Week Eight: Kitchen Fires and Car-Starting Miracles!!

Dinner with aprons

November 10, 2014
Howdy guys!!!

Well this week has been another great week. I love the mission, it is so much fun. So yes, I got moved to a new area!! Still speaking Spanish, and I’m still in the same zone, but 8 elders was just too many for the very small Vista Branch. So I am now in the Redhills Ward. They have a Spanish group, the Leon Group, which has its own sacrament meeting, much like the Potomac Crossing ward back home in Virginia.

Huge stack of empty beer cans!
We serve in Sun Valley, NV – which has the second biggest trailer park in the world!! (or at least that’s what I’ve heard) but anyways, its exactly what it sounds like!  It’s a valley that has TONs of trailers, and then up on the sides of the valley there are a few houses, but most of the valley is filled with trailers. And yes, it is as sketchy as it sounds, and apparently Sun Valley has the highest percent of felons in the world...so in other words, lots of CRAZIES. On Saturday we taught a lesson with a family that had two guys who spent 13 years in jail...he was telling us how he got really good at basketball while he was there. But they were all way nice. Lots of people tell us to be careful because of all the crazies. We tracted into a guy who told us to go away because he was in the middle of doing meth....hahaha, me and my comp got a kick out of that. But, when people aren’t doing drugs then we have yet to be turned down. Everyone is very nice and open, and actually 79% of the population in Sun Valley is Hispanic, so we have been put here to grow this small group into a branch. This group actually borders the Vista Branch, and they are in the same stake, but President Hermansen talked to all of us Span-Ams and told us that while it makes the most sense to combine the group with the branch, the Spirit keeps telling him to keep it separate. So he is putting us here because there is work to be done!

Our new loft apartment (above garage)
When we got the call on Thursday morning to say that we were moving, me and Elder Rivera were pretty bummed. We were just starting to have success and had found a few interested people.  The night before, we even got our first person to commit to being baptized on November 29!! But we had to drop everything, and start over once again with an empty area book. There were two Spanish elders serving in the Leon branch, so we split their area in half:  we have the north half and they have the south. 

Inside our new apartment
So once again, we are opening up a brand new area from scratch. At first we were way bummed, cuz it kinda feels like when you are writing a ten page research paper, and you’ve done all of your research and written the first two pages, and then someone logs on and deletes ALL of your work. So now we have to start over. But, i am actually really excited about our new area. Everyone is quite poor, and most people just walk all around town instead of drive, so that gives us plenty of opportunities to street contact. And many people are home all day, so we can visit with them during the day. And, obviously the majority of the people are Spanish, so that is a plus. None of those things were the case in our old area, so that’s great. The Lord needs Elder Rivera and I in Sun Valley, so we will do it!

Chillin on our bikes
We used our bikes for the first time this past week, which is way fun and I love it. The weather has actually warmed way up this week, which is funny cuz i wrote home last week and told you how cold it was and stuff, but this week has just been gorgeous. So we did some bike riding, which is fun. We just drive to our area and park and then ride around. 

So this week I was able to be a part of another miracle!! It was sweet! It happened before we were transferred, but Elder Rivera and I were walking down a street and we came up to two guys who were working on a really beat-up car, and we asked if they needed help, and they said, “sure – we just need to push it and then we will pop the clutch and get it started that way, because we need to get it started.” So we of course put down our bags and helped push it, but it didn’t work. We pushed it back, and that didn’t work either. Then Elder Rivera told them, "Hey this might sound weird, but if we say a prayer for your car, then maybe it will start." And the two guys looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders and were like yea why not, it wont hurt. Honestly at this point I was like uh-oh, that’s a cool idea and all, but if we say a prayer and it doesn’t
A lot of old beat-up cars in front of the houses...
work then we are going to look like fools...so i was very hesitant, but my comp said the prayer, and in the middle of the prayer, a friend of these two guys pulled up in a truck and
said, “You guys need help?” And so when the prayer was over, he was able to give the guys a jump-start, and the car started right up. My comp and I were like in shock, we couldn’t wipe the stupid grins off of our faces. And the two guys were like "wow that was cool, i guess miracles really do happen!”  My comp and I were both so happy!! I am so thankful that he had the faith that it would work, because mine was wavering. But it certainly strengthened my faith a lot. It was a testimony builder that the Lord does want to help us, and that he listens to our prayers. Some might say that was all a coincidence, but I know that it was a result of our prayer.

So we almost burned down our house this week…(in our hold house before we moved). We were going to make a frozen pizza, so we turned on the oven, and left it for a few minutes. Then a few minutes later my comp like looked over and was like "uhhhh why is there smoke in the kitchen...?" And i turned around and the whole kitchen is just full of smoke. So we were like “OH CRAP" and jumped up and opened the oven and all the windows and the doors and started fanning the smoke away from the fire alarm (like back in Hummelstown) because it wasn’t our house and we didn’t want the fire department to show up. So we were like freakin out and when the smoke cleared out we saw that there was like a pile of grease and gunk in the bottom of the oven that hadn’t been cleaned out in who knows how long. So we just ditched it and once the smoke was gone we went to Taco bell for lunch. The homeowner apologized of course and cleaned it out the next day for us, but then we moved the next day so it was all for nothing. But gave us a good laugh and a good scare!!

We got free lunch at Costa Vida
One of the things that we have done a few times to find Hispanic people to teach is to go play soccer with them! Every Tuesday and Thursday night all the Hispanics get together from the area and play on the soccer courts in the neighborhood. So all of us Span-Ams went and played with them and it was such a riot!! We obviously stick out like sore thumbs because of our clothes, and it strikes up a lot of conversations about the church. My comp is super good at soccer, so everyone loves him when he is on their team and stuff. So that is always fun, even though i am the farthest thing from a soccer player myself. 

Another funny thing that happened this week is that my companion and I were out on the streets and we came across this black guy, named Earl. He was hilarious. He would have talked all night if we let him, but we left him with a prayer and during my prayer he kept saying "Amen" and "mhmmm" just like the black pastor does in Uncle Curt’s “Southern Preacher” impersonation.  I could barely hold it together during the prayer.

Kitchen in our new place

So we now live at 480 Milroy Ln. Sparks, NV 89431. My comp and I live together with two other elders, who are pretty cool…and its way fun to live with two other guys. We live in a loft above their garage, and it actually reminds me of our cabin in Utah, just cuz of the decoration and the feel of it and stuff, with the tiny kitchen and tiny bathroom, and TINY water heater....But i love it!! (See pics).

I love you guys, more to come in a week!!

Elder Todd

My favorite picture ever

With my ward mission leader (left) and friend, Isaac

Selfies with Isaac...

Finally made it to In-N-Out Burger!

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