as Elder Day, that the members' perspective on missionaries and us are changing, hopefully for the better. We were able to lay down ideas and take up action. We gave the sacrament to that member in the hospital. We later returned to give somebody a blessing. We usually go to the hospital every so many weeks; looks like we are going to be making rounds there. From that, we tried to visit people, but came up empty.
Things are starting to go forward. I foresee a lot of things coming to pass.
All is well.
Elder S. Todd

Secrets to Finding Your Purpose In Life

June 8, 2015

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,
I am not sure where to begin. It has been a good week as well as a bruise battering week. "Everything I grow dies!" I sort of feel like that, only with transportation and such. If you are reading this, it is with the most rested assurance that I am alive. Diligence means never giving up.

So, to begin, I would like to say, what a week it has been.

Monday, as I was emailing, I decided to go ahead and look at the shipbikes.com to see what I need to do. Hence why, I decided I needed tools. One to measure the box as well as to take apart some pieces of the bikes. During my usual Wal-Mart trip, I found none of my tools that I needed nor did I find any in my price range. I did ask around for tools, but nothing came out of that. No need to be alarmed though. I have to say that today the bike will most likely be sent off. I just need to go to the bike shop and ask for their help in taking apart the bike. Then, I will go to the Staunton library, print out the necessary information, and go to Fed-Ex. But, this past Monday, I realized that and had to delay the action until today. That night, we had dinner with a wonderful member family; they decided to enlist us also for a service project. It was helping another family (the ones who loved the trio, who also still love us) with moving furniture.

Tuesday, we took a youth to visit our progressing investigator who is on date.
The poor kid... He is undecided on the mission and there has been a lot of pressure on him to suggest to him to go. (We need missionaries that are willing to serve. The best way to promote missionary work is to let the youth spend time with the missionaries. Youth need support not pressure.) Regardless, we took him to our progressing investigator. We had a wonderful, powerful lesson with her. It helped her out. After dropping him off, we went to the doctor for Elder Day. He has a wart on his foot; thank goodness for separate showers. He had to later pick up acid to put on his foot. We went to another wonderful dinner; saw our less active who is usually in pain. He has been so happy since he has come to church and it has been great to see. 

Wednesday, we checked up on some potentials. Then, we left to go to the zone meeting, where the iPads were given.

Because this is my last month, I do not receive an iPad, not even a loaner. As a companionship, we have one device. It may be easy to feel jipped. I honestly could care less; it is a device that will enhance our teaching and it will be easier to have one. I am happy to use my "Skittle Scriptures," or whatever name missionaries and people have called it. I am happy to have that more than anything. After dinner, we checked up on the people who are at the health center. We checked up on the person who, slightly, reminds of my brother. We encouraged him to continue to grow spiritually personally.

Thursday, we planned. Then, we thought we had a lesson with our progressing investigator, but it was actually Friday. The other person we were going to see-- our single mother-- cancelled on us.

So, we checked up on the returning young couple and helped them to set goals on going to the temple. We picked up some food from another member. We checked up on this one family who had just recently gone through some difficulties as well as some good times. It was good to see that they were doing well. 

Friday, we had that lesson with our progressing investigator. We have been answering her questions and taught her the gospel of Jesus Christ. We prepared her for fast and testimony meeting; I even said, "Yeah, people may cry." (And surprisingly, few did.) We had dinner that night with the bishop. Then, we saw our family who bounce back and forth with church attendance. We talked with their son, our investigator, and figured out the best way we could help him. It was good, but it was the last time that we would see him or his family. They moved, which they told us, though they never told us when. That was a surprise to us.

Saturday, the day of hectic work. We did the progress record; we decided to go see the health center people after lunch, which we did. We had dinner, then we were like, "Let's go find!" Yeah, yeah, like that was going to happen. So, after we got done with dinner, we received a call from the ward mission leader, who is vacationing and thought he would be back on Sunday. Understandably, he decided to stay one more day. He was going to call somebody to give a ride to the health center people. He wanted us to check up on one of them to be sure that she was coming. So, we decided to do so. 

And now, for a short rant on transportation and myself. "Everything I grow DIES!" Yeah, I feel like that is analogous to my feelings on transportation. Let me go through a short review of everything. The car back at home, I hit my sister's car that was parked. The car in Fredericksburg, it had to be serviced, then it got rear ended (as a hit and run while we were having lunch). The bike in Woodbridge, not functioning properly, because I did not know how to use it properly. The car in Powhatan and Appomattox needed the usual maintenance. The car in Tappahannock, not only did it need the usual maintenance, we ran over a car radio antenna that pierced our tire. The car in Gayton had low tire pressure, went to fill it up, metal caps had rusted on it the tube things. We had to replace the tires. If you want, you could add my legs to this: herniated disc. When I received that, I could not walk properly, I had to hobble. So, you see, I have transportation issues. Whenever I go into an area, the car needs to get the usual maintenance or something happens to the car. Or something happens to me and transportation.

By this point, you are wondering, "Oh no, what now." I thought back in May: "You know, I probably will not ever need to get this car serviced." Wrong. When we arrived to the health center, I started to park; nearly got done, when I heard this SCRAPE! Thinking I went over the curb, I backed up. SCRAAAAPE! "Oh no, that does not sound good." The plastic underneath the car in the front had bent down. I called Elder Sopp (sent pictures of what occurred to him today) and that sort of thing. Meanwhile, we went to a member's house to borrow duct tape. We "MacGyver"-ed (use Google to see the TV show reference) the car; we duct taped the plastic back up and have been driving since. But, we will have to take care of that soon. Sorry; I try really, really hard to be a good driver (though some of these things happen when I am not the driver), but life comes at you fast.

After that, we checked up on the people we needed to see. Most importantly, while we were waiting or in the area, we did go finding and took advantage of finding opportunities.

Sunday, we studied, went to church early, only to drive back to pick up our meal calendar. Unfortunately, we ended up a bit late. We went finding after church. We had an awesome meal. We contacted a few people after that.

This week has had its good and bad. Nonetheless, we are going forward. The ward is definitely opening up to us. They are starting to like us. We feel that this is what we are meant to do, other than our progressing investigator. This will open doors in the future.
Admist the bad, there is good. The Lord is looking after us, opening doors, leading us where to go, revealing what we need to say. His hand is in this work. The work is and will go forward.
All is well. Tout va bien! Alles wohl!
Elder S. Todd


Discover the Up's and Down's, the Hopes and Dreams, the Joy and Sorrow

Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.-2 Nephi 2:6

June 1, 2015

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,
I will be working with the bike today and ship it next week. I need to take the pedals off and work on the handlebars; by that, it will be possible for me to work on the bike. However, I will have to get tools to do that. Included with that will be a tape measure device, so I can measure the box that I have to send it. It is a process in a half. By next week, I will send it. (I obtained a box last preparation day to get things ready. It was free; hooray for bike shops. Also, it had packaging materials in it to put on the bike. Thank goodness.)

I got my "going home" papers from President Wilson this past week. It merely contained some instructions. I need a doctor's appointment set up, so that I can get a TB test. Not looking forward to a doctor's appointment. But, I learned what is going to occur in the coming days. On Thursday, June 25th, I will have to get up early and head over to the mission office (I have to be there at seven in the morning). I get to go to the temple that day and I am excited. Reason number one: I get to go to the temple! Reason number two: Even though I will not be with Tim, who is getting his endowments that day (Tim is the man who got baptized in White Oak, that I did not get to see baptized), I will hopefully see him. This is what I was hoping and expecting would. Exciting! Now I can officially tell him that I will not be with him, but I will be at the temple. I hope to see him there.
Then, at the end of transfer meeting, I will be headed to the mission home.

The student that did not make it to church had conflicts with her family.
She had waited a month to tell her parents (now I had withheld that from you). So, she has not exactly told her entire family.
There is a lot of corrections to be made with our family history; it is a matter of inputting information and synchronizing information also with Ancestry. Still working on inputting data from FamilySearch to Ancestry and Ancestry to FamilySearch, on top of finding information based off of hints. It is a work on progress that I cannot fully do at this time.
I have a lot of letters to write; I need to write to all the converts that I can (such as Tim), the people I lived with in Tappahannock, the Fuseliers, the Lemoore Ward Primary (with this, Zachary Conwell, who I believe was baptized; he wrote a personalized note with the Pictures; I need somebody's address for the Primary), the Ward Family, the Obersts, Veronica, the Scholarship people, the lady who has sent these packages (I want to say the address was quite familiar, I want to say it was Trevor's mom, whom I cannot remember names or addresses and that address is closely linked with the Ward Family), and President Wilson. A lot to write to. Working on one letter at a time, but I need addresses for those of whom I do not have access to (the ones from home; like the Obersts or Veronica).
Looking at that list brings back to what a busy week it was and how much occurred in one day. It is a good week.

Tuesday, our preparation day due to holiday. We visited a book store that usually is closed on Mondays. Some good books in there; some I noted. We rested and prepared. We had dinner with the Gospel Principles teachers and we discussed some of our investigators that we had. And I began my goal of taking pictures of everybody we have dinner with. (With the Spanish elders no longer around, we have been having many dinners and many dinners to come this month). They referred us to somebody and we checked up on that person. That person said they would give us a call. We arrived home, not knowing what to do when we received a phone call from Buena Vista to go give a blessing to somebody in the hospital near us. We arrived and they said the person did not exist. Odd... 

So, Wednesday, after contacting another referral (who was less than enthused to see us), we checked up on the person again that we were supposed to see. They still did not exist. We called the people who originally called us, who were surprised. They called the person and as it turned out, he was released before we ever even got there. We checked up on the people who were from Alabama (who are returning to church); we helped them to set goals to progress to the temple. We called the lady who does not live in the area, but works here. We need to update the missionaries that are where she lives and inform them of what is going on. Well, she again ranted and chatted and we were there for a while. It helps her to do that and we are able to know how to help her. She has been hurt in some ways from the Church, not necessarily by the Church. She is trying to make a few steps forward. We had dinner, then we checked up on the people at the health center. We then checked up on the man who reminds me of my brother, he was not too readily available to talk with us.

Thursday, we planned; it took a while, appointments cancelled, we moved and trekked forward. Other than planning and appointments cancelling, we had a lesson with our new investigator and his family (who needs to center their lives on the gospel). We realize he has a hard time relaying information, so we are figuring out ways to help him. I talked to the parents and encouraged to move forward. We will have to follow up with them.

Friday was the day of meetings. We had an especially long meeting with Elder Zwick of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Elder Hemmingway, the Director of Proselyting. Before I dive into the meeting, let me explain a rather awkward situation I kind of had. Elder Day needed water, so we got up to get water. We ended up talking to some missionaries that I had not seen in a while. Well, President Wilson and Elder Zwick came down the hall and shook our hands. Then, he continued his walk down the hall. Well, we got seated. After debating on moving, we stayed in our seats. Elder Zwick comes by and shakes our hands and realizes who we were. "Oh, I remember you two." If that was not enough, the entire mission was asked to stand up and shake his hand. What we were supposed to do? Rather than look disobedient, we got in line and shook his hand, yet a third time. He commented to us, "Third times a charm." Yeah, it was rather odd for me.
The meeting was about personally purifying ourselves and being worthy. Elder Zwick mainly talked about this. He mentioned how he served, I believe, in Argentina had one of the apostles (then not an apostle, so one of the ones we have today) as his mission president. He was asked (with his new companion who was cowboy) to board a train, buy some horses, ride those horses through a river into Bolivia, convert the people in the nearby village, and build a chapel. He talked about when building the chapel, he took many donkeys up a mountain to take the lumber needed down, and how one of the donkeys misstepped and fell to its death (which easily could have been him). Elder Hemmingway talked of how the gospel was originally spread (from individual to family to friends to family to friends to family to individuals to families etc.) and how he was asked to start online proselyting as a mission president (something that was hard for him, because he was against Facebook). There are some filters on the iPads, the mission president will know what we will be doing, and we will be going under extensive training.
Elder Day and Elder Todd - Elder Day excited about iPads,
Elder Todd prefers his paper scriptures.
Each weekly planning session there will be an auditing portion where the companions exchange iPads and look at each others posts, etc. The best filter we have is our personal testimony and the Holy Ghost. We have little booklets (that are drafts) that teach us some principles and safeguards.
They will be owned by the Church, though a fee is to be paid to use it. (Because I am leaving in so many weeks, I will be using a loaner device.) Later, they can buy it (or something to that effect). There is an app that will be used for the planner and area book (which the mission president has access to); it will produce a consistent, updated progress record for stake and ward leaders to view.
I believe it is well worth the money, even if the risk seems so high to one's own salvation. I do believe it will help prepare the next generation and make them better than the one previous. It will help sift the wheat from the tares. It will cause young men and young women to rise above. It is matter of personal training at the home; something that I look forward to when I have a family. It is a matter of the family preparing their children now to be personally worthy and to use technology wisely. It is a matter of having that missionary mindset and having a personal testimony. The time to prepare is now; prepare your children, prepare your grandchildren. Be an example daily; live the gospel. And watch how much will change. It is going to be worth it and the work of the Lord will progress more than ever.

Friday, after the meeting, we visited a less active who had poisoned his testimony with anti, which destroyed him. (He needs to be referred to fairmormon.org) It is quite sad to see. We had a meeting with the ward mission leader and the bishop. Things look like they are beginning to move forward. Saturday, we did the progress record and we checked up on the man who has pain. He was really happy, which was a contrast to Monday. It was great to see him. We had a lesson with our investigator whose son was blessed and has been coming to church. We again emphasized the Book of Mormon and we set her on date. I pray that she will continue to be encouraged. After dinner, we checked up on the people in the health center.

the day of insanity. And the Sabbath day, the day to rest. Morning and beyond church: we studied briefly and went to go wake up the man who is in pain. Well, he was awake and ready to go. We went to church with him, because we had a meeting. He read the Book of Mormon meanwhile. We had our meeting and then we learned there is a potluck. After the meeting, we had to put some of the potluck food in the refrigerator. We had to get some information from the district leader, which in turn we had to talk to the bishop. We were able to get that squared away. We learned that Elder L. Tom Perry passed away, which was sad. People started to come. Our investigator on date came to church, we introduced the bishop to her. People said hello to her. Get a series of texts during sacrament meeting; after sacrament meeting, we have to run to the outside to get materials to deliver to bishop. Deliver materials. Go to class; it was very spiritual and our investigator has good support in the class. We head into the chapel for third hour; Dan wants to sit with us (he had been wanting us all day). Unfortunately for Daniel and us and fortunately for us, we had to meet with the youth and get to know them. After that, we set up tables for the potluck. Dan wants us to sit by him. Elder Day needs a drink of water, we get involved in delivering paperwork, then stuck in a line for food. Poor Dan was done with his food by the time we arrived. Talked to people; lots of good things occurred in that potluck. Friends were made. Potluck is over; put down tables and chairs. Go outside, try some honeysuckle; honeysuckle is non-existent. Take man who is pain home, go home to change, and rest for a moment. Church was exhausting. I will have to make sure to sit by Dan the next church meetings.
We checked up on a series of people, including this country girl (who is a less active) and her non-member boyfriend. We had not seen them in forever. He was happy to see us again. Definitely coming back to her place to help them both.

Busy week. Busy Sabbath. Oh, and I learned in the Gayton Ward (congregation)
, the ten year old investigator got baptized. And another investigator, who found the Book of Mormon dark, is getting baptized. I thought she would be a long time, but the Spirit works miracles. 

All is well.

Elder S. Todd


You Can Believe That Good Things Will Come

The words of the Master help us to understand
that His will is more about doing things
as He does and would have us do.
And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.

Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.
And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

May 26, 2015

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

It has been a good eight days. We have been pushing forward in doing the things of the Lord.

Monday, we headed off to elders' p-day, where the elders of the zone gathered together to play sports. Elder Hansen wanted to do that, because he liked the elders here. We had dinner with a member family that day. Elder Hansen said good bye to people. We were a bit late getting home, unfortunately, because we ran into a homeless man, who wanted to keep on talking to us.

Tuesday. Elder Day and I sent Elder Hansen off; we said our good byes. Elder Hansen is now near Powhatan, but not in Powhatan. 

After sending him off, we headed to the library to complete a survey that needed to be done in preparation
for the coming of some of the General Authorities. We headed home after that to have lunch and prepare for a member to pick us up to go to our lesson to the one lady whose son was blessed by missionaries. Well, when the member arrived, he turned off his car and started to come to us. When we went back, the car would not start. So, we took him to our car and drove off to the lesson.This member shared his own conversion story and some of his wife's (his wife is the Gospel Principles teacher); the investigator absolutely loved it. We were able to discuss some of the Plan of Salvation and invited to baptism. She did not accept, but she did not turn us down either. She also promised us to read the pamphlets we had given her. We were quite excited for these developments. 

After our lesson with this woman, we headed off to the church where we met the one less active, who we were given. I cannot figure what is his story and what is, in a sense, behind him. We talked to him for a while and helped him to understand more about the Book of Mormon. He appreciated it. After that lesson, we headed back to the member's car to jump start it. It was not necessary; somehow the terminal on the battery came loose. It was easy to fix and the car worked again. Later that night, we checked up on the family whose kids love us and the father loves us, but the mother, who we did not get to have a discussion with, is not that interested. She told us that she will call when she is ready. We will have to put that family on the back-burner, unfortunately. We checked up on the less active who has been struggling with life and with coming to church. He is in pain a lot of the time, but we keep on encouraging him. He is making progress in some ways, but still struggles.

Wednesday. We tried the one new investigator who is a young engaged mother, who gave time to have us over. She was not home. We tried to do many things that day. What ended up happening is that we visited the members, including Dan the Man, in the health center, retirement home place. With the one recent convert there, we read the Book of Mormon and she got to know us. She acted as if we were new, though we had visited with her multiple times with Elder Hansen.

Thursday, we had interviews with President Wilson. After him, we went to the hospital to visit on somebody that our investigator (the one we saw on Tuesday) asked us to go see. It took a while, and somewhat of a learning experience for us, to get in to see him; we prayed with him. He did not want a blessing, though we offered. We had lunch and did some planning before we saw the one investigator, whose son was blessed by missionaries. She actually read the pamphlets; some of it stuck, some of it I am not sure if it did. She has been running into what we term "deep doctrine," or the meat of the gospel. We help avoid going into depth and focus more on the basics. (For how can you understand the meat when you cannot understand the basics? How can you understand the flower without?) (It is not that we don't want to talk about difficult subjects but gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the gospel will help. Some questions, no matter what the subject, must be put on a shelf until we are ready to understand the answers.) We encouraged her to discover her own testimony and emphasized salvation and spiritual self-reliance on God answering her prayers. We were a bit concerned on some of the things she said, but I trust the Lord that things will resolve themselves. Later that night, we checked up on the one family who needs to come to church and came at least once (up to this point; they have again come to church). I realize even more the importance of centering the family on the gospel and the principles of "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." Without these founding principles and constantly improving ourselves, the family will encounter difficulties; it does not mean the family will automatically fall apart, but it means that there will be that need for extra effort to keep things together.

Friday, we planned. We decided to look at the entire picture of the transfer; we had transfer goals and transfer goals for our investigators. We now see where we want to be and where we want our investigators and less active and recent convert members to be. It is a big push to help things to go forward and to help ourselves to have a focus. Planning was not the only thing we did, but anything else, nothing really happened. Saturday, we finished that plan and completed our progress record. We visited our investigator who is a young mother, not engaged, but with the father. We simply got to know her, know what is important to her, and how we can help her. Honesty appears to be the key. We visited with the less active who is in pain; we set up a plan to help him to get to church. We visited with the one less active who reminds me a bit of my brother. He knows where he wants to be and where he wants his family to be. To begin this, he needs to come to church.

Sunday, before we had meetings, we ensured that the member who is in pain woke up. Then, we headed to our meetings. The drama student of Ms. Mary, who can be dramatic (who is the dramatic recent convert), called us, because she is somewhere else and is afraid to go to church (for a reason) and was wondering what to do. We did what we could do under the time constraints we had due to meetings. We then had correlation; we had ward council, but we could not attend. Luckily, things in ward council were positive and constructive. Meanwhile, we took the member who is in pain to church; we had permission from some of our leaders to do this. It has been hard to set up rides, but hey, the ward, (congregation) I notice, is putting in effort, which helps us out. And our investigator, whose son was blessed, came to church. Church was great and she loved it; she thought it was very, very caring and she did not feel alone. Also, topics mentioned or talked about in church included, but not limited to: Exaltation, temples, eternal families, Adam was baptized, animals are resurrected, we came from intelligences, and your baptism did not have the priesthood authority (bluntly stated). I make mention of this, because it was very, very interesting. We were afraid of what she might think, but she loved it.

Monday, we did some finding. We talked to our investigator, whose son was blessed and who came to
church. She asked about the temples, she asked a few other questions. She has a desire to be baptized. We went over the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and encouraged her to gain a testimony and to be rooted in that. We told her we focus on the basics, so that we have solid foundation as to what occurs. She is definitely trying to understand things.  I know when she has that testimony and gains that witness from the Spirit, nothing else matters. We had another lesson that day with a new investigator. His family is the family who needs to come to church and has started coming back to church. He has gone through the lessons, but we started over to help check his understanding. We also asked him to read the Book of Mormon. I see much good coming from him, though it did not seem apparent at the time.

Elder Day and I are moving forward in the work. We are pushing forward. I am reminded of how much time I have left (not that I think about it). I am going to do all that I can to push and go forward.

All is well.
Elder S. Todd