Week 44: Being Fishers of Men

July 20, 2015
What’s up everyone?!? 

I hope that all is well, and that everyone on vacation is having a blast! Especially everyone who’s out here visiting the West Coast like me…isn't the non-humid weather just the best?! I know that I sure have fallen in love with it. Thankfully it hasn't been as hot lately, just in the 90s…which we can totally deal with compared with the weather we had last month – which was hotter than heck!

This past week has been super mellow, which has been nice!  We were really able to focus on our area and proselyting work. The downside to our week was that we had SO many appointments fall through. One thing that I have gotten much better at and which is much easier to do when serving in an English area, is to call ahead and set up appointments – so now every day we are booked with appointments all day. I remember that only happened to me ONCE when I was in Sun Valley, and I thought it was just awesome!  I sent home a picture of my planner from back then – with our day booked up and thought it was just great. Now it’s like that every day for us haha. It’s super nice too, because the difference between English people and Spanish people is that if they aren't going to be home, 90% of the time they call/text in advance and let us know. So it makes it easier on us to make plans accordingly. I have learned that the cell phone we have is a valuable resource. If we don't have an appointment for tomorrow at 6pm, then we start making phone calls the day before until we find one.

Unfortunately, we had bad luck this past week and probably 75% of our appointments fell through. But we were still able to teach some great lessons. We also thought we were going to have about 3 or 4 investigators at church yesterday, but we didn't have a single one. We were super bummed. But this isn't the first time that’s happened, it just means we gotta work harder and smarter this week!

We are working with this one funny family…they come from a rough background, and have been in and out of jail and drugs and the whole works. But they have stopped using drugs, and want to change their lives around. We have been working with them, and they are really open to learning more and more. They even read a chapter from the Book of Mormon between each visit. They came to church once, too, and the mom said straight out that she thought it was boring, and she fell asleep in each hour!! The dad enjoyed it, and the kids loved primary, so if you average out their experiences, it was a positive one haha. But we have just not been able to get the mom to pray!! It has been the darn-est thing. The dad, David, prayed and is cool with it, and the kids prayed, but the Mom just hasn't prayed. So in our lesson last week I volunteered to pray after she declined, and I told her, "Can I pray that you will pray next time?" And she said, "Sure, I don't care, it won't work!" and so I said well whatever, and so I prayed – and prayed specifically that Michelle would say a prayer the next time we all meet. And sure enough, the next time we went over, she PRAYED! I don't know what went through her head, but the prayer worked. We all were laughing together that my prayer worked, and she admitted that it worked, too. I thought that was pretty funny.

With our buddy, Isaac
Dad, you asked me about the trip to Elko that we do on the day after transfers. Yes, every Wednesday, the morning after transfers, we send the van and trailer to the other side of the mission (Elko) with all the missionaries transferring out there, and then the van brings back those missionaries who were serving out on the other side, but who are coming here to the Reno/Sparks area. The van also stops in Winnemucca for those going there. The van leaves at 7:00 in the morning and usually gets back to the office around 6:00 that night. We have two members that live here in Sparks who love to drive it – so they do the driving, not us as assistants.

Dad, I also loved your thoughts about being fishers of men. You are absolutely correct. We cannot force the people to come and partake of the gospel, but simply present the gospel and invite them. There are times when I wish we could force them to do what's right and live the gospel, because they would be blessed immensely because of it, but we can't – it just doesn't work like that. We actually had a situation earlier this week when President Chesnut got an email about a missionary we have who was on splits with the members, and the members freaked out because the missionary was being way too forceful, and it turned down the excitement in the members to give them referrals and to go out with them, because they didn't trust the missionary. Dad's advice could be used mission-wide!

We have this guy in our ward who joined the church about 9 months ago.  He’s really funny guy…in his 70s and just a total riot when we talk with them. But he has a serious problem with the amount of background noise in Sacrament meeting – due to little kids crying out and being noisy. It actually bothers him so much that he often doesn't attend. The other day we were having a lesson with him and the issue came up, and we asked him what he recommends we do. His response was, "Well I say the parents with the crying babies need to take their babies out and put them in the trunk of their car and leave them there. But that's not legal in this state." Elder Freeman and I thought that was hilarious. 

I am still studying in the book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon, and boy let me tell you…King Noah and his priests are the Bad News Bears!!  They are just up to no good! But Abinadi is a stud. He is so dang bold. To get up in front of King Noah and his priests and tell them all that they are doing wrong and need to repent...that takes some serious guts! And when he is eventually killed, he has no idea that Alma, one of King Noah's priests, has taken Abinadi’s words to heart, and he wants to change. But we all know that Alma becomes a great prophet and missionary. I think that this is a great story for all of u…we don’t know what effect we are having on people, but people are always watching us. This is a very comforting story as a missionary because more often than not the people we talk to aren't interested in learning more. But we never know what seeds we are planting. Soooo, "Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." (1 Tim. 4:12) because we never know who is watching us, or who is listening to us. 

Can I just say that I have the best family in the WORLD! I am so blessed on so many different levels. I am grateful for two wonderful parents who raised me by leading by example, and letting me learn for myself. I also have 5 great siblings who send me the best letters/pictures and who inspire and motivate me to work harder! I love all of you!! Have a great week!!


Elder Todd

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