Week 86 – Happy Mother’s Day!!!

My new companion, Elder Torres!
May 9, 2016
Hello everyone!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers out there…without mothers, I don't know where this world would be! And of course, I want to give a special shout-out to the best mother in the game, my own mother! I am so grateful for her, and I don't think that I could be here on a mission without her. Like the stripling warriors said in Alma 56:47

"Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it."

I can echo the words of these stripling warriors, and my own mother has taught me to not doubt, and I also know without a doubt that my mom knows it. I love you Mom! I am grateful for you and for all the love that you send my way, and I am also grateful for your testimony.

As far as the work in Nevada goes...it goes great! My new companion's name is Elder Torres. He is from Florida – but his parents are from Peru, so we have some natural Spanish blood in our companionship now...and he is a STUD. He is awesome. He has lots of fire and excitement for the work, and he doesn't even need to be trained, he is training me! We are having lots of fun. An English member called us the “Dynamite” companionship because we are Elders T & T....haha!

Our investigators are moving along slowly but surely. Francisco is doing well, and made it to church yesterday! He truly is dedicated to come to church...he got up at 3am Sunday morning and went to work, came home around 10am, came to church, and then went back to work after church. That is what you call true desire! He almost didn't have a ride to church, though.  All weekend long we were looking for someone to take him to church, but nobody was able to! Finally at 9:30pm on Saturday night, Alberto – a recent convert, agreed to drive Francisco and it was a huge miracle!! Then on Sunday morning, we went to Alberto's house, and we were going to ride with him to pick up Francisco and then the 4 of us zip to church together...but we jumped in Alberto's car and it didn't start!! So we quickly had to scramble around to get some jumper cables, and we jumped his car and then we were off! I was praying the whole way that we wouldn't have any more trouble, and sure enough, we made it all together with Francisco AND the car. So that was a huge tender mercy.

Alberto - the recent convert who drove Francisco
to church for us.
The Aguilar Family, that we found last week is doing ok.  We haven't had the chance to sit down with them and teach the Restoration, but we are hopefully going to do that tonight, because we have a lesson set up. We did have dinner with them on Tuesday night and that was a lot of fun. I enjoy having meals with investigators, because it gives us the chance to get to know them a little bit and they can get to know us. And not to mention I have grown to LOVE authentic Mexican food with beans, rice, meat, and homemade tortillas! (It's better than Taco Bell!)

Mileishka (the Luciano's 17-year old daughter) is going to be baptized this Saturday! We are super excited, and it has also been cool to see her family get excited for her, too. It should be a great service, and the whole branch has rallied to support her. Please keep her and her family in your prayers this week as we go down the home stretch for her baptism!

Elder Han, Alberto, and me
With this transfer, I have definitely felt the weight of an area upon my shoulders. Elder Han and I found tons of solid investigators and had tons of miracles, and I don't want any of them to slip through the cracks as a result of this transfer. I have felt that extra burden now that Elder Han is gone and can't help me plan and teach these solid investigators. Thankfully, I am not alone in this effort...in fact we are never alone. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know exactly how we feel, and they want us to struggle and have hard times, so that we can grow closer to them. If life was always a walk in the park with no trials at all, then we would never really grow closer to them. Many people might ask, "If you are doing the Lord's work, why doesn't he just make it easy for you? I mean if you have faith, and he wants you to have success, why don't you baptize 20 people a week?" And the answer is the same, because he wants us to work hard and to push ourselves.

Saying goodbye to Elder Han...he's off to Elko!
I am grateful for the knowledge that I have that my Savior is there for me any time. One of my all-time favorite scriptures is Matt. 11:28-30: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." There is power in this scripture, and I know that as we take those trials, hardships, pains, and sorrows to our Lord, we can find rest and be relieved. I am grateful for those hard times, because they allow us to grow.

The Church is true, folks!

I love you all, have a great week!


Elder Todd
It started hailing during our weekly planning session

Week 85 – Transfers!!

Last time sending out transfer calls!
May 2, 2016
Hey everyone!!

Well transfers are tomorrow, and sadly, Elder Han and I are getting split up. It is really sad because Han and I have worked super hard together and it has been pure fun the whole time. I am going to miss him. He is getting transferred to Elko to be a Zone Leader out there. I am staying in the Sierra Branch, and I am getting a new missionary to train! I haven't met him yet – so I don't even know his name, but I am really excited. We are going to have a blast. 

MJ - Thanks for the awesome letter, you are going to be an awesome missionary, I can't wait!! I am glad that you had the opportunity to do a mini mission for a day, those are great experiences to prepare the youth for a full-time mission!

Mom - That was a great talk that you gave, thanks for making me look like such a rockstar missionary haha! I wish I could've been there for the whole meeting, it sounds like it was great!

Dad - Thanks for your letter to me, and for sharing those spiritual experiences with me, I love it! 

I am so grateful for a family that has the gospel. I love hearing about what you are all studying, and about all of the spiritual experiences you are having. It keeps me motivated.

Putting our bikes on the bus
Elder Han and I had a hunch that we were getting transferred this past week, so we definitely tried to make the most of it together. We worked our tails off, and on Saturday we did another car-fast, and used the money that Mom sent us to ride the bus! We've been wanting to do another bus day, but we have just been too busy, until this past Saturday. It was a ton of fun. 

So the work continues to move forward and progress in our area, it is incredible. 

The Luciano's 17-year-old daughter is all set to be baptized in 2 weeks. Her family is up and down, but they always sit in and listen to the lessons. The daughter really drives the family, she is always telling them to come to church and read the scriptures.  She is awesome! She went to prom this past weekend with two laurels in the branch, and had a really fun time. She is making some friendships in the branch, and it is way fun to see. The Relief Society President in the branch took the three girls to prom, and apparently on the way, the Luciano's daughter was saying how she wants to serve a mission, and then marry a "guapo" guy from the church. We got really excited when the RS President told us about that, because that shows that she is for reals, and she wants to be a member and live the gospel, and she isn't just that way around us. We are excited for her.

Mowing Francisco's lawn
Francisco is doing well. We went over and mowed his lawn the other day, and one of the Senior missionaries from the office, Elder Baclyon, came and brought his lawn mower. Francisco loved it, because he saw that truly the church is a support system. He is reading the Book of Mormon regularly and praying, but he still works on Sundays. He got a new job in hopes that he wouldn't have to work on Sundays, but he still does. However, he told us a few days ago that on his application he marked that the only day he couldn't work was Sundays...so if his schedule doesn't change he is going to tell the manager about that. He doesn't want to cause any trouble because he just started working there, and doesn't want to come across as the new guy who comes in and makes all these demands. We are praying that he can get Sundays off soon, so he can attend church again.

Elder Han and I with Elder Baclyon
This past Friday, we were walking up to an investigator’s house, and out of the apartment where we were about to knock, walked a mother with her children – but inside the apartment, there were like 20 people and it was really crazy. We introduced ourselves to the mom walking out, but then she had to go and we were quickly distracted by all of the other people in the apartment. We left because the investigator we were looking for was busy.

Later in the day, we decided to go back to that apartment because we had a few free minutes, and the same mother we met earlier was climbing into her car. She saw us and stopped, and told us that she wanted us to come by, and even gave us her address and phone number. We were shocked, but then asked when she was available. She invited us over to her home right then, but we already had 2 other appointments in the next ten minutes, so we told her maybe, but we would be in contact. The other 2 appointments we had at that time both fell through, so we zipped over to this mother's home.

My study corner
We knocked on the door, and the father opened the door and was kinda puzzled, but then the mother popped out of nowhere and invited us in. We went in and began talking with them, and then after a few brief moments of "get to know you talk" we started with a prayer. The mother invited her 5 children into the family room for the opening prayer, and all 5 children stuck around for the whole lesson. It was AWESOME!!! The whole family is on board for everything, and they opened up and explained to us that they grew up Catholic, but didn't really believe much in it and didn't agree with some of the beliefs in the Catholic Church. They agreed to be baptized when they came to know that the church was true. Han and I were shocked, another solid family that just fell into our laps. To make things even better, the Aguilar Family invited us over for dinner tomorrow night. Han and I left their home just in awe at what miracles we have been seeing lately. 

My desk
A scripture that has been on my mind a lot lately comes from John Chapter 8, verse 29,

"And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him."

Obviously this is Jesus Christ talking, but it applies to all of us. I LOVE the line, "For I do always those things that please him." Jesus Christ did exactly what Heavenly Father wanted, thus he and the Father are "one" in purpose. Nobody else can fulfill that commission, to be perfect, but we can all try. I am grateful for powerful scriptures like this one, that can remind me to choose the right, and to choose to do those things "that please Him." I know that Heavenly Father really is happy and pleased when we choose to follow the commandments, and when we choose to be happy. That is what he wants. I invite all of you to think about the things that you are doing in your life and the choices you are making and think, "Is this something that would please God?" I can promise you that your overall well-being will increase as you do so. I have experienced this in my own life.

The church is true, folks! I am so grateful for the opportunities that I have to share it with others. 


Elder Todd
My planner BEFORE we do our nightly planning session 
My planner AFTER we do our planning

Week 84 – Another Week in Paradise

April 25, 2016

This week has been another super fun week, full of more miracles!! Elder Han and I have really been getting into a good rhythm and it is such a blessing to have a companion who is as awesome as Elder Han, I love him so much!

P-day Cook-off
Last P-day (Preparation Day) we had a really fun zone activity.  We had a Reno Zone cook-off and split the zone into three groups.  Everyone had to cook something, and the only requirement was that it had to include fruit snacks. It was a lot of fun, and it was also Elder Stotts' birthday, so we had fun celebrating together. I am no chef by any means but Elder Han, Sister Chesnut, and I were the judges afterwards and it was a fun activity. After everyone cooked, we played the famous "name game" that we always play back at home, and the zone had a lot of fun with that. We required that everyone put at least one person from the scriptures in the bowl.

But as far as the REAL missionary work goes, things are going great!

Francisco is still awesome. We went over this week and helped paint some of his house and got to know him. He told us that he wants missionaries to live with him, because he has an empty room in his house. He is super solid!! He couldn't come to church yesterday because he got a new job, and he still works on Sundays right now. But he is hoping that within the next few weeks he can get Sundays off.  He has been reading the Book of Mormon, and he understands almost all that he reads! He told us that he wants to wait for his fiancĂ© to come back from her trip to Fiji in June before he gets baptized. But he is actually a really cool guy, and he has more desire than anyone I've ever met to learn more about the church! Last night, we got a call from his fiancĂ© and she told us that he still has lots of questions and feels a little overwhelmed with everything that we have taught him. It was good to hear that because sometimes we get too excited and teach tons of information. So we are going to slow down and review what we have taught him, because we have already taught him the first 3 main lessons. But we love Francisco a lot!

The Luciano family is doing okay.  Their daughter is still doing great…she came to church yesterday and also brought her 16-year-old brother (who is taller than she is!) and they both had a great time! Both of them want to go to girls’ camp and scout camp, so we want to get them involved. However, the parents are going through a rough time - so keep them in your prayers. 

I got to go on exchanges with the Assistants this week, and it was a total blast! I spent the day with Elder Nieves in the Prater ward, and it was a lot of fun to go back for a day. It is crazy how just going back to my old house brings back a FLOOD of memories. But it is also cool how it didn't really feel like home anymore, I was eager all day to get back to my current area. I love Elder Nieves, he is definitely one of my mission homies.

With Elder Nieves - one of my mission homies
This week I have been studying in Alma when the Sons of Mosiah are out doing their missionary work, and they are such great examples to me! There is so much to be learned from all of them, especially for me as a full-time missionary right now!

Alma 26:29…"And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again."

This scripture teaches us that these missionaries taught and talked with people EVERYwhere they went. That is why we do that now as full-time missionaries…we talk to everyone we see – on the streets, at the gas station, or in the grocery store line. It is really hard to do sometimes, to open our mouths and speak up, but I know that we are blessed when we do that. The same is true for all of you who aren't full-time missionaries!  We can all open our mouths in any situation to share the Gospel. I know that when we pray for missionary opportunities, God will bless us and help us do that.

In D&C 88:81 we learn: "Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor." So because we have been blessed and been warned, it is now our duty to warn our neighbors. 

I love my mission. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that it is true.

Have a great week! I love you guys!!!


Elder Todd

The flags hanging in the assistant's house