A Happy Ever After

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

http://www.mormontabernaclechoir.org/videos/christmas-from-heaven-the-candy-bomber-story?lang=eng (or the full length:http://www.mormontabernaclechoir.org/videos/tom-brokaw-gail-halvorsen-christmas-special?lang=eng

I am sending you three awesome, awesome videos to look at this Christmas to add to the wonderful He is the Gift. I watched them recently and they are amazing. Simply put.

I always wanted to try Latkes. (His mother tried them at a friend's house that was hosting a book club.) I bet they were good. I tried Jewish Rye Bread before (I may have told you this). It was delicious, other than smelling like pickles. This past week, when my companion was waiting for some pictures to develop at Wal-Mart, I decided to look for tamales myself. I missed out last year and I wanted to find them. I told my companion that I would like to look for tamales. He grabbed a few items himself and then, was like, "Let's go get your hot tamales." I stated, "It should be in the frozen food aisle, not in the candy section." Eventually, I had to explain what tamales actually are, which to a person who never has had them, it can be hard to explain. I had to think about it. He is from the West Coast in Oregon, but apparently the Mexicans there were Americanized. Nonetheless, I could not find tamales. (As per expected. I remember trying to find the right brand of "chili beans" and all I could find was not the kind I wanted and a limited selection.) So, I am going to have to go for something else.

I believe I got the package from Joy (his oldest sister) today before we left. I did not open it, because I was highly unsure whether or not I should. I received the package from the Distribution Center from you this week as well. Then, I got another package from what I thought was the Ward Primary. I opened it slightly, pulled a card out, and it said, "From your Ward Family." Still unsure if I should open any further, I closed the package (though I did see what was in it), and said, "I did not see anything."

And with Frozen, I have yet to see it (and there is no chance to see it), although I have heard all the songs and know the entire plot. Kind of like how I know the plot of The Hobbit. I read the book, albeit I have no idea what extras the movie has.

Thanks for sending the card to the members upstairs. It has yet to arrive, but I am sure it will arrive soon.

It sounds like you had a really good week. This past week seems to be a precursor of what this week is going to be like. 

Monday, we did our usual P-day activities of napping. After dinner, we tried to see a few people. Our investigator --who I said watches us as we pray-- allowed us to come in. We addressed the law of chastity and were bold and blunt. With this investigator, we are still unsure what he is understanding, so we have plans on reviewing the lessons we have previously taught him. 

Tuesday, we had interviews. My hair had not been cut for a while; we have a person, related to the members upstairs, who cuts it for us for free, but she could not find her hair clippers. So, time went by until this past Tuesday. By then, she had found her clippers, but as of yet, could not cut it due to schedule conflicts. It came to be eight o'clock, where it was time for personal study and two hours before we had to leave for Mechanicsville. We get a knock at one of our doors. There she was, ready to cut our hair. So, we went up the stairs and had our hair cut. It was one of those God sent miracles. (She told me that she is going to do my hair differently next time.)

We made it to interviews and I was the first one. As always, interviews were a bit different and straightforward.
He asked me a few questions, such as what I enjoy about the mission and what are the goals I have for the rest of the mission. I will tell you a few things that I told him. What I always enjoy is teaching. That was the first thing and only thing I said. I get a lot of enjoyment from teaching. It is something that is hard to explain. I mentioned the fact that I am not a conversationalist; I cannot talk to people. However, when it comes to teaching, the words flow a lot more freely, though I still put thought in it. Some times, I even pause, to think of the best way to put the words or to connect ideas. Yet, I find a lot of enjoyment out of teaching. I made my two goals two skills or attributes I want to work on. The first is interdependence, allowing myself to work with others. He gave me some advice for the first goal. But more importantly to me, especially for the rest of my life, I need to work on confidence, which is my second goal. I find a lack of confidence within myself. Upon reflecting it more through meditating with the Spirit, I need to find value and accept it. I personally thank you for the words of which you gave me at the end of your email. I never really thought myself to be a voice of charity and I can only hope that I can continue that for the rest of my life. I need to recognize the skills that I do have.

One of the things that I have been working on is talent. I love to sing, but this is not, at the time, my skill. At some other point, I will develop this, probably through learning. I love to write. I have not written words in the forms of essays or stories in quite a time. From the inspiration of others, I started writing an essay on the Restoration based on the scriptures. I have gone through a lot of beginnings and rough drafts for a few paragraphs. This is something I have been working on for a week now. I definitely want to develop this talent. It is part of recognizing the skills that I do have.

Thus, as part of finding confidence, I need to recognize my own value and skills that I have. For the rest of Tuesday, we arrived home after the interviews, then we had lunch, and then saw a recent convert. We taught the recent convert the new member lesson on some of the commandments. We had dinner and from there, we headed off to another lesson. Our person on date had cancelled us, which was our next appointment. He is sick with the flu. So, he did not meet with us nor did he come to church. I pray that he feels better soon. 

Wednesday, we had district meeting and headed off to help the sisters. We went to a member's antique shop and passed out hot chocolate along with He is the Gift. (They even passed out copies of the Book of Mormon by wrapping it in gift wrapping paper.) I stood and held the sign the entire two hours. I was quite content. The street we were on had a stoplight, so when it turned red, they approached the cars and offered hot chocolate. At times, the light would turn green while they were talking with some people. From that, we had a quick dinner and then met up with the senior couple. They had a person baptized this past Saturday and needed my companion to interview him. I helped them as they taught another investigator that was there. That night, the rest of our appointments cancelled.

Thursday, it was a day of getting our Area Book in order. We tried to see people with little luck. Our dinner appointment cancelled, yet they were able to buy us a pizza. 

Friday, we planned. We saw our single mother investigator to invite her and her son, who wants to be baptized, to the baptism on Saturday to see what one looks like. When we went, she was there, so we invited her. We did not teach anything, but we talked to her for a while. We learned some additional information that could aid us. Again, she brought up the issue that she has with the Word of Wisdom. She mentions that she likes to add wine to her food, such as marinara sauce. The alcohol burns up, but leaves the taste. She brought up that she eats food to enjoy it, while not going into excess into gluttony. Later I found a good scripture in Doctrine and Covenants that matches her mentality about food. Her son came home and we brought up the baptism. He did not want to go and said that he wants his mom to be baptized. Later that night, we visited our investigator who watches us as we pray to invite him to the baptism.

Saturday, we were invited to a service project by the young men leader and high priests. It was to help floor the bedroom floor of the family of our WWE fanatic. They live in a small trailer. I have been in there a couple times, and there is a lot of stuff on the floor. It is not a hoarders' house, but it is the same kind of mess. Nothing was touched by the time we started the project, so we had to move items and remove the carpet. As the carpet was pulled up, a cloud and pillar of dust formed in the air. It was rank in the house. As one person put it to me, "I scrubbed and scrubbed to remove the smell. It seemed as though it stayed in my skin, embedded." That took an hour before they started to cut plywood to refloor the bedroom. By that time, I needed to head out with our WWE fanatic to get the car's oil changed and the tires rotated. Partially glad that we had to do that. By the time, we returned it was completed. After showering and lunch, we completed our progress record. Again, we attempted to see people, but there was no success. Then, we had to fill the font. By six, the baptism was ready to go and completed. We did not see our single mother investigator. My companion and two other members had to practice for a musical number.

Sunday, the musical number was performed. It was great, minus the sound feed. There were three microphones: two additional and the pulpit microphone. They were all plugged into the same sound feed. When they again practiced, the two members that were singing into the two additional microphones were told to be on top. My companion who was on the pulpit microphone was mainly heard. So, in the sacrament meeting, one of the members actually did as advised, which turned out to be good. But, the sound feed became the problem. As they were singing, occasionally you only hear the member who did as advised, then you would hear my companion, or you would hear all of them. The microphones were competing with one another. It was a great performance, despite the setback. After church, we helped the ox get out of the mire. So, due to the schedule of the wife of the couple upstairs, she has not been able to get her decorations up, or at least very few. She was utterly stressed and we finally were able to help her. My companion skillfully decorated a willow tree to what she wanted. We helped in other ways as well. She still has a few more things to do, but it is a little bit closer to getting done.

It reminds me of the song, "We Need a Little Christmas," which has lyrics such as: "Haul out the holly, put up the
tree before my spirit falls again. Fill up the stockings. I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now. For we need a little Christmas, right this very minute, candles in the window, carols at the [something]. Yes, we need a little Christmas, right this very minute. It hasn't snowed a single flurry, but Santa dear were in a hurry. So, climb down the chimney, turn on the brightest string of lights that I have ever seen! Slice up the fruit cake. It's time to hang up some tinsel on that evergreen ball. For I have grown a little leaner, grown a little colder, grown a little sadder, grown a little older. I need a little angel sitting on my shoulder. I need a little Christmas now! For we need a little music, need a little laughter, need a little singing ringing through the rafters, and we need a stocking and a happy ever after. We need a little Christmas now!" Something like that. (http://www.mormontabernaclechoir.org/videos/we-need-a-little-christmas?lang=eng) Another awesome video to add to things to watch.

Alles wohl! And Merry Christmas to all!


Elder S. Todd

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