Salad Anyone?

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stonein whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.--Ephesians Chapter 2 KJV

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

When did you find the recent convert here in Appomattox?
(On his Elder Seth Todd Facebook page, there is a request for prayers on his behalf because of his back injury. When people click on like as parents we like to discover who the people are that we don't know. Seth's Dad made contact with her and he was delighted to meet this wonderful person.) I was quite surprised. She does know about Institute and has talked about going to BYU or to Utah. She is really a good person and has good questions. I am not surprised that you found her Facebook and that she found me, because the family that has us for dinner a lot found me on Facebook.

I am glad people are praying for the both of us. ( Elder Todd has been grateful for his companions and his companion's health is important to him as well.) One, my companion may or may not have kidney stones and he has been feeling under the weather. Two, my back has been doing a lot better and the leg pain went away. That is until I cleaned the house. To understand, I do not know my limits and I thought cleaning the house (which needed to be done badly) was no problem. I do not think I will be cleaning the house any time soon.

I have slowed down completely, which I am utterly saddened by it. I love being active, but with my back, I do not know my limits like I have said. I have limited myself to such a degree to make it easier. The back exercises I have to do takes about 40 minutes of my morning, so I do not have time to do any other exercises. I am dealing with the reality of my injury and I have to play it safe. Raking leaves, cleaning house, snow shoveling, heavy lifting, and other things yet known to me are off the list.

I knew about the Saratov Approach. (A movie made about the true story of two missionaries kidnapped and held for ransom in Russia back in 1998. People of many faiths were praying for their safe release.) I found out about it in Woodbridge. There were times when I felt like mentioning it, but I refrained for Mom's sanity. Elder Clifford told me that his mom went to see it in the theater and someone in front of her said, "I am glad I do not have a son out on the mission." It sounds like a really good movie.

Monday, Elder Young and I went to Zone P-day, wherein I sat out and he played. I did my normal thing of read the scriptures. We are having another Zone P-day today, which I get to sit out again and for the rest of the mission. Today, I have other tasks to do, such as writing letters and cards. After that, we had dinner with the bishop and it was quite nice. Afterwards, he took us to an elderly member to give her a blessing (the lady had dementia and was slowly deteriorating). We helped with that and later that night, she passed away quietly. From there, we saw our hospital patient who is now in the health care system. He had been calling us, so we thought something was wrong. As I quickly discovered, he is lonely and bored.

Once we got back home, I prayed and then talked to my companion.  I told him what I needed to do and what the Spirit wanted me to do. He understands that we need to tract. I told him that I need his support in all of this. It was a good talk.

Tuesday, we mainly organized due to a threat of rain. One thing I do have to consider is his health, seeing it can be easily compromised.

Wednesday, we did our normal thing of make our progress record and then print off at the church. The printer at the church was not working properly. We got a call from missionaries to drop off a baptismal suit over in Colonial Heights. We did that and drove over to the spot where we were going to tract. Then, we received a call to try to visit someone. I felt that we should go, so we did. We mainly made our presence known. Seeing as we were back in Petersburg, we decided to see a person who needed to be visited. Instead, we got another call from another family in Petersburg. That visit went good to awry to good; we talked to the bishop about it.  We had correlation and then we set off to see our hospital patient with the assistant ward mission leader. We had bought him a coloring book, crayons, and a magnifying glass (to read the Book of Mormon). Out of all things, he enjoyed the coloring book and told us that he was going to color two pages every night. It made me happy. Well, later, we had to replace the coloring book, because somebody took it.

Thursday, we received two referrals. [So, Central State referral. Talking to the missionary over the referral, she said it is a could not contact. Personally, I would love to visit the person, but I had some hesitation with Elder Young. One, I am not sure he wanted to see the person. Two, having studied quite a bit about schizophrenia and its genetic causes I would desire to meet this person and offer anything positive even if it were to comfort the family.] 
The Apostle Peter wrote that disciples of Jesus Christ are to have“compassion one of another.” In that spirit I wish to speak to those who suffer from some form of mental illness or emotional disorder, whether those afflictions be slight or severe, of brief duration or persistent over a lifetime. We sense the complexity of such matters when we hear professionals speak of neuroses and psychoses, of genetic predispositions and chromosome defects, of bipolarity, paranoia, and schizophrenia. However bewildering this all may be, these afflictions are some of the realities of mortal life, and there should be no more shame in acknowledging them than in acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or the sudden appearance of a malignant tumor.-Elder Jefferey R. Holland of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles LDS Conference October 2013 Link: Like A Broken Vessel

We talked more as companions about our teaching styles. We saw our recovering medical less active who has been coming to Church for the past while. Later that night, we saw one of our referrals who lived far, far away. It was a good visit and there was potential out of it. The thing was she is looking for help with understanding the Bible and thought the Book of Mormon would help. We helped her with seeing that it will.

Friday, we saw our other referral, who was a young man who is agnostic. We taught him the Restoration and I feel that it went relatively well. And then, we tracted! We found our spot, started walking to the homes. Before we even got there, there was this lady who stopped us. She proceeded to present rote words about Mormonism and the evil it is and to beware of false prophets. She was not willing to listen, because afterward, she walked off. I went on, reminded by the truth that the Book of Mormon is true. Not much success came out of it, but I am happy that we put our faith out there. (Interesting that he gets his chance to go knocking door-to-door and they meet this lady. Most likely this lady may not have read much of the Bible. For sure she must have skipped Ephesians about how the church is built upon a foundation of apostles and prophets. Even more so she has little knowledge of the beginnings of Christianity. Nevertheless, she felt she had to say what she said as much as they had a message for her that she didn't want to hear.)

Saturday, we helped set up for Sunday and the linger longer that would take place. We also saw our hospital patient to watch a video and give him his new coloring book.

Sunday. We had ward conference where the stake (a stake covers several congregations and leaders come to give help or advice as needed.) came over and talked about hastening of the work. They taught the classes and helped run things. It was pretty good. Afterwards, we had a linger longer. I pause here to help bring light to something. I have been looking for a way to serve. So, I thought I would share something with the ward would be great and we had this linger longer coming up. I decided to make thee pasta salad. When I say "thee pasta salad," I mean the pasta salad with different color rotini noodles (except I had one box of the multiple color and another box of regular rotini), salami, olives, feta, artichoke hearts, and Italian dressing. It turned out well, but I honestly did not think I added enough artichoke hearts. Well, nobody except a select few knew I made something. At the linger longer, it was eaten, though there was a good share left. It made me happy when I saw people grabbing some and eating it. I was happy when I even saw the people I was sitting with, eating "thee pasta salad." After the linger longer, the stake went on a blitz. We went with one high councilman. We saw the recent convert of Appomattox and it was a good visit. There was a lot of successful visits that people had. When we got to the church, I wondered if there were any leftovers of that pasta salad. I could not control what happened to the bowl of pasta salad, because I was not part of the clean up and we had to leave. So, I was like disappointed, but then I thought I hope whoever has the pasta salad enjoys it. Afterwards, we went to the family who feeds us often (like we will do for the next two Sundays) and the recent convert was there. She asked an excellent question towards the end of our visit.

This week went by too quickly. My days feel like forever, but the week is short. It is the middle of September and a new transfer begins today.

All is well!


Elder S. Todd

P.S. Here are pictures of my concoction. Salad anyone?

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