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 82 – New Stake in Zion
Biking all day...
April 11, 2016
Congratulations to my sister Grace who just played the official
role of a "Mersister" in “The Little Mermaid.”I’m sure she did a great job, so please
congratulate her! You’re awesome, Grace!!
No spotting of any Mersisters here in Reno, but lots of sunny
weather! Elder Han and I had another fun week, and it really has been nothing
but a blast serving with him.
So the biggest news of this past week, is that yesterday was
Stake Conference, and we had two visiting general authorities from the Quorum
of the Seventy, Elder Echo Hawk and Elder Spannus, who came and reorganized the
Reno and Reno North stakes, and created a third stake…called the Nevada Mount
Rose stake! We knew that the change was going to happen thanks to some inside
sources (namely, President Chesnut) but it was still a great meeting! There
were no new wards created, but they just redid the boundaries and called a new
stake presidency. The meeting was really spiritual, and we got to hear lots of
powerful testimonies from the new leaders that were called and the old leaders
that were released. The church is growing day by day, and it is exciting to be
a part of it.
We saw lots of cool miracles this past week in our area! The
biggest one is that we finally were able to teach the Luciano family again!
We've been setting up lots of appointments with them, but they have all been
falling through. We had decided that if they keep cancelling then we were going
to drop them this week. We had an appointment scheduled for Wednesday night at
8:30, but then in the afternoon we got a text from their 17-year old daughter (who
is super mature for her age) and she cancelled the lesson because something
came up. We were bummed, but honestly not surprised given the recent history.
But then around 8:00, she texted us and said, "Hey we fixed the problem
that came up, and you can come over right now if you want!"
Exchanges with Elder Smith
Thankfully, we didn't have any other set appointments at that
moment, so we went over and had a really good lesson! They said that they have
had lots of questions and doubts about some of the doctrine, because they grew
up in a different Christian church. They didn't understand the plan of
salvation, and the principle of the Spirit World, and the Three degrees of
Glory. They had totally marked up and written all over the plan of salvation
pamphlet that we left with them about a month ago, and we love when that
happens because it shows they actually want to learn! We were able to answer
all of their questions using scriptures from both the Book of Mormon and the
Bible, and the whole family was really impressed that we had answers to
everything. It was actually a very spiritual lesson, and although at times
Brother and Sister Luciano got really heated and almost wanted to debate with
us, I felt very calm throughout the whole thing. I know that the Holy Ghost
guided the lesson and put into our minds the scriptures we needed to share, and
the inspired questions we needed to ask.
At the end of the lesson we committed them to all be baptized on
the 14th of May, and all three (dad, mom, and daughter) accepted! They told us
they would read some of the Book of Mormon and pray everyday. Both prayers that
they said in the lesson at the beginning and at the end were way good…they
asked God for help to know if this is the right church, and if it was, if they
could have the strength needed to be baptized. It was great. The father even
said at the end, "You guys put me in "check" like in Chess, not
checkmate, but check, when you answered all of my questions. I am ready to
prepare to be baptized." It was great! They told us they would not be able
to attend church this past weekend because they had family coming into town,
but we were ok with that because it was stake conference anyways, and we knew
it would just be a crazy meeting, so we didn't push to hard. We left the lesson
super pumped and on a spiritual high!
But then it gets better...two days later, on Friday, the teenage
daughter texted us and asked if she could get a ride to church, because she
wanted to come and find out for herself if the church is true. We were shocked!
We explained that of course we would find a ride, so we got her a ride and she
came to stake conference yesterday and loved it! Despite the fact it was a
unique meeting with a new stake created, she said she really enjoyed it. She is
really solid, and we think she will for sure be baptized on May 14th. The
parents are committed at this point, but they are both addicted to cigarettes
and coffee, so we are going to meet with them again tonight and implement a
plan we developed to help them quit by the end of the month so they will be
ready by May 14th. I have grown to love the Luciano family a lot. Please keep
them in your prayers that they will progress and be ready for baptism! It is
Wednesday morning we got a call from another potential
investigator who we never had the chance to sit down with and teach, we just
met her on the streets and knocked on her door a few times, but never really
went anywhere. But on Wednesday she called us in the morning and said,
"Hey today is a great day for us if you want to come over and have a
lesson!" Our jaws were on the floor, because that only happens once in a
blue moon, especially if you haven't ever taught them before. So we went over
and had an awesome lesson together. It is two sisters who live together, and
both are no longer with their husbands, but they each have a few kids. They are
really nice and want their children to grown up in a church. We are excited to
go back and teach them some more.
Selfie with Elder Smith
This week we were walking down the street because we had like 10
minutes before our appointment, and so we came across this guy sitting on his
porch and after our very friendly greeting he responded with a glare and a
frown. So we responded with another friendly, "Who do you know in this
neighborhood that is going through a hard time and could use a simple
prayer?" and he responded with some cuss words and strong language and told
us to leave. So we responded once again with a friendly, "Have a nice
day!" and then he told us, "I hope you get hit by a car." Elder
Han and I couldn't control our laughter after we got out of earshot, because we
have never heard something so mean said to us before!! I am grateful that Han
and I can laugh off stupid encounters like that, and just roll with the motto,
"Come what may, and love it!" We were joking that we wanted to get a
wheelchair and then go up to him and say that he got as he wished and see what
he did after that. We hopefully planted a little teeny tiny seed that can maybe
one day be harvested in the future....
The new Hermana who serves in our branch with Sister Daniels had
an appendicitis this past week! So they have been stuck in the apartment all
week while she recovers. It made me grateful that I already had mine taken out,
so I don't ever have to worry about that one again!
Those are a few of the highlights of the week! I will keep you
posted on how they progress and what steps they are taking. We have about 100
potential investigators, so we are just trying to find those who are prepared
to accept the gospel right now and join the church right now. It is the best
job on earth!!
This weekend really strengthened my testimony that our church
leaders are called of God. I know that they are all inspired men, and that if
we follow them, we will not be led astray. I am grateful for a living prophet
and the other apostles on the earth that guide us. I know that our leaders hold
Priesthood keys that allow us to participate in saving ordinances such as
baptism and confirmation. It is also through those priesthood keys that I will
live with my siblings and parents for ever, even after this life, and I know
that I will be able to live with my future wife and children for eternity also,
but it is only made possible through that restored priesthood power.
"For I have conferred upon you the keys and power of the
priesthood, wherein I restore all things, and make known unto you all things in
due time." D&C 132:45