Week 46 - Teaching English to the Hispanic People

Hiking on P-Day with the Sparks Zone
August 3, 2015
Hey guys!

How is it going?? How were all the trips? From last week it sounds like everyone was having a blast out here in the West!! 

With Elder Krey and Elder Moore
in Cold Springs!!!
Here in Nevada things are pretty much the same, nothing too crazy going down. But this past week we had the chance to go on exchanges with the Reno North and Reno Zone Leaders, which was WAY fun. Especially the Reno North Zone, because that's my old area and zone!! So even though I am not supposed to have a favorite zone, that zone is secretly my favorite haha...But it was a ton of fun. We did them back-to-back on Friday and Saturday again. Friday we spent the day with Elders Krey and Moore in Cold Springs, and it was way fun. I spent most of the day with Elder Krey, and we had SO much fun!!  It was like a throw-back day. Old companion in an old area. The only thing that is different is that they don't live in the trailer!! But oh well. Unfortunately most of the families that we found while I was serving there didn't turn into anything, but they have found some new people that they are working with. We also had dinner with the Davis family. (They are the family that sent pictures a few times after we had dinner in the past.)  It was fun to see them again. After dinner, we had a spiritual message on temples, and it was SUPER powerful. Sister Davis is a convert to the church, and the only member in her immediate family (her uncle is also a member).  She told us about an amazing experience she had while in the temple, which was awesome to hear about.

Sparks-Reno area
Then on Saturday, we spent the day with the Reno ZLs, and it was fun because they cover an English ward and part of a Spanish branch, so we split up and I spent the day with Elder Wheeler in the Spanish area! So I got to teach some lessons in Spanish which was way fun. For the first time in a few months, I really missed serving in a Spanish area!! I had kinda forgotten what it was like, and how great the Hispanic people are.  They are so much fun to work with!  The Elders there have an interesting area because they cover downtown Reno, so it’s a crazy place with never a dull moment! 

Both sets of Elders in Reno and Reno North are doing great, and just like last week, I have come to the conclusion that I have so much to learn from all of them!! 

Sunset over Reno, NV
We have started an interesting thing, where we are trying to do more service for the local community in the Reno-Sparks area. This has been up and coming for months, like back in April, President Hermansen started stressing service and how he wants us to do 6-8 hours of service each week. So one of the counselors in the mission presidency, President Perry, hooked us up with a volunteer ESL program where we teach English to people here in the area!  There are tons of people in the area that want to learn English, so we have started to teach them. We work for free, of course, but it is really weird, because we go into these people's homes and we aren't allowed to talk about the Gospel unless they ask us!  Honestly, it is quite hard to not talk about it, because that’s all I have done for the past 10 months. We just go in there and most of them only want to talk in English, so we talk about random things and have conversations. We also have a workbook to work from, but most of what they want is just to practice speaking!  
Me and Elder Freeman
Something we don't do as missionaries is just 
"hang-out". We never go in and just talk and converse, maybe for the first few minutes, but then we have to stay focused on our purpose to invite others to come unto Christ. But with these people we are literally supposed to talk with them about whatever!!  Thankfully, people have asked us about who we are, and we are able to jump on that and talk to them about the Gospel. It is also hard for me because I am just dying to speak to these people in Spanish!! But the only way to learn is to immerse them in English.  One girl we are teaching barely knows any English, so I do a lot of translating for her – which is fun. One talent that I have kind of been blessed with by nature of serving as a Spanish missionary in the United States, is that I can switch between Spanish and English pretty easily. Obviously my Spanish has gotten worse, but hopefully with this new program of teaching English to Hispanic people, I can get at least a little practice!!

My Study Corner in our apartment
So President Chesnut is finally getting settled. He completed his first round of personal interviews with the whole mission, and he was really looking forward to doing that because now he knows each missionary personally…how they are doing with their companion, what area they serve in, and all that good stuff. Until this point, he hasn't really gotten to know the missionaries.  President Chesnut likes to delegate a lot of the small issues and things to the leaders around the mission.  He served as an Assistant when he was on his mission, and he told us that he didn't even proselyte or have an area that he covered. He spent almost all of his time in the office – had his own office, and worked with just the missionaries and those that were struggling. They also took care of the office stuff like the finances and the vehicles and those things, because they didn't have office missionaries. So I think that as time goes on we will actually begin working more with the missionaries and less with the investigators. Which in some ways will be a bummer, but whatever he needs us to do, that's what we'll do.

Elder Twitchell came back to visit us...
it was weird seeing him in civilian clothes!
I get the feeling that he wants us to travel to the East side of the mission more often because he always talks about how much the missionaries out east love seeing us (the Assistants and the President).  So I think in the future we might go and spend time out there and go on exchanges with the East side Zone Leaders. Right now we have a set of "Zone Leader Trainers" that are the more experienced Zone Leaders out East, and they conduct exchanges with the other two sets of Zone Leaders that are out on the East side, in the Winnemucca and Ely Zones. Pres. Chesnut has been meeting with us quite regularly to give us updates about what is going on in the mission, and to ask us questions about our different policies regarding random things. Missionaries have been trying to take advantage of him a little bit while he’s new – and hope that he just doesn't know some of the rules.  But we spread the word mission-wide that not a single policy has changed with the new President, and so people have stopped asking him all those questions.  We will be joining him for the first round of Zone Conferences, and get to travel across the mission, but those don't start until next month.

The Truth!!
Well, for my scripture of the week I want to share Mosiah 28:3…

"Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble." 

This is such a great missionary scripture! Because the Sons of Mosiah were not good guys, in fact they were trying to ruin the Church for a time.  But they had a change of heart and all went on to be great missionaries. After their change of heart, they turned into studs and had an amazing desire to share the Gospel with everyone. It is cool to see that even people as wicked as the Sons of Mosiah were able to turn into great missionaries. That means that if they can be great missionaries, so can we!! So share the gospel with as many people as you can! Even with small opportunities, we can all be missionaries. When we realized what a wonderful gift this Gospel is, it becomes natural for us to want to share it with all of those around us. I am SO grateful for the opportunity I have to spend 24/7 doing just that!! It is great!!

I hope everyone has a great week, and I love you all!!

Elder Todd
Action shot of me falling off a rock while taking a picture

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