You'll Be Dead At Any Moment

My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.
          --Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-9

Tuesday, February 17, 2015 9:11 PM

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

You are probably noting the time of email and are probably wondering why I am emailing at this time of all times. Yes, I know. I rather be working. With all of the latest developments, I have been striving companionship unity in the things that I do. Last night, I talked to my companion about resolving our issues peacefully for I have felt that there is a bit of resentment that we have towards each other. I am not angry at him, but I am trying all that I can to help him and show my care and love. He told me that he was tired of making all the decisions (Is that why he sleeps much of the day away?) and doing all the talking for lessons and tracting. Yes, it may be true that he talks more, but I never considered it to be a problem. I have had little chance to talk in lessons with many of my other companions and I learned to listen more than talk. When I teach, I talk to the point. I have no need for elaboration. He feels he makes the decisions for when we get in the car, we usually do what he has in mind. When he asks me what I want to do, I say either, I do not know, potentials, or tracting (for those are the only options that I foresee that we have). So, yes, that is all true. I told him that planning would be beneficial for me, because then I would know what we are talking about, what has been taught, and other things. He simply stated that he does not want to plan; rather, he just goes to the lesson and just goes with, in my perspective, whatever. If we plan, he'll just agree and plan. Now, from this talk that we had, we reached no conclusions, no compromises of any kind. However, I am willing to talk more if he will in exchange plan with me with full input. This provides the benefit for me to be able to have the opportunity to grow, to move the work along, and to foster companionship unity. I have yet to make the deal, so that is in part why I am here, probably because he believes that I will say one of the three options that I usually say.

Yet, the odd thing is, when I made the decisions yesterday, I met resistance. Seeing as the cars were grounded due to the snow, I decided we would walk to an investigator's house four miles away and from there, we would go to the church to weekly plan. He was not thrilled to walk (big surprise there) and thought it good to try to get a ride. That was a good idea and I asked him to try to do that while we walked. He did not. We did not weekly plan, because our dinner cancelled. When we arrived at the church, there were members of whom we hitched a ride to one of their houses, particularly the wife of Brother Anderson of the mission presidency. When we arrived home, I was bit upset, so I needed to cool off before I even thought of approaching my companion.

I will explain these things and more this email.

Monday, after P-day, around 5:50, my companion asks if we can play chess. I declined on the simple basis that he needed to get ready, so we could go out before dinner at seven. Well, we did not leave the house until about dinner time. We went to the recent convert and returning members house for dinner. It was a nice, enjoyable dinner. 

Tuesday, I got up, did my usual routine, and hope that he gets up. I called dinner at noon and set up a time. One o'clock rolls around. He is still not up. Okay, turn on the lights, tell him to wake up. Two hours later, he is still not up. He has not said anything to me. Finally, he gets up and asks for the phone. He needs to cancel dinner, because he is sick. So, nothing got done Tuesday. 

Wednesday rolls around. Okay, as far as I know he is sick. I called some missionaries, because I needed a blessing. These were not the zone leaders, but some fellow missionaries. I should make mention that I know of three companionships (one being the Zone Leaders) that know of the sleeping in. From these missionaries, I got the blessing. I felt that I needed to focus on the area, trying to help it. I have a purpose and I am going to fulfill it. I regained that energy and zeal to go forward. 

I called the zone leaders to get help. They came to our apartment and gave them the short of everything. Well, I love our zone leaders, but they can be a bit crazy. What did the zone leaders do? Wake up my companion and had him quickly get dressed. They asked me who in the ward could he stay with; I suggested one person, we tried to verify if it was okay, but there is no male, which is a "no go." Okay, so we call all that I can think of. We call the ward mission leader for suggestions. He has none, but will inform the ward council for suggestions; later, we get back, that without permission from the mission president, we cannot separate, plus nobody has any idea. (But, I am thinking to myself now, wait, what about splits?) At this point, I have no idea who to call and was about to give up all hopes. Finally, we found a place from another member in another ward. We get there and drop my companion off... until, of course, when we get there, my companion is "feeling better." ("No, you're not, you'll be dead at any moment.")

Later, the zone leaders returned us to our apartment. Our dinner for the night was dropped off. My companion received a blessing from the zone leaders. That night, my companion asked me what we should do. Well, we were invited that day to go out to Goochland to a member's house to do "Bible Study." We have been invited by the bishop and now the member himself. I decided that we could do that or we could go tracting in attempts to get feedback. We went to the Bible Study in the end. It was good, because there are less actives at this study. We are reading from the Book of Mormon and had a small discussion. I was asked if living the gospel was easy. I said yes, which I know it is hard. Believe me, I am going through this rough situation where I am fighting like a dragon to go forward. What I meant to say and what I failed to say was that it is difficult for us, but as Paul stated, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." By relying on Christ, it does not make things necessarily easier, but bearable where our burdens do indeed become light.

Now, I was also able to discern what is going on with Goochland by their comments. Goochland does not like Gayton (a congregation), or at least a lot of the less active or semi active members do no like Gayton. They feel unwelcome. They wish they had their own branch (a smaller congregation). I do not take these comments lightly, because it is an issue that I cannot solve. Yet I can bring it up to the bishop, hopefully not to burden the bishop even further, but to gain ideas to help Goochland ( a place near Richmond, VA).

Thursday, we were able to volunteer at the health center where "Mama" is. Before bingo, the activity we help with, we were able to see "Mama" and check up on her. We came back after bingo to pray with her. Bingo was fun and better than last time. I was unsure really what to do, but this time, I really helped out, which made me happy. We, that night, checked on our nine year old investigator and his recent convert family members. We were able to have a lesson with him, reading the Book of Mormon with a chapter about baptism. 

Friday, we were able to see the two women, who are recent converts, whose house is dimly lit and talked more from the Book of Mormon. We read Alma 7, which it was good to read to remember Jesus Christ and to know that I am not alone. We tried some other people that night, but it did not work out. We even tried to contact our South African investigator, but it was not a good time. 

Saturday, we worked on the progress record. We had a lesson with a man whom we met previously and he is officially a new investigator. He goes strictly by the Bible, because he feels it is the source to know and discern truth. He still is not sure how the Book of Mormon fits in with certain things. However, by the end of the lesson, he asked for a Book of Mormon. I see good coming from this. We had a late dinner with some members. In the midst of it, the wind picked up and we got a light dusting of snow. And so the beginning of the snow began. 

Sunday, it was a freezing cold day. I could see my breath in the car. It was awful, because I did not dress too warmly. I figured I would be warm in the church. Thank goodness the church was warm. There is a member in the ward that, in some sense, is a recent move in, though I am not sure how recently he moved in. I know this member from Powhatan and it is so great to see him. He is mentally handicapped. I knew his parents and his brother (who is also mentally handicapped). I decided on Sundays that I would watch out for him and try to be of help. I am going to make sure that he feels welcome and that I say hello to him.

We had a lesson that night with a part member family. We met this man once and I thought we had a good lesson. He is open religiously and is trying to understand things. He searches many sources and agrees with what we teach. It is a matter for us to help see that there is a source of truth to know the things he is trying to understand.

Monday, we tried to see a potential, then returned to the house, because he, as I found, "was tired of making all the decisions." We had a brief argument on what would I would want to do; I insisted that it is not matter of what want to do, but what we need to do. Somehow, he did not understand, so I decided that we would again see the nine year old investigator. We did try stopping by on Sunday, but we were told to try again the next day. By this point, it started to snow. Cars are grounded. That is when I decided we would make the trek of four miles or so to this person's place.

I did not know where I was going and I thought we established the fact that we were going there. He did not lead, so in the beginning, we went the wrong way until I had to reaffirm our plans. He suggested that we call a member to get a ride. "Alright," I said, "you do that and instead of sitting here, we will move ahead." We walked and I stopped at intersections to ensure I was going the right way. I asked if he called anybody, but he said, "I could not think of anyone." Well, we trekked forward. We made it to the place and I made the joke that "This is the place." (You know, Brigham Young and Utah.) He didn't laugh nor did he get the reference. We had our lesson on again baptism with the nine year old.

From there, I decided we would go to the church to plan. He asked about dinner, so I said ask our dinner appointment for their address and we would walk there. He didn't, but instead asked for a ride. Because of the snow and potential bad road conditions, dinner cancelled. We trekked to the church; he walked way ahead of me, so I sang while I walked. He got there quite a bit before me... and there were members there. So, we got there. A member was there and we hitched a ride to their house. They ended up giving us dinner and a ride home.

I was a bit upset and I needed to cool down, so nothing else got done that day. I was upset, because I did not understand his attitude towards me nor his resentment. That night we had our talk, which ended in the middle. I plan to finish it tonight with that deal. I pray that it will go well. It had upset me, because I never thought it was a problem. I do not know why he waited to say anything. That upset me.

It bothered me. I even woke during the night and began to think about it before I forced myself to fall back asleep. I did realize that there is a great opportunity out of this for me to grow (by gaining the ability of small talk), companionship unity can be fostered, and the work can move along.

Tout va bien!


Elder S. Todd

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