My name is Elder Richie Todd and I am from Leesburg, VA! I graduated from high school in June of 2014 and was accepted to attend Brigham Young University. However, I deferred my acceptance and have chosen to serve a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I have been called to serve in Reno, Nevada, Spanish speaking! I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to go and serve our Lord. Please feel free to reach out to me, I would love to hear from you!
Week 71 – The Church is Still True in Reno
We were in an awesome trio for a week... me, Elder Slatcher, and Elder Ash
January 25, 2016
Well it sounds like the tides have changed as far as the weather
goes!! It sounds like Virginia finally
got the winter everyone was hoping for.How fun!! I am jealous actually…I love the snow.But I am glad to hear that everyone is safe.
The weather here has been in the 40s and 50s, nothing too crazy.
It has been an extremely fun week here in the Nevada Reno Mission.
Elder Ash and I were actually in a trio with Elder Slatcher, who we went and
picked up from Ely, NV last Sunday night. He is a great kid! He entered the field the same time I did, but
he is English speaking. He is from Oklahoma and we share a lot of the same
interests in sports – and he is HILARIOUS. He is always joking around, which is
lots of fun, because it makes sure that we never let things get too boring or
dull. He is a really good missionary, too. It was honestly one of the most fun
weeks of my whole mission. Trios are always a ton of fun, and many inside jokes
On Wednesday, we had a world-wide broadcast from the Church
headquarters to all the missionaries in the world. We were trained by some
Apostles and some Seventies. It was a GREAT training…which is to be expected
coming from our great leaders…but I learned a lot. The theme was, "Teach
Repentance and Baptize Converts" because they really want us to focus on
baptizing people who are truly converted and have repented of their sins. They
covered a handful of different topics, but they all related to that theme. I am
so grateful that we have church leaders who are inspired and know what the Lord
wants, and who then can help us fulfill our purpose better. I learned that I
need to do a better job of following the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and really
let the Spirit do the teaching. Elder Bednar taught us that when we are doing
it right, the Holy Ghost is the boss and he is directing us and inspiring us
what to say and do. I want to improve in this part of missionary work, because
following promptings from God is something that will be necessary throughout
the rest of my life and anyone's life, really. When we can learn to follow a
prompting, then it becomes easier to follow the next one we receive, and so on
and so forth.
We were teaching another lesson with a man named Dan who was baptized
about a year ago. He is in his late 70s and is a great guy – we love teaching
him. The other day we were teaching him and at the end of the lesson we asked
him to say a prayer...and in the middle of the prayer he fell asleep and just
stopped praying!! So Ash and I looked at each other and silently laughed, and
then Elder Ash coughed loudly. He woke back up and looked up at us and said,
"Did we finish the prayer yet?" Ash and I busted out laughing, it was
so funny. We then had him finish the prayer and we left. You never know how a
lesson is going to go!
So it’s official...I will be released as an Assistant this
transfer. Within the next few hours, President Chesnut is going to call Elder
Nieves to replace me. He still isn't sure where he wants me to go next
transfer, but it’s looking like I might be going back into Spanish in the
Sierra Branch in downtown Reno, where the Reno Zone Leaders serve. If that is
the case, then I will more than likely be companions with Elder Han! If that’s
what ends up happening, then I would be SUPER excited. I love Spanish and I
love Elder Han, so that would be way fun. We will see what happens. I will know
for sure in the next few days. This week is transfer planning week, which is
always lots of fun. It will be lots of fun to have Elder Nieves with us, too!!
Lunch with the Sparks Zone
But although I am leaving, I was asked to speak in Sacrament
this coming Sunday. I am really excited to leave my testimony with the Prater
ward. I was asked to speak on "member involvement in missionary work"
which is a much-needed topic. I am excited. I plan to share the Ocampo family
experience, and if you have any other ideas of stories or topics or principles
to include, please send me a letter ASAP!!
It rained one day this week, and we were out working in it.Thankfully we have a car, but all
missionaries are motivated to work in cruddy elements because we have a saying
in our mission that “for every 10 minutes you walk in the rain or snow, your
wife gets better looking. For every 10 minutes you walk in the heat or freezing
cold, her testimony grows. However, every time you drop a Book of Mormon on the
ground, your future wife gains 5 pounds.” So we try not to drop any copies of
the Book of Mormon, and instead go out and work in the crazy weather – haha!!
Our area is doing great, and continues to grow. Dave and
Cassandra are doing well, and they are really excited to learn more. They
couldn't attend church yesterday, but the night before, they asked us to text
them what we learned and bring over the church manuals to look over and review
before next week. That like rarely happens, so we were pretty excited. Clancy,
the older man, is doing well also, but the only problem is that they are
leaving to their house in Arizona this week, and will not be living in Reno for
the next little while. They have 3 houses:one in Reno, one in Arizona, and one in Colorado. So we might not be
teaching them much more, which stinks, but oh well!! We also got a call the other
day from a member in California, who had a son that lives in our area and isn't
a member. His son recently had his hand smashed into hundreds of pieces by a
400-pound bar at work, and he wanted his son to receive a blessing. So we went
over to his house and sure enough, he showed us the X-ray and his bones in his
hands were everywhere. We gave him a blessing, and then after talking with him,
he committed to take the lessons.We are
going back over tonight for another lesson. Miracles like that have been
happening everyday to us, it is awesome!!
The Christ-like attribute that I have been focusing on lately
has been humility. I often can get ahead of myself, and try to do everything on
my own, without involving my companion, or others around me, or even the Lord.
But humility is truly submitting ourselves to God's will and doing whatever he
asks. This means that Elder Todd does NOT know everything, nor does he know how
to fix every problem. I read in 2 Nephi 9 this week, verse 42:
"...and consider themselves fools before God, and come
down in the depths of humility."
I can often get pretty prideful and feel as though I am doing
well and can manage things on my own. But this scripture reminded me that I am
a fool compared to God and that I need to involve him in everything I do. The
more experience people have in the Church, the better their perspective. I
often get way too concerned with the little, unimportant things, such as what
tie I wear, or who makes more shots in a basketball game, whereas the general
authorities are more worried about how they can help the rest of the world go
to the Celestial Kingdom. So I am trying to humble myself and forget about
those little, unimportant things. I really enjoy the talk, "Beware of
Pride" as well. I know that all of us can develop a little more humility
and rely on the Lord a little bit more. I know that as we do that, we can be
blessed with more strength and wisdom. Humility is not a sign of weakness, but
is a sign of spiritual strength.
I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is
the God's kingdom on the earth. I am blessed to serve him as a full-time