Week 64 – A visit with a General Authority!

Elder Ash and I with Elder and Sister Snow

December 7, 2015
Hey everyone!!

4 homies
Being a missionary during the Christmas time of the year is a total blast. There is so much excitement and buzz around with everyone; it makes missionary work even more fun. The other day I shot Laura (from Sun Valley) a text and asked to go and borrow the same Christmas tree that I used last year from them, and they said yes, so we went and picked it up from them and set it up at our place!!  We got our house all decked out with lights, and with the lights that Mom sent me, we have even more!! So it really feels like Christmas at our place.

Exchanges with Elder Baker
We had a good week this past week, we went on two exchanges, one of which I spent a day back in Cold Springs. That is always lots of fun, to go and see how the area changes and progresses. I was with Elder Bramall, who goes home next week, so he taught me a lot about all the things he learned the past 24 months. I also spent a day in Reno in Spanish, with Elder Baker. We had tons of fun also, teaching and preaching in Spanish!  On the day I spent with him, it was SUPER windy in Reno, so there was stuff flying all around us. It was really pretty crazy, but it made for some good conversation starters with people out on the streets!

Dog presentation
On Friday we had our monthly MLC meeting, and it was fantastic as always. The east side Zone Leaders drive into Sparks the night before and stay with us and with the Elders that live next door to us, and so that is always fun to have company for the night. Then the actual meeting itself is always great and very spiritual. We had a local member come in and bring his dog and give a presentation about obedience. His presentation was really good and it really hit home to me of the importance of obedience. I feel like I have learned a lot on my mission, but probably one of the biggest things that I have learned is the importance of being obedient. He taught us that dogs hate being on leashes, because it restricts their movements. So he has to trust his dog that he will be obedient to him when he calls him back or asks him to sit or whatever. 

He told us of one time he was out walking his dog, (without a leash) and the dog wandered off into the road, right in front of a big truck. The owner yelled out to him, and the dog began to ran towards him, right into the path of the truck. The dog obviously was not aware of the danger of the truck coming right at him. At the last second, the owner decided to do a certain whistle, which the dog understood as "sit", and as he whistled, the dog sat as he had learned, and the truck wizzed by him just inches from the dog's nose. If the dog had not listened, it would've certainly been killed. The same is true for us in life. We don't always see the dangers that lie in our paths, so when we are asked to do something, or the Holy Ghost tells us not to go somewhere, we NEED to listen. I know without a doubt that I want to be obedient to the Gospel for the rest of my life. When we are obedient it brings us confidence and a surety that things will get better. When I have gotten along great with my companions it is because we both have the same goal in mind to be exactly obedient, and so we can help one another fulfill that goal. I want that same thing to happen with my wife, to be able to help each other be obedient to ALL of the commandments. This to me is the most important thing, and nothing else matters when it comes to marriage....especially when it comes to choosing an ETERNAL companion...because eternity is a long time!! But his training with the dog really strengthened my testimony. 

Singing at MLC
At MLC Sister Chesnut had us all break into groups and sing a Christmas hymn in parts, which was actually SO much fun. I wish I had learned more from you Mom, but when I get back home I want to dive back into music including guitar and cello, because playing music is so much fun!! I uploaded a video of us presenting our song. Elder Zappe in the office here was a professional singer and so he rated all three groups who sang and our group won for overall sound.  (Clearly he didn't hear my voice or else that wouldn't have been the case...). 

Also at MLC, President Perry (2nd counselor in the mission presidency) gave a great training on a pattern that is found in Joseph Smith History verses 10-20 about receiving answers. It was awesome. He is a scriptorian and he always digs way deep into the scriptures and pulls stuff out of it. His trainings get me excited for my scripture classes at BYU, to really dig into the scriptures. By the way, on a side note, I LOVE hearing about what people are studying in the scriptures, so please give me frequent updates on what everyone is studying and learning, I love getting different perspectives on scriptures and stories the way that you see it. 

With Elder Snow and his wife
This past week we had Elder Stephen Snow of the Seventy come and tour our mission with his great wife. It was awesome. Last week after we emailed, we zipped down to Carson City for the first meeting with 3 zones. We (meaning Elder Ash and I and President Chesnut) had no idea what Elder Snow wanted to do with the big meetings, so we were just flying by the seat of our pants. We got there and Elder Snow STILL hadn't told us what the deal was, so about 10 minutes before the meeting started, he told President Chesnut that he wanted Elder Ash and I to take about 30 minutes at the beginning of the meeting, and then President and Sister Chesnut would take about 45 minutes combined, and then he and his wife would take the rest of the meeting....so Elder Ash and I had to whip up a quick little training in the 10 minutes we had because we had NOTHING prepared....so we quickly found a few scriptures and came up with a quick activity and then roll with it. It was weird because I felt tons of pressure to perform well in front of Elder Snow, but at the same time I felt lots of peace and comfort from the Holy Ghost. Our portion went well and Elder Snow said he enjoyed it a lot. We asked him how we could get
Me and Elder Ash
better, and he told us we needed to be louder, so the next meeting we trained at with him we talked much louder haha. But He and his wife gave some great training on working with members and how to find new investigators. It was awesome. Then on Monday night, we went up to President Chesnut's house and had dinner with Elder & Sister Snow, President & Sister Chesnut, and all the senior couples in the mission. It was WAY cool, to have dinner with a general authority!!  At the end of dinner we shared a spiritual message (as we ALWAYS do after a dinner) and had them all role-play  with one another. So that was fun...I felt TONS of pressure, though!!! But we all know "there is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone,” so we were only growing. The next day, we basically had the same meeting, but with three different zones. Then President and Sister Chesnut and Elder and Sister Snow drove out to Elko, and had a third tri-zone meeting, but we did not attend that meeting. We had the Zone Leaders out there give our portion of the meeting. But it was very cool to spend time with a general authority like that. I am certainly very blessed, and I treasure the time I had with him.

Our apartment - ready for Christmas
During this time of the year it is very easy for us to turn inward and focus on ourselves and what we are going to receive from Santa or from others. However, I know that as we turn outward, and focus on who we can help and what we can give others, we will have a far more enjoyable holiday season.

"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."

The Savior Jesus Christ never turned inward. He had many opportunities to do so, but he never did. This is something I need to work on, because I often get caught up in what I am going to receive. However, I am grateful for the time I have as a missionary because it allows me to focus on giving to others instead of turning inward. 

The Church is true. Our Savior Lives. We have a living prophet on the earth. We can live with our families for eternity because the Priesthood of God has been restored to the earth. Because of this, we have no reason to be sad or fear, but to be happy and rejoice!

I love you guys!!

Elder Todd
One of the teenagers in the ward 
took this dorky pic of us - haha! 

A house in our area....totally decked out for Christmas!! 

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