Week 32 - Life is BUENO!!

I made teriyaki chicken for dinner!
April 27, 2015

Hey everybody! How’s it going?  Things back on the west coast are going great. Elder Krey and I are having a blast. We still don’t have many investigators, but we are working hard! The lesson with President and Jared went well! We were really grateful that we had President because Jared was asking all these deep questions about the Levitical Priesthood and all this stuff that I had no idea what to say. President obviously knew about all that stuff, so he was able to answer most of it. But Elder Krey and I just kept tying everything he asked about back to the Book of Mormon, because that’s what we are best at! We probably mentioned 5-10 times that everything weighs on the Book of Mormon. It finally hit home, and he agreed to read and pray specifically to know if it was true. We are going over there to see him again, so we will see what the deal is. President was impressed with his knowledge of the scriptures.  We walked out of the lesson and he looked at us and said, "Wow!" Haha but it was all good. 

With Elder White
So this week I spent a day with Elder White, who is one of the Assistants to the President, and that was way fun. I love going on exchanges with the APs because they are the best of the best! So I feel like I always learn a lot, just by their example even! When I was with him I took him to the dump house and warned him beforehand and everything...and when we got in there it was WORSE than when we left it!! I couldn’t believe it. But the owner actually had us do yard work outside, and Elder White was like, "Well Elder Todd, it is no doubt that the fact that we got to work outside of their house today is a miracle...good luck next week when you go back in." It was funny. Elder White is a Spanish missionary so it was fun to speak Spanish all day to someone.

On Exchanges with Elder Cox and Elder Lewis
I also went on exchanges with Elder Cox and Elder Lewis for a day, two Elders in our zone (Cox is a DL) and they serve in downtown Reno. We were in a trio, while Elder Krey spent the day with another set of missionaries. We had a great day. Elders Cox and Lewis have been teaching this woman from Iran who is Muslim and who really doesn’t speak any English at all...so needless to say it has been a struggle to teach her. Her name is Cema...they did get that much.  She has come to church the past 4 weeks and even though she can’t understand she still comes. The Elders have been kind of baffled by her…they don't know what to do with her, because it’s hard for her to progress when they can’t communicate! But on Saturday they had a lesson set up with her, and they found a member from another stake who speaks Farsi, so they set it up to have her come and translate everything. We all showed up and of course the member and Cema were immediately were friends. We went into the apartment clubhouse thing and all sat at a table, and the two Persian women talked for like 5 minutes straight. Us Elders just sat there like fools and pretended like we knew what was going on. But then the member's eyes welled up with tears and then she started sobbing. We had no idea what was going on but we could feel the Spirit SO strong. The member then turned to us and, with tears in her eyes, told us the story that Cema had.

Cema came here to Las Vegas from Iran like 20 years ago to get more money and freedom – like everyone else. The only job she could get was cleaning houses because she didn’t need English for that. She barely got by, and sent any leftover money back home to her three kids so they could come here and join her. Eventually, she sent enough so they all came over, but her two sons abandoned her as soon as they got her. She kept in touch with her daughter a little, but she lived here in Reno, while Cema was still in Las Vegas.  Cema hurt her hip and was out of work for a while.  She was kicked out of her place and was basically homeless. She says that she was so sad and hopeless that she would just cry and cry all day. She made her way up to Reno, where she knew her daughter was going to school, and eventually located and stayed with her daughter.

With my favorite Persian people...
the member on the left, and Cema in the middle!
One night she cried and cried and cried because she was so helpless and couldn’t manage here in the US. Then that night she had a dream where Jesus came to her and told her to go find "the Mormon" and he kept saying “Mormon” over and over again, and that the Mormon could help her. This is really incredible because she knew next to nothing about Jesus.  Having grown up in Iran, all she knew was that he was the son of Mary. And she had never heard the word Mormon before. But she woke up and told her daughter about it, and asked her to look up the Mormon. The daughter had missionaries show up, and that’s where the Elders come into play. They showed up and gave her a Restoration pamphlet with Christ on the front. When Cema saw the pamphlet, she started crying and kissing it because it was the person from her dream!! The Elders could communicate enough to set up a return appointment and explain where the church was, but she really doesn’t understand anything. So after the member explained all this, we all were just in awe. But we taught her about Jesus Chris and why he is so important, and the member translated everything. Cema agreed to be baptized in 3 weeks!! It was so incredible. Probably one of the most spiritual experiences I've had on my mission. The member is going to meet with Cema and the Elders for the next few weeks to go over everything so she can actually understand! But we all got our armpits blown off by that story because they had no idea why she came to church or why she met with them if she didn’t understand a darn thing! So now they are super excited.

Earlier that same day, we had another cool miracle. We were out walking and just street contacting people because the Elders had no appointments. We were walking down a street and I stopped and said, "Hey guys, lets say a specific prayer and ask Heavenly Father if we can have at least one meaningful conversation with someone who will be interested between here and the car." They were cool with it, so I said a quick, but specific prayer. We opened our eyes, and saw a young dude walking away from us and away from the car, but we decided to run after him, so we literally ran after him to catch up with him. We called out to him, and he stopped and let us catch up. He had a bunch of tattoos and backwards hat and honestly my first thought was, “oh great, this dude probably thinks we are crazy, and not only did we just waste our energy by running after him, but now we are farther from the car!”  But we started talking with him, and we found out that he is going through a rough time and was actually praying that he could have someone to talk to about it...and then we showed up!! He had attended an LDS church in Montana for 2 1/2 years with a university ward, but stopped going when he moved here to Reno. He said he loved it and wants to go back. Of course we agreed to have the YSA Elders come by next week, and it ended up being a great lesson right there on the street!!! Specific prayers are awesome!! As soon as the dude left, we said another prayer and we had another great lesson right before we got to our car. It was a huge testimony builder for me and the Elders I was with. It was great!!

Mom, you will be proud…I made teriyaki chicken the other day because nobody had signed up to feed us dinner!! It was freakin delicious!!!!!

Elder Krey and I have been asked to give a training at the Mission Leadership meeting this Friday, and so we are excited about that. We have an easy topic..."Teaching with the Power of the Spirit" 

Hey - Sounds like our family is famous now after an APOSTLE announced the Ocampos and our name too!! That’s freakin awesome!!! I was telling mom that you guys are making our name famous on the East Coast, now I need to step up my game on the west coast so we can just be nation-wide famous haha!!

A quick word of advice to everyone reading this...don’t leave wet clothes in the washer for longer than a few hours...I did a load of laundry but forgot about it until just the other day, and when I opened the washer, I almost passed out because of the stench!!! ....needless to say, I had to put them through another washer cycle.

Well folks, I absolutely LOVE being a missionary. It is the best. I also have a testimony of specific prayers. I know that when we ask for specific things, it makes life easier on Heavenly Father because then he can give us those things just as we ask and as he wants/needs. (Of course it doesn’t work with anything...like if we asked for $3,543,871 dollars instead of just "a million dollars" but you know what I mean!!)

I love you guys!!!

Elder Todd

Long story short...some Elders in our zone
had a ROCK thrown in their window!!
You can see the (huge) rock on the floor -
and all the glass on the bed.
Fun run with my homies

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