Week 67 – An Awesome Christmas!

December 28, 2015
Well Merry Christmas everyone!!

It sure was a blast talking to you on Christmas morning and to see the fam! Everyone looked great, and I can't believe how much everyone is growing up. I'll have to put on some high-heels so I am still taller than Nathandawg when I get home.

Thank you for all of the Christmas gifts that were sent my way! I am so blessed to have such an awesome support squad back at home that includes family, friends, and the Goose Creek Ward! I am excited to wear all my new ties and show them off and use all my gift cards, too! I won't have to pay for another meal for a while!!

It was fun to have a white Christmas. It has been freezing here this past week, and hasn't gotten above freezing even in the day, so the snow is sticking around, which makes it lots of fun!

Cooking breakfast
We had a great Christmas day. We had a few Elders over to our place and whipped up a big Christmas breakfast and opened presents together. Then after I spoke with all of you back home, we went to the Stake center and played basketball for a few hours with some other Elders. We went and had dinner with a couple in our ward and then went up to President Chesnut's house for the evening. He had two of his kids come over from Utah for Christmas, so they were both there with their grandchildren. We had a fun time hanging out with them and playing games together. President gave us each Nerf guns for Christmas which we thought was pretty funny. We also gave him a gift card to Panda Express, which is one of his favorite places, and then we gave Sister Chesnut a little blanket because she is ALWAYS cold and is always asking us to turn on the heat when we are in meetings and stuff, but usually we are always super hot in our suits and stuff when she is cold, so we figured if we gave her a blanket then she could keep her self warmer. But we had lots of fun, we almost feel like part of the Chesnut family!! They live close to BYU and all of their kids live close to BYU too, so we can go and visit them after the mission. They are an awesome family.

My man Elder Nieves on Christmas morning
On Christmas Eve, we had Elder Nieves and Elder Palmer stay the night with us, and in the middle of the night Elder Nieves comes over to my bed and shakes me and wakes me up and says, "Yo Todd, What time is it?!?! Is it 7:30?!" And so I groggily rolled over and check my phone and it said, "4:22 am" so I told him, "Dude its 4:22 am go back to bed!!" He was all like, "Oh shoot, my bad...Hey let’s go open Presents!!" and I was like “uhhhh...dude its like the middle of the night, we will in the morning..." He said just kidding, and then shouted, "MERRY CHRISTMAS" and then jumped back into his bed. Needless to say, this experience made for some good laughs the next morning. I love Elder Nieves...and this isn’t the first time that he has done something similar with me...back when we lived in the Loft he woke us all up at 4 am one morning by doing the dishes...

Christmas morning!!
We just received some training from the mission department and the leaders of the church, that it is no longer acceptable to hold transfer meetings, or any large gatherings of missionaries. So we are going to totally have to revamp our transfer day...and because they don't want any large gatherings, we will probably have to arrange a way for everyone to meet their new companion in a different way. So it kinda throws a big wrench into the plans that we already have, but oh well, we have to be obedient! It's too bad, because those big transfer meetings are always lots of fun and excitement.

Our awesome friend, Steve
We have been working on and off with an awesome guy named Steve for quite a while, (like since the summer) and just recently he has found some new motivation to progress. A few months ago we were able to sit down with him and really get down to it and be bold with him and push him. He knows the Church is true, and he reads the Book of Mormon regularly, but he just has never been baptized!  We found out that he lost his white shirt and tie, and so we went to Wal-mart last P-day and bought him one and wrapped it up and gave it to him for Christmas. He came to church yesterday and looked great!! He had an awesome time in church and got up in class and introduced himself as such, "Hey my name is Steve Floyd, I'm a convert to the church, and I'm going to be baptized in January." We were PUMPED when he said that, because that is what we want. We want to baptized converts, people who are converted to the gospel. We don't want to baptize investigators, or people who are still unsure about it. But please keep Steve in your prayers that he can quit smoking and get baptized next month. We are really excited for him, and it has been cool to see the change in his countenance as he progresses and comes closer to our Savior. There has literally been a visible change within him. 

With Elder Han
I was able to go on exchanges this week with Elder Han in his Spanish area in downtown Reno, and we had a great day together. He is easily one of the best missionaries in this mission, he is a powerful teacher and knows what he is doing. I learned a lot from him, and he is really good at using the Book of Mormon in every teaching situation. But we were both really sick the whole day we were together, which kinda stunk. The night we were together I didn't really sleep well at all. I couldn't breathe well and my throat hurt, and I was getting really frustrated. So finally after a few hours I got on my knees and asked Heavenly Father to allow me to sleep well for the last few hours so that I could have the energy I needed to have a great exchange with Elder Han the next day. And that's the last thing I remember doing that night! As soon as I climbed into bed I passed out and slept until the alarm rang in the morning. And that next day, I wasn't tired at all!!  It was an answer to my prayers that I really needed. The sickness didn't go away, and I didn't feel all that great, but we still had a great day.  I wasn't tired, and we found some awesome new people for those Elders to teach. (Also, that same night at about 10:40pm after I finished praying we had an earthquake!! It was crazy, at first I didn't know what was going on, but then it donned on me that we just felt an earthquake! It's not every day that you feel one of those...)

A white Christmas!
I have gained a testimony of prayer on my mission. I have had many small experiences such as the one that I just shared that have allowed me to grow my faith in what I ask for in my prayers and what kind of prayers I should have. I don't think that I really had much of a testimony of prayer before my mission. I had heard lots of stories about cool answers to prayers, but I had yet to experience and learn from them myself. We learn from the Savior,  "Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you." This is a true statement. We don't always get exactly what we ask for, or we don't get an answer the way that we would like, but he hears and answers them because God is our loving Heavenly Father. 

Being a missionary is the best job on this planet. I am so lucky. There is no place I would rather be in my life right now. I know that Christ lives. I know that this is HIS church. I know that HIS gospel blesses lives, and that it can bless anyone who just gives it a try.

I have the best family on Earth! With the best parents and the best siblings. Hands down. I love you guys!! 


Elder RichmanDawg
Christmas Eve dinner with the Campos Family

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