Government Shutdown, Mental Illness, Tornado Warning - October 7, 2013

Dear Parents of Mine, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

Yes, I will make sure that I obtain gloves for the coming times. The mornings are definitely chilly, but it does warm up in the afternoon. Today, we might have a storm. The leaves are changing color and I am keeping my eye out for some good shots. It is yet to be that colorful, but soon it might. It is going to be a better fall than what it is like in California where the leaves just turn brown and fall. I did learn how to use macro on my camera, so whenever I will be able to attain the ability to give you my pictures, you will see different flowers, a spider and a caterpillar. My bike is good for being chainless; I do have to pump the tire, but it is all good.

I absolutely loved conference! (A semi-annual world-wide conference broadcast in several languages via satellite, cable and the internet to congregations in all parts of the world)There were not so many funny stories, but there were interesting moments. How did you like the fly that wanted to be on camera? In some moments of conference, I was a bit distracted for whatever reason, but I paid attention for most of it. I was actually surprised at how fast it went. I was really engaged and I find it so sad that I was never this engaged. But, conference was actually quite foreboding and there were a lot of calls to repentance and voices of warning. I loved David A. Bednar's talk on tithing. In fact, David A. Bednar is one of my favorite apostles. There is an MTC video called the Character of Christ where David A. Bednar is talking to the MTC about the character of Christ and how we should have it. It is not available to the public, but maybe the missionaries at home know about it and can tell you about it. I loved Uchtdorf's talk which was a plea to those that left the church to come back and told everyone why this is the Lord's church. It is an excellent talk. I did watch priesthood session, though I want to reread those talks. The reason why I say that the conference was a bit foreboding was in two separate talks there were some warnings for the future. Robert D. Hales, I believe Saturday Morning talk, essentially said that soon we will be persecuted as the early saints. What is even more, the talks of other sessions of conference talked about conversion to the gospel and having spiritual strength. And then, Dallin H. Oaks said that we would be discriminated against. There are talks I would love to reread, because I liked to look out for these things and look for guidance. I believe it was Holland that gave an excellent talk on mental illness. In short, conference was powerful.

My companion is being transferred. Yes, he does have his unusual quirks as do I. I always knew he was going to leave, because it was time. He had been here for nearly nine months, if not nine itself. I do not know where he is going or who I am going to be with. But, in short, I will have to maintain the area, lead it. Not so scared about it, though it is going to be a challenge. My companion is a good person. Even when he reminded me of the cartoon character Spongebob when he screamed when the light turned yellow and he was coming to the intersection, even when he annoyed me, even when I was completely disgusted at his unsanitary practices, Elder Meibos is a good person at heart. He cares for the people and he is attached to them. He has built this area up and now he has to leave what he was created. The work has been exploding. He wants to stay, but again, it is time. He does his best to support me and I do trust him. It was a good to have a companion that I had some interests that were similar. He did not mind my quirks, whatever they may be. All in all, he is a good person.

I am glad to hear that people are interested in this work. Hopefully, it will spark an interest or at least the seed will be planted. I may visit the lady again, but I will pray about it. I do want to say thank you for the support that you are doing to help move along missionary work. I love you for the work you are putting in. I am glad that you are fellowshipping and inviting investigators to come over. It really does help. Keep at it!

This week has been interesting to say the least. On Monday, I went to Chatham Manor and downtown Fredericksburg. My companion took me to several antique shops. There are some interesting things, especially old books. Chatham Manor is absolutely gorgeous and interesting. On Tuesdays, I go to the family history center (at least sometimes). There is work to be done. I love family history and I love to know more about them. So, I am doing what I can with that.

The government shutdown has affected a lot of members here in Virginia. I see the importance of food storage. It is not only for natural disaster, but also times when money is not coming in. A lot of people are furloughed, but there is a plus side to it all. That plus side is missionary work. A lot of people are home that normally would not be. So, we have two investigators thanks to the furlough days. Other than that, I am also grateful that I do not have to worry as much about the government shutdown.

Well, I have an interesting situation. So, two times that I have been on exchanges, my companion and whoever he is with, goes to these duplexes that look like apartments. He found at least one person. We lost contact with that person and then finally got back in contact. But, as it turns out, this is pretty much a health clinic for the mentally ill and these are supervised apartments. Now, before, you cry out as to think I am taking advantage of them, I am not. From my limited knowledge on psychology and as what I can tell, they are functioning as to think and function on their own. These apartments are just supervised and help give them structure. Of course, I, also, did not know this about the place and thought it was mix of office apartments until the people started talking about their problems. Either way, they want us back, they love what we teach, and they accept the Book of Mormon without hassle. On the unfortunate side, the staff is not too happy about our visits. They believe we are soliciting when we are not. I would honestly like to back out of it, because I am thinking rules that we might be hindering, and so on and so forth. But, like I said, the people want us back. In fact, when they told us that we were soliciting, in the middle of a lesson, I felt so uncomfortable until I was comforted by the investigator when she said that, "Oh, do not worry about them. I will leave a note to them to say that you people are fine and not a bother." So, the situation looks as if it might begin to be under control. (Sounds like Seth's Psychology degree may come in handy. He studied everything from abnormal psychology to personal psychology. Perhaps this is why he was sent to this area.)(See also Elder Holland's talk "Like A Broken Vessel" )

I do not have much time left. In fact, I will finish this later. I am sorry for the abrupt ending, but there is a tornado warning and the staff are saying leave or go to another room for safety. I cannot finish at this time. I love you.


Elder S. Todd

P.S. First tornado warning in my life!

(Second letter sent a few hours later.)

Dear Parents,

Look! I'm alive! So, no tornado. Just a warning. The rain was really coming down. It was really hard to see. And because I needed to do laundry, every week, we drove eight miles back to our residence. At one point, another car accidentally splashed a ton of water that luckily did not kill our car's engine and cause an accident. I could not see, but I knew to go straight. And my companion screamed.

So, I left off with the duplexes. The people are quite functional. In fact, one of them walked all the way to library in the rain.

Not much else happened that was interesting of note. Conference was great. I still think there were a lot of warnings. My companion did mention the fact that they did not mention temples and if we are to be persecuted as the saints of old, then perhaps temple work would be on hold. I do not know; I can only guess. I am just noting what I heard and watching for the signs of the times. Speaking of the signs of the times, I want to know more. I know I have a book on it called 60 Signs of the Second Coming. Now, do not send it, but would it be possible, if it is not packed up, to send the scriptural references as well as what sign those scriptures reference? If it is packed up, then just leave it packed up.

I watched conference at two different members houses. It was fun and I got fed. Conference is really awesome.

So, I guess all I needed to say, was that I am alive even in these stormy weathers. I am wearing the boots that were sent and a jacket that I took from the old apartment. It is interesting to drive with boots.

All is well!


Elder S. Todd

P.S. No the jacket is not trenchcoat, but it fits and it is a bit long. It is a good long as it is trenchcoat-like and it keeps me for the most part dry. And because of our jackets and my companion's name, Meibos, the computer sign-up lady thought there was a Harry Potter festival or something like it going on.

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. -C.S. Lewis #ldsmissionary

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