Monday, May 30, 2011

Close, but not quite!

I had to host a tour last week, for two Utah visitors who wanted to see the Missionary Training Center. What an assignment my first week of work! I kept my eyes peeled the entire hour hoping to catch a glimpse of our Elder Todd, but we never crossed paths. The closest I got was finding his mailbox. At least I got to see where all of our letters go, and where he collects them.
Box #311. Keep that mail coming! Missionaries at the MTC told us they love letters the most!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Week #1/First P-day email

Hey Family!
So its my first P-day and I am writing you. I only have a short 30 min to write you and read e mails so if you want to email me please just send it via dear I'm doing great now. All of the Phii Thais (Older Thais) told us that if we could make it through Sunday then we would be fine, and everything would speed up from there. Its so weird that I'm here. I hardly feel old enough to be a missionary.
Classes are great. The Language is hard, but I am managing. The Phii Thais said that we have learned more than they learned in their first week. We are encouraged to "SYL" or Speak Your Language all the time as this will help us to learn it better. I really can't believe the spirit here. Everyone is so friendly and happy its amazing! It's been rough though. We all miss our families, but on Wednesday night our Branch president gave us a scripture to read. D&C 100:1-2. It really gave me comfort and helped.
Also all of the letters that you have sent me have been really helpful and encouraging. Nate always told me letters helped him, and it is so true. Also John's advice about the orange juice seemed to be good advice! I'm so lucky that I had brothers in Law like Dave and John who were so so willing to talk to me about their missions. They have given me great advice.
The language is difficult. It's the fourth hardest here in the MTC my teacher told us. Its crazy because its tonal. If you say, "may may may may may," with the proper tones you would be asking, "if new silk burns." The language is also very literal. You wouldn't say that someone is in his desk because a Thai person would interpret that as meaning that he is trapped inside of the desk. Instead you say he is on his desk. It's the same way with prayer. We say Phra bidan bon sawan which means our Father ON Heaven. Not IN.
It's amazing to see the gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues at work here. Eveyone says hello in their respective language and its great! I got to see Wess a couple of times and that was really nice! The people who have him as a teacher say that he is great! They are mostly Native Koreans I think. There are a lot of them here which was really surprising to me. Elder Radmall (a Phii Thai) and I played basketball against some yesterday. It was fun and they were actually pretty good! This one had a really nice scoop shot that he LOVED!! It was so funny because Elder Radmall and I are considerably taller than they were and we were on the same team and they thought it was so funny! They were just laughing at us. I wonder if that is how the Thai people will be.
My companion is Elder Doria from Provo. He lives just up the street from the MTC. His parents moved here from the Philippines, and his older brothers both went on their missions there. You can imagine that he was pretty surprised when he got called to Thailand! I'm so excited to get there!
President Hinckley said that there would one day be a temple in Thailand, and the church already has the property. It's sad because while there are enough members on record there to build the Bangkok temple, there aren't enough ACTIVE members. I really think that is part of why I am going- so that we can get the temple built. I realize that temples are such a blessing, and so many sacrifices must be made in order for them to be built.
On Sunday we watched, "The Mountain of the Lord." I really enjoyed it, and it really made me realize that those who built the Salt Lake temple really built it for their posterity for all generations of time and eternity to be able to recieve saving ordinances. Temples are SUCH blessings. We went to the Provo temple today, and Elder Heap and I were proxys for children in sealings and we were witnesses. That was a really great experience. I had never had the pleasure of doing that kind of temple work before. I really liked it.
There are eight Elders in my district, no sisters. But we are so lucky because we have incredible teachers. Brother Miles from Pennsylvania, and Sister Wongwiraophaab from BANGKOK!! It's awesome to have a native Thai for a teacher. She knows SO much and wants to teach us all that she can. She shares great stories about the people and she even told us the conversion story of her family! It was so great to hear that in Thailand true conversions do happen. Since the people don't even know who God is, we have to teach basic principles such as, God is a person, He has a body, and so on. There is a lot of work to do there.
Well I'm running low on time, but I love you all very much! Please keep writing. It helps more than you think. You are all in my prayers. Stay safe! Stay true to each other, and true to the faith. Don't be like Lot and pitch your tents towards Sodom, but be as the people of King Benjamin and pitch your tents towards the temple. Again, I love you all very much, and can't wait to hear from you soon!
Elder Todd

Saturday, May 21, 2011

First Mission Letter

We got a letter in the mail today. We were so happy to hear from Bud:

May 19, 2011
Dear Mom and Dad,
I hope that all is well and that you got home safely. My companion is great. His name is Eler Doria and he is from Provo, (like 30 yards away!) My district leaders are so good, Elder Richardson and Elder Stott. They are so nice to us Nong Thai. That's what they call the younger Thai elders. The older ones are the Phii Thais. They were so excited for us to come.
I got some more shots today. I had to get another polio booster today.
They tell us here that we are in an egg, that there isn't much that Satan can do to tempt us in the MTC. But they say being here is a trial of our faith.
I would love to hear from anyone soon. My friend Ramsey wrote me a "Dear Elder" last night and it was so great to get a letter from someone.
I love you so much. I'm alive and healthy. Please write soon.
I love you.
Elder Todd

P.S. P-day is on Tuesday so I'll email you then! This letter is the only one I can write that isn't on a p-day.
Tell everyone Hi!

You can email Bud at
or go to to send him one that will be printed off and put into his box the same day.
I'm sure he'd love to hear from all of you!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Early morning farewells

Jennifer and John had work, while Lauren and Brooke had exams at school. We opted for Bud's favorite breakfast (German Pancakes with berries) and an early morning goodbye with siblings. Cate and Dave are on their honeymoon and had a special goodbye last Sunday before they left. They also sent a facebook message from Costa Rica which Bud loved receiving on this final morning at home. We sure do love this missionary! We're excited for him to get started and we'll plan on another round of German pancakes with everyone in the Maywood kitchen in two years!

An official Missionary.

Bud was set apart as a full-time missionary by President Charles W. Sorenson the night before he left for the MTC. BT, Bishop Bryce Barker, and John Pearson also assisted in Bud's setting apart. It was a wonderful evening of testimony, love and support. Bud seemed so prepared and ready to serve.

Thailand Trio.... they'll go out and return together. Elders Tolman, Todd and Heap entering the MTC :)

Last lunch at the Brown River with Elders Heap and Willman

And he's off...

Bud Todd is on his mission! We dropped him off yesterday at the MTC in pouring rain. He entered the MTC with two friends from the Helaman Halls dorms-- Elder Heap from Mesa, who will also serve in the Thailand, Bangkok mission, and Elder Willman, also from Mesa, but heading to Dallas, TX. Both Arizona Elders had flown up that morning and we picked them up from the airport and headed to Provo. It was fun to have three darling missionaries plus all of their luggage all crammed in the car with Bryan and me. We also ran into Bud's childhood friend, Elder Hunter Tolman, who will be in the same MTC district and bound for Thailand.

We stopped for one last favorite lunch at Cafe Rio, then made a quick trip up to the Provo Temple for a few soggy photos... and finally pulled into the MTC right on time. We'd said our goodbyes at home (and for the last few days) so it was pretty quick at the curbside. It was the happiest sadness I've ever experienced. We'll miss our Bud, but there's no place we'd rather have him than serving the Lord on a full-time mission.

We're anxious to hear from him. He is in our prayers many times a day. We love our Elder Todd!