Thursday, June 23, 2011

Week #5 Wrap up


Wow! I can't believe that it's week six already!

How is everyone? Dad, Happy Fathers Day, and a Happy Birthday to you Cate. I realized as we watched, "Music and the Spoken Word" on Sunday, during the spoken word portion, how blessed I have been to have a Father who was always willing give me his time. I look back on all that you did for me Dad, and I am incredibly grateful. I sent home a card for Dad. Cater I also sent you a card along with a picture of the Sao Paulo Temple for your b-day. And I sent everyone letters. Did you get them? Please let me know. Jennifer, thanks so much for the water bottle and the card. They really brightened my day!

So, as you know, last Tuesday we heard from Sister Wixom. She was so good! A lot of Elders weren't excited because she is the Primary President. I was though! We sang primary songs and it was great! Everyone ended up loving it in the end. One thing that she said that really stuck out to me was that as missionaries, we all wear the name of our Savior on our chest because we are to witness of Him. But when we are TRUE witnesses of Jesus Christ, we will wear His name on our hearts. It reminded me of the Thai word for "impress" which if you break it down, means to "stamp on the heart." I feel so lucky because I get to know my Savior more and more each day. I wan't to be able to say that I wear His name on my heart. Brother Wixom also said something great. He said, that when we come home from our missions, our best friend should truly be our Savior. But like I said last week, it's important not to get too buddy buddy with Him, because He is still the "Greatest of all."

I have been studying the New Testamement, and have been reading in John this week. I noticed something interesting as I started this book. In the King James version it is called the Gospel of John, but in the footnotes, The Joseph Smith Translation calls it the "Testimony of St. John." or something along those lines. When I read that, it made a lot more sense to me, because the gospel given isn't John's, or Matthew's, its Christ's. Matthew Mark, Luke and John only testify of our Lord. I love John 7:17. It gives us the opportunity to know that this doctrine is truly of Christ. So does 2 Nephi 31. These scriptures together show that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Christ, and that it is to supplement the Bible, not to replace it.

This week we have started to learn the fundamentals of missionary work. There is a new edition of Preach My Gospel coming out that will have these fundamentals in it. They really help so much. They show us how we should teach. Our teacher told us that when He was in Thailand, they had Preach My Gospel, but they still taught lessons. It's changing again. The church has been working on a project for a bunch of years now that starts in August (I think) that really is changing the work. The focus is much more on teaching people and families. Pretty soon the MTC will not have TRC, but the missionaries will practice all of their teaching through progressing investigators. I think this will help missionaries so much becauase its a more real-life situation.

So, about Thailand. I leave 6 weeks from yesterday. I am so excited to get there and meet the Thai people. Our Phii Thais left yesterday. They're probably still in the air actually haha. It's weird to be the only Thai missionaries at the MTC right now. We get our younger district in a week! I'm so excited. I don't know if you remember that when I left on my mission there was only one stake in Thailand. Well, good news! There has been a stake center built in Ubon, that's in the eastern part of the country, and there are two stake centers in Bangkok. Our teachers told us this past week they split the Bangkok Stake and pulled in some districts and now there are two stakes! It makes me so excited to hear that! I really can't wait to get there, I know I don't know the language well, but when we see pictures of those people, my heart goes out to them. I pray for them, and I pray that I will be able to love them. The Lord is helping me to love them. I've met only a few people from Thailand, but I love them all, and I want them to be happy forever. I want to share with them what brings me the most happiness in my life, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The knowledge that families can be together forever truly maike it easier for me to leave you all for two years. Yes, I miss you all dearly, but when I think about whats going on at home, I think, wow, there is nothing that I need to be there for. I know I am where I am suppose to be. No doubt.

This week is going to be great! It's mission president's training week, so the General Authorities will be here! There are going to be a couple of joint Sacrament meetings, and our district tried out to sing "Come Thou Fount" at them, or in a devotional down the road. Sister Brown and Sister Nally form the presidency said they really liked it!

All is well here! I hope you've gotten all of my mail. Thanks for everything you send! I'm pretty sure that I've gotten it all! But along witht he vitamin C could you send some pepto tablets, and tums (the food here is so-so). I would also love if you could send me any thing from Nate, Collin or Nick. I feel like I need to write Porter too, so if you could send me his address that'd be great! I'll probably write you all in a bit, but I love you! Thanks for you prayers! You're all in mine! How is Elizabeth? Did uncle David get his job? Hows Nana? I put Nana and Elizabeth on the prayer roll today. Please keep me updated on Nans. There have been many times here that I know Pa has been helping me. Its one of the most comforting thoughts. Well, tell everyone hello! Read your scriptures everyday and pray often. I'll write next wekk!
Elder Todd

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Brush with Sister Wixom

This past Tuesday, Bud was able to hear a devotional the MTC, from Rosemary Wixom the Primary General President. She is an incredible woman. Her daughter, Liz, is in our ward and a dear friend of our family. Liz and I (Ruthie) work together in the Stake Young Women's Program. Sister Wixom called Liz on her way home from Provo, knowing that Liz was at our home for a YW meeting. Liz put her phone on speaker, and we all listened as Sister Wixom told us about seeing Elder Todd in the MTC just a little bit earlier. She said he looked happy and handsome and had a big smile on his face and a bright light in his eyes. She said that Elder Todd was exactly the kind of missionary the Wixoms loved to get when they presided over the Washington D.C. South mission a few years ago.
What a great report for this mother. I feel so lucky that TWO people (Dillon Jensen and Rosemary Wixom) have seen Bud this week and say he seems so happy and good. That makes me feel happy too. It is so much fun to get a first-hand report. We are proud of our Bud. We are glad he loves being a missionary. We miss him, but we are grateful he gets to have this marvelous opportunity to serve other people and grow personally. He loves your letters everyone... so keep writing. The easiest way is to email him at:

Week #4 One Month

Hey Family!

How are you all doing? I was worried that I wouldn't get to email you this week because I got really sick and had to go to the doctor. But it was just a bad ear infection so I'm on some antibiotics now and everything is working out well. It's not just the drugs though. I recieved a blessing from Elder Heap (ZL) and Elder Tolman (DL) and that really helped a lot. Something that really stuck out to me in the prayer that Elder Tolman gave was when he said that my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ want me to know that they love me, and that they are pleased with my desires and my service thus far. I know that the spirit brought that message to Elder Tolman to give to me. The power of the Preisthood is amazing!

Thank you so much for all of the support you are giving me. I have gotten all of your letters, yes all of yours Dad, and Mom. Thank you so much. THey are such great helps to me at times when I feel down. I have loved having the conference Ensign to read the words of the Lord's servants today. One thing that is amazing to me every time i read it, is the scripture that says, "whether by my voice or the voice of my servants, it is the same." To me, that is amazing because as a servant of the Lord, I get to speak for Him. It makes me want to be careful in everything that I say, and I want to speak the words which He would want me to. Our Savior is amazing.

We had a discussion last night about the atonement. We talked about how it is good for us to have a close personal relationship to the Savior. However, we must remember that we shouldn't pray to Him, and that we still worship that Father above all. My teacher brought up an interesting point. He talked about how some people act like they are "Buddy buddy" with Christ. He said that it's good to have a personal relationship, but not to be "buddy buddy" because after all, the Savior is greater than we all are. I thought of Mary, who had a close personal relastionship with the Messiah. When she saw the resurrected Lord, she worshipped Him. Or Thomas, who upon seeing Christ, fell to his knees. These friends of The Savior didn't go up and give him a hug, or a high five. They bowed themselves before Him because He is so much greater than any of us are. He is the greatest to ever walk this earth, and He did. I know that He walked the roads of Palestine. But more important than that, I know that He lives today, and that He loves all of us.

Last Tuesday the devotional was by Elder Yoshihko Kikuchi. He did an amazing job! Something from His talk that reall stuck out to me was his message about self mastery. He told us to have a routine every morning. But most important of all, to have a sacred grove we go to every morning. And there, we should ask God for guidance. He Said
1. Arise Early
2. Clean Your body
3. Put on clean linen
4. Subdue your spirit before God
5. WAIT for inspiration from the Holy Ghost.

He said if we do this, we will have better relationships with everyone we contact each day, and more importantly, with our Father in Heaven. It made me think about Elder Pearson's talk on prayer at BYU Hawaii. Elder Pearson talked about how we need to not pray when we are tired, that prayers will be more meaningful if we are awake and alert. I notice a difference when I pray when I am awake, rather than rolling out of bed onto my knees. I challenge you all to do this. I'm glad that you all took my other challenge and read Ether 12. Its amazing the faith that the Brother of Jared had!

It was so weird to see Dillon on sunday, but it made me so happy to see someone from the outside world haha! He said Nate is doing well, and I am glad to hear that. I hope Nick is enjoying Ghana. Mom will you send me the letters they post from their blogs or whatever? Thank you! Oh and I LOVE the Carl Bloch print you sent me. Bloch was inspired in his paintings, I have no doubt. Outside of the cafeteria there is a copy of the Doubting Thomas. Whenever I see this, I feel the spirit so strongly. Its an amazing testimony to me.

We have been studying the Plan of Salvation this week, and I really have learned so much! The more we learn about the doctrine, the easier it is to teach it. Our TRC didn't go to well, but we're recovering. We started teaching a progressing investigator. Its a really cool experience to have our teacher pretend to be an investigator that he actually taught!

Our Phii Thais got their travel plans on Thursday and they leave on Monday. They go from SLC to Tokyo! To Bangkok! I can't wait to find out what route I'll take to Thailand. I'm hoping to get there via Hong Kong! That would be amazing!

Well I'm out of time, but I love you all so much. Don't forget the Lord. Tell Nana I love her.

I love you all so much! thanks again for the letters!

Elder Todd

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ruthie gets a big hug!

There was a great treat at the Todd house tonight. Our family friend, Dillon Jensen saw Bud at the MTC!! Dillon was down at the MTC picking up a book and ran into Bud. (Dillon is Nate Jensen's big brother. Nate is one of Bud's dearest friends in the world and is currently serving his mission in Cusco, Peru). Dillon took this picture so he could bring it over and show us our Elder. Best of all, Dillon gave me a great big hug and told me it had come from Bud. He said that Bud had actually hugged him and asked him to pass it to me. And Dillon did! And it was fantastic.
Dillon reported that Bud is happy and healthy and loving his misson. I see he has a new haircut too! He looks wonderful to us and we are thrilled for the first-hand report. Dillon also said that Bud had a thick wad of flashcards in his front pocket. They were Thai sounds/words/language prompts that he is studying diligently. We are all proud of his effort and his service. Keep him in your prayers as he continues to learn this difficult new language. Tuesday, Elder Todd completes his 4th week. Time is starting to fly. He leaves for Bangkok August 1st.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

MTC Week #3

Sawaddii Khrab Family!

How are you all doing? First off thank you for all of your letters and packages! It's so nice and they really help. I have gotten all of them I think. I'm sorry that I haven't mentioned them before. This week was great! I feel like yesterday I was emailing you so the time really is flying! I can't believe I'm already on week four!

The MTC is so great! This past sunday was Mission Conference so we had the opportunity of hearing from the mission presidency! It was so great! Elder Kevin W. Pearson was referenced a couple of times by various speakers so that was great! Preident Brown talked to us about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This was so great to me because it is one of my favorite things to learn about in the gospel. Then, later on Sunday night, Wayne S. Peterson talked to us all about the history of the Nauvoo Temple. I loved hearing about Nauvoo, and my desire to go back there increased even more! I really want to do that when I get home if thats alright. Then, to cap off the best day, we watched the Joseph Smith movie. I didn't know that they had redone it! That was so great to see! I was able to learn of my favorite things in the gospel on Sunday: The Atonement, The Resurrection, and the Restoration. These are all so crucial to our religion, and they are all so interesting!

This last week I decided to read the New Testament before I leave the MTC. I really wanted to learn more about the Savior's earthly ministry so that I can better teach the Thai people about Jesus Christ. I never before realized how much there is to study in Matthew 26. I encourage you all to take a good amount of time and read over it and ponder what is written. I loved it! The Savior really suffered so much for all of us! He truly does love us, and my testimony of Him is strengthening so much during my time here. I have grown so much closer to the Lord. His hand really is in everything. I know that we all say that, but it's really is true. I have realized that I have always believed IN Christ, but we have been challenged to also BELIEVE Christ. Not just that He is real, but to take His words to heart, and to really find out for ourselves if they are true. I know for myself that the words He spoke are true, and I challenge you all to know for yourselves. Study His words. FEAST upon them.

Dave told me that he loved the time he had at the MTC in Brazil to study the scriptures. Since then, scripture study has changed for me. It's become more meaningful and is my favorite part of the day. It goes by faster than the rest of the day for sure! I look forward to it every morning, and I love Sunday because we get so much more time to study on our own! I really took scripture study for granted in High School, and I wish I hadn't. Brooke and La, don't do that. ALWAYS ready your scriptures for seminary. Don't forget to have family scriptures in the mornings, I miss those.

Elder Doria and I are doing really well as a companionship. We have our differences, but we strengthen each other. We have made great strides forward in teaching investigators. During our TRC on saturday, we taught three sisters. The feedback we got was good! And then last night, when we were doing role plays, something amazing happened. As we taught the investigator, the spirit totally took over. I have never had en experience like that when I knew what to say without effort on my part. My tongue truly was loosed. I don't know if I can ever forget that.

The language is coming. It's hard, but I know that the Lord will qualify those whom HE calls. So as long as I am putting in effort, and trying to learn Thai, He will bless me as He sees fit. I realize that the Lord has lots of blessings ready for us. He is just waiting for us to be ready to be blessed. He won't give them to us unless we ask Him, and show that we are prepared for these blessings. I never realized this until we started teaching it to investigators. I really am learning so much more than I imagined! I'm really glad to be here in the MTC, and am growing to love it. Sure, I miss home and my family and friends, but I know that this is the place I want to be most right now (besides Thailand of course).

Sometimes when I think about going to Thailand, I get a little nervous about it all. It's kind of a scary thing, but yesterday, when I was having some fears, the words of a great man came into my mind. "Faith and fear cannot coexist." I knew that as I prayed to the Lord for strength that He would bless me. He helped me to remember the words of Elder Pearson, and to remember that if I have true faith in Jesus Christ, I will not have fears. I know this to be true. I was challenged by my teacher, Brother Miles, to read Ether 12. I slowly and thoughfuly went over it. I have never spent a full hour on a chapter of scripture until I read Ether 12. If you get the chance, read it, and really study it. It's an amazing chapter. The scriptures are an amazing gift that the Lord has given to us. We need to take greater advantage of the gift. I know that life can be busy, but we need to ALWAYS make time in our day to read the Word of God. They are His words. And the words of His servants are words of Him.

I love you and hope all is well! Thank you for your support!


Elder Todd

Saturday, June 4, 2011

MTC Week #2

Hey Family!
So it's my second Preparation Day. I can't believe it! I feel like I have been gone for so long, but the time has flown since last week! It's been so great! I'm really starting to love it here. The spirit is amazing and everyone is so kind! It was great to get the new missionaries on Wednesday. Ryan Reese and my roommate Mike Groesbeck got here. Its been great seeing more familiar faces. I'm excited to see who will come in tomorrow.

Last Tuesday we heard from Elder Russell M. Nelson. He was amazing! He talked about being the missionary who, when times are hard or its almost time to go home, keep working. Those missionaries go to the next door and knock, because more likely than not they will find a person who is ready to hear our message. He was so great and I loved hearing from an apostle.

Mom, I can't believe that you were down here! I hope that you enjoyed seeing what Life is like here.

On Sunday we had a fireside given by Stephen B. Allen, the managing director in the missionary department. He talked about how we need to realize that we were saved for these last days for a purpose known only ot our Father in Heaven. He also talked about how we need to put down our weapons of rebellion as the people of Ammon did. We need to not fight against God anymore, whether that be through pride, anger, cheating, contention, or disobedience. One of the things he said that really impacted me was when he quoted the last words of Nephi. "I must obey. Amen." he then said, "NOW DO IT!" It was so great! I love being able to hear from men of God. I know that the words which they speak are true.

So, life at the MTC is just fine and dandy! Haha. The food is decent, but I love when we go up to the temple and get to eat there because that food is SO good!! I'm pretty good with the schedule, but I'm always really tired. It seems like a pretty common thing. That's another interesting thing that Elder Nelson talked about. He said that like a car, our spiritual batteries recharge when we are studying, teraching, and doing the things of the Lord, and it is important to remember that. I never thought that I would like sitting in a classroom learning, but when the Spirit is there teaching you, there is no better place to be.

It's so great to learn a lot about the gospel, the Thai language, and the culture. One of my teachers, Brother Miles, told us last night that even though there is only one stake in all of Thailand, the church has recently built two nice, state-of-the-art stake centers that are serving districts. They even have basketball courts which is unheard of in Thailand! I'm so excited to get there!

On Sunday our branch President read us a letter from one of the missionaries in Thailand now. THe missionary said that the people there rock, and that they were planning on having a bunch of baptisms by the end of May! It will be amazing to see the church grow over there.

The language is hard, but it's coming along. We started learning to read Thai script this week. We were all very excited about that! We made these cards with all of the vowels and consonants on them which is really helpful! I kind of thought that when we made them reading would become very easy, that it would be like haveing a urim and thumim, but it's still very difficult. We had to do a TRC on Saturday which is like a simulation of teaching a lesson, and we had to ask someone if we could teach them in Thai, and ask about their family! Luckily we got to teach the restoration in Englinsh though. But I can't wait until I can teach it in Thai! It will be so awesome! The spirit has really helped me with the language and I have been very blessed.

I never realized how much Spanish I knew until I started learning Thai. I was praying the other day in class and afterward, Elder Tolman told me I threw in some spanish words. At first, I wished I were learning something like Spanish because Thai is SO hard, but I'm glad that I get to learn this language, and I know that it will be a blessing to me.

Things with my companion Elder Doria and I are great! I couldn't have been blessed with a better companion. He is a spiritual giant. He always has such good insights. He loves to throw in analogies and stories! He studies talks and now I have started to as well. I read President Faust's talk from 2001, The Atonement: Our Greatest Hope. That was really cool to read. I love to study the atonement, because that is the reason that I wanted to serve my mission. I haven't forgotten that. I thank my Father in Heaven every day for Jesus Christ, and his infinite atonement.

I love it here, and everything is great! My district has some really funny guys in it, but we all are solid in the gospel too! It's the best of both worlds. The world we live in, however is that of the gospel. We are no longer in the world, nor are we of the world. We are out of the world. We are blessed for our sacrifice, and you are blessed for it too.

I sent you a bunch of letters last week but I haven't gotten any responses. Did they get to you? Please write, or even dear elder. I love hearing from home knowing all is well with you. Good luck with everything! Don't worry about me Mom.

I love you all so very much.

Elder Todd