I Know Thy Works: Behold, I Have Set Before Thee an Open Door- Rev.3:8

Revelations 3:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

I should have seen it coming. I really should have. Not so much the area, but who my companion is. So, I am in the south for the first time. I am in Powhatan, a small country town. It certainly is not "Farmville," because that literally belongs to a name of a town (a bit close to Powhatan) and a game on Facebook. But, it is a farming area, sort of. Not much city here. I have come from a very compact area where houses are close together and is a suburb of D.C. to a place where the houses are spread out. To say that I am in a car is true. However, taking note of the houses, tracting has to be done on bike or else it could be several hours before we could finish a street; a single street. 

Anyway, I bet you are now waiting for me to tell you who I have as a companion. His name is Elder Clifford and he came out with me in July. We were never in the same district or zone in the MTC. We never knew each other in the MTC. But, really, I am detecting a pattern with my companions here. So, the only outlier to the pattern is my trainer, Elder Meibos, but that is a different ordeal altogether, so he does not count. Elder Longman had a certain companion who was his MTC companion and also had him out in the field. Elder Frank had that companion as well. Elder Clifford had that companion as well. I have yet to have him, but I would not be surprised if I ever did. Elder Clifford is a very kind person and is soft spoken, but likes to talk.
Update on bike. So, I watched the videos and as far as I can see, everything is good. What I do note is that it needs oil (grease, whatever), but I cannot obtain it. I looked at their website, but I do not see it. I could have sworn that they had oil specifically for the bike. I have no idea, but I do think it needs it. Other than that, washer and other parts are there.

So, it has been nearly a week in Powhatan. They have not had a baptism in about three years. Scared? Uh, no, because it will work out. I plan on getting on my bike and knocking on doors. Of course, there are some signs I have to obey (the POSTED: Trespassing for Any Reason is Forbidden), but still there are many houses that do not have those signs. "There can be miracles if only you believe. Though hope is frail, it is hard to kill. Who knows what miracles you can achieve if only you believe. Somehow you will." 

This is going to be a very service orientated stay. Some less active members need help and other members need help. I do believe that this will help build trust. We have been limited with miles due to a big area, meetings, doctor visits (the person I replaced had to go to the doctor many a time), etc. this past week, so it has been hard to do much. I have met the bishop and got acquainted with him. I have met the ward mission leader and helped his presentation of the ward mission plan yesterday. There are a few others that I have made acquaintance. Some, because we have to visit on a frequent basis. I thought it was wrong to be doing that or that our stays were too long. I feel as though we are doing the right thing and that it will help these people. Slowly, but surely, this area will improve. Like I said, very service orientated.

So, Monday, was a big frustrating day of packing. I had to unpack and repack everything once to fit everything. There are some stuff I accumulated, not bought, that hopefully will be sent home soon. I need to make plans on that now thatas I have a car, I can actually go to the post office. Do not expect anything for a while. I will let you know when that occurs. 

Tuesday, I got transferred. I met one of the members and got to see some of the area. I met a less active who has not been to church for a while, which in part will take time. I will also be frequenting that house a lot. He has been injured in a car accident about a year and a half ago wherein his femur was fractured (which according to Brian Regan is the most painful bone to break, but he's no doctor). So, after several surgeries, his femur is better and his knee just got replaced. His wife is working a lot, so she could not really take care of him. We help him out and try to read scriptures. They are both depressed. Recently, this weekend, he had to go to the hospital for fainting (which luckily somebody was there to save him) and then we came home to help him get into his house. Which, then he almost fainted again. Luckily, that provided much opportunity for us to open the doors with the wife. She is a member, but does not understand the Book of Mormon. Perfect, so while she is off for the week (due to the fainting episode), we can go over the Book of Mormon. That will take time, because she has a lot of questions and is easily distracted. She is sincere about learning and understanding. However, we are currently going back to the Bible to explain, in a nutshell, the background of the Book of Mormon. I am happy that I know the history of Israel. 

Rest of the week, I have met more members and helped them out as well. Before dinner one night, I helped tend some fires, because they were burning wood for a path to grow a garden. Now some service clothes I have smell like I have been sitting in a chimney. Great family. I had green eggs and ham with Santa yesterday. (We have a person who plays Santa at some shop year round). We biked tract on Saturday and it was raining. Pants, rain coat, bike, shirt, beanie, and helmet were covered in mud. I also had mud on my face, but luckily, I am not a big disgrace. 

But, there was definitely mud all over the place. And Sunday, briefly, a lot of people knew me before them. They thought I looked young. I do plan on getting a haircut soon. My hair needs to be cut and I have not been able to do so.

On Wednesdays, there are a couple of non-members who show up to play basketball. Previous missionaries played ball on Wednesdays and gained their trust. They are opening up more. Well, you have me, who has only played basketball for physical education. So, I do not know the rules or understand what to do. Now, before I further explain, like I have said previously, I have found who I am and found a purpose in life. Very confident in self. That was a major goal I had for the mission. I did not really realize until of recent, but, yeah, it was that. Now what? Woodbridge taught me my weaknesses and it was hard to overcome a huge mental block. Literally, I felt a mental block on certain aspects such as talking about certain things or talking in general. With basketball, I quickly felt that block coming on. But, I quickly realized what I need to do now: hone my skills and abilities. So, as far as I have listed: thinking, analytical, observance, learning, listening, memorization, and communication. 

Now, with the game, I did not do much, but I realized that. I walked the entire game, because well, I had no idea of what to do. So, walking allowed me to observe the game and rules of the game. As far as I understand, the black lines that form the rectangular shape are the boundaries. If the ball goes out, then it is out of bounds, in which case the ball goes to the team that did not have the player that touched the ball last before it went out. The point of the game is to get ball in hoop and to prevent the other team for scoring. To prevent, one player is assigned to another player to block and defend that player. To shoot a basket, one must use wrist power, much like a catapult. Jumping can also assist in this application. So, I think I somewhat understand basketball now. Now, the question is of applying.

Other things I learned this week. Last Monday, I was at the library in Woodbridge when I found a book that had English words and put them in Hebrew. I snuck a peek and wrote down an appropriate word: Jesus. I wish I had written more. But, from the Bible, in particular Psalms 119, I also learn the Hebrew Alphabet, which consists of: Aleph, Beth, Gimel, Daleth, He, Vau, Zain, Cheth, Teth, Jod, Caph, Lamed, Mem, Nun, Samech, Ain, Pe, Tzaddi, Koph, Resh, Schin, and Tau. 22 letters in all. Jesus consists of three: Vau, Schin, and Jod in that order. Now, how it all works I have no clue. But, Vau (Vav) has one dot (perhaps a jot or a tittle) to its left, Schin  (Shin) has a dot by its third arm and Jod (Yod) has two dots underneath it. Somehow, it makes a word and the dots remind me of valium (Vanadium) atoms (or some word that starts with a v and deals with chemistry). Is that fascinating? When you have time waiting for people, you get bored and find things.

Oh, thankfully my companion reminded me. I almost forgot to give you my address here. It is (address withheld), Powhatan, VA 23139. So, that is the essence of my week. There is going to be a lot of fun here. Oh, I must ask, because I am now in the south. Where is Edgar Allen Poe's house? I could have sworn it is in Virginia, somewhere. I hope I made you laugh, because I am feeling really good, besides having a small headache.

Sounds like everything is going good for you two. I know how strange things can be with the Church sometimes. My last companion complained about the boundaries and how sometimes they did not make sense. Congratulations to Denice. I need to email her and some other people when I have time.
All is well.

Elder S. Todd