Thursday, January 22, 2015

Picture From January 30, 2013!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Going Home!!

January 19, 2015 

Dear Family: 

This is the start of my last week in the mission. We had a great week last week. I only have about 20 minutes to E-mail though. I don't think I will have time to E-mail next week, sorry!! Highlights of the week are: on Tuesday we got to go to the temple. That was good for me. It helped me get through my thoughts and settle my mind on some things. It was a really cool day for Tyler as well. That night he got to go do temple baptisms with the YSA ward. When he told us about his experience at the temple he was very excited. He got to go two days after being confirmed! There weren't a lot of men there so he got to do 25 names. We had two exchanges this week. One with the AP's and one with the Spanish Elders. Both were good. All except when we exchanged back I got myself into a little bit of trouble. Elder Guigure is one of those annoying in your face all the time people and he likes to pick fights. He was being really really annoying so Elder Larson and I got into a wrestle with him. Long story short there is a big hole in their wall now. It is approximately the size of Elder Larson's butt. All three of us have to split the cost. I am kinda mad about that because Elder Guigure started it, and he is the one who pushed Elder Larson into the wall, but we still have to help pay for it. On the plus side I did win! And then next time he tried it I won again!! Another great thing is the area is set up really well. I didn't want to leave the area dead. We just baptized Tyler. We want to start teaching his family. We have the Bakers who we picked up who are almost ready to be baptized. They will be baptized in a week or two in February. Also Aolani has started to come to church so we can baptize her in two more weeks. We have Vanessa and Sarah who both should be baptized soon we just have to overcome parent concerns. We also just found one more girl for the YSA who is really solid as well. I feel good about how much the area has changed from when I got here until now. I think right now the area has more potential than any area I have had before. This is also the best stake and ward! I am sad to leave because we have so much going for us right now. I guess once you finally figure out how to be a missionary is when they send you home. I remember a year ago I thought I had it figured out haha. I wasn't even close. And I still feel as though I have a lot left to learn about being a missionary. I don't know everything, but what I do know is that God loves us. He lives and knows me by name. Jesus Christ is truly our Savior. The Atonement isn't just an idea. The Atonement was an event and I know that it happened. I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus Christ suffered for our sins, died, and has risen. He did all of that thinking of all of us, his brothers and sisters. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's Kingdom here on the earth. It was restored by a Prophet named Joseph Smith. I know that the family is the basic unit of the gospel. If not for my family I would not be the person I am today. The people I have taught would not have had the blessings of the gospel in their lives. I also have a testimony of good friends. I am thankful for all of you in my life and the effect you have had on me. I would have never had this amazing mission experience if it was not for your examples. This is a bitter sweet moment for me. I don't really know how to feel. Excited to go home and see everyone. I look forward to applying the things I have learned in the last two years in my life. I want to see what it is like to continue to share the gospel and see really what it is to be a member missionary!! However I love where I am, the people I am working with, and what I am doing. I guess it is the Lord's will! Talk to you all soon!! 


Elder Wood


Monday, January 12, 2015

One More New (Old) Companion

January 12, 2014 

Dear Family: 

Monday was awesome!! In the morning we went to the Wheat's and cooked breakfast with Steve. Then we went bowling with Mike. I am having him bring some stuff up to Brett. Well actually I still need to have Mike text Brett and see if that is ok, but I am hoping it is haha. It will save me some money! We went to FHE that night.  

Tuesday we taught Vanessa.  

Wednesday we had exchanges. I was in the area with Elder Guigure. He is from Oklahoma and is pretty fun. We had a good time and some good lessons. We taught Tyler about temples. I don't think I told you about the other lesson we had before that with Tyler but he is also excited to share the gospel. He is also really excited about the temple. He is going to go tomorrow (Tuesday) to do baptisms with the YSA ward. We also saw Litza and some other key investigators. 

Thursday we saw Aolani. Sadly I think we might have to drop them. The mom is holding them back from coming to church. She won't let us get them a ride. We will give them just a little more time.  

Friday I had exchanges as well. We pretty much have exchanges twice a week for the rest of the transfer. I went into the other area with Elder Reyes. We made sushi for lunch! It was super good. We even made a volcano role cuz we had so much. It was a half day exchange though because we had a baptism! We exchanged back so we could fill the font and prep and stuff. Tyler showed up an hour early so we just hung out with him for a bit and talked about stuff. He asked me to baptize him. I wanted a fellowship to do it, I pushed it that way but that's not what he wanted. I was more than happy to do it though! Tyler is the best! The service was the greatest. I accidentally baptized him  backwards (wrong arm) so I had to do it again haha. I got all the way out of the fount and had to get back in.  

Saturday was normal. We had service and some good lessons. 

Sunday was crazy!! Tyler also asked me to confirm him. Then I actually gave a talk in church about the Holy Ghost. after church we gave Tyler the Priesthood. In the Auburndale Ward we picked up 2 new people. Before we could even say much they asked us what they had to do to be baptized. I think I finally figured out how to keep things going on like that. I did it in my first area and then couldn't do it after that until now. We had a meeting with the Stake President,  dinner, and then some lessons. Well I am out of time! Sorry it is so short and little detail! You can ask more in a few weeks I guess!!

Love ya bye! 

Elder Wood

P.S. Also the best part of the week I have a new companion! His name is Elder Larson and we have been comp before haha. His comp just went home today so he is in a trio with us until I go home! I am super excited for that! 


Monday, January 5, 2015

Exit Interview

January 5, 2015 

Dear Family: 

Monday we had a good P-day.  Just normal stuff. I ran into Elder Larson and his new companion Elder Petersen (yes he has the same name as my comp) in Lake Elsinore. Other than that, it was normal. We went to visit a less active in the YSA ward.  

Tuesday we had exchanges. It…was... weird... Elder Gogan is a funny guy haha. We had some good lessons. Aolani was one of them.  

Wednesday was pretty slow. We met with Bro. Preciado to work out a bunch of ward mission stuff that is going on. We are shooting to get 100 non-members to church the 18th. At night all the missionaries went to the church at night to hang out. We didn't have dinner that night set up so we went with the Temescal Valley Elders to eat at the Hoyt's. It was fun to see them.  
New Year's Eve Dinner at the Hoyt's
Thursday morning the whole mission had a deep clean. It was nice to just spend some time and make our place nice. I feel a ton better every time I walk in there. We didn't know Tyler was going to be home, but he called us mid-day and asked us to come over. We watched part of “The Restoration” with him. Had a good lesson about studying the scriptures and how to use them. He is doing really well.  

Friday we had MLC in Riverside. It was a really good meeting. It was nice to see a bunch of the missionaries I haven't seen in a while.  

Saturday we had ZDM. It went a lot better than I thought it was going to. It was a lot better now they have combined the Corona Zone, so it is a lot bigger. Those meetings are always better with a lot of missionaries there. I had my outgoing interview with President after. It went really well. Mine was twice as long as everybody else's ha. I think I just went in with a lot more questions and more prepared. It was a lot more helpful then I thought it was going to be. Then we went to a wedding reception for about a half hour for somebody Elder Petersen taught. We did service for a lady. We tried to get to teach Tyler that day but he couldn't. He had fire academy stuff he had to take care of.  

Sunday they switch YSA Ward to 9 am and Auburndale Ward to 1. It doesn't affect me I have to go to both. A lot of people were mad haha. They haven't switched times in years. Tyler has been to church enough to be baptized. Bishop announced his baptism at church. It is Friday at 7! In church I handed Tyler my planner with the baptism interview questions. He looked at it for about 60 seconds tossed it back and said "Come on! That’s easy stuff!" "I'm gonna make you guys look good" I thought that was pretty funny. He is really excited. He fasted. We didn't even tell him how or what it was yet. So that night we explained that more. We mostly taught about missionary work. He is going to invite some people to his baptism. I would really like to teach his family but they don't seem to be open to it. We will find out I guess. Well that is about it! Love ya!

Elder Wood

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas 2014 in the Mission Field

December 29, 2014 

Dear Family:

Well this was a long but a good week. I don't have much to report on. Tyler was out of town so it was pretty boring haha. Plus I am short on time.  

Monday was normal. At night we went with the Ward Mission Leader and a few of the Ward Missionaries caroling. Our focus was part member families and less actives. It was fun!  

Tuesday we had our Mission Christmas party in the morning. This year president didn't let us do it as a whole mission so we were only a third of the mission. Really it was pretty lame compared to last year. We didn't have a fun talent show either. Just a serious one of a sort. It was just musical numbers in the chapel. We did have a short meeting and read out of Luke 2 and other scriptures. That part was good. It was really short too. We tried to visit people and maybe get in a lesson, but no luck. At night we had our last lesson with Tyler before he took off for Texas. It was good. I already told you about it on Skype. It was cool how the spirit had him study out tithing the day before we taught him about it. We sent him with church videos and other stuff to study while he was there.  

Wednesday in the afternoon we ran to Riverside to go get some more packages that came in the mail for the missionaries in our zone. Traffic was crazy this week! We took a wrong turn into a parking lot of a big shopping center when we got off the freeway. I think it took us 30 minutes to get out. In that 30 minutes we had a few cars almost hit us! After that we went to the Wheat's for dinner. We had to leave for the church at 6 because all of the missionaries were supposed to gather there. Sister Wheat didn't like that because they have always had the Elders there for Christmas Eve for the last 7 years! So instead she had me call President and get permission for them all to come to her house. It was super fun because there were already people there! President said yes so we added 22 missionaries to it!  

Thursday was Christmas of course! We got up early to open presents! I don't think it was even 6 yet. After that we all fell asleep again cuz we stayed up a little the night before. It was a good Christmas. Before noon we went and played basketball with the Wheats and a few other missionaries. We were planning on Skyping somewhere else but we ended up there because I wanted to borrow their iPad. Plus Steve got a new guitar I needed to try out haha. Skyping was fun! I didn't really know what to say most of the time. I swore I wasn't going to turn into that awkward missionary but I think I have haha. Skyping I think has made it easier for me to work harder. It made going home to me very real. It isn't just a fantasy anymore and I don't really know how to react to that. Once again that night we had to be at the church at 6. We actually went there this time though instead of the Wheat's. Not near as fun! 

Friday was really long. We tried visiting everyone! But nobody was home.  

Saturday was the same! It was a long week. Tyler is in Texas, so we won't see him until next Sunday probably. That was pretty much the week! I know it is short. Sorry! We are trying to find some more people. For some reason we are hitting a wall. But don't worry I am still going strong! 

Love Elder Wood


Monday, December 22, 2014

Working with Elder Peterson

December 22, 2014 

Dear Family: 

Hey it is Christmas!! Since I will be talking to you soon I will probably keep this one short. We had an awesome week! Even though I was sick. Elder Peterson kept me going. I had to lean on him a little this week. He is a good pusher. I can't even get my shoes on before he is out the door and half the way to the car! We have a long drive way. He always has the best attitude too. Everyday he says (with almost annoying enthusiasm at least when I am sick) Hurry up! Let's go preach the gospel Elder!! Aren't you excited?!? It reminds me of Dad early in the morning with that green toy tractor that says "Let's Get To Work!" So I am grateful he was able to help me last week. I am better now so we should be good. I was still out working but this week I will have a better attitude because I am not sick!  
Elder Wood and Elder Peterson

Monday we finally got to go to that Fender Guitar Shop/Museum. It was super cool I got to play some guitars that were in the mid $3-4,000. They only had electrics though! This week we found another shop and I got to play two nice Epiphones. Tyler came to FHE and had a good time. By the end of this week he had gotten a lot more comfortable with us. We sat down for a second away from the activity and talked about the Book of Mormon. I need to come up with a saying for how he keeps me on my toes. He says things sometimes that just blow me away because I have never had somebody say or do something when they are investigating the church. Maybe I should just stick with about falling out of my chair because that is how this all started. He just has the most pure desire that I have ever seen. One example from Monday was from Thursday when we gave him a Book of Mormon to that time he had read most of 1st Nephi in 3 or 4  days. 

Tuesday not a whole lot of exciting things happened. I honestly don't even really remember it. We got in for a few minutes with Aolani.  

Wednesday we had another lesson with Tyler. All our YSA team-ups fell through about 3 o'clock so we asked the Wheat's if we could teach him at their house. That was a really good experience for Tyler. We ended up having a ton of YSA fellowship there we weren't even planning on! Kelsey and Bri who are both recent converts and are both awesome basically live at the Wheat's so they jumped in on the lesson. They helped out Tyler a lot with their testimonies. We also had Mike there who is a returning member and on fire. Plus Sister Wheat who is a power house missionary. It was basically the best lesson. The way the lesson ran we ended up spending a lot of time explaining the Holy Ghost and how it works. I don't think I could have picked a better group to teach it to him. They are all great and I don't even have to prod them, they all just throw in what they have to say. After Sister Wheat wanted to feed us all ice cream. I was sitting by Tyler and decided to help him put the Gospel Library on his phone so he could do more studying there with all that is available. He already had downloaded a copy of the Book of Mormon. That surprised me but not that much because it was Tyler and he is a go getter. It was when I was telling him about how he can check out General Conference Talks and I told him what conference was and he said. "Oh ya! Like those talks by Thomas S. Monson! I was listening to those. I think Jeffery R. Holland is my favorite." I think he thought I was crazy because I just sat there and stared at him. In my head I was saying OK I give up where is the camera you have to be punking me you are a member and the church is like making a video or something. I didn't know what to say. I don't even know what I did say. He then started teaching us and told us all we need to watch the Mormon Channel cuz there is some good stuff on there. He told us about one with Holland called "Wrong Roads" he then told us the whole story almost word for word. Then he taught us the take away message or the principle. It was awesome.  

Thursday we went and helped Sister Cameron's neighbor with some service he wanted to do for somebody else who is actually a member as well. We asked if we could help him. He really likes the missionaries but isn't interested. He knows tons of members. He will get baptized sometime, he just doesn't have the desire right now. We had some good lessons.  

Friday we taught Tyler. This was the Word of Wisdom, and Law of Chastity. Once again he is already living them so no problems there. That enabled us to spend more time on just testifying and promising blessings because we didn't have to resolve concerns.  

Saturday was long! We got to teach Aolani, but pretty much everybody else was not home. We went to President Zimmerman's house for a Christmas devotional kind of thing with all the missionaries. It is an annual thing the Zimmermans do. I was there for it last year as well.  

Church was awesome. Both of them. We had a meeting at 7 with the stake presidency and linger longer until 6 so I was at church for 11 hours. the only break we got in the middle was travel from the stake meeting to the other building. Tyler really liked church. In Priesthood we were looking at the teachings of the prophet book and I saw a picture of Moroni coming to Joseph Smith in his room so I started to tell him the story. After I got through the first part he told me the rest of the story about how Moroni kept coming back and sharing the same thing and then Joseph working with his dad and then falling over the fence. Also how he returned to the Hll Cumorah each year for 4 years. I think the reason it surprises me so much is because the only thing investigators normally know is what I teach them. I haven't taught him most of the things he knows. He just searches it out. I am learning a lot from Tyler. He texted us Sunday night at said "Well boys I am to Second Nephi!" Pray for him. I don't think I have prayed more for an investigator. I just don't want anything to change. Just to keep how they are going. Well got to go! 

Love ya!

Elder Wood


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Last Transfer!

December 15, 2014 

Dear Family: 

I am short on time! Today has been crazy with transfers. I have to make sure everybody gets where they need to be! It hasn't felt like I have had a P-day. It was even more challenging because they are still painting our car so we had to steal other people’s cars to go fix problems!  
Monday we went to Riverside to take our car in to get painted. We didn't go to the YSA wards family home evening because of our car. I don't think our investigator went either. We didn't see Vanessa until church because she cancelled her lesson, but it still sounds like her parents might let her get baptized.  
Not Cops!  See the Prison in the Background
Elder Larsen and Elder Wood

Due to time I am going to skip from Tuesday to Thursday. Not a whole lot happened in the middle. Just a lot of biking and team-ups driving us around. Thursday we had the craziest thing happen! We got a text on our phone from the church about a Tyler Martin. We get referrals from the MTC all the time. Normally a member is too scared to invited their friends to take the lessons so they just send us the address and they either won’t open the door or it doesn't go anywhere because we just show up. It is pretty much tracting. The only exception to that is Alex. His friend invited him first and we had an amazing lesson with him. This referral didn't say who it was from. I didn't think much of it though. The day before we set it up so we had a good day. We brought Cameron Keller with us who is a recently returned missionary so we wanted to have some good lessons set up. That morning everything called in and fell through. I spent all day trying to set stuff up for the night and everybody kept saying no. All we had left was to just drop in on people. It wasn't until we talked to Tyler that I realized why the Lord kept any plan from going through. When I called Tyler he was willing to meet with us that night. He told me he called the number on the churches website because he wanted to learn more and get it from the source. I almost fell out of my chair. I didn't know people would actually do that! Before we got there, and the more I thought about it, I thought it was going to be a set up. Either a bash, or somebody either my companion or I knew from home trying to be sneaky and meet up with us and found out our area or something. Both happen way more often than this being legit. 
Elder Caples After Spearing Something with a Fork
Tyler is 20 years old. He grew up in Texas. He’s from a split family living here with his dad. He wants to be a fireman. I found out after the lesson and at other times we are into very similar things like snowboarding, motorcycles, and cars.  The lesson was the best! I don't even know how to explain what happened in that lesson. It was to the point where he was asking "When I get baptized will I be expected to go on a mission like you guys? Can I be married in the temple? Can my family who are not members come inside?" He knows a little bit about the church already. He knew one or two members in Texas. He is so solid though! At church he asked me if I or Elder Robbins would be willing to baptize him! He says things all the time now along the lines of "when I get baptized...." We set up a lesson for Saturday. I like meeting then because it is more likely they will come to church. That and I had exchanges on Friday and I didn't want to miss the next lesson. When I was on exchanges he called Elder Robbins and moved it up because he had more questions he wants answered! I was really impressed with that. Sunday he really liked the YSA ward. He is a cool kid and social, so it was easy to connect him with people. He is coming with us to the YSA activity today. He really wants to be involved with what is going on. Really it is the perfect situation. It doesn't even seem real sometimes because he has no hold backs and wants it so much. He is already living the word of wisdom. He decided a while ago he didn't want to drink anymore because he didn't like where it was putting him in life. He doesn't even like coffee or tea! I think the best part is when he sent us a text because Elder Robbins is leaving. I need to write down what he said. Maybe I will put it in my next letter.  
Nice Tie and Suspenders!

This is the first day of my last transfer! My new comp is Elder Peterson from Snowflake Arizona. I served with him in Lake Elsinore. He is one of my favorites! I was so happy when I found out. I am staying here in this area. That is what I wanted. This is going to be a great transfer! Sorry I am out of time!!  
Elders Robins, Powell, Wood and Larsen

Love ya tons!

Elder Wood