What We Love . . . Determines What We Become

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

Do not worry. I am alive and well. I did not have the chance to email yesterday, because I had to mow somebody's lawn before today. Time set aside for emailing had to unfortunately be used for service. We had actually pushed emailing back some time, but yesterday, while fun, turned out to be hectic. This week has been okay and also hectic at times. I did not want you to worry, though I knew you would and the call from Elder Burton confirmed it. I tried to send at least one line, but time was not our side. But, according to my companion, this is okay, because we had to do service yesterday.

 I have yet to move to my new address. Why? Well, as we were packing up, putting our stuff away, my companion noticed a bedbug on his bed. We were quite curious to see if my mattress had bedbugs and we turned it. They were there. Now, you may be wondering how I could not tell they were there. I had bites mainly on my right arm and a few on my left, but I had honestly thought they were from mosquitoes. I had heard from the mission office that the bites would be along my vein. So, I had my reasoning and did not think much about it. So, moving is on hold until today when Elder Medsker is coming to check out the place to see if there are anymore. We covered the mattress in plastic mattress covers and I had to sleep on it until we threw it away. We threw it away yesterday, so I slept on the couch last night. I washed all my clothes and we believe we got rid of many of the bedbugs. Elder Medsker will come to test it out. We have new furniture at the new place and it will be fun moving in (sort of).

This week has been okay. Our mormon.org referral is still in Texas, but he wants to turn his life over to Christ. In fact, we called him, then a few days later he called and said that he wanted to be baptized. He is on date, though we will have to push the date we set a week back since he has yet gone to church, meaning that he did not go to church in Texas. Investigators need to go to church at least three times in order to be baptized. 

The Baptist lady was not the one that wanted the gas money, but with her, she just wants to talk and does not want to convert. The lady that wanted the gas money is doing well and she came to church this past Sunday. She reunited with an old friend that recently was baptized (before I got here) and it went well. The one that was recently baptized brought her husband to church.

The man from Trinidad still loves to talk about his previous life in Trinidad and he showed us the many guns that he had. On one visit some family dropped by to shoot guns, which ended our lesson pretty quickly. And one family member preached what he had believed. It seems as though people love preaching to us; I believe that this was the third or fourth time somebody preached to us. 

Our charitable man who helps out the homeless is doing well. He has been struggling a bit, but he believes that the Book of Mormon is true. He has read it all the way through and is reading it again for a second time to understand it better. He has been attending church the past two Sundays and recently came to Sunday School. This man wants us to teach the homeless and wants to bring us to them. He also plans on giving them rides to church in a couple of weeks. It will be interesting to see these people as well any atheist friends that he has come to church. 

Sunday was pretty good. We had five investigators come to church, which was amazing. My talk (sermon) was wonderful. I wrote my introduction and I created an outline for the rest. Pretty much, I prepared and then I relied on the Spirit the entire time. I spoke, paused a couple of times to gather my thoughts, nervous as all get out, because I did not write anything. When I sat down after my talk, I was like, "Ah, man, I blew it, it was awful." No. Not at all. I got so many compliments on my talk. In fact, one person asked me to send the talk to him. I said, "I did not write anything. I have an outline. I do not know exactly what I said." He still persisted and eventually, I will send my talk to him and send Mom a return letter and a letter to my TRC from the Missionary Training Center. 

Service has been great. With the Mormon.org referral gone (to Texas), we decided to mow his lawn. We borrowed a member's lawn mower and it kept on clogging. The grass would not spit out, so we had to give up. And then it rained for a few days. (We had some awesome storms with lightning shooting across the sky and to the ground.) Yesterday, we had to finish it before Marcus L. returned, so we had to do what we had to do. (I got to use a riding lawnmower. What ingenious laziness!) I helped build a wall out of drywall and I did pretty well. It was quite interesting to go and do something new. Also, drywall is very fragile.

My exercise is basically what exercises I feel like doing that day. I made a list of exercises before I left and took it with me, but now I cannot find such list. So, it pretty much is whatever I feel like doing. There is a room for exercise here in my current apartment (the bedbug apartment), but there is not much to do and my companion hates to go there. My new place does not have anything, so I will continue to do whatever I do.

I have gotten a haircut. I know my hair was and is getting long, but everybody said it was short. Do not worry, I knew it was long. My companion suggested that I get a free one from an elder, but I turned it down. I rather be safe and get a haircut from a licensed person. So, we went to the family history center to these nice ladies to get referrals and they referred a hairdresser at my complaint of having long hair. (They also thought my hair was short, so I had to mention my hair as long). One of the ladies decided to give me unnecessary money to go get a haircut, so pretty much I went to the referral and talked to her a bit. I will return there soon.

I believe you mentioned record keeping in the last email. Record keeping is really important. We have the area book, which helps us to keep track of the lessons and progression. We have the numbers in the planner, which help track our progress as missionaries. Nobody is a number; it is just a way for us to track how we are doing as missionaries, what we can improve on, and how we can help others.

Interesting on the sister missionary getting sick where you live. Recently one of the sister missionaries here got sick and she had to lie in bed all day.

As for my dog, I am glad that she is doing fine and I do miss her a bit. Take good care of her. I do not see many Boxers here. I have seen only two. Why do people like little dogs so much?


Elder S. Todd

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