I Want To Be A Catholic; I Want to Be A Mormon

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten  Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.-John 3:16
(To understand the title you need to read to the bottom of the post. Arguably it is not easy to be a single parent. However, sometimes parents must ask: who is the parent, me or the child.)

December 15, 2014

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

I am happy to report to you that we are allowed to Skype with its usual prerequisites of time. I plan on Skyping, so there will be no worries there. It is a matter of finding the people and the place. It will not be with the members upstairs for they do not have internet (much less a computer or tablet). This has not been on my mind as of recent; I have been thinking of other matters. Once it is all situated, I will have a member text you, or call, so that you are informed. I currently have no idea on time. I know this is not as helpful as needed, but it has been brought up to my attention and now I will work on it.

I may have a chance to buy my companion dinner, so I will be able to use some of the money that I attained over this holiday.

I do not know if this letter will be impressive as others, but those words will come if so needed.

I am happy to hear that California is receiving rain and that there is a potential for it to rain even more. I hope for California's sake that it does rain.

Last Monday, there was little excitement. We did our normal tasks on P-day and tried to see people with little success. 

Tuesday came along. We were able to see an investigator who had been babysitting elsewhere, causing her
to cancel her appointments. We retaught the Plan of Salvation. The reason we had to reteach is because the previous time we taught the lesson the television was on. Granted, it was mute and not so distracting. However, it was a murder mystery movie with people dying. The Spirit was not present at that lesson. Reteaching the lesson enabled us to review it for her and to help confirm understanding.

Later that day, we went up to Montross; a member had fed us dinner. She had made me self-conscious of the way I eat food. I am a person who, when there are different kinds of food on a plate, eats one specific thing at a time and saves what is considered the main course last. She noted that and asked if I did not like meat, which was the main course. I had to pause, consciously think of the way I was eating, and attempt to explain it. It is easy to explain what I do rather than why I do it. 

Following our meal, we went to see our investigator, who I am unsure about mentally. My companion is slightly "weird-ed out" by him, but I believe what he does (he watches us while we pray before we go into his apartment) is due to his mental state (of which I am still unsure of). I am confident on that. We taught him about prayer and scripture study. He seems to have a fair amount of understanding.

Wednesday, we updated our area book with the proper information that we needed to put in it. We tried different people that day with little success. Even our evening was full of cancellations. Plus, with the Christmas initiative, the sisters talked to us about different ideas they had, some of which they have implemented.

Thursday, we not only had district meeting, but we also had exchanges. I stayed in the area with the new zone leader, Elder Graff. I led the area for that day, something I was reluctant to do for once. The day turned out more successful than other days. We saw a medical less active (the one whom I cut her hedges for). We started off with small talk. I began it by asking the standard how are you question. With a brief answer and nothing to go on, it led to a brief awkward silence for me to think of what to say and then I sheepishly admitted that I am not the most conversationalist person. However, if you start the discussion or ask me to teach, I can talk happily for the amount of time specified (if not more). I shared the things of stake conference with her for she was unable to go. After a few other people, with no success, I felt prompted to try a potential. We traveled to the place, only to find that the potential was not home. However, the family was interested in hearing our message. This family is Baptist, but has little knowledge of the Bible, much less understanding the contents. We were able to teach the Restoration and help them understand.

We tried another potential that night, that is somewhat an investigator. I decided we were going to test the waters. This person on their teaching record had the statement that they were not interested. However, it was quite contrary in my call with him several weeks ago, when he said he was interested. I briefly went over the Restoration. I could tell the man and his oldest grandson are interested. However, his wife, who is more
of a strict Christian, is not. She firmly stated that no man has seen God and lived. However, as we pointed out to her with her Bible read by her own grandson, Moses saw and talked to God face to face (Exodus 33:11). Jacob, better known as Israel, even saw God face to face (Genesis 32:30). I know there is a scripture even in the Gospel of John that talks about such cases, but I cannot think of it at this current point. When we brought up these points, she said she had to think about; she then added that Elijah must have seen God. But, she stated that these men were extraordinary people. She said it in such a way that these people were exempt from the rule that whoso sees God will die. To which, I pointed out that while these were extraordinary people, they were still men, just like her and I. The scriptures show their faults. With this conversation, I can tell the man really trusts his wife, even saying she knows the Bible really well (which she does). Because of that trust, he wavers on his interest, seeing as she can be, in some sense, a portable church. Our next attempt to talk to them is not to break their trust, but to help her understand in order to bridge what she knows and what we can add. By this, I believe we can help the man grow in interest and act on that interest to learn more.

We saw our investigator who is on date for baptism. He has denied his other church, who, in his own
opinion, did not answer his questions about life after death. We brought a baptismal calendar, so that he knows what he needs to do in order to continue progressing to baptism. He is greatly excited and it is evident that he has a testimony that is in the heart. There may be bumps in the road, but things should be resolved. I am excited for him.

Friday, we exchanged back and weekly planned. The only thing that occurred of significant importance is we taught our investigator who watches us as we pray. We talked to him about the Sabbath day. He came to church. And come to find out, he is a cousin of a member in the branch. She was happy to see him. I would never have known. 

Saturday, we completed our progress record. Then, we went to the Tappahannock parade. This was not a relaxing parade; there was work to do. The sister missionaries came up with the idea to pass out candy canes with some quotes from President Thomas S. Monson and a link to Christmas.mormon.org during the parade. We had two hundred candy canes; with the sisters and the senior missionary couple, we passed them out. They went fast, because there were a lot of people. It was funny, because I was holding our bag open to give some to a few people, when a lady in the parade approached me. She put candy in my bag for whatever reason. Also, the senior couple as we were passing out candy canes asked us to go on the other side to pass them out for they had finished one side of the street. Now, this request came in the middle of the parade. My companion found an opening to dart across while the parade was proceeding. I was lucky to find one and get across. So, I ran in the middle of the parade. Not something I ever thought I would do, nor would have liked to have done.

Intellectual Reserve (C)
Then, we saw our single mother investigator. Seeing as last Sunday for us was stake conference, she was not able to attend. After all, she is trying to preserve gas in her car, so she could not come all the way down to Mechanicsville. Upon request of her youngest and second child, who is 5, they went to the Catholic church. Her oldest and first child, who is 11, was not happy. As she told us, the two, on the way home, were arguing (as per usual). Her youngest stated that she wanted to be Catholic; oh, and it is obvious why. As the youngest said, "They give us treats," and on Sunday, "The Catholic church gave me a candy cane." The oldest wants to be a Mormon, even wanting to be a missionary. (Which allowed us to teach about missionary work.) He likes the Church. Our single mother investigator has decided to do double church. Go to sacrament meeting, leave her oldest at Primary, go to the Catholic church for her daughter, return to the Church to pick up her son, and go home. She wants to support both their decisions. Now, the kids are arguing over what their mother is going to be: Catholic or Mormon. They have decided that she needs to be a hybrid, both Catholic and Mormon. She herself has yet to decide. (I do wonder how she feels the Spirit. She was a missionary for the Catholics and she obviously has felt the Spirit.)

Intellectual Reserve (C)
The single mother wants to wait for her son to be baptized. He is a somewhat normal kid; he has ADHD and has lower age maturity. She wants to wait for him to grow a bit (allowing him to more fully make the decision) and have him learn what he needs to learn. She plans on having only herself and her son to be taught while she has her daughter be at a friend's house. I note that the son has a great amount of potential mentally. He has a desire to learn and somewhat memorized some scriptures, particularly Psalm 23. I believe that he can memorize scriptures, which will aid him mentally and demonstrate his maturity. It is great that the Church has the seminary program with a set of scriptures to memorize. I believe that he can memorize those scriptures. In fact, I plan on giving him a list of ten scriptures from that list. I believe that she will see that this Church will help her children. This may become a motivator for her to seek a testimony.

Sunday came by. We went over to a son of the members upstairs' house to help eat some leftovers. It was his birthday this past week, which was celebrated three times, this being the third. Monday, his actual birthday, he had a small surprise birthday party to throw him off for an even bigger surprise party on Friday. We were invited for Friday, but it was best that we did not go. Partially, it was that we had a lesson, but the stake presidency was there and so were the sisters. For that reason alone, we were lucky to not to go. Sunday was a good day.

Alles wohl!


Elder S. Todd

P.S. I believe Hannukah is this week. Happy Hanukkah! (Yes Hanukkah began the day after this letter was sent.)