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 94 – Happy 4th of July!
4th of July with the Castiblanco family!
July 4, 2016
Happy Independence Day!!! What a great blessing it is that we
live here in the United States with such
great freedom. I was actually reading a talk this past week titled "Why
1820" (great talk by the way) and it explained why the gospel really
wasn't able to be restored until the year 1820, but a large part of that was
before that time there was no religious freedom! I am so grateful that we have
the opportunity to worship and celebrate in any way we want to.
So many miracles - Reno is going to burn down!
This week has been super hot and smoky here in Reno. (Fires in
California.)Upper 90s all week, but the
miracles have kept coming!! The Lord has really blessed us this past week with
lots of new investigators, fun times, and crazy miracles!
First of all, the Luciano family recovered finally from their
whole ordeal. Hermano Luciano was released from the hospital on Saturday, after
a whole week! They found out that his heart wasn't getting enough oxygen to the
body, and so at times it would start to beat really fast and then slow way
down. But he now sleeps with oxygen and hopefully that will help. As crazy as
their whole experience was, I truly believe that it was for their benefit. The
branch came and supported them big time while he was in the hospital.They provided meals every night the whole
week, and many branch members came and visited them while he was in the
The Luciano Family had never seen so much love in their life.
They were really shocked. They told us that they had never felt like they had
been part of a family like this until they started coming to church. We went
and had a few lessons with them at the hospital, and during one of them Sister
Luciano asked, "Can the branch president's wife baptize me?" We
taught her about the priesthood and how all that works, and then she said,
"Ok well then I want the branch president to baptize me." So they
want to be baptized…now the question is when! It has been so cool to see their
faith grow as a result of all of this. I know that the Lord knows exactly what
everyone needs and blesses them according to their needs.
Other miracle of the week:we found a guy last weekend named Jesus (pronounced "Hey-sus")
and set up an appointment to teach him. We went back on Saturday and found him
sleeping at home…we woke him up when we knocked on the door and had a good
first lesson, but nothing too special. He committed to come to church
yesterday, but almost everyone we meet tells us they will come to church. But
on Sunday morning we called him an hour before church and he said he would be
there!! So we waited for him and he showed up! It was a fast and testimony
meeting and in the middle of the meeting, our branch president got up and said,
"I have never done this, but the Holy Ghost has told me that I need to
speak to Jesus over the pulpit," and looked right at our investigator!! He
was sitting right next to me and he was really taken back. President then just
told him that he knows the church is true and that Jesus is a child of God.
(Keep in mind that President just briefly met him and shook his hand before the
meeting, but that was it!) He spoke to him for about 5 minutes and then sat
down. Then the 2nd counselor got up and said that right before President got
up, he noticed a bright light above Jesus and was going to say something, but
then right then President got up. Jesus was really taken back and didn't say a
whole lot. He stayed for the next two hours and said he loved church, and would
definitely be back next week. We didn't really get a chance to ask him how he
felt or anything, but when we go back this week we will see what he was
thinking. I have heard about things like that happening, but I never witnessed
it until yesterday.
Eating watermelon at a church member's house
A few weeks ago, Elder Torres and I had a special fast that we
could find a new family to teach that had two parents, and two children. We
fasted and prayed and since then we have continued to work hard and talk with
everyone to find them. Yesterday, about a month later, our prayers were
answered. We found a family with two parents, Ricardo and Carla, and two
daughters who are young teenagers. They don't attend any church right now, but
want to help their daughters stay on the right path. Last night we had a BOMB
lesson with them and they had lots of good questions and want to learn more.
After the lesson, we invited the Dad, Ricardo, to offer a kneeling prayer and
he did. Carla was crying and the Spirit was super strong. We are excited to
teach them more.
I have gained a testimony about so many gospel principles on my
mission. One of them is the power that comes from fasting. I know that fasting
works. The Lord has taught us that we can fast for really just about anything,
and it can be like a "SUPER" prayer. Whether it be looking for a job,
or getting into a school, or ANYTHING! Fasting shows our humility that we can't
do things without Heavenly Father, and in return he blesses us. An interesting
verse in the Doctrine and Covenants says: "Verily, this is fasting and
prayer, or in other words, rejoicing and prayer." So even though at
times, fasting is hard and we are hungry and thirsty, we have reason to rejoice
because we know that the Lord will bless us. I know that anyone can fast at
anytime for any reason.