Week 52 - Wildfires in California = Smoke in Nevada

With the Quincy Zone Leaders
September 14, 2015
Hey guys!!

Howdy from the great & smoky town of Sparks, Nevada! Due to the big fires in California, our valley here in Nevada is just gross and filled with smoke. It is pretty bad and a lot of people are complaining about it, but oh well, the work goes on! 

TBT...with my district at the Mexico City
Missionary Training Center one year ago!!!
WOW can you believe that this week it will have been a year since I said good bye to everyone and stepped foot on the plane to Mexico?!? How LOCO!!!! Time flies!! The past 12 months have hands down been the best 12 months of my life. My testimony has been strengthened and in the wake of my stronger conversion, I have been able to see others come closer to Christ as well. It has just been great!! I look forward to another great 12 months, and I hope and pray to not waste a single minute of it!!

Downtown Fallon
We had two more Zone Conferences this past week! So 5 down…4 to go. We have 9 Zones in our mission; they are the Quincy, Carson City, Reno, Reno North, Sparks, Fallon, Elko, Ely, and Winnemucca zones. They are split up by area of course, and they each cover about one stake per zone.  We have 11 stakes here in our mission, two in the Fallon Zone and two in the Elko zone. But aside from those, it is just one stake per zone. It has been so much fun to drive around and get to know each zone and of course, more importantly, the missionaries in each zone. It is awesome!! 

This week we had ZCs in Fallon and then Carson City, and then we took a break from ZCs because President Chesnut had a Mission President Seminar to attend in Las Vegas. So while he was gone, Elder Freeman and I had the opportunity to
My boy Elder Nieves!
go on 3 exchanges back to back! We have 6 exchanges to do with the 6 zones here on the West side of the missions, and between zone conferences and transfer-planning, it is hard to find time to do them! But we first went with Carson City, and I had the chance to spend a day with Elder Nieves...who is one of my closest friends here on the mission. We lived together back in the Sparks Loft my first two transfers and it was fun to finally have the chance to work together for a day...he is a STUD. He is a great missionary. We had a blast together. 

Then as soon as we switched back from our exchange in Carson, Elder Freeman and I drove up to Susanville, CA where the Quincy ZLs are serving, and we blitzed their area for a day, which was fun. I spent the day with Elder Cruz, who is hilarious. We have great zone leaders.

Exchanges with Elder Wheeler
Then we drove straight from Susanville to Fernley, where we met the Fallon ZLs and we did an exchange with them. I spent the day with Elder Wheeler who is a newer Zone Leader, but he is doing great. He is a Spanish missionary, so that's always fun for me to speak and pray in Spanish. 

Friday night we drove back into Sparks around 7 p.m. and it was a beautiful night with clear skies (before the smoke rolled in the next day!)  We live right next to Sparks High School….annndddd there was a football game going on.  I had instant flashbacks to those Friday nights 2+ years ago, and it made me miss those nights so much!!!! Just hearing the band play and the loudspeaker and the crowd cheer...it made me realize how much I love and miss high school football. 

Spent the day with Elder Cruz
Elder Nieves and I had to take a missionary to the airport on Thursday morning who is going home a year early. He has struggled with anxiety and a little bit of depression on his mission and off and on has wanted to go home...but his parents are going through an ugly divorce right now and it was the last straw for him.  He was just begging to go home. It was sad to see it happen, and of course we don't want any missionaries to go home early from their mission, but it made me realize how truly blessed I am to have the support from my family back at home. I have no doubt in my mind that I have the best two parents this earth has ever seen!! I am so grateful for their examples and their testimonies and everything they have sacrificed on my behalf. I can't imagine serving my mission when there is turmoil and unhappiness back at home, it would make it so hard!! So thank you Mom and Dad, I love you guys! I can only hope that I can be half the parent that you guys are, and raise my family with the blessings that come from living the Gospel and being obedient to the Lord's commandments.

The Navy's Bomb-drop test center, where
they practice bombing things...outside of Fallon
So I am about half way through reading the Book of Mormon right now in my personal study, and this is honestly the first time in my life that I feel like I am actually learning and understanding it. I have probably read the Book of Mormon 10 times in my life, both in my personal study as well as our family scripture study, but I am actually understanding and remembering the stories and the principles...I love it!! I am so grateful for the hour I have each day to study on my own, because I know that I won't always have a full hour to just study the gospel. I also have been studying in Preach My Gospel daily, and right now I am studying faith. Hebrews 11 is a great chapter in the Bible that gives some great example of prophets from the bible who were faithful and had to do many hard things.

I love the example of Abraham and Isaac....because Abraham is a faithful dude. All he wants is to have a son, and he finally gets his son, Isaac, and then the Lord commands him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice...I mean that must have been SO tough. But Abraham was faithful and did what he was asked to do, and then in the end at the last second he was told that he no longer needed to do that. But I have always thought that is a great example of doing what the Lord asks and being obedient. I also like verses 25 and 26 in Hebrews 11,

"Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt"

That is a powerful statement and great advice. I know that as we choose to seek after Christ instead of the treasures of the world and sin, that we will be blessed immensely. Maybe we won't even be blessed in this life, but I know that we will be blessed in the next life if we do everything we can to keep the commandments and follow the prophet who leads us.

Well this week we have the last 4 conferences, starting with Winnemucca tomorrow. We are getting up early tomorrow to drive up there and back in the same day. On Wednesday, we have the Reno Zone, Thursday we have Sparks, and then on Friday we finish them up with Reno North. Then next week we start transfer planning and preparing for the next transfer...we have at least 21 new missionaries coming, with maybe a few more visa waiters or temple square sisters. So it will be another crazy transfer, but we are excited. 

I love you guys! I really do. I am so grateful for your love and support and prayers, I couldn't do it without them. Have a great week!!


Elder Todd

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