Week 62 - Traveling to Elko and Yelling in My Sleep

November 22, 2015

The Holy Deserts of Nevada - haha!
Good evening everyone!! I am sure that you are wondering why I am on my email right now….since it’s Sunday night instead of Monday.  We actually just drove across the Holy Deserts of Nevada and got here in Elko tonight, and we got permission to email tonight because we won't have a P-day this week. So here I am.

But it has been a great week!!  We had 3 of our 4 zone conferences, with our last one tomorrow here in Elko. Each one has been such a total blast, and I have learned so much from each one.  It is great! 

The Sparks and Quincy Zone Conference
I mentioned last week that our conferences were on Chapter 1 of Preach My Gospel and the 4th missionary talk, and it has been awesome. Elder Ash and I have given our portion of the meetings about what it means to be a successful missionary and how to teach with power and authority and what it means to teach with power and authority. Preach My Gospel tells us that our success is measured by our commitment to teach and invite others to come unto Christ, so we also talked about what it means to be committed. Elder Ash is a great missionary and is really good at giving trainings, so it has been lots of fun to get up there with him and work with the different zones. This round of zone conferences has been a lot different than the first round, because this round we are doing combined zone conferences – with at least two zones each conference.  And tomorrow we have the 3 zones on the east side coming together here in Elko. So each conference has been a bigger group, which has its pros and cons. It is always fun to get together and see other missionaries and play games and converse with them, but it is also fun to work with them on a more individual basis. With these bigger groups they can tend to be a little bit rowdier, too. But nonetheless, we love attending these meetings and seeing all the missionaries in the mission!

The infamous space heater in our room
This past week we finally were able to get our hands on a little space heater to put upstairs by our beds, because our heater downstairs works great, but there is like no way for the air to get upstairs, so the upstairs is usually about 10 degrees cooler than the downstairs. But we finally got our hands on one and set it up between our beds. I guess it works just a little too well, because the other night apparently I woke up and yelled, "It's so DAGGUM HOT up here, TURN IT OFF!!" while I was slapping the ground around the heater trying to find the heater to turn it off. I had no recollection of this happening, but in the morning Elder Ash asked me, "How did you sleep?" and "We're you warm enough?" and I answered "I slept great, and yeah I was plenty warm, how ‘bout yourself?" And then he explained to me. Elder Ash is a good sport. I never knew that I was such a loud, reckless sleeper...all of my companions have told me funny stories along those lines...many of which I yelled in Spanish, so most of my companions can't even understand what’s going on – haha!

Another funny experience happened today at church: In the middle of Sacrament meeting these two kids of a recent convert got up and starting running around and yelling in the chapel during the middle of a talk! It drew the attention of just about the whole room, and the chapel is funny shaped, so they were standing right in the middle. And then the little girl yelled at her brother, "NO! I need to go to the bathroom, too!" and then shoved her brother into one of the pews and took off running. It was quite comical, but then again they weren't my kids running around. But certainly one to remember.

Our crazy schedule
This transfer is actually totally CRAZY for us, and beginning today for the next three weeks, we don't have a single day without something going on, except for Sundays!  I won't have a p-day this week, but instead we are doing 4 exchanges and have a zone conference tomorrow, and then Thanksgiving right in the middle of the week! (Which we are way excited for…to have a turkey bowl with the Sparks zone, and then dinner with an awesome family in the ward!) So it will be a whirlwind the next few weeks, but we are excited for all of it.

President Chesnut was bouncing the idea around with me last transfer of putting another set of missionaries in our ward and splitting our area, and then having us travel more around the mission and work more with the missionaries and proselyte less. This probably won't happen this transfer, but the transfer in February we have to open up at least 2 new areas, and so we have talked about doing it then. So we will see, I think it would be exciting to do some more traveling and get to know the other missionaries better, but that would also mean that I would get to do less of what I love to do the most, which is teach the Gospel!  So we will see what we end up choosing and what the Lord wants.

Next week we will have Elder Snow come and visit our mission and have a mission tour and we are super excited for that! And then we also got word from President Chesnut two days ago that President Robbins of the presidency of the seventy has asked to come on another mission tour at the beginning of January, so we have a hunch that he is coming to introduce iPads to the mission...but we aren't sure yet. We are going to ask President Chesnut tomorrow and see if he knows anything about iPads yet, but that would be exciting if we did.

Exchanges with Elder Cruz
Our proselyting area really seems to take a hit when we are busy with zone conferences and everything else. It seems as though all of our solid investigators who are progressing slowly just come to a halt when we get super busy...and it stinks!! I wish so badly that we could keep up our area while we are attending all of these meetings. But oh well, it teaches us that we really need to rely on the Lord to bless our area while we are away from it, work as hard as we can when we are working in our area, and pray and expect miracles! 

Not only does our proselyting area take a hit when we aren't working, I feel as though I personally take a hit, too, because I don't get the chance to study! It’s become like my favorite part of the day, and it really is a huge blessing that I kinda take for granted until I don't have it! But one thing that I did learn this week in studies, however comes from the Bible Dictionary under the topic of faith. It tells us: "strong faith is developed by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ; in other words, faith comes by righteousness."

So we can gain faith by simply just being obedient, and as we practice those good works, our faith grows. But then it also tells us that, "faith always moves its possessor to some kind of physical and mental action" –  so once we have faith, that faith inspires us to have better works. So it’s this weird thing that faith grows by our works, but our works grow our faith. It produces this cycle that grows our faith stronger and stronger. The opposite is also true, if we stop doing small things to grow our faith, then our faith slowly decreases. Satan knows this and tries to tell us it’s OK to miss just one week of church, or that it’s OK if we don't say our prayers. So the only way to get faith or to grow it is to just start somewhere, jump in, and give it a try. This can be something simple such as saying a prayer, attending church, opening the scriptures...nothing too crazy, it doesn't take rocket science to grow one's faith. 

Well – I have to wrap it up, we are going to plan our day for tomorrow and then catch some sleep! We have zone conference tomorrow and then we are going on splits with the Zone Leaders here in Elko. It should be a great day!

I love being a missionary. I love being a representative of my Savior Jesus Christ. I know without a doubt that this is HIS church and HIS work. I know that His gospel blesses families, and I know that I want my future family to be blessed by that Gospel.

I love you guys!


Elder Todd

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