Virginia Richmond Mission: Moving Forward

Transfers take place every six weeks; although a missionary could be in a single area for months. As neither my companion nor I were transferred it was time for me to step up and speak.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

We did get a call. However, it was accidental. I am not being transferred and neither is my beloved companion. Now, I have a lot to explain, especially in light of the previous two transfers and this upcoming one. This transfer, as I have forewarned my companion, I am taking a more directive approach. I realized in the midst of much inner turmoil that I honestly was afraid. I was afraid of getting angry. I wanted to be patient and avoid getting angry. So, with the last transfers, I remained, mostly, patient in light of my circumstances. I turned the other cheek, more especially with Elder Young. Even so, it was not helping, because things became really slow and I slowly became miserable and unhappy. My companion was not helping much and I became overly stressed. I know that God understands, because I know it was He that helped me realize what caused me to be afraid and has given me the resolve to change. I am more resolved to take a more direct approach in an effort to help bless the people here. I was talking to a member while on splits
(each companion goes and does missionary work with a member) about this transfer and my own fear of being transferred. He told me that I had done a good job, despite having two difficult companions, because I was a standard higher than previous missionaries. (A word of caution: not every missionary companionship is going to get along and do things the same way. The problem here isn't so much Elder Young but Elder Todd not taking a lead in having a crucial conversation about missionary work. It is nice that Elder Todd received some positive feedback from a member; however, the missionary experience is not all about converts or always living in a comfort zone.)

What is my more directive approach? I plan on discussing this with my companion. One, we are tracting. Yes, we will go see less actives and part member families, but we need to balance it out with tracting. I know Elder Young does not like to tract (and the ward mission leader is not that supportive of it), but I am taking my stand as to say, we are. I am not going to pull my brains out trying to figure out who to see. If anything, we need to have order and balance. Two, from 10 to 12, I think it would be beneficial for us to learn how to teach together and to plan things for that day (e.g. lessons). I always feel that I am competing to talk, even with members. Three, if things need to be done, they will get done. That is mainly for calls, because we need to make calls faster. Four, communication. We need to talk about things, about our people, and so on and so forth. Five, if he has a problem with me, I would like for him to discuss it with me.

Tonight, as I have forewarned my companion, I am going to discuss these things with him. I am going to stand my ground and lead this area. That is my goal for the transfer and that is what I am going to push myself to do.

I did get a priesthood blessing for my back, which helped calm me down and took a lot of the pain away. Some days, it acts up, particularly with a nerve pain in my leg (hip down). Bending, sitting, and other things help set it off. But, at times, it does not do that anymore, even with sitting, bending, etc. After doing some service that I could do like painting and log splitting, my back got stiff and I have been trying to take it easier to help my back recover. I have been forbidden from moves and many types of service, such as raking and by extension, snow shoveling, etc.

Moving on to Wednesday of last week, we did our usual thing of going to the library to do our progress record. We made it to the stoplight of the library and there was a red truck in front of us. The red truck goes forward when the light turned green. It almost made it across when a car coming from the right in the right turn lane (which was void of cars) hit the red truck, taking out the truck's front license plate and spun. The two pulled over and did what they had to do. It made for a very exciting morning.

We taught our investigator that day and it went relatively well. We read out of the Book of Mormon to help her to begin reading and to help bring understanding. With our ward mission leader out of town, the assistant ward mission leader together with us had dinner and we went up to see our hospital patient. He was not doing well at that time. The hospital made us put on this yellow garb and gloves. We talked to him a bit. He had not been eating and been refusing to eat. We did not get to stay for long.

Thursday, we weekly planned and organized the area. Then, the assistant ward mission leader again took us to see our hospital patient. We talked to him again. He wants to live and not die, which he was afraid of happening. He was also trying to avoid pain from dialysis and especially after his heart surgery. The assistant ward mission leader talked with him that if he wants to live, then he has to eat. Then, he ate, finally.

Friday, we had zone meeting. Now, do you want to know something interesting? From September 27th to October 4th, we are doing nothing. Well, sort of. For a week, we are reading the Book of Mormon. The way they explained it was that if we do not have an appointment for anything (investigator, dinner, etc.), we are to stay home and just read the Book of Mormon 24/7. I am excited. They have yet to fully explain it to us. After zone meeting, we had exchanges. I went down to Lawrenceville with our district leader. We did some tracting, which I was honestly happy about. I met the stake patriarch. It was a really good time. The next morning, on Saturday, we did some service. First, he helped the branch president with his porch. I painted and gave tools when needed. Then, we went to another place to help split logs. And yes, I participated in it. You may be wondering how. I pulled a small lever using my wrist and arm to help split the logs. It was a hydraulic log splitter. After that, I went home, back to Appomattox. We then had splits with the elders quorum president and the assistant ward mission leader. The elders quorum president is trying to visit a lot of people and has designated the first Saturday of the month to do this. Last time, we had a good turn out. The elders quorum had designated me as the person who creates the lists of people to see. So, I avoid single sisters (there are no high priests with us nor do we have a third male) and people who live too far to fit in our two hour time frame. He liked how I was able to get people that were five minutes away. Last time, it was great.

This time, it was a small split and I went into the Prince George area for certain less actives. The assistant ward mission leader and I saw two out of four of the names on the list. It was great! But, we had enough time, so we looked at another list. I decided on one person and we went there. It turns out the person moved but the people there were somewhat interested in the Mormons. The assistant ward mission leader did a lot of the talking, and it worked out great. We now have a potential from it.

That night, we saw another less active, who, on his own accord, is returning. He had talked with the bishop and the elders quorum president. He wanted to talk to us. It was one of the best visits with a less active that I ever had. This man is going through the repentance process and he is slowly making his way back. He is humble and is working hard to make things right. The Spirit was indeed there.

Sunday, after church, we tried a few people before we called to give someone a blessing. We did that and helped them with a few other things. We received a call from our hospital patient who was moved to a rehab center. We visited him and he was doing a lot better. He is eating. His spirits are back up. He asked if I had a DVD player, so we could watch a video with him like we usually do. (It was funny. He first asked if I had my camera and I was like yes, a bit confused. He then asked if we could watch a video and then it clicked that he meant a DVD player.) We had dinner with the family that thankfully feed us often. It was the first week of school last week and the kids had not made the parents happy this past week. Apparently, the kids missed the bus a lot. So, we had a relatively quiet dinner with small conversation. We taught the recent convert of July her first member discussion. (Now, with the new change, I missed out on that zone meeting, so I have little understanding of it, beyond we are in charge. Not sure how it all works, but I am just going with it.) Then, I helped the head of the household with Family Search and helped him gain a bit of more understanding. (I wish I had more time to do family history, but I am content with my current duties that occupy my time. Family Search takes some small time to figure out, but it is a matter of finding sources to back things up. And did you hear the good news? Family Search is getting records, soon, with some big genealogy names like Ancestry. We are merging records with them, although Ancestry is still going to do their own thing with premium stuff and what not. But, isn't that exciting?)

I am in good spirits and am ready to go forward.

All is well!


Elder S. Todd

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