Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Week #10 Thailand Travel Plans!

Hey Everybody!

So can you believe it? I've been out for 10 weeks! Well the biggest piece of news this week is that we got our travel plans! We get to fly Delta, so we get two carry ons and two bags to check. Its nice. A lot of missionaries going to Asia only get 1 carry on that can't exceed 15 lbs.

But the plans! We leave August 1st, and we fly from Salt Lake to LAX, then we fly from LAX to Bangkok! It's going to be such a long flight! We leave LA at 12:40 PM on August 1st and we arrive in Bangkok at11:05 PM on August 2nd! I'm so excited to finally get there! I'm not going to lie-- I'm kind of nervous, but I'm more excited than anything else! My branch president said that we could call home, and I can only call my parents, so I'll call home at around 7:30-9:30 if you will all be there. I hope so!

This week was great! Sunday was fantastic as usual. I loved watching the Tabernacle Choir in Music and the Spoken word singing all about the Pioneers. I absolutely LOVE Come Come Ye Saints. We had a lot of people talk to us about how we are pioneers. I realized I'm kind of a pioneer because no one in our family, as far as I know, has been to mainland Asia (Like real Asia. Jeru is in the Middle East-- Sorry Jennifer and Cate).

The fireside speaker on Sunday was Stephen B. Allen. It was our fourth time hearing from him. He is awesome! He produced the "home front" commercials for the church. He showed us a bunch of them. He showed us one with Ali Schneider. I didn't know that she was in a commercial ever. It was wonderful to see her. He talked to us about not giving up, and always believing in Christ. He told us that we go to serve with honor, so we must return with honor. One thing that I really liked that he said was "Don't ever do anything stupid. It is difficult for the Lord to protect us from ourselves." It's a very true statement. The Lord can protect us, but if we use our agency and choose to do somthing stupid, its hard for Him to protect us, because no matter what. He won't take our agency away from us.

Then, instead of watching Legacy, we went to watch a talk that Elder Holland gave at the MTC in 2006. All I can say is, Wow!
It ws an amazing talk. He told us that we are apostles with a lower case a, because we don't hold the keys of the Quorum of the 12. But for these two years (or 18 months), we have the opportunity to be apostolic. We defend the name of Jesus the Christ in all things, and in all times and in all places. I don't want to miss this chance I have now to be apostolic. From the moment I wake up, from the moment I go to bed I am striving to keep the spirit with me. The leaders of the church need this from us for 24 months, all day, everyday. Elder Holland told us, "Don't you dare go out and waste those 24 months." He also said, "Allow yourself to be put in the company of Peter, James, John, Isaiah, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Alma, Amulek, Paul, Nephi and Lehi!"
(Hel 5). He said not to think about what you're going to do in real life. I quote, "Your mission is the closest to REAL LIFE you can get." And after our missions, he said we shouldn't go back to being who we were. Some things should change, but a lot should stay the same. Our love for the Lord, the people, our companinon. He said we should, "Keep the fire for your mission in your life forever."

He also told us a poem that I really like.

"Come to the edge he said, no we'll fall.
Come to the edge he said, no we'll fall.
Come to the edge he said. So we came to the edge.
He pushed us. and we flew."

Elder Holland said to go where miracles happen. So much depends on so little, we must go where there is high risk. It is part of following Christ. There is so much that he said, but I don't have enough time to share it with you. I will when I get home. But one more thing he said that really sticks out in my mind is this-- When investigators or members ask the question, "Why is this so hard?" we can share the answer that Elder Holland found for himself. The answer is, that the atonement of Jesus the Christ was hard. We can't be a true disciple until we have an experience similar to that of Christs. The road to Salvation goes through Gethsemane. It carries a cross. Salvation is hard because it is not a cheap experience. Why should it be easy for us if it was not easy for Him? It CAN'T be easy.There is nothing easy about this work when push comes to shove. Just sweat and tears. We go through hard things so that we feel a portion of what Christ felt. If a mission is done right, it's hard. It's the same with life. If you live your life right, its hard. Read Helaman 5 and Mosiah 27 to read about men who did hard things, because they lived their lives right. I know that these words are true. And I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that we must learn to know Him in this life. He will always be there to pilot us over life's tempestuous seas. Turn to Him daily.

I love you all more than words can express. Be safe. Be smart. Take care

Elder Todd

Another Elder Todd Sighting!

This past Sunday on July 24th, Bud got to see his cousin, Kyle Darby. What a great surprise! Kyle reports that while in Provo for BYU Tennis Camp, he had the chance to visit the MTC for a Sunday meeting. While at the MTC, Kyle was in the cafeteria and scanned the room for Bud. Before Kyle could spot Bud, Elder Todd saw his cousin and beelined over to him. Must've been that summer white blond hair on Kyle that made him easy to see. Anyway, Kyle said that Bud looks great, is happy, is excited to be a missionary and seems to like it all very much. The two cousins had a short but great chat and loved running into each other! What a great cousin report for Bud's entire family. Thanks Kyle, for the wonderful update. We love both of these boys. Hold on Kyle, you'll be there for real before you know it!

Week #9 Getting ready to go!

Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2011 09:18:31 -0600
Subject: Week 9
From: bryan.todd@myldsmail.net
To: btodd@amsource.com; ruthtodd@hotmail.com

Hello Family!

How is everyone? I'm glad to hear that Nana's funeral went well on Saturday. Mom, that truly is amazing about all of the Wallins just randomly showing up at the viewing! I think that it is probably a nudge from the Lord reminding us to get more family history work done or something like that.

Well, another week gone. Not much has changed though. The fireside on Sunday was really good. One of the District presidents, President Sonne and his wife, Sister Kay Sonne spoke. They did a really good job! President Sonne talked to us about how it is difficult to focus, especially when we try to focus all of our time and energy on one thing. He talked about how a lot of the time as missionaries, we get tired. He told us a story of President Hinckley and how when he was 92, he still would go and go and go, no matter how tired he was. This was really good for me because I've been really tired lately. But now when I feel tired, I think of President Hinckley. I know that if he could do it at 92, I can for sure do it at 19. President Sonne said something else really interesting. He told us that about a stake conference he attended with President Hinckley. As President Hinckley was leaving the stake center to get into a car, he said to M. Russel Ballard, "I hope they'll do what I told them."
Isn't it kind of a sad thought that the prophet would have to speak those words? We should always be willing to follow his advice, and he should never wonder if we will obey. He should know that we will obey, and do so with a happy heart. Something else that President Sonne talked about that I liked was not fearing the people, and being bold. He said that "Boldness shows your faith that obedience brings blessings." Its true. Obedience does bring blessings, but as Russel M. Nelsons wife told us the first Tuesday I was here, "Obedience brings blessings, but EXACT obedience brings MIRACLES!"

We have also had some really good lessons from our teachers this week. Yesterday, Sister Wongwiraphab was teachig us about accountability from Preach My Gospel. It was really good. It's in the back of the famous and helpful chapter 8. There is a parallel to fishing in Preach My Gospel. It talks about two types of fishermen. They will both "go fishing" for 12 hours. But there is a difference. One will get up and drive to the lake, spend all of his time getting ready, eating breakfast and finding that perfect spot. Then he has to eat lunch and all that stuff. He has his line in the water for two hours or so. Then there is the fisherman who gets to the lake and gets his line in the water immediately. He has his line in the water all day. It's obvious who we want to be. As missionaries, we should have our line in the water from the moment we step out of our apartment. We should be constantly looking for opportunities to grow the kingdom. The missionary handbook says under Preparation Day, "Look for opportunities during the day to find people and teach." There is not a single minute that should be taken off these next two years. P-day isn't a personal day to take off from the work.

Last night, Brother Miles talked to us about the restoration. He showed us pictures of city streets in Thailand. We looked at the Cities of Udon and Bangkok. He would pull up a picture and say, "That guy on the motorcycle, you'll talk to him at a stoplight about the gospel. See that shop vendor? He needs to hear the message fo the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." He would point at every person saying "Khon Thai"(Thai person). It hit me last night, that these are real people. Thailand is a real place, the gospel needs to be taught there. We read Joseph Smith History verses 1-54 as a class. It was really powerful to read it thinking of the people we had just seen. Brother Miles talked to us about being bold, and not being afraid. I know that I won't speak Thai when I get there. I won't understand most of what's going on. But Brother Miles said, be bold and talk to someone. Share the message that you have with them. He showed us the Airport in Bangkok and said something like, "Believe it or not, you'll be there in two weeks. You'll get off the plane and you'll hear the loudspeaker and you'll think, is that Chinese? What is that language." He said that it'll be hard, but he challenged us to talk to at least one person in the airport, about the message of the restoration of the Gospel. I know that these people are being prepared by the Holy Ghost, to hear this message. Some will be on different levels than others, but if I talk to them, they will remember me. Even if what they're thinking is, "Wow, I couldn't understand what he said," or, "He spoke really bad Thai," I just hope they will remember the chirch of Jesus Chrsit of Latter-day Saints.

We know that this life is a time for men to prepare to meet God. We know that we all make mistakes. But we try to become more like Christ everyday. One thing that I have discovered to help me "become like my only master" is the Christlike attribute test at the end of Chapter six of Preach My Gospel. I know that we've got a bunch of Preach My Gospel books at our house. Next family home evening, will you all take that assessment, and try to work on the attribute where you are lowest? I invite all to do so.

Well Everything is well with me! I hope that you all are safe and well. Mom, I'll send a cd with my MTC pictures home next week. Travel Plans on Thursday! I'm so excited to meet the Thai people! They are going to be wonderful!

I love you all so much! My prayers are with you!

Love ELder Todd

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nana's Passing

The morning after Nana's passing, we called the MTC to notify Bud about the news. The director, was so kind and said they'd call Bud in later that day and tell him. Brother Christensen told me that if Bud needed to call home, he was allowed. If, however, Bud didn't feel the need to call, they would have him write us. I never put my phone down all day. I knew how close Bud had been to Nans and I thought he might want a quick phone call home. Bryan and I both wrote him emails as well, telling him about the experience of being with Nana the last few hours of her life and reassuring him that all was well.
The phone never rang.
This afternoon, however, we received this email from Elder Todd. How wonderful for his family that HE actually seemed great, and was reassuring US. Sweet is the peace the gospel brings. Here is his tribute to his grandmother and friend, Nana:

Hey Mom and Dad,

So you're probably surprised to be hearing from me today. I got called down to the district presidency office yesterday, and one of the Presidents, President Bertasso, told me about Nana.
I was grateful that I got to hear it before I got the dear elder letters from you two. Part of me knew when I was getting called down that it was because of Nana. It's so interesting because on p-day I felt like I needed
to write her a letter telling her how much I love her. She won't get it, but I know she knows how much I love her. As I concluded my prayer on Tuesday night berfore I went to bed, I had the thought
come into my head that I am so lucky to be serving my mission while Pa is serving his mission on the other side of the veil. Now I know that Nana is there with him, and its such a blessing to
both of them. So, the reason why I have permission to email is because President Bertasso thought that it would be nice if I thought of some things to say and then to email them home so
they could be read at the funeral. It's not important to me if there isn't time, but I want to share my thoughts about Nana with you anyway.

When I think of Nana, I think of one of the sweetest, most loving people I know. I know that she was a righteous lady, and endured to the end with faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ. When I read Doctrine and Covenants 138:39, I think of Nana. "And our glorious Mother Eve, with many of her faithful daughters who had lived through the ages and worshipped the true and living God." I know that Nana is one of these faithful daughters of a loving Father in Heaven. She always did what was right. I remember for many years she would go with Pa every Tuesday night to serve the Lord in His house. I always heard of her legacy of service, she was always willing to help. She was instrumental in my upbringing as I had the opportunity to spend time almost everyday of my youth with her. She was always an example of kindness. Alma 40:11 tells us that after this life we will return home to the God that gave us life. Verse 12 tells us that the righteous are received into a state of happiness, and that they will rest from trouble, care, and sorrow. I know that Nana and Pa are among these righteous. I find comfort in the fact that I am involved in the same work as they are. We are inviting others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through Faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, baptism, repentance, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. I am so grateful for the plan of Slavation. I know that I will see Nana again. I feel blessed to serve as she serves. I believe in Jesus Christ, and I believe Him. I know that through Him, we will all be resurrected. I know that the next time I see Nana, she will have a perfect body, free from pain, and disease. I thank my Father in Heaven for his merciful plan. I know that this gospel is true. Of this I testify in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

It doesn't matter if that is read or not, President Bertasso just wanted me to send something. I hope it helps. I think that it is a tender mercy from the Lord that as I focus this week on the second half of the plan of salvation, I have this experience.
It's harder than when Pa passed because I have to be away from you. But I know that the Lord is there to help me through. That is what the atonement of Jesus Christ is for. To give us the strength we need to bear our burdens. That's something I have learned here. The Lord won't necesserily take our burdens away from us. He will just make us stronger, that we may bear them. It is part of the growing process. I know that this is a blessing for both Nana and Pa. The Lord's hand is in it. His hand is in everything. Sometimes we just have to search for it, but I promise, if we search hard enough we will find it.

I think that I cried yesterday for the first time since at late summer honors. Part of me wishes that I would have gone and seen Nana the day that I left on my mission. But at least I will see her again. Mom and Dad, I love you both so much. You gave me an incredible foundation in the gospel. I try everyday to build upon that foundation. My testimony of this gospel is so much stronger than it was eight weeks ago. I talked to my teacher yesterday after I found out, and I told her what happened. I told her that I was grateful because now when I go to Thailand, I will be able to bear stronger testimony of the Plan of Salvation, the resurrection, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It makes me so happy that I can bring Joy into the lives of my bretheren. She, being a native Thai told me how grateful she was for my testimony, and that she was grateful that the Thai people would be able to hear from me. I feel the opposite way. I feel so lucky that I get to go teach such an amazing people. I finished Galatians this morning. Reading the New Testament has strengthened my testimony. But I realize while its amazing, there is no purer witness of the Plan of Salvation than the Book of Mormon. I love this book, and this gospel I'm thankful for a father in Heaven who loves all of His children. He truly is Merciful. I'm thankful for Jesus Christ. and His atonement and love for me.

If possible, mom, could you record the service on your iphone, then load it onto the computer burn it onto a CD and send it to me? The twinnies know how to do this.

Well, I love you all so much. The church IS true. Did jen find out? Let me know.

I love you all!


Elder Todd

Nana's Obituary

Phyllis Wallin Todd 1920 ~ 2011 Phyllis Wallin Todd passed away peacefully Tuesday July 12, 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was born December 20, 1920 in Ogden, Utah to Charles and Olive Kime Wallin. She was raised by her devoted, widowed mother in Murray Utah, graduating from Murray High. She had many friends and was crowned queen of the county fair. She attended B.Y.U. where our beautiful mother was chosen as a member of the homecoming royalty. As a student, she met her eternal companion, Burton M. Todd. They were married August 29, 1941 in the Salt Lake Temple. They settled in Salt Lake City where Burton practiced Dentistry. They raised a large and loving family. They worked hard to serve their church and community. Phyllis was a devoted mother and loving grandmother. Delicious Sunday dinners, cookies, rolls and cakes were her specialties. She was a beautiful seamstress, sewing dresses and costumes for all of her children and grandchildren. She served faithfully in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was a Relief Society President, Young Womens President, and member of the Young Women General Board. She loved working with Young Women. She also enjoyed serving for 10 years as a hostess at the LDS Church Office Building. Together, she and Burton served as missionaries in the Chinese Branch of the Salt Lake Liberty Stake, and as temple workers in the Salt Lake Temple. She was a devoted civic worker, involved in both the City and State Dental Auxiliary where she served as President. She also enjoyed serving on the Women's Legislative Council and the Salt Lake City Council of Women. She was elected to their Hall of Fame. She was a founding member of the Festival of Trees, a member of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, and Chairman of the Board for The Utah Youth Village. All who knew her loved her. She made friends wherever she went. She was preceded in death by her husband of 67 years, Dr. Burton M. Todd, parents Charles and Olive Kime, and infant brother, Charles E Wallin. She is survived by her children; Charlene Blake (John), Douglas M. Todd (Janet Hopkins), Cynthia Badger (Briant), Janice Haynie, and Bryan B. Todd (Ruth Jones). She is loved by 28 grandchildren, and 63 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by Burton's siblings, Alice Braithwaite, Ira and Pat Todd, Norma Mabey and Byran Todd. Funeral Services will be held Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. at the Parleys 3rd Ward Building, 2615 Stringham Ave. Viewing that day at 11:30. Friends and Family may call Friday, July 15, 2011 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Larkin Sunset Mortuary, 2350 E. 1300 S. We love you Mom!

Week #8

Hey Family!!
How are you all doing? I hope all is well. Mom, I'm glad to hear that girls camp went well. I know that you must have put on an awesome time for the girls in the Parleys Stake! I have loved your theme and have written "B.L.O.O.M." in my planner everyday for the past couple of weeks as a reminder to become like our only master.

Well, I can't believe that I've finished 8 weeks in the MTC! It's crazy! I leave in 20 days for Thailand! I am so excited to get there. I was thinking about it after the TRC on Saturday, and I realized why I'm so excited to get there. Before I got here, I was excited to go because its Thailand--the most exotic country in Asia (that's what all the travel posters say). But the more time I spend here, I notice that what makes me the most excited to get there is when the teachers talk about the people. Last night, Brother Miles was telling us about his first Sunday in country, and how the members just love when the missionaries would talk to them. Especially the older ones. It made me so excited to go meet these amazing people. I pray everyday that I will be able to love them, and I do. I haven't met them but I know that they are amazing people. My heart goes out to them already.

On Sunday during temple walk, we also ran into a former Thai missionary. It was awesome to speak Thai to someone outside of the MTC! He told us a lot of stuff, which sounded like it's outdated. He taught back when they had the memorized discussions. But I really liked hearing about that because I got to see how much the work truly has changed since he got back in 2003.

We get our travel plans 1 week from Thursday Dad!! My last p-day here I'll be able to tell you where we get to stop along the way. I'm excited because I've been able to pick up how to say hello in Korean, Mandrin, and Cantonese here at the MTC. So if we stop in Seoul, Hong Kong, or Taipei I can talk to people a little bit!

Thai is coming along. We all realized as a district that we need to work on our tones more, so that's one thing we're doing. But we are also speaking Thai most of the time inside class, and a large amount of time outside of class. Its wonderful! I love the language because its kind of a mix between the softer European languages, and the harsh Asian languages. It really is so cool!

This week we had a devotional from Cree-L Kofford, emeritus 70. It was good. He talked to us about how we need to learn two simple things. 1. Obedience, and 2. Discerning the Spirit. One thing that he said that I really liked was about discerning the spirit. He said that it's harder for us today to hear it because there are so many things of the world constantly calling for our attention. He said that we need to learn silence. That is when we will learn the most from the spirit. He said. "The essence of success is not in knowing the doctrine. it is in recognizing the Spirit." I know that this is true, because the spirit knows what investigators need. We must not think that we don't have to do anything. We must treasure up the words of life continually. We need to fill our wells, so that when the time comes, the Spirit can draw from the wells that we have prepared.

On Sunday night, we had a fireside by Brother Richard Heaton. He said that in the church, we need to get away from the notion that repentance is a bad thing. Its positive. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and it didn't use the word "repent" but the word schub; meaning to turn (toward God, and away from sin). Look at Ezekiel 14:6, Daniel 12:3, Hosea 12:6, Helaman 13:11. In the Greek New Tstamtent, the word Menlanoia (might be spelled wrong) was used. This word means a change of mind. a fresh view about God and the world (See Bible Dictionary: Repentance) Then came the Latin Bible. This version used the word paenitiene; to feel regret or contrition. This is where the notion arose that we had to suffer. Then William Tyndale invented the word repentance. The Clergy wanted the word to be due pennance, so that the people would have to pay them something, but Tyndale didn't think that was accurate. He was later burned at the stake for being a heretic. Repentance shouldn't be negative. It should be a positive thing that we look forward to. We should want to be in the Hall of Fame of repenters. I finished Acts and Romans last week and am almost done with 1st Corinthians. As I heard Brother Heaton's explanation of repentance, I thought, this is what happened with the Apostle Paul. He is one of my heroes. I think of Paul and Alma the younger. They are in the Hall of Fame of repenters. I have so much admirition for them, because they changed. We all can come unto Christ, and be redeemed through Him, not matter what we have done.

One thing about church members is that I think that we could all be better at is fellowshipping. I realize now that if the missionaries ever would have brought an investigator to P3, I wouldn't have even known about it. Members play such a crucial role in missionary work. I want each one of you to promise me that you'll be a better fellowshipper. Reach out to people who are searching. This is the will of the Lord. I think of what Paul said in 1st Cor. 9:16, "yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" Look for opportunities to serve in every capacity.

Well, I hope all is well! I love hearing from all of you! Jen and John, good luck in NC! You'll love it!
I love you all so very much!

Elder Todd

ps tell nans hi

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Elder Todd Sighting!

This photo was sent to us on 4th of July! It was the best part of the day--even better than the fireworks. Lauren Jesperson, one of Jennifer's dear friends ran into Bud and his companion. Lauren is a teacher at the MTC and happened to be there that day. When she saw Bud, she snapped this photo on her phone, knowing how much we'd enjoy seeing our Elder. Thanks Lauren! We loved it.
Love that Bud already has a Thailand shirt...and love that he's wearing Red, White and Blue on Independence Day. Well played Buddy Bud!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Week #7

Holy Cow!

Week 7 is gone! I can't believe it! Well, things here are great! Last week we heard from William R. Walker of the 70 in a devotional. He was SO good! He gave us the 10 Keys to being a successful missionary:

1. Focus on the Lord!
2. Love the Scriptures
3.Fortget about yourself
4.Love the People (Khonthay, for me)
5. Follow the Mission President
6. Learn the Language of the spirit
7.Work Hard
8.Be Obedient
9.Be a Preach My Gospel Missionary
10. Prepare yourself to go home and be a faithful member of the Church for the rest of your life! Each time you commit an investigator, commit yourself!

His devotional was really good, and really helpful! Its so amazing to hear all of these General Authorities, and listen to what they have to say. We watched a devotional in class from when Elder Bednar spoke here. He told the story about when he gave 20 German Marks to Elder Boyd K. Packer, when President Packer and his wife were touring his mission in Western Germany. Elder Bednar told how the 20 Marks he gave helped the Packers get through the East German border. Elder Bednar said it was the spirit that told him to give money to Elder Packer. When we watched this talk, i thought of all the amazing talks that have been given here at the MTC. I wish that I could sit down and watch them all.

This week, the fundemental we focused on was the role of the Holy Ghost in Conversion. He truly is everything. He is the teacher, and we, as missionaries, are the facilitators. We do what we can in personal study and in companionship study so that we have water in our personal wells that the Spirit can draw from when He teaches through us. We do all that we can so that the spirit will be able to teach through us. I realize that I am not only giving all of my time to the Lord, but I am giving myself to the Lord. I am giving myself up for Him to use me, that I may be an instrument in His hands. I know that as I become one, I will be able to grow, and He will make me what He needs me to be.

Well, on Wednesday we got our nong thays! Twelve of them! it's so fun! Its weird to look at them and think, "who would my companion have been if I would have come in on June 29?" I'm so glad that I came in May. I think that is how it was suppose to happen. There are twelve of them. 6 Elders, 6 Sisters. The Elders are good. Quiet though. The sisters are awesome. THey bring a lot of focus to our zone, which is good, especially since we spend a lot of time together as the only Thai districts in the MTC. One sister is From North Carolina! I told her my sister was moving there and she said its the best! She says that Cary is awesome. She said you need to go to the biscuit factory in Highpoint or something like that. Jennifer and John, I'm so excited for you to go out there and to start life! I know you will love it! So much!

On Saturday night we got to stay up later than normal. We didn't have to go to bed until 11:30 p.m. because President Brown conducted a special fireside for the Fourth of July. The speaker was a man who is a branch president here in the MTC. He was an advisor to 4 U.S. Presidents and he spoke to us about the gospel and America. It was amazing to sing the songs of our country. Then, President Brown let us watch the fireworks of Stadium of fire. It brought back such great memories, even though i was trapped inside the MTC. I missed the fireworks on the fourth of July, last night, but it was no big deal. I'm so glad to be here! Then on Sunday, we had our fireside from Jenny Oaks Baker. She played Violin and spoke to us a little bit. She can play the violin SO well! It was amazing! I wish I would have stuck with Piano.

Today we had the opportunity to clean the Provo temple. We didn't actually do too much cleaning though. We took down the wallpaper in the initiatory rooms, and ripped up the carpet in both locker rooms because I guess its time to recarpet and repaper the walls. It was really great though and I loved working in the temple. Life is just great! I'm so excited that it's summer, and I love life!

John's birthday is soon!

We get our travel plans in 15 days! Its crazy! I leave for Thailand in 26! I'm so excited to go teach the Thai people. THey sound like the greatest people EVER! well, I'm sorry that this is short, I'm a slow typer. I love you all so much, and I thank you for all your prayers and support. I'd love to hear from you all! Mom good luck with camp! Dad, youre my best pal. I love you so much. Thanks for everything. Tell Nans I love her.


Elder Todd

P.S. Mom will you send me a family pic?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Wow! What a week... #6

Week #6 turned out to be very eventful for Elder Todd. The Pearsons and the Zwicks both kindly offered to take care packages to Bud because they were all going down for Mission President's Training Week. As you can tell by Bud's letter, he loved seeing people he loves and he felt very loved by them. If you can believe it, some of the chocolate in Bud's bag, melted in the car. So the Zwicks stopped at the store to replace it and get him some fresh unmelted candy. Now, that's going many extra miles!

Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2011 12:05:10 -0600
Subject: Week 6
From: bryan.todd@myldsmail.net
To: ruthtodd@hotmail.com; btodd@amsource.com

Well, it makes me a little sad thinking that six weeks have already passed by. I miss you all a lot, but everything here is just so great!
As you all know, last week was new mission president's seminar. First of all, I would like to thank you for sending down the packages with the Pearsons and Zwicks. It was so nice to get that stuff and to see people from home.

On Friday night we had a special devotional by Elder Bednar. I saw Elder Pearson on the stand, and I sat about ten rows to his right. I was about 20 feet away from the Zwicks, but unfortunately I was unable to say hello to either of them after that meeting. However, on Saturday morning, we were doing our service cleaning bathrooms, and I was told to call the front desk. They told me to be there at 9:20. So at 9:15, Elder Doria and I headed down. The wonderful BYU police wouldn't let us through even though the front desk told them to. Apparently, President Packer had to leave first or something. Anyway, we got through, and stood near the desk to wait.

We were told by a different BYU cop, "You might see general authorities. DO NOT APPROACH THEM!!" Well, we saw Elder Bednar, Elder Perry, Elder Scott, Elder Holland, Elder Oaks, and Elder Nelson. It was so cool! Then I saw Elder and Sister Pearson! We talked with them for a bit, then Elder Zwick came out and we had a nice long chat. It was so great! He introduced us to Elder Kearon, who gave the talk about the scorpion in general priesthood meeting, and Elder Snow of the presidency of the 70. We also met Sister Oaks and she said to Tell Granann and Grandpabud hello from her. She was so nice and even knew how to greet us in Thai!! It was the greatest week!

So, Elder Bednar's devotional was AMAZING! He talked to us about becoming "Preach My Gospel Missionaries." Those are missionaries who "Proclaim the Savior's gospel in His way." There are five requirements:

1. Understand the meaning of: "I serve and represent Jesus Christ."
3. Treasure up the Words of Eternal life
4. Understand that the Holy Ghost is the ultimate teacher.
5. Realize that teaching is more important than telling.

He was so amazing, and I could feel the spirit that he had with him. His testimony was SO powerful. He bore his apostolic witness of the Savior, and I have never had words speak to me as they did when he spoke. he said, "You can do this! The Savior knows you can do this. As His servant I promise you will have His help. Please remember always, with His help and in His strength we can do this."

I know that this is true. I don't know how many times here at the MTC I have thought I couldn't do something. But every time, the Savior is there to help me through. I know that there are times where I have been helped along by the many prayers for me. Thank you so much for those.

Also this week, we heard from Elder Sybrowski. He said somthing that really stood out to me. At the end of the devotional when he spoke he said, "Don't hold back. Don't you dare hold back. Please, don't hold back."
These words had an impact on me. John's advice to not look back has always been in my mind. But I put the two together-- not looking back and not holding back. I know that this gospel is true. Why should I withhold that knowledge from the people of Thailand, let alone the world. It makes me want to work harder at getting the language down so that I will be able to share with those people what makes me the happiest in life.

Everything we want in life comes down to joy, and everything that brings me joy comes from the restoration of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, through His prophet Joseph Smith. Yesterday was the 167th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Prophet and his brother Hyrum. I thought about it all day. I thought of Elder Holland's words when he said something to the effect of, "Forget that their wives are about to be widows, their children fatherless, forget that their people are about to leave footprints of blood across frozen praries. If the book of Mormon wasn't true, would Joseph Smith live for it until the last second of his life?" (I totally slaughtered Elder Hollands words, but the message is still a powerful one). I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I always felt like I had a really strong testimony of that, and the gospel as a whole, but it has grown SO much since being here. I really can't believe it. The Lord loves us. That's why He has given us this message of happiness.

Well, all is well here. Our district is awesome! We all want to obey, and all work hard to do so. We have our struggles, but we work through them and grow closer. I'm really excited to get our younger district tomorrow!

I hope all is well at home! Thanks for the care packages and the letters everyone! I love you all so much. It's always fun to get letters from family and friends! Keep up the good work! Tell the G's I said Hi, and send Nans my best! Keep reading your scriptures ere day. I'm finishing the Testimony of John tomorrow. Then its on to a book that tells the ACTS of the apostles, then come a lot of letters written by Apostle Paul! Well I love you all!


Elder Todd