Week 78 – Bikin’ and Bussin’

At the main bus terminal in Reno
March 14, 2016

Congrats to my Dad, Mary Jane, and Nathan for running the half-marathon this past weekend!  You are my heroes!!! That is awesome. It sounds like we have a family full of runners...and I am not one of them. But maybe I can beat you guys in a race on the Wii some day.

Biking with Elder Peterson
Here in Reno, we have had a great week. I got to go on exchanges with Elder Peterson in the Truckee River ward for the day on Wednesday, and it was a lot of fun. He is a great elder who came out last summer – so he’s been out about 8 or 9 months. The Truckee River ward is a biking area, so I got to bust out my bike and put it to use for the first time in a few months. The Truckee River ward covers downtown Reno, so it was fun to be biking around all the big buildings. It is lots of fun to be on a bike in that area because it is arguably the most densely populated ward in the mission, and we are like moving billboards for the church, so tons of people see us out and about. It was a beautiful day that we were out working, which of course makes it more enjoyable. 

I'm a total map nerd.  I LOVE MAPS!!

I actually had so much fun on a bike for a day that Elder Han and I thought it would be a brilliant idea if we rode the bus and biked for a day, instead of using our car like usual. We cover most of Reno except for the North Valleys and the Southern part, so our area is pretty big, and we live outside of the zone in Sparks, so we couldn't realistically do the whole day on bike. But we decided we would do it on Saturday, and a few days before, we went to the bus station downtown and got the bus book and map, and then I went to town mapping our route with the appointments we had set and stuff. Of course anyone who knows me knows that I am a map nerd and love doing stuff like that, so I really enjoyed figuring it all out.

Elder Han and me
It cost us 5 bucks for a day bus pass, and we were able to use it a handful of times throughout the day. We took our bikes with us because each bus here in Reno is equipped with bike racks…so we would just throw our bikes on the rack, hop on until we got to our stop, and then jump off and bike to our appointments. It was actually a BLAST. We got to talk to so many people, and sitting on the bus was a great opportunity to talk to lots of people. We started many conversations with the question, "Have you ever talked with missionaries on the bus before?!" and most people said "No! But I’ve seen you walking around before!" So it was lots of fun to talk on the bus. We would try and scout out the Hispanic people and sit by them if we could manage that.

We saw a few miracles riding the bus, as well! On our first bus ride of the day, we sat next to a man named Angel and he was a pretty chill guy.  He was just on the way into town to gamble a little bit. We talked to him for the ride, but he didn't want to give us his information or let us come by. We left him with our number and that was all. But then, our very last bus ride of the day, we hopped on the bus, and there was Angel again, this time with a funny smile on his face that almost said, "DANG! I can't get away from you guys!" We talked to him some more, and he admitted that it was no coincidence that we rode the same bus twice in a day. This time he accepted the invitation to let us come by and teach him, and we were able to get his information and pass it along to the other Elders.

Bus map of Reno
Then, Thursday night we had an awesome first lesson with a man named Gabriel and he committed to baptism on April 23rd in the first lesson!  Unfortunately, we went 2 days without seeing him again or talking to him, and we were quite bummed out. But then on Saturday morning, we got off at the transfer station after our first bus ride and lo and behold, Gabriel was getting on the very same bus that we were getting off!  So we had a few minutes to talk and set up another appointment with him, and he apologized for missing the last one. Another miracle!

Finally, we were on of our last buses heading home for the night and a Hispanic man jumped on. We were chatting with a different man, but Elder Han leaned over to me and said, "I know that guy, I can’t remember his name!?" I didn't recognize him. As we got off at the transfer station he came up and we started talking to him, and it turns out that it was an investigator that called us my first day in this area and told us that he read the Restoration pamphlet and wanted to be baptized – but the number he called us on was no longer in service, so we hadn't talked with him in about a month!  So we got his new number and that was a HUGE miracle. Elder Han and I had a blast riding the bus all over town and doing some biking here and there in between. We want to do it more, but our budget doesn't really allow for extra bus rides. 

Opening Hermano Guillen's car
One more quick story...this week, Elder Han and I prayed specifically that we could do one random act of service throughout the day.  We were walking around this apartment complex where we have a few investigators and we saw two other Elders in the English ward over in the corner so we went over and said hello and they were actually helping a Hispanic man named Luis try and open his car door because he had locked the keys inside. He drove this van that had the back windows open just a crack, and Luis had dug out a long pole thinger from the garbage to stick through the crack and open the window. The 4 of us spent about a half hour trying to get the door open and I was about to throw in the towel because at that point it seemed useless, when we finally got the door open! We switched up our approach last minute and it worked. The man then invited us into his home and wanted us to meet his family. He has 4 teenage kids and a nice wife, and they invited us to come back and meet with them! We haven't been able to meet with them since, because they have been super busy and super involved with their other church, but he was really grateful for our service. It was cool to see how our specific prayer in the morning before we left the apartment was answered, and it gave us an opportunity to serve and find a new family to teach, the Guillen family. I will keep you posted on them in the future.

My ponderize scripture this week is Doctrine and Covenants 42:61…

"If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal."

I chose this scripture because it is so important and crucial that we understand how to receive our own personal revelation. Joseph Smith once said, "Salvation cannot come without revelation" and so we all need to learn how to receive that personal revelation...and the scripture tells us plainly..."ASK." I know that we can all receive revelation and answers to our prayers by simply asking questions and then pondering and waiting for answers. Too often we pray and we just ramble on for a while without letting Heavenly Father talk back to us. It would be like if I called someone on the phone and then, without letting them say anything, I just went on and on about how my day was and all the things I need help with and then hung up without letting the person on the other end of the call say a single word.

The 6 missionaries in our branch
At MLC (Missionary Leadership Conference), the Assistants trained on this exact topic and had a Sister missionary come up to the front and call another companionship of missionaries and without explaining what was going on, they had the Sister just ramble on about how great her day was so far, and then hang up before the missionaries on the other line could say anything. It really put it into perspective for me of how important and sacred our prayers should be. If we want it to be, we can make each prayer a revelatory experience. A few months ago President Perry trained about prayers in an MLC meeting and it changed my life. He told us that we don't always need to pray out loud, but definitely not every prayer should be in our mind. I have found that praying out loud helps me focus during my prayers and make them very spiritual experiences. I know that prayer is a two-way communication, and we really can receive answers.

This was a great week. We had lots of fun on bikes and the bus, and teaching the truth. I can't complain! 

I love you guys!!


Elder Todd

Exchanges with Elder Peterson

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