A Wonderful Goodbye and My Testimony

The Washington D.C. temple (photograph used with permission), Temples are places where members are taught, make promises and are, in turn, promised blessings.  Ordinances (sacraments) are performed here for time and all eternity for both the living and by proxy for the dead. We believe that those who upon this earth have not received the gospel of Jesus Christ will hear it in the after life and will then have the opportunity to receive it or reject it. In this way all of God's children may know of Christ and his atonement, be judged accordingly and that God wants to save as many of his children as possible. On each temple is written the words "Holiness to the Lord" and "House of the Lord." Psalm 24,
1 Peter chapters 3 and 4

June 29, 2015

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

I was wondering why I did not receive an email last week. I was not sure what was going on. So, I sent you an email; and then, I thought it odd you sent me things in return. And I went on. Then, I received a call from Sister Sopp, explaining the situation. I checked during our mormon.org time; yeah, I still have yet to receive that email. I do not know why. I will read it when I get home.

It has been fun, this last final week. It has been one of greatness. Our progressing investigator entered into the waters of baptism and is now a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has entered into the path of discipleship.

Monday, Elder Day and I enjoyed browsing through Staunton, one last time together. We had a baptismal interview for our progressing investigator. It was a bit delayed, because the heavens opened and the floods came rose up. The district leader was in Harrisonburg and got caught in the storm. Which meant we were delayed to dinner. The dinner was with the young couple who loves us. We warned them enough ahead of time and strove to head there as soon as the interview was done. Our progressing investigator did indeed pass the interview.

Dinner was great. It was very emotional for me, because I realized that it would be a while before I would see them again after I leave Virginia. We headed home afterwards, because it was late. 

At this point, I was not looking forward to the rest of the week, except for the baptism and the temple. I talked to Elder Day about all of these feelings, feeling a bit upset. Thank goodness for prayer. I decided that there was nothing I could worry about going home, that it is inevitable and part of the mission experience. I then talked to God about my decision and the rest of the week has not been emotional at all.

Tuesday, we tried to contact a few people before heading to the lesson for our progressing investigator. We saw the man first who is in pain and is struggling a bit. We gave him some encouragement. We, then, had the lesson with the progressing investigator. We covered a majority of laws and ordinances and encouraged her to go to the temple. The temple is a foreign idea to her, but she is trusting and will understand at some point. From there, we made many phone calls for the coming week. We had dinner and tried to see and contact a few people.

Wednesday, Elder Day needed his foot to be checked on; his wart is nearly gone. From there, we used our mormon.org time; then, we visited people in the hospital. The one man we usually visit is finally out of the hospital; the lady who used to belong in the health center also got moved back to the health center. We had dinner and tried to contact a few people. We headed in a bit early, because it was going to be an early morning.

Thursday, I woke up at 3:50 in the morning. I got ready to go to the temple and at 4:45, our ride took us to the Waynesboro Elders' apartment. Elder Day was subsequently dropped off and had his own day with the Waynesboro Elders'. I headed down to Richmond. From there, I joined the departing missionaries. I rode up with the assistants to the president and the majority of my MTC district. I was also with Elder Clifford and others. I got to hear some updates about Tappahannock, which was fantastic. The mentally disabled convert is now driving; I thought that was a bit impressive. The young kid convert is moving. The man who went to hospital-- that convert-- is doing well, other than a few medical bumps in the road. The family I stayed with is doing well, too. Happy to hear all of that.

From Richmond, we headed to Fredericksburg to pick up other missionaries. From Fredericksburg, we headed up to the Washington D.C. temple. The Washington D.C. temple is huge and beautiful. I really do think that I was able to see what heaven was like, in a unique way. President addressed us, that we needed to stay together, and that certain members from our previous areas might be here, such as the second convert from White Oak that was going to be sealed (Matthew 18:18).

(Used with permission Washington, D.C. temple at night fall.)

 I saw some members from White Oak even before I got into the temple. I went inside and met the bishop and the wife of the elders' quorum president from Appomattox. I loved the things that we did in the temple; I got a lot out of it this time around. It was really beautiful. It is really, really beautiful inside the Washington D.C. temple. We headed out about 1:35 pm. I was afraid that I had missed out on seeing the convert from White Oak. I didn't. I was really, really happy to see them.

We had lunch inside the visitors center, then we headed to the Christus statue. 

When were done at the temple we headed into Washington D.C. Man, the traffic. The traffic there is really scary, but it did not mar the experience I had in the temple. We toured a bit by driving past buildings and finally we were able to exit the car to see the Lincoln Memorial. It was really, really cool. From there, we headed to Fredericksburg, back to Richmond. 

Finally, I with a member headed back up to Staunton and got caught in the middle of a storm. It was pouring and pouring more days after. I enjoyed the rain, especially while I could. Then, we picked up Elder Day and made it home about 10:30 pm.

Friday, we got up and went to a meeting. From being condensed in a car for a period of 12 hours in total, I was sore and not looking forward to going back into the car. (I was extremely exhausted. So, do not be surprised if I am extremely tired when I arrive. For the next couple of days after Thursday, I had shadows underneath my eyes.) We had the meeting, had lunch, and headed to a lesson with our progressing investigator. We talked about the temple; still is learning about the function of temples, because it has never been taught before. I said goodbye to a family. We did some planning. Then we had dinner. Dinner was amazing; I had a salad, a really, really amazing tasting salad. We checked up on the man who was baptized when we got into the area. He is doing great; we are trying to encourage the family to continue to progress. 

Saturday, we got up and headed to the building where our investigator was going to be baptized. We began filling it up and cleaning it. Yeah, there were some creatures in there that did not belong. We bravely fought them off. We did some planning. Then, the baptism.

She was so happy to be there. She was happy to be baptized. She said that never in any of her previous baptisms had she been so emotional. (She had cried in the bathroom after being baptized; she was nervous and excited.) I know that she will stay active because she realizes how much this blesses her life. Understanding will come over time for her. She will continue to progress.
After the baptism, we had a lesson with some grandchildren of a member. We reviewed the baptismal interview questions and received understanding on what to teach. It is a complicated situation, making it hard for us to teach frequently. From that lesson, we headed to dinner, which was half an hour away. We had dinner and checked up on the people in the health center, including Dan the Man. I said good bye one semifinal time. He is still plotting his escape.

Sunday, our newest convert was confirmed. She was really happy. She decided to wear something really, really nice. Church was great. I was happy to be there. The Gospel Principles teacher asked us to teach next week... then she realized that I was not going to be there. From church, we did planning, we checked up on a few people and we headed to dinner. Getting to dinner was a task in itself. We decided to be there early, but we hit every single red light. I was tired of it and decided to go around the stoplights by going in a different route. I went the different route and there was an elderly couple in front of us. We were turning left and they were turning right... until they realized that they needed to go left and decided to cut us off completely. Then, we get stuck behind them, slowly going... Oh Virginian drivers. We made it to dinner unscathed. After dinner, we contacted a few people, but nobody was really available. We finished our weekly planning.

So, it is, my final week. I have done a lot. I am actually quite surprised how much I have done. Time has really gone by.

Believe me, I have not been plotting my return. I have been preparing, but that preparation really came over time. You are right; I will no longer be a full-time missionary. I am always a missionary in every other aspect. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ; and part of that means to stay peculiar. There are things I will not watch nor listen to anymore. I realize how happy I am now and what it will take to stay this happy. It is matter of staying spiritual; keeping the Sabbath Day holy, reading the scriptures, going to church and the temple, etc. I will go forward.

What I have to adjust to is, yes, the world. I feel like I understand the principle of living in the world and not of the world by living the commandments, keeping the standards; by those things, do I keep my self consecrated to the Lord. My future involves this, having a tie to God. What I do for a career; I am not sure at this point. I will discover that on my own.

I am Seth Todd, a disciple of Jesus Christ. I will follow in the footsteps of my Savior. I will listen and obey to His counsels, even the counsels given by the prophets and apostles. This declaration is not a pillar to set myself above others; it is a step to help lift others, to serve the Lord, and to continue to progress.

I know that Jesus is the Christ; he suffered for my pains, afflictions and sins, so that I could have faith and to repent. Through the Atonement, I know we and I can be cleansed. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God; God speaks and He loves us for He is our Heavenly Father. I know that because of this love, He gives us prophets today to guide us, so that we can have peace in the midst of our trials. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God; this book teaches us the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, testifies of the truths that are in the Bible, and witnesses that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know it is true, because I prayed to know, yearning for the living waters that I may no more thirst. What a blessing it is to be living in these days to rejoice in the abundance of gospel truths.

All is well for he that trusts in God will not be led astray.


Elder S. Todd
(Mom was overwhelmed with preparing for his homecoming. She survived and glad he made it safely home. The first one to hug him was his sister Bria on a layover in Salt Lake City where she lives. She met him at the airport. She allowed him to use her phone to call his mother which helped tremendously to calm her nerves. Dad is doing well, too.)

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