"The Best Two Years - the sequel?"

(The movie "The Best Two Years" is a Mormon genre movie about male missionaries in Holland, one who is anxious to convert people and the other who has almost given up on missionary work after a friend of his goes home and marries this Elder's girlfriend. We see some parallels here but in all fairness we hope our son has compassion for his own weaknesses as well as for the unseen weaknesses of others.)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

Well, I did it. I wrote my companion a letter rebuking him for his actions that he has committed; the letter was written under prayerful direction of the Spirit. I felt that it was something that needed to be done, because when talking about sleep, his responses do not follow some of his actions. It was slightly embarrassing when Spanish elders came to our door and were wondering why he was not awake. I knew that something needed to be done. I wrote the letter, not out of anger, but out of concern. I wrote not spoke, because I would be able to write calmly. I wrote it yesterday, questioning his thinking. So far, he has not really avoided me. He has withdrawn a bit though. Yesterday, during the spiritual thought for the members who fed us, I bore testimony of the Atonement. I said what I needed to say and ended my thoughts. Silence pervaded for a while before the members spoke and then I looked at my companion, asking for comments. His reply, "Yeah, I agree." Now that I have rebuked him, it is now my task to love him even more. I pray for him, hoping things will be alright. I feel right in my own actions.

Meanwhile, I am still blind about this area; I have no clear vision. I have yet to weekly planning with him to help our companionship unity (even more, I have not done companionship study). Without these, I am blind, though I am taking small steps before I introduce the idea of weekly planning. However, I am doing all that I can to help this area grow. I have started to take note at the end of the week of those who are investigators, less actives, recent converts, those we need to visit, and potentials. It allows me to have a definite list of who we need to see, though I have no clue what each person needs unless I have been directly involved. Thus, to help myself it will do for these coming weeks of the transfer do what I am about to do next.

We have an investigator, a media referral, who is from South Africa, but has not been there in many years. His father is a recent convert in another state, hence how we got the referral. He was a bit surprised, as he told us, when we knocked on the door. Previous missionaries had tracted into him before, but they knocked very loudly and would not take no for an answer. This investigator is definitely interested in joining and finding a community that will support him spiritually. Add that to another reason why we need to do our home teaching and visiting teaching and be thankful for such program. We talked of what he needs to do in order to be baptized and we talked about the church. He already loves the Church, because of what they do for his father. We got through only two points of the Restoration, mainly about families and prophets. He loves the family aspect of the Church and connected the idea of families to prophets and apostasy. He caught on when people apostatize from the prophets, the family disintegrates. Though we do not have a specific return appointment, he is planning for us to return this week. We need to give the Proclamation to the World to him. We also need fellowship and the bishop here would be good for that. After all, the investigator knows the bishop quite well; the work at the same place, though not the same job.

We have a Persian (?) Book of Mormon for our Persian (?) family. We have not seen them this past week.

We have a set of investigators (relation unknown) who have some affiliation with the Jehovah's Witnesses, either from current or past experiences. We taught them once, though it was more of a question and answer session of opinions. It was the question of blacks and the priesthood. We explained it then and that we do not know all the reasons why it occurred and explained all that we could. The man of this set accepted our answer. We should visit them this week, though it is rather difficult. They want us come by 5 to 6, our dinner time. It would be fine if we could move our dinner appointments forward., though, we have a sliver of openings.

We have the nine year old who wants to be baptized. He is part of a family of recent converts. I am not sure what he needs, though, again, he needs visual aids. He also needs his family to help him to understand the gospel truths and teach him. I wonder if they are holding family home evening. When we have dinner appointments with this family--- which takes 3 hours (from the time we get there, the mother is still cooking for another hour or so and then an hour for us to eat)--- we need to have a lesson or attempt to.

We taught an Arabic family this past week. They were referrals from the Spanish elders and we contacted them. It was not a good time when we initially contacted them, but we gave them an Arabic Book of Mormon. We obtained an Arabic Restoration pamphlet. When we came over this week, they were curious and lots of questions. They were not Muslims, but Christians. I did not feel the Spirit as much in the lesson. They were asking a lot of questions and we were trying to understand them for at times the words they said did not match with our definitions. The wife, in the end, was more interested than the husband.

Tuesday, last week's P-Day. We picked up another set of missionaries after e-mailing and had lunch. We did our shopping and then headed to the Church. We played the game Risk, which my companion is really good at playing. It was my first time playing and I inherited the Asian continent in my first go round. If you ever play Risk, Asia is most difficult to hold onto, because you are so spread out. But, I lasted for a good while despite inheriting Asia. It was a lot of fun and it opened up my companion a bit more to me. We had dinner. Then, we had the Book of Mormon class. Nobody showed. Some people forgot. We need fliers to encourage people to come and to attend the class. It is not enough to have it announced. We need to sell it and to encourage the members to attend with friends. 

Wednesday, we had zone conference and had to pick up the biking set of elders. We were nearly late, though there were people who were later than us. It was a good conference. President Wilson spoke to me on the side and told me to love my companion. Oh, and we talked about online proselyting. Why? Well, we still have no iPads and our mission president and his wife seem to have no hope that it will come to us soon, but at least we can prepare for them (and thus, the answer to why). So, we went over that. I do not know if you know, but they changed the referral system. We still get a text from headquarters, but we receive no information. All the information is online. We no longer are calling a machine to update, but we have to go online to update our referrals. It is time consuming and I do believe it may cause a stir of murmuring from missionaries that do not have the access to technology unless they go out of their way. It is a bit of a hassle, I do admit, but it is requiring a lot more faith on our part and a lot more devotion. It is a good new system. From online proselyting, we discussed the plan of salvation with President Wilson. There were lots of questions from the elders about deep doctrine ideas. After zone conference, we called this area's single mother investigator to confirm our appointment. Well, she decided to do some research and talk with her pastors and now she no longer wants to meet with us, not even to discuss the things of which she heard.
(Surprise, like the pastors were going to tell her good things about Mormons. Or that everything on the internet is true, though we have admitted that mistakes have been made.) So, she is no longer interested. That night we had our three hour appointment.

Thursday, we volunteered at the health care center (that place I called an adult home, which is incorrect, I believe) where our Powhatan-to-Gayton recent convert is.  She was asleep when we were there. Missionaries have been volunteering there for a while. I was glad to be able to help. I helped with those there that needed help playing Bingo. It was fun. We had dinner, then we went out to Goochland (nicknamed Gayton West) with the Spanish elders. The car got stuck in mud, but through our efforts, we were able to get our car free. We tried to see a few people, but they were not home or wanting us to come by. 

Friday, we saw some recent converts. We read from the scriptures with them and helped them to understand. One of them generally understands what is taught, but the other does not. That night we were able to have a lesson with our South African investigator. 

Saturday, we did our progress record. While he did the record, I did more family history and listened to some of the things that LDS Charities is doing. I absolutely loved it. I am quite amazed about what the Church is able to accomplish. Later that night, we visited a less active who is returning and also needs help in understanding the scriptures. 

Sunday, we had church and our meetings. We tried to see some people before heading out to Goochland for dinner. It was a nice dinner. We visited the less active who has the Shiba Inu. He is going through some hard times and we offered to help him in things that he needs help. He was appreciative of that. I am trying to figure him out to see how we can help him progress spiritually.

With the situation with my companion, I have been turning to the Lord for help and guidance. I have been trying to draw on all my sources of help. As I have been relying on the Lord, I have been a lot happier. It is much better than Appomattox. Think of it this way: the people of Limhi and the people of Alma. The people of Limhi relied more on others than the Lord, which was in part why it took a while for them to be relieved of their burden. The people of Alma, on the other hand, relied more on the Lord and though their burdens were not automatically taken away from them, they were a lot happier and their burdens were lightened. I am relying on the Lord a lot more and using prayer as a strength. We have access to the heavens through prayer and it is such a strength. I am definitely persisting in not giving up and in trying to be obedient; hence, I am fighting like a dragon.

Tout va bien!


Elder S. Todd

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