Week 56 - Another Week in Paradise

October 12, 2015
Hey everyone!!

First of all, Happy Birthday to James today!!! I can't believe that he is turning 9 years old...that is so crazy!! I feel like just yesterday we were at the hospital and brought him home...I remember walking through the halls of Seldens Landing and telling my friends that I had a new brother named "James." Little did I know at the time that he would be a total athlete and be way better at sports than I will ever be. I love you James!!

At the temple with my homies
from the Sparks Zone
So this week was the first week that we haven't had any meetings or anything...and it was lots of fun!! It was definitely a harder/slower week, we had lots of appointments fall through, and we are trying to find new investigators to teach and add to our teaching pool. Because we haven't had a lot of time to just focus on proselyting, many of our people have fizzled away and aren’t interested anymore. But that didn't stop us! We spent lots of time just hitting the pavement, and even doing a little tracting...a.k.a. good ole fashioned missionary work!! 

But despite all of the long afternoons, we have seen many miracles. The other day, someone bought us lunch while we were in line...she was just a college student at BYU-I and was driving through town, and while we were in line she came up and paid for us!  We love when that happens!! We also were able to attend the temple with the Sparks Zone, and that is always a total blast, to go with all of our friends. We filled up the little room in the temple, though, there was not an empty seat in the house for our session! I love going to the temple, I am excited to go with the family again when I get home!

Exchanges with Elder Kidman
One of the highlights of the week was that I was able to go on exchanges with Elder Kidman in the Reno zone. They serve in Spanish in downtown Reno. We had a total blast!! There is a Spanish branch in Reno, and they cover a portion of that. I absolutely love serving in Spanish. We had a funny/crazy day with lots of memories. There is a member of the branch there who has a really cool conversion story that I want to share:

This member's son was about 16 and in high school, and had a friend who was a member of the church. The friend invited the son to come to church, and he loved it. He began to take the missionary lessons and wanted to be baptized. He had to ask his mother for permission, of course, (because he was under 18) and she told him no because at the time she was a devout Catholic and loved her bible and wanted nothing to do with the Mormons. He freaked out of course, but didn't give up hope. He started doing worse in school on purpose, and brought home his report card one day and his mother saw his grades and got upset. He told his mother that he would start doing better in school and bring his grades back up once he was allowed to be baptized. So she finally caved and signed the paper and he was baptized.

With Elder Freeman at the temple
Three years later he wanted to serve a mission. His mother told him no, so the son decided to move to California and live with his Sister, and go to school in California. Three months later, the mother went to California to see her son and daughter, but she found out that her son was no longer in California. She asked her daughter where her son was, and her daughter explained that he had gone on a mission without telling her! She was furious, and refused to speak to her son. A few months later the mother had a dream in which she saw her grandmother (who had passed away many years before) dressed in white coming to her and asking her for something. The mother wasn't sure what was meant from the dream, and so she decided to turn to her bible for the answer. She opened up the bible at random and the first verse she read was 1 Corinthians 15:29, which reads:

"Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?"

She then put two and two together, and decided that her grandmother (who was dead) was asking to be baptized. She took this verse from the bible to her catholic priest and asked what it meant. The Priest didn't know, and told her that baptizing the dead was a foolish idea. So she took that verse to another catholic church and got the same response. She then took the verse to many other churches, all of which didn't have an answer. She finally decided to write to her son on a mission and ask him what he thought of the matter. He of course, explained what that verse meant, and that she could be baptized for her grandmother in the dream. The Mother was floored, and began meeting with the missionaries and was baptized a few weeks later. Crazy cool story, huh?! I love that story so much!! 

Anyways, I heard that story while we were on exchanges, and I just can't get it out of my head. But Elder Kidman and I had a really funny/scary experience the night before. When we go on exchanges, we usually begin the night before, and we start our exchange off by planning for the next day together, and who we will see and what we will teach. Elder Kidman and I were sitting in his car while we planned, and while we were sitting in the car outside of their apartment, an investigator of the English elders walked by with her dog. They had spoken with her before, so even though it was late at night we got out and spoke with her. She had her dog on one of those leashes that can extend and retract as the person would like. We were standing there talking to her, and her dog suddenly took off after a black cat. The leash allowed for the dog to take off, while the rope extended....but we all know that all good things must come to an end....so eventually the leash ran out of excess cord, and before any of us could do anything, and before the woman could figure out what was going on, the dog yanked the woman into the air and into a nearby ditch, where she landed face first!! Elder Kidman and I were just shocked at what had happened, and so he ran after the dog, and I jumped into the ditch and asked if she was ok...when I got a grass-muffled response, 'Yes" and she was able to slowly help herself up. Mean while Elder Kidman had come back without the dog, because we didn't want to separate ourselves, and we decided that the lady was more important than the dog. Once we got her on her feet, then we ran off after the dog and tracked that down...the dog's name was Bowser...is that fitting or what?? But anyways, crazy, huh?! She finally was able to head home under her own power. After she left we just busted out laughing, because it wasn't a laughing matter in front of her, but it was an event right out of a comic book!! I will certainly never forget that haha.

Elder Rivera came back to visit!
Elder Rivera came and visited yesterday and today!! He called me randomly on Saturday and asked where I would be, and he met us at the church yesterday. It was so good to see him!! He is doing well. We have emailed back and forth a little bit, but he is at Salt Lake Community College right now. And he brought with him back to visit his girlfriend...who is another sister from our mission, Sister Simmons!! Sister Simmons went home in August, just a few months ago. It was so weird to see both of them, especially holding hands and stuff!! It's also weird because just one year ago we had gotten together and I had just entered the mission field. Crazy stuff!!!

I don't know why this has been on my mind so much, and Mom will be excited to hear this, but I am really excited to come home and play the cello again!! And also pick up the guitar again. And though I will be WAY behind all of my siblings, they can show me the ropes and we can have some Todd Family jam sessions. 

Well, we are excited to have another week to work. We are hoping that as we continue to be diligent that the miracles and fruits will come. I know it will. We had to push Lavanda's baptism back a week...because the building with the baptism font is booked all day!!! So we decided to wait a week. Kind of a bummer, but nobody is in any rush. Teresa is actually not moving, so we are still going to work with her...and her boyfriend is going to move out instead, so maybe we will be able to baptize her! And Jackie is doing well. She is very anxious about coming to church and being judged...she has a lot of tattoos and is nervous about what people will think at church. So we are going to take a few ward members who have tattoos of their own to hopefully ease that stress that it causes her. We are excited for her though!!

The Book of Mormon is true, and we have a prophet on the earth today. Because of those two things, there is nothing to ever worry about, as long as we follow the counsel that both of them give us. I am grateful for both of them.

That is about all for today, but I love you guys!!


Elder Todd 

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