Week 80 – Happy Easter!!

With Elder Han at the Reno Zone Conference
March 28, 2016
Hello everyone!

Happy Easter!! I hope that everyone had a fun weekend with chocolate and colored eggs, and also had the opportunity to remember our Savior, Jesus Christ. Yesterday, we ran into a teenager on the street who said he didn't care about Easter anymore now that he was grown up – and he said he had never heard that on Easter we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ!  How sad. Hopefully none of you are in the same boat.

I also want to give a birthday shout-out to my little sister Mary Jane, who turns 18 today…wahooo!!  I thought I was the only one in the family who was allowed to be 18 years old, but I guess I will let her turn 18 also.  Happy Birthday MJ!! 

Four inches of snow on March 28th...
Today we woke up with 4 inches of snow on the ground, so that was interesting, cuz last week we had great weather. I hope that it warms up and melts soon so we can get back on our bikes.  Elder Han and I have developed a passion for proselyting on bikes now haha!

This week we were teaching a lesson to a man named Andres.  He already had a copy of the Book of Mormon from a while ago, and while we teaching him he randomly held up a pass-along card of Jesus Christ and said, "Mira, Aqui esta Jesucristo." Which means, "Look, this is Jesus Christ." Elder Han and I just about fell out of our seats laughing because it came out of nowhere. I love teaching funny Hispanic people.  It is the best.

This week we had tons of opportunities to find new people to teach.  We literally talk with everyone that we see on the streets. There are tons of Hispanic people in our area, so we don't have to worry about talking only to white people. I am a math nerd for those who know me, so I did some math to figure out how many people it takes to find a new solid investigator. I figured that about 5 out of 10 people we talk to give us their information and agree to have us come back. About 1 out of 10 of those people that tell us we can come back are there when we set up the appointment. Then about 1 out of 10 people who keep their appointments, actually keep their commitments and become solid investigators. So I figure about 1 out of every 200 people that we talk to on the streets becomes a solid investigator. Because these odds are not necessarily in our favor, we need to talk with everyone!  If we only talk to half of the people that we see, then the number gets even smaller. So for this reason, we talk to everyone, and we find lots of prepared people. Hispanic people are so friendly and will let us come into their home and everything, but then they are also very flaky and don't keep their appointments and commitments. 

Games at Zone Conference
Last Monday night, we were walking back from knocking on a referral's door, and a man named Manuel was outside changing the lights on his car. We struck up a conversation with him and he told us that he wouldn't mind us coming back sometime to teach him about Jesus Christ. We got his info and set up an appointment for Thursday. We didn't think much about Manuel, and he didn't seem to be super solid, but we went back on Thursday like we agreed and of course he wasn't there. But a different dude – a 24-year-old guy – opened the door and even though he was playing Pokemon, he paused and told us Manuel wasn't home, but that he might be back later in the evening.

We decided to go back later in the evening, and when we went back, the older guy, Manuel, was there along with the 24-year-old named Felipe. There were also a bunch of little kids running around. We sat down and assumed that Manuel was the father and the 24-year-old (Felipe) and the other kids were all his children. However we soon learned that Manuel was the GRANDfather, and the Felipe was dating his daughter, and the kids running around were Felipe's. He had a 9-year-old daughter (you can do the math) and two other boys who are about 7 and 5. We sat down and only had 10 minutes that night, but Felipe was glued to us. He agreed to everything we said, and agreed to let us come back. I could tell that he felt the Spirit, and knew that this is what he needed.

We went back on Saturday and taught the Restoration to Manuel, Felipe, his girlfriend, Seline, and their children. It went great! They understood everything and said that they would like to teach their children about God, but didn't know what church to go to. If I were in Felipe's shoes, I would be eating up the Gospel, because it is exactly what he needs. He is a young guy who doesn't really know how to be a father, and already has young children who need to know what is the right path. They didn't make it to church yesterday because it was his sister's birthday and they wanted to celebrate that instead, but we are really excited about this family. We will keep you posted.

Reno Zone
Yesterday and today, I was studying about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the stories that followed in the scriptures. I found two stories that had a common theme. The first comes from John 20 and is when Mary Magdalene discovers that Christ is gone, and then Christ himself comes up to her. When he first starts talking to her, Mary mistakes him for a gardener, but then looks up and discovers that it is indeed Christ himself. The second comes from Luke 24 and is when two disciples, one named Cleopas, are walking to Emmaus. They are talking together about how sad it is about Christ's death, when Jesus himself joins them in their travels, but the two disciples don't know that it is He. The Lord joins them in their conversation and accompanies them to their destination. He teaches them that all of the prophets have been prophesying of Christ and His resurrection since Moses, so they have no reason to be sad. Then after he breaks and blesses bread for them, the disciples realize who it is, and as soon as they realize who it is, "He vanished out of their sight."

In both of these stories following the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the people did not recognize the Savior at first. However, after spending time with him and hearing his voice, they realized who it was. I think that this happens to all of us at times. The Lord is around us in all that we do, but far too often, we don't recognize it. Elder Han and I have noticed this and as part of our weekly goals recently we want to recognize and point out to each other all of the many small miracles that we see each day. Many people think that miracles have to be big, life-changing experiences that include angels and fireworks and everything, but rarely do miracles happen like that. We see tons of miracles each day, like when someone is put in our path and they tell us that they have already attended the LDS church and would like to attend again. Or someone pays for our lunch, or even as simple as someone says a great prayer at the end of a lesson. I know that the Lord has his hand in all that we do.

My ponderize scripture for the week is Doctrine and Covenants 123:17:

"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."

I know that as we do our part, and we work hard and are obedient, then God is with us always. In connection with this topic I found another scripture in Doctrine and Covenants section 59, that says,

"And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments."

So truly it is a commandment to recognize that the Lord is with us always.

On this Easter weekend I want to share my testimony that I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that he suffered for all of our sins, sorrows, and pains, and was crucified. I know that He completed the Atonement by overcoming death, and that He rose on the third day. I know that He still lives today and that He guides this church. I know that Christ is closer to us than we think and knows how we feel when we are going through hard times. I know that as we look for the hand of the Lord more in our life, that we will see that He truly is blessing us immensely. I am grateful for the short 2 years that I have to share this message with EVERYone that I see. I love getting dressed every morning and putting on my nametag, because it is only for these two years that I get to represent my Savior Jesus Christ. It is truly a privilege to testify of Him and of His goodness. I know that he is willing to forgive anyone who has made any kind of mistake, and that he is there with a helping hand for anyone who is struggling.  I love My Savior very much and I know that he loves me in return.

Have a great week everyone!! Thanks for the birthday wishes!! I love you!


Elder Todd
Homies from the Sierra Branch before Elder Romney went home

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