Delivering Mail Iraqi Style: Read to the End

Define normal? What is a normal young man and young woman like? There are roughly 88,000 missionaries mostly young adults just emerging from their teen years who face daily rejection, sometimes pain, sorrow, illness preach of  God and His Son Jesus Christ and the restoration of the fullness of His good news. They do this at their own expense. Their joy is in the faces of those who come to understand and know Christ. Their joy is in their service. Some because of illnesses or accidents must come home early and they do so reluctantly because they know who their Master is and who they really serve.

November 10, 2014

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

Well, it has been a slow week over here as well. We worked hard, but not much came as a result. I like Tappahannock; I always like my country areas more than my city areas. I like having the open space and the fresh air that comes from the open space. Cities are condensed and I feel crowded. Or they might be dangerous like Petersburg. Other than that, I love the members everywhere and I have great joy when serving with them. I am enjoying the people here. I am slowly getting to know the people. Our members upstairs usually feed us on Sunday and as my companion says half the branch is there, only due to the fact that half the branch is related somehow to the members upstairs. (Of course, it may be somewhat of an exaggeration, but it is somewhat true.)

My back is doing a lot better. I generally have good days with my back. I do wake up sore around my back area, but as soon as I get moving, I feel better. Only once have I felt in pain, but generally taking Aleve helps. I know I need to work on my core strength and strengthen those muscles there. I am trying to figure out the best way to do that. I know I do not want to do sit-ups, because it might hurt my back.

I did receive the Halloween package. It was going to be a Thanksgiving package instead, but I was spared. More on that in a bit.

Monday, after our normal P-day tasks, we had dinner and we contacted a referral that we received from the sisters. We had a member come out with us, but the referral changed our time to meet with them to an hour later than planned. We met with them and talked. It is a man and woman; at this point, we are unsure if they are married or not. We taught them the Restoration and the man asked many questions, some of them off the wall. It was a good first lesson and we gave them a goal for baptism to help them think about it. After the lesson, we tried to see another person without much success.

Tuesday, we cleaned our apartment a bit. After lunch, we tried to contact people, but there was not much success in that. We had dinner and aided a member in their home teaching (members are assigned to visit families with a spiritual message and see if they have any needs). That was the success we had that day. 

Wednesday, we had a zone conference with the two zones that consist of the Richmond Stake, the two zones that consist of the Midlothian Stake, and the zone that consists of the Chesterfield Stake. It was a positive meeting that I got a lot out of listening to what was shared. I asked about mail afterwards, seeing as I knew I had a package, but nobody brought the mail with them. Luckily, one of the office missionaries came by to deliver mail. After the conference, we had to wait a bit and did not get home until about 5:30 or so. We went to the church after dinner and talked with a recent convert about family history and other things. Then, we joined the branch choir. Not many people were there. The men only consisted of us missionaries and the recent convert. To make matters worse, my companion and the recent convert are tenors. I was the only bass. It was really odd for me and I felt a bit anxious about it. We are doing a medley of Primary songs and a hymn out of the hymnal. We are also doing a song in Latin. So I am learning Latin, or at least the phrase, "Gloria patri et fillio et spiritui sancto. Amen." (Meaning, "Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen."

Thursday morning, my companion stacked wood. I was not allowed to help and I am not liking it. I have been trying to find ways to do service. Afterwards, it was a day of trying to see people with not much success. 

Friday, we planned. Our appointment for the day cancelled. My companion did the progress record (we switch every week) while I did family history. Recently, I have been adding information to people. I am really fascinated by it. We did see one person, but it was not a good time. We saw a less active that night and they were talking about past missionaries. They had some good things to say. 

Saturday. This day was designated a social media day which I forgot to tell you about. The idea was for members to come out with the missionaries for a while and to take pictures of us, post things, etc. This was to show that we are normal, we try to help the community, and we believe in Jesus Christ. (This is due to the Book of Mormon musical that came into Richmond recently. Missionaries, as authorized by President, were standing outside the theater, so that people could ask them questions about the real deal. Originally, they were to pass things out, but the theater was not happy about that.) Well, we had nobody to come out with us, because they cancelled. It turned out for our benefit though. Saturday was a really off day. We did nothing. Why? Well, at 6:19 AM, I was peacefully dreaming when I heard in the midst of my sleep, somebody throwing up. Lo and behold, it was my companion who was sick. He was not going anywhere. He needed to rest and I made sure he rested. Meanwhile, throughout the day, I studied. It was a long day of nothing. 

Sunday, my companion was doing a lot better. We went to church; our new investigators showed up. We tried to see more people, but failed. Then we had dinner. The landlady received a call that day, saying she needed to go to work tomorrow (she works for the postal system). Well, here they drive normal cars that have something to identify them as mail carriers. Her car needed new brakes and her spare needed a starter. While we were having dinner, it was being fixed. It was a really nice dinner and quite enjoyable. We went downstairs afterwards, but went back up for something. We were talking to the landlady about something. Then, there was a loud boom, the house shook (mainly in the laundry room). We went outside. So, the car that was fixed with the brakes somehow failed (not sure exactly what happened). The car ended up rolling down the small hill it is on where it is normally parked and ended up hitting the house. The house was protected by a bench that was in shambles after the incident. (Kind of like how Bria hit the icebox freezer, but the icebox freezer and the car survived.) The car was pushed back and parked. Well, the radiator was crushed from the incident. That night, everybody was trying to fix the car, but nothing seemed to be resolved. She was able to find a way to do her job, but it was crazy with all that excitement and stress. When it happened, we had a person who has been and still is in the military. She said, somewhat jokingly, "I thought I was in Iraq again. I almost had a PTSD moment." (Delivering mail Iraqi style!)

Slow week, not much happened until the weekend.

All is well!


Elder S. Todd

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