Yep, Just Like a Box of Chocolates!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

I definitely miss Tappahannock. I am in the Gayton Ward, the west end of Richmond. It is a bit like Woodbridge; the many shops, the many suburbs, the many apartments. We do have the country, but it is an odd addition to the Gayton Ward. It takes time and miles to get there. Sisters used to cover that area, but they no longer do and that change is recent. That area definitely needs missionary attention and there needs to be a balance to both sides of the area. 

We are doing a Book of Mormon class here, though today will be the first day for me. Of course, I can envision a lot of things to do for this class (PowerPoint, activities, etc.), but I do not have those resources available and have yet to see what is being done in the class. 

My new companion is Elder Taylor, who is from Modesto, California. (Seth's Great Grandfather Boyd Henry Todd and his family were some of the first members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Modesto, California.) To say that things are going well between us is a false statement. It took me until Sunday to figure what is his problem. I have yet to find motive as to why is he such. I am extremely upset, not at the Lord, but at him. He does not believe in planning; no, not even weekly planning. In fact, I overheard him say that instead of planning for the next day, he just goes by the Spirit. That infuriated me with a fiery indignation that I just wanted to come out of the bathroom, crying out, "Oh, you sloth! Repent of your wicked ways!" I wanted to go to each and every scripture about slothfulness and rebuke him.

The thought came to my mind, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of." So, I stayed in the bathroom, trying to calm down. I have been trying to make decisions, which at one time, I made the wrong decision, thinking it to be good.
I am however persisting in asking what we are doing and he did ask me what we should do tomorrow. Well, it is rather difficult when I do not know our investigators, the area, and such. I am slowly learning the area; then again, so is he. He has only been here for a transfer. I looked at our area book, which does not give me much information. 

I sent you a letter that I wrote on Wednesday that I sent later. I was angry when I wrote it. I do have a library card, but, whether it is temporary or not, I am not exactly sure. I am sending you a letter soon, concluding some matters of discussion and inviting you to family home evening. I definitely need support, or encouragement. I have been trying to love my companion. I wrote little notes telling him to have an excellent day and told him the things he does well. Nothing much of yet has happened. I do plan on seeking advice from the mission president and when I go on exchanges with the zone leaders (because my companion is the district leader), I plan on seeking a blessing to help me for the coming weeks. During planning tonight, I do think I should talk to him and I pray that I will be calm.

Thanks for the quotes. It really does fit into this past week. I push forward.

Monday. Elder Henstrom and I had to do many, many chores. Laundry, packing, cleaning, etc. I received a haircut that day from one of the daughters of the members upstairs; she did a military haircut, something she wanted to do when she first cut my hair. She was surprised about how quickly my hair grew and how thick it was. After the haircut, I was not so sure what to think. It did remind me of the haircut I had received in Woodbridge. I am quite happy with my haircut. We said goodbye to our single mother investigator and headed to the branch president's house. We had dinner and we had a really good time. I enjoyed it and that is when I received the shirt of which you saw. I love it; I do believe there is a proper balance to hunting and saving the environment.
I quickly packed that night. Everything was stuffed full, because of my quick planning. I had to figure out how to put my bare necessities (toothbrush, etc.). 

Tuesday, we said a few more goodbyes and then we headed to transfers. I was put with where I am now and who I am with. We received another car, because our previous car had reached the mile limitation for missionaries. We inherited somebody's car, which is close to its expiration. According to my companion, we did not receive any information about our allotment, so we do not have an allotment. Right, we will go with that. We had dinner with a member who has a wife who speaks Portuguese (and she is a member). They are nice people and I knew that I would love this area. We saw a recent convert, whose son has a desire to be baptized. I was merely introduced to them.

Wednesday through Saturday, I began to realize what my companion is doing and I have yet, like I have said, to understand why. I learned that he loves deep doctrine, which, okay, I had another companion that also liked deep doctrine (and I loved that companion), but it seems off-putting for some reason. I am probably a bit frustrated. I mainly decided to put my head down and endure (go week by week). I have been trying to figure out how to love my companion. There has been too much wasted time, spots that I disliked, because I know how quickly time passes. We received many referrals. Some interested, others not. I am grateful for these referrals, because they give us something to do. We were able to get new investigators, one of whom is a single mother with one kid. She is not able to go to her church often, because it is on the other side of Richmond.
My companions is excellent at asking questions, which is great and that is what we needed. I used scriptures, which she needed. I know that if we couple this together, we would get work done. 

I had dinner with the bishop and I have met the ward mission leader.

We went with one set of the Spanish elders to take them to the country, so that they can try to find those that are Hispanic and speak Spanish. It was during this time that I learned that the country area needs our attention. We were talking to a member who has Spanish names (but does not speak Spanish) who thought the area would never see missionaries again. We are working with a less active in this area who is a retired photographer. He is a nice guy, but slightly depressed. I liked his dog, which is a Shiba Inu. 

We have run into many Arabs, who are Muslims. I have met people of other cultures. I absolutely love it. We have a new investigator who speaks Persian (or Farsi). We had an Arabic Book of Mormon, which we were able to give away. I ate at a Mongolian themed grill (members took us out to it), which was quite amazing. I saw, as we passed the mall on Short Pump, a world store, whatever that means. I am excited, because of the different cultures that I see here. 

Oh, and I have been adopted. There is another recent convert here, who absolutely loves the missionaries. Funny thing is, she was found in Powhatan, but later had moved into a different adult home in Gayton and was baptized. I had talked to her on the phone before in Powhatan for she was looking for a missionary (the second Appomattox companion that I had). So, it was great to finally meet her. When new missionaries meet her, they become adopted into her "family." Thus, I have been adopted. She recently had her arm amputated, but she keeps on going.

Sunday, church was great. We taught gospel principles and will teach it next week as well. I am excited for that. We contacted another referral who is an adolescent. I was so happy to meet him and give him a Book of Mormon. I noticed on his shirt there was the seven candlesticks (the menorah), typically seen in Hanukkah. Yes, he is Jewish. We were not able to schedule another appointment with him at the time, but I hope he calls. Have I ever told you it is a goal of mine to have a Jewish friend? Yes, I was happy to meet this fellow for two reasons as evident above. We were able to find another new investigator when we sought two other people in an apartment. We were called over and asked the typical questions, "Are you Mormon? Is beer a sin? How many wives are you allowed to have?" Slowly, this person who had called us over wanted to know more.

Monday, well, Sunday we found out the P-day was changed to Tuesday. My companion felt sick (whether he was or not, I am not going to judge), so we did not get out much. We received some new referrals that day as well. They are great potentials. We visited the recent convert who has a son who wants to be baptized. He is a crazy kid (granted, he is nine) and was all over the place. I really do think we need visual aids and luckily, they have a tablet. I suggested that to my companion, who, honestly, did not seem all that enthused, but we will try it.

I am going to push through it and fight through persistence and calm negotiations. I think of the people of Limhi who "like dragons did they fight" for their own lives and family. I am going to push hard to make sure that this area stays alive and thriving. I will love my companion.

How do you say all is well in French? I only know all is well in German, Alles wohl. Is it tout est bien?

Tout est bien! (Tout va bien!) Alles wohl! All is well!


Elder S. Todd

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