Week 100: The Last One

With the Coto Family after their baptism on Saturday!

August 15, 2016
Hello everyone!!

Well folks, as the subject line says, this will be my last email home as a full-time representative of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It still hasn't hit me, and I don't think it will until I am on the airplane.

I am truly overcome with emotions as I reflect back upon the past two years and all of the miracles, memories, and experiences that I have had. I wouldn't trade them for anything. 

All eight dressed in white
That being said, I couldn't have asked to end my mission on a better note. On Saturday, August 13th at 1pm the Coto family was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was an exciting and very spiritual service. The room was packed with people from the branch and others who came to support the Cotos.  Seeing their family dressed in white was an experience that I will never forget. I had the privilege of baptizing the father of the family, and Presidente Castiblanco baptized the mother. My two companions each baptized one of the daughters. We then all confirmed them on Sunday in sacrament meeting. The Spirit was so strong in the service…Hermana Coto was emotional throughout the whole thing.

Hermano Coto and me before the baptism
There were a few people in the congregation who didn't speak Spanish (including the Stake President and President and Sister Chesnut who came to support us!) and it was interesting to hear their thoughts afterwards. They said that though they couldn't understand a lot of what was going on, the Spirit of what was being said carried it to their hearts and they knew what was going on. One English member commented to some other missionaries the next day, "I went to a baptism yesterday of a family of 4 and it was so incredible! I couldn't understand anything but the Spirit was so fantastically strong!"

With Presidente Castiblanco
I know that the Spirit is manifest when the Priesthood of God is used worthily and righteously. The Spirit testified to me in the service that Heavenly Father was pleased with their decision to get baptized, and that they were doing exactly what he wanted. I can't put into words how blessed I have been to know the Coto family and be a part of their first few steps on their journey in the Gospel. I plan to come back in a year and attend their sealing when they enter into a temple of God and are sealed for time and all eternity. We did a temple tour with them the night before the baptism and it was cool to see them get excited for coming back. Hermana Coto said that she had already picked out her dress for when they get sealed...!!!

La Familia Vasquez-Trigeros
We also had two lessons this past week with Alicia!! She is so funny. We have gotten to know her better and she is really a funny person. They have a great family and will be great members of the church one day. We had a family home evening set up with them on Tuesday and they showed up 30 minutes late, but we were still able to share a short message with them. Then we met again on Thursday and it was basically a question and answer session with Alicia and her husband, Isidrio. They still have not given us their address, but we accidently came across where they lived. I found out the street that they lived on but it is a long street and we had no idea where, but then last night we were driving down that street and I recognized their car and their little daughter was playing outside. So we found them!!! They still aren't comfortable with having us over to their house, so we are going to play it by ear. We might "accidently" go tracting right down their street sometime. 

Teaching the Restoration with Elder Lyman
I know that this Gospel is true. I have spent two years studying it, living it, and inviting others to live it, and I know that it is real. Jesus Christ directs his Church, and this is His Gospel. I have had the privilege to wear His name on my chest for the past two years and it has blessed my life and changed it forever. Even though we spend lots of time talking about scriptures, commandments, prophets, baptism, faith, and all that good stuff, at the core of all of it is our Savior. It is all about Him. He lives. He loves us. He lived a perfect life and died for us, for our sins and mistakes, but also for our sorrows, pains, and temptations. He rose three days after his Crucifixion. He is real. One of my favorite scriptures about the Savior is in the New Testament:

With Jose (Mileishka's brother)
"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."

He did everything he did for the rest of us. It is now our responsibility to accept Him AND follow him. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. 

I am so grateful for the opportunity that my Father in Heaven has given me to come and serve for two years here in the Holy Deserts of Nevada. I have loved my mission and I will be eternally grateful for the people that I have met and the experiences that I have had. I am not perfect, and I have made many mistakes, but my mission means everything to me. Thank you to all who have supported me in your prayers, your thoughts, your letters and your packages, I love you all!

I'll see you on Thursday!!

Elder Todd

The District together at the temple
The Chavez Brothers
Hermano Carrasco
Hermano Caballero
Three (Spanish) Musketeers before the baptism
I made apple puff pancakes for all of us on the morning
of the baptism
The Zone together at the temple
The Wanlass Family!
My Reno!

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