Mormon Missionary Does "The Twist" While Others Watch

If you chance to meet a frown, do not let it stay. Quickly turn it upside down and smile that frown away!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

Yes, I am  transferring for what appears to be the last time. Who knows where I will end up? I had a feeling for a long time inside that I am being transferred and told my companion. He argued against it, saying that I was going to stay. Well, lo and behold, I am transferred.

Easter was great. I received my packages and I am grateful to have a backpack once more. Thank you for sending that and for the items and goods for Easter.

I had a good week some of it being interesting in its own right.

Monday, a member took us out to see the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. It was a beautiful museum that had actual ancient art and a mummy. Of course, there was modern art in there. I do not understand modern art; I understand the idea of abstracts and such, but I get nothing from it. Perhaps it is too simple for my complex thinking. There was amazing ancient Egyptian items. I loved the ancient Asian cultures and their various arts. I always find it beautiful. There were items from Africa and some of it was odd. I had a fun time. 
Asian Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

That night, we went to Goochland for
dinner. We checked up on the less active who had a Shiba Inu. He was actually lively and happy. That was good to see.

Tuesday, we had tracted one area. We went straight into the neighborhood where the president of the management was. She was actually friendly and just warned us. She knew what we were doing. We finished that area before we moved on. We went to another neighborhood that my companion felt good to go to visit. I was against it, because I did not feel right about it and it had been recently tracted. I usually leave areas alone that have been tracted recently, unless I feel prompted to go there. Not wanting to be a tyrant and going against it (though I have stated my opinion against this for a while), we went. One door and we were kicked out.
I felt impressed to tract in Goochland. We did; did not find anybody, but had a lot of success contacting people. That night, we went out to find a less active member whose address is given, but not her apartment number. It worked out, because we found her, though we never have actually seen her. Her roommate and neighbors helped point out where she lives. We will have to follow up soon.

Wednesday, we had a lesson with the investigator in Goochland who finds the Book of Mormon and the Bible too dark. We explained justice and mercy to her to help her to understand the things that she sees in the scriptures. She put up many, many boundaries, which did not allow us to strike at the heart of the issue. She loved her "Jesus books," which explains the ideas of Jesus and shows him to be more loving. We left on a good note, though, and we will return. We went over to the Bible study host's house to help put down his kitchen floor. There was no Bible study, but lots of good service. He now has a kitchen floor after a year and a half of not having one. It was a really good time.

Thursday was the interesting day. As I was get dressed, I heard my companion say something, but did not understand. When I finished my task, I got out of the bathroom to notice the door was open. I did not know what was going on nor did my own companion. Well, as it turned out to be (and this is the honesty of the situation), Elder Clifford's companion was going to the temple that day since he was going home. The zone leaders, who are in a trio (the third member of the companion is dubbed "the zone baby" and is not a zone leader), were planning to have one of them go with Elder Clifford and the other two stay in their own area. But, the third member of the zone leaders (the zone baby) had to be in Washington D.C. as well for medical purposes for the day. Not wanting to pass the chance of going to D.C., the zone leaders asked Elder Clifford where he would like to go for the day. He chose my area, so we ended up with Elder Clifford for the day, though the zone leaders did not tell us. So, to our surprise, Elder Clifford was with us for the day. We did some finding that day and found a Chinese woman. We stated that we were missionaries, or teachers. Thinking that we were actually teachers, she was excited to have a lesson. Well, by the end of it, partially due to our language barrier, she told us that we needed to go back to school. One thing that I find interesting to note is that she had the basic questions of life as a little girl, but when she went to school in China, they answered those questions for her. She "believes in science."

Bingo that day was interesting and thank goodness Elder Clifford was with us. The activities committee for the place were either out of town or taking care of their own sick people. That left Mama in charge of bingo and us to help out.
It was a rough beginning, because there was contention over the cards and what people wanted and such. Elder Jensen was the one calling the numbers, because I thought he would be the loudest and I thought he could entertain the people. The elderly still had a hard time hearing him. "B 14!" "Did he say B 44?" "B 14!" "What!?" It went well and there no more contentions after that.

We had a lesson that night with the part member family and tried to get the wife more involved. We were able to understand her background some more.

Friday, we had a zone meeting. We went over to our ten year old investigator's home to teach him, but we had to wait until that night. When we arrived, he was playing Mortal Kombat with his mother. It was obvious that we were going to go nowhere with that. 

We had more service to do at the health center. They were having an Easter social and were understaffed, which was why we helped. I was in the kitchen-like area, preparing food. My companion was checking up on the people, seeing if there was help to do. At one point, the man playing music and singing, decided to do his own rendition of the song that goes along with the dance "the Twist." This one person, who can still walk and such, got up and started to do the twist. My companion was near by and she was like, "Dance with me!" Not wanting to turn her down, he did start to dance, though not with her per say. I was laughing, but it was good to see. 

We did return that night to our ten year old investigator's house to teach him. Candy does indeed work wonders; he seemed to focus a lot more. Little coincidence there.

Saturday, we finished our planning for the coming week. We headed over to watch conference. I was surprised to not have President Monson welcome everybody, though I understood, beyond health, why he did, in a sense, welcome everybody on Sunday. President Boyd K. Packer spoke during that session and he gave a really good talk; it was really a good talk. I enjoyed Elder Dallin H. Oaks and others that morning session as well. When it came time for Saturday afternoon session, I was really looking forward to it. Like probably everybody that did not know what was going to go down, I was shocked to hear the "opposeds." It is saddening to see. I could not help, but think of a video I saw recently in the Doctrine and Covenants church videos. In this particular video, it involved the early days of the church and defecting apostles due to hearts hardened. It was talking about Lyman Johnson and Thomas B. Marsh. At one point, Lyman Johnson and others met in the temple to call somebody else as prophet and to denounce Joseph Smith as prophet. Brigham Young was there and openly rebuked all who were there. He told them that only they could destroy their authority and stated, "Cut the threads that bind you to the prophet and sink your souls to hell." The reasoning behind why they did what they did does not matter; they were allowed to do so and they made their opinion known. The apostles handled it quite well, especially President Uchtdorf. What matters for us is to continue to strengthen our own faith and to sustain the prophet, not just by raising our hand, but following his counsel. If we know that President Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet of today and that God speaks to us through him, then what else matters?

Before priesthood session, I took Elder Jensen out to eat and yes, used personal funds. I got the call seven minutes before priesthood. Priesthood was great. I really enjoyed it, especially Elder Ballard's talk. I really enjoyed that talk. Sunday, the sessions were great. It is so amazing to hear three new temples announced. I loved Elder Holland's and Elder Neil L. Andersen's talks. They were truly touching. More especially touching is Elder Brent H. Nielson's talk, because it was so personal and for us (you and I), it really hit home. I cannot help but say, I hope you listened to that talk. If not, watch it and watch it again. I absolutely love President Uchtdorf, who after one of the Spanish Seventies gave his talk, he got up and started speaking in German. That was truly funny.

I have to review these sessions of conference. For me, what stuck out is there was a lot of advice for return missionaries. I am staying focused, but it is good to hear such advice that I may be able to "stay weird" as Elder Bednar said last year to us missionaries. 

On Sunday, I said good bye to Mama and other families. It was great.

It has been a good week. I have pushed things along and blazed the trail for growth here. Great things will happen.

On to the next trail to blaze. All is well. Tout va bien.


Elder S. Todd

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