When You Hear Large Dogs Barking or the Silence of the Criminally Insane

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

I often wondered if there was ever going to any changes in Lemoore
 (changes in school, town and the Bishop/ LDS Pastor). I mean, sure, there has some until recently, but none as big as what is going on in Lemoore and here in Appomattox. I thought the only big change was going to be an In-and-Out in Hanford. It is good to hear about these changes and know what is going on. I am glad to hear about my dog. I am glad she is getting fed and she is alive.

My back is doing a lot better. I only have slight pains or no pains. I am off of the ibuprofen, which I am so glad. I felt like it was messing with my head and it made tired. Driving was not fun during duration of that week . Even being off it, I am tired, despite sleeping throughout the night. I called the medical officer to give her an update on my back. She is supposed to email me some back exercises to help strengthen it and to prevent further damage, pain, or a ruptured disk, I am forbidden to do any home moves for six months. I heard that news and I was dismayed. Once those six months are up, I have to make sure not to move anything "heavy."

Thank you for reminding me about the birthdays. I have stamps to last for a good while. Laundry, which I seem to get a heavy hint from you, is going fine.

Before I talk about this week, I must mention my companion. So, I talked to him. I have been stressed, because I am trying to build this area and I have been trying to do it by myself. I made a couple minor mistakes, but it has been worked out. When he came along, I was hoping for help. He is willing to help and is helpful. He just tried to take over and has been slightly overdoing it. From the very beginning, I felt pushed to the side with him over-talking. I explained all of this to him. Yes, I am stressed and he has given some help. Other times, he gets on some of my nerves and I get slightly annoyed. I am trying to be happy, but I know I am at the verge where things could easily sour my mood. I am managing and things are going a little bit better. I am trying to do what is right. I honestly do believe by the 9th, I will be transferred. It fits my pattern that I have been stuck doing; but, who knows.

Monday, we went to Richmond for one of his doctor appointments. It did not take too long. Richmond is pretty nice, some scary places. I felt a bit safe where we parked. We parked at one of the chapels, which is next door to the police parking garage. When I get to go again to Richmond, I would not mind taking a few pictures. The rest of that Monday, besides having a bit of a day off, we tried to find people. 

Tuesday, we tried to rearrange our appointment with the less active that we were supposed to see on Wednesday (but district meeting interfered). It did not work out, so we are in the process of rescheduling. We went to another doctor that day. From there, we tried to see some people. After dinner, I took time to talk to him and readjust my goals so that I can possibly work with him. It worked out for the most part. 

Wednesday, we had district meeting. Our ward mission leader took us down to Lawrenceville. He eagerly participated in district meeting, interjecting a few comments. He took the entire district (which is just us and another set) out to lunch to Subway, where he talked about more gospel related things. On the way back, my companion and the ward mission leader had correlation. I was in the back and the ward mission leader had his window rolled down. Well, all I could hear was wind, which made me partially deaf for a while. From there, we did some house cleaning. Then, we had dinner with the assistant ward mission leader.

Thursday, we did some planning. Then, we received a text from the second councilor of the elders quorum. A couple days prior, we received a text from him (that he sent to a group of people) that he fell off his bicycle and hurt his ribs. On Thursday, he sent another mass text, saying he needed to go to VCU for some medicine and possibly get checked out. We offered to give him a blessing. We arrive and ended up never giving that blessing. Instead, he comes out with us to visit a few people. That day, we also received a referral for a person in Central State Hospital.
Central State Hospital now serves people of all races but from the sign above it is a historical site. It now serves the criminally insane. Haiyang Zhu, the 25-year-old doctoral student from Virginia Tech that decapitated a young woman, was admitted to Central State. It has also been the home to Lorena Bobbitt.
We decided to try that person with the second councilor. After all, it was a hospital. We get there, thinking that we would be able to see this "hospital patient," and were surprised with the buildings. They were made out of brick and some had fences surrounding the building. We arrived at one of the main buildings looking for this person. As it turns out, this place is a mental illness facility, where some of their patients are criminals. We enter, finding out this information, and talk to an officer that was there and one of the nurses. While we were waiting for information, my companion had to deposit his pocket knives (why he carries them, I do not know). I wondered, thinking why he had knives and I am glad I do not have any form of weapon. Well, the Lord truly humbles us. All of a sudden, I remembered that I had my wrench from the days that I biked in Woodbridge. When he returned, I left to go deposit my wrench. Then, we found out more information about this person and received numbers to call. We have to wait before we can make a visit.

Friday, we saw people; not much else happened. 

Saturday, we talked to a person that I had not seen for awhile. He was the one who quizzed me on things like, "Who baptized John the Baptist" and "What is the meaning of the seven stars and seven golden candlesticks." When I was with Elder Avison, he broke his leg and called us for some help. Elder Avison never really did want to go over and I never got around calling him back, though I honestly intended to. We saw him and he was happy that we were there. He thought we had forgotten about him and I just explained that I personally was sorry. Then, he proceeded to quiz Elder Young. The rest of the time until 2, we tried to see people.
There was one particular house that we are never going back to see. We get there and it is a nice looking house, despite the no trespassing signs and beware of dog. (In Virginia, you see a lot of those signs and sometimes, you feel that you should not go and other times, you disregard it.) We approached the door and knocked. (Elder Young was nearer to the door than I was.) There were some heavy barks from large dogs. Nobody answered. He knocked again and the door opened. The man is trying to hold back his dogs, but waves us off. I was about to go, though the thought came to my mind to ask for his name. Never got the chance to do it. One dog came out and tried to bite my companion. The dog manage to make a minor puncture and rip the back of his pants. Then, the wife, caring less for my companion's safety, comes out yelling and screaming, telling us we should not have trespassed and all sorts of stuff. We left and went home to have him change his pants. Also, that day, we had a move. I sat there, bored, while people were moving stuff. I am not looking forward to these coming months. The person in charge of the move took us out to eat and showed us some historical sites on the way home.

Sunday, we had a good time at church. The first councilor of the bishopric was released and the second councilor became the first councilor. A new second councilor was called. After church, our recent convert talked to us. She told us that she is inviting her grandmother, who is a less active member, to a dinner at a public restaurant and she wanted us to come. We tried to see some more people from there and succeeded in some ways.

Interesting, somewhat of a week as it wasn't the first time a companion of mine got attacked by a dog. In Woodbridge, when I was with Elder Frank and we had Elder Hathcock with us for a day; a dog nipped at one of them. 

Thank you also for the information on the religious freedom. I am trying to collect information to study. I have looked at some of the speeches Elder Dallin H. Oaks did about religious freedom. I am trying to obtain the best information to study.

All is well and turning better.


Elder S. Todd

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