Week 24 - We got a baptism…WOOHOOOO!

With Juan and Laura right before their baptism!

March 2, 2015
Hello all!!!

What in the heck??
We woke up to find SNOW on the day of the baptism!
Well – we had an excellent week, although I have some mixed emotions now as transfers just ended. The highlight of the week was of course Saturday, when Juan and Laura were baptized. It was such a wonderful service!!! We woke up Saturday morning, and the ground was WHITE!!! We received freakin snow!! It was crazy. We couldn’t believe it!  We thought that winter had come and gone already. And not only that, but it continued to snow ALL day long...until about 6 pm. Thankfully, nothing stuck to the roads, and really nothing stuck at all, so there was no trouble there. It sure made for a pretty day, though!!

Juan and Laura and their son, Adrian just before the baptism
But the service started at 2:00, so we actually had lunch with a member (another crazy experience...) and then around 1:00 Elder Short and I headed over to the stake center, which has the font. The font was already filled from an earlier baptism; we just topped it off with some hot water, and got everything ready. Juan and Laura showed up at like 1:45, and Laura was just bawling!!  They were both nervous wrecks...and I thought I was nervous!! I was super nervous, because I had the unique opportunity to baptize both of them, so I wanted to be able to say the prayer in Spanish perfectly along with their names and stuff. But we got them suited up in their whites and after a million and a half pictures, the service started. Verduzco gave a talk on Baptism, and then we did the actual baptism!! It was wonderful...and only took one try each haha!! The first thing that Juan
With Juan and Laura and Adrian
in front of the baptismal font
said to me when we were walking back up the font stairs, was "Soy pesado, verdad?" which means "I’m pretty heavy, huh?" I just cracked up. While I was changing I did a little dance, and just like I was smiling like an idiot after they told me that they were ready for baptism, I was smiling like an even bigger idiot in the changing room.

We then went to the Sun Valley chapel afterwards, where we had a big feast, with tons of delicious Mexican food. It was a wonderful day.

Juan and Laura with two awesome families from the
Spanish group:  The Woodburys (on the left)
and the Nobles (on the right).
The next day in Sacrament meeting, I had the opportunity to confirm them both, which was cool because it was the first time I had ever confirmed anyone...and it was in Spanish!! So again I was super nervous. But everything turned out great, as it always does. Then Juan and Laura both got up and bore spectacular testimonies about everything, and their experience with Elder Short and I. It was a great meeting.

After Sacrament we always have a meeting with Brother Noble, where we discuss the needs of our group, and our
The text from President Hermansen asking me to
be a Zone Leader, and telling me I'll be moving
to a new area....English-Speaking :(
investigators and such. And it was in that meeting when I got a text from President, asking me to be a Zone Leader. Elder Johnson got a text in the same meeting. So then all heck broke loose, because I realized that I was being transferred, and I didn’t want to!!!! I am so sad. I was hoping that maybe I could stay in the area, and another ZL who speaks Spanish comes with me to my area, and we become the ZL area. But nope, I am going to RENO. I will be in the Cold Springs ward in the Reno North Stake, which is part of the Reno North Zone.  It’s the biggest zone in the mission with over 40 missionaries....so we will see how that all turns out.

My three favorite Mexican homies
But honestly, I am so sad to leave my area. I feel like I have finally gotten my roots down, and  Elder Short and I have worked hard to build up what is really one of the best areas in the zone now. We have about 7 or 8 people who are ready to be baptized this next transfer, and so I really thought that I was going to stay in my area and finish training Elder Short for at LEAST one transfer. I love the little group.

Once Brother Noble found out I was being transferred, he opened up to me and was telling me how he is sad to see us go, because we were doing great work. Yesterday at church we had 48 people, which is a record since I have been here, and
The wonderful Noble family with the four of us
Spanish missionaries
we didn’t even have two families there...so there is no doubt in my mind that we can be a branch in no time. Noble told us he thinks it will happen by the end of 2015, I think it will be sooner. We have the numbers now. It brought tears to my eyes to just think about how awesome that would be, to see our group grow into a branch and then grow into a ward. I truly have developed a deep love for the people here, and I am going to miss them! In the meeting before I got the text, I told Bro. Noble that I wanted to plan an EQ activity for the Spanish Elders, because truly we have become a tight-knit group, something fun like a basketball night or a BBQ or something. I have seen the group grow in both number and in unity. The group is all friends, all the members joke around with each other and stay around after sacrament to mingle and stuff. It has truly been a fun experience.

Short and I excited for the BAPTISM!!
I'm gonna miss this guy.  He is awesome.
I am also going to miss Elder Short. He is awesome. He is also very funny. One of the funniest things about him, is that he gets really tired around 7:30-8 every night, and because he is still kinda struggling with the Spanish, the lessons kinda lull him to sleep. So he has actually fallen asleep in a few lessons, and the funniest was when he fell asleep in Spanish Priesthood...and then all the other members started talking pictures!!! He has gotten the nickname "dormion" which means like Sleeper in Spanish. Actually I think the very funniest experience was when we were in a lesson with Walfer and Rosa, and Walfer is like the funniest person ever, and Elder Short was just in and out of consciousness, and so at the end of the lesson, Walfer asked Elder Short to pray, and he agreed, so we all kneel down, and Elder Short closes his eyes, and just sits there, and drifts off to sleep, because he started to lean forward. And then after like 30 seconds, he looks up at us, and we are all staring at him, and he goes "Oh you want me to say it?" and the rest of us just lost it. He is a good sport about it, because every member and a lot of the investigators make fun of him and are always like "good job, you didn’t fall asleep!" Hahaha it’s always fun. Oh and guess who Elder Short’s new companion is....Elder Han!!!!  Elder Han was in my scout group back in Virginia a few years ago…before he moved to Utah – so we go way back.  Isn’t that awesome??!!!

All the Span-Ams in the zone
Well, in regards to missionary work last week, we had another solid week to end the transfer. We had 6 people at church yesterday, not including Juan and Laura. Veronica and her family came, along with Walfer and Rosa and their kids. I also had three cool experiences when we were driving, and we didn’t have any set appointments, but the Holy Ghost put a thought into my head of someone we needed to go see, and all three times it worked out. One of the times the person I thought we should go see didn’t answer, but their neighbor was outside, so we talked to them and they became new investigators for us. And then we went to the other neighbor and did some service for them, and they became a golden referral for the white people Elders. It was cool to see the Holy Ghost guide us and lead us to find those that were ready at that time.

Juan and Laura in front of the font.
I have a powerful testimony about prayer. As missionaries we pray like 30x a day, and I know that because of those prayers, we are guided by the Holy Ghost. I also know that at the beginning of our transfer, the first night Short and I had together, we set a goal to have 2 baptisms this transfer. At the time, NObody was making progress, or coming to church. We set that goal, prayed about it, and then went to work doing everything possible to achieve it. Our prayers were answered. Yesterday we fasted so that we can have 4 baptisms this next transfer, and we were going to work like crazy to achieve that goal too. Obviously, things changed so I will be in a totally different area. But I prayed and fasted many times that Juan and Laura could receive answers, and they did. Juan and Laura prayed all the time so they could know, and they did. I know that when we need help, or we have a righteous goal, and we pray about it, and then we do everything that we can do on our part, the Lord will provide and our goals will be reached, and our prayers will be answered.

Super cute two-day-old puppy
I want to leave you guys with one last really powerful spiritual experience I had. On one of those experiences where the Holy Ghost prompted me to go to an investigators house, we went and she let us in and we were teaching. And right after the opening prayer, her dog walked into the living room, and turned its back to us, and squatted down and pooped right in front of us. The little grandma that we were teaching got all mad and upset, and Short and I just about fell out of our chairs laughing. Then the even funnier part was like 30 seconds later when the stench hit us, and the grandma cussed in Spanish and then covered her nose. Meanwhile her teenage grandkids were trying to clean it up.  Not exactly a spiritual experience, but a funny one that I will probably always remember.

Well, wish me luck as I embark on a new adventure tomorrow as a ZL....in an English area!!!:( I am sad and quite frustrated, but the Lord knows better than we do, and as always, I am sure things will turn out great.

I love you guys!!! Thank you for all the letters and funny little packages, they are awesome!!! I about fell out of my chair laughing when I opened all the paper airplanes from Nathan and James Man Dawg.

Well talk to you guys next week!!

Elder Todd

PS – please send all letters to the mission office, until next week when I can confirm that my new address is correct and everything.

With the other district leaders

Other mission friends

Snow on the day of the baptism

Me and my boy Elder Nieves

With Juan and Laura before the baptism 

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