Monday, August 26, 2013

Tracting in the Canyon Crest Ward

August 26, 2013

Dear Family:

Things are still going good here in the Canyon Crest Ward!

Last P-day we were on the way to the mall to pick up Elder Spencer's pants he ordered in and Elder Cook got sick. So Elder Spencer and I ran in really fast and tried to get them. They weren't there though. Besides that we didn't do much for P-day except play ultimate Frisbee at the park with the zone.

Tuesday wasn't too exciting either.

Wednesday we had exchanges with Elder Henry and Elder Allen. They are in our district. Elder  Henry came into our area with me. He is an American Sign Language Elder. He is from Centerville Utah. He is hard of hearing but didn't know ASL before the mission. He isn't serving as an ASL Elder right now because we can only have two in the mission right now to keep them busy and I think we have 4. Language study was cool. We played an ASL game where we made something with signs and then passed it on to the other person for them to make into something else. We visited a lot of people. I feel bad for the guys that go on exchanges with us. They all hate our area. Elder Henry is a bike missionary but he still had to walk most of the day. We tried to visit a lot of different people, but not really much success. That night we had dinner with President Plocher. He is in the mission presidency and in our ward. They are a really cool couple and their last son is on a mission right now. They have one of the nicest houses I have been in. Like one that blows the doctors in Roosevelt out of the water. He was really big in real estate a while back and made a lot of money. Enough money to buy an Audi R8 ha. I think those are just over 300,000 dollars. We had pretty much visited everybody I wanted to so we did some tracting to kill time and then we went back home to make the exchange back.

Thursday we tried chasing down more names the ward gave us. We ate dinner at a part member families house. Misti Poter is the member and her husband isn't. He is a really cool guy. He is a federal air marshal, so I got to learn all about that. He started out in the boarder patrol so I told him about my family members who have also been in the border patrol. He misses being outside and having a less boring job, but this one pays more. Plus he gets to go to lots of cool places. I would love to try and teach him but he is in the other Elders' area, so hopefully they will try.

Friday we had exchanges again with the zone leaders. They are in our district so we had to go twice with them. This time Elder Lapara came into our ward with me. I wanted to go to their area, but that is what the zone leaders wanted to do. Again we tried to visit a lot of different people. Elder Lapara hated biking. He has only done it a few times. He almost threw up haha. He is a little bit out of shape. I did a front flip on my bike. I haven't really wrecked before. On Lockmore street the curbs are really high. I was going like 5 miles an hour riding with no hands. I wasn't really paying attention just talking to Elder Lapara when my bike turned towards the road. That isn't a bike deal I normally just grab the bars and ride it out. This time when I grabbed the bars my hands just kept going down because how high the curb was. I crashed super slow. My head just kinda kissed the ground as I rolled to my back and held my bike upside down. It really was kinda graceful now I think about it. It was like a really slow summer-salt with my bike off of the curb. I just didn't make it all the way back to the starting position. I couldn't do it again if I tried. It didn't hurt at all. In fact the most pain I felt was from how hard we were laughing. That night we taught some recent converts who are trying to get to the temple. 

Saturday before lunch we had a really cool experience. All that morning sucked pretty bad. I was in a bad mood and didn't really know what to do with the day. We didn't really have anybody to go visit. Elder Hawkins was being super slow and dragging things out as long as he could. He walked to get his shoes, then back for his socks, took 5 minutes to put them on, forgot his tie, just everything he could think of to not leave the apartment. When I finally got him out we visited a few people I have been trying to get a hold of with no success. It was like 11:40 and I was super hungry. I didn't really know what to do to keep busy, and Elder Hawkins just wanted to go back to the apartment for lunch. I said a prayer in my heart for strength and help with what to do next and decided we would tract for a little while and hold out until noon. We went to where Elder Lapara and I left off the day before. We walked up to a door and stood there for a second, and decided not to knock because we knew nobody lived there. It was obviously under construction so we walked to the next house. The first door we knocked on a lady answered the door. While we were introducing ourselves she just burst into tears. We didn't really know why but she invited us to come in and leave her with a blessing on her and her home. We came to find out that about a minute before we knocked on the door she just finished a prayer asking God to send her someone to help her. She told us about how many missionaries she has shut the door on, and I believed her. Even though she knew God sent us, I could still tell she was being hesitant. She told us about some problems she had been having and we left her a blessing accordingly. We are headed back Tuesday to meet with her again. We couldn't meet before then because right after we left her sister came and took her to her house, so we had a small time frame to catch this lady. By the way her name is Sandy. She is a 7th day Adventist. So we left her house pretty excited. Something like that doesn't happen everyday. That night we got a call from Maryann who had cancelled her lesson for Sunday because of a busy schedule. She asked us to come over and eat with her and then teach her. We had already eaten, but we ate again. We had a really good lesson and she is seeing the blessings from learning about the restored gospel. The only bad part is she is gone for 2 weeks at a time, so it is hard to always meet with her. She pretty much gets like 4 days a month off. She is a nanny.

Sunday we met with a kid who is leaving on a mission soon. we will help him prepare. His mom is a member but doesn't want to be involved with the church so I am going to try and warm her back up to the church at the same time. I don't think the rest of the families are members so hopefully we can send him on his mission with some real teaching experience.  Well we were supposed to leave for dinner like 15 minutes ago, so I better get off. 

Love Elder Wood

Monday, August 19, 2013

Exchanges with Elder Beeston

August 19, 2013

Dear Family:

Well another good week in So Cal! This last week has been the best one since I have been in this area. Hopefully things will be picking up quickly now.

P-day (Monday) we went to the mall again. Elder Spencer has to keep going back for random stuff. He is going home here in three weeks and one of his recent converts (Anita the one who texted you the pictures) has been buying him clothes. Luckily I haven't bought anything yet, but I have one thing I want to get if I get some birth-day money. As you probably saw when I sent my SD card home the sisters destroyed our used to be clean apartment. So when we got home at 5:30 from the mall we cleaned for a half hour before dinner and then when we got home after working that night we cleaned. We are still cleaning. They got us pretty good. I leave those stupid paper dots everywhere I go.

Tuesday we had our district meeting at the mission office like every week. When we got there Sister Peirce (office Sister) had forgiveness quotes and scriptures taped all over her desk so we wouldn't get mad at her for setting it up. We were over it at that point so we just thought it was funny. We had some really good ideas on how to get them back but we aren't going to. That could go bad in a number of different ways and people would probably get the wrong idea or it would get out of hand. However we did let them know that if we weren't on a mission we would destroy them.

Wednesday I had exchanges with Elder Beeston. He served with me in Hemet so we know each other really well and it was really fun. This zone leader companionship is by far my favorite I have had. He came to my area and Elder Hawkins went with Elder Lapara to Spanish land. Elder Hawkins enjoyed being off of a bike for a day so it made the week a little easier for him which in turn helps me out a lot. Elder Beeston and I got work done! That is the most success I have seen in this area since I have been here and I loved it. I wrote down a whole bunch of people who haven't called us back and part member families and visited as many people as we could. Elder Beeston is a pretty athletic guy, but he hated biking these hills which made it more fun for me ha. He is a Spanish speaking Elder and they are all in car except for one area in Corona. We saw a lot of good things happen. I started talking with a guy named Steve on the street and we went and gave him a blessing. It went really well and we have been back twice already. I don't know how dedicated he is though; he reminds me a lot of the people I would talk to on the streets in Hemet. At some point we drank all of our water so we stopped in at the Gifford’s house. They are some really cool members here in the ward. She gave us water and then some grapes and some chocolate bread stuff. We were really grateful for all of it because we were really thirsty and hungry. She told us one of her neighbors had been to church before and asked us to go visit her. On the way out we talked to a different neighbor and got to leave a blessing with him. His name is Marty. No religious background, but really enjoyed the spirit the blessing brought. We are going to try and work with him also. We went where Sister Gifford told us to and this lady named Carol answered the door. Carol is a super cool super out spoken person. We had a really good talk with her, but she tried really hard to veer us away from talking about the gospel. She wants us to come back though. By the end of the day Elder Beeston and I were pretty wore out, so I enjoyed the day a lot.

Thursday we went with a good chunk of the zone to do service for the mission. They have a storage unit with furniture in it for the senior missionaries that needed re-arranged so they could get more in there. When I got home I had a card from Aunt Linda in the mail for my birthday, Thanks! At some point in the day I met a lady who was cool but pretty crazy. She was a medium. So I pried more trying to get her to tell me about it. She pretty much claims she has the power to have weird out of body experiences and can send other spirits places. It was pretty weird. We aren't going back there. That night for dinner we ate with the Hodges family. They are pretty big Utah State fans, so I got along with them pretty well. Bro. Hodge owns a helicopter training business. He has one or two friends out in Vernal. I guess one of them is pretty much the big guys in the state.

Friday I got your letter. It is crazy people getting married. That is weird. That is still many years down the road for me! haha. I don't like the Huitts leaving, it is cool he is getting baptized though! That would have been fun to sit in on the missionary lessons for. I hope Janalee gets better quickly. We had another good lesson with Steve before lunch. That night we ate dinner with Anita at Chilies. So that was super good! Hopefully you have gotten the pictures we sent from her phone. I didn't realize until Friday I had sent the first picture to my old phone, so we re-sent it to Dads. I think Jason has my old number, so you still probably got it anyways.

Saturday was a pretty normal day. I am running short on time so I will keep it short. I got in an interesting conversation with a guy named Bruce. He is pretty much Agnostic. He has a hard time believing Jesus is the son of God. For the most part he wouldn't talk to me about religious stuff. I talked for a while and finally caught his interest. He said his mom is a Jehovah’s Witness so I told him about who they believed Jehovah is and who we know he is. He thought that was pretty interesting so he gave me his number. Unfortunately he lives in Moreno Valley. Other than that it was a pretty boring day. That night Elder Cook and I got talking about music. I have asked so many people if they like Huey Lewis and nobody knows who he is. Elder Cook has been to a concert and loves that music. I pretty much grew up on that stuff!

Sunday was good. It is normally pretty chill in this ward. We don't have near as many people here we have to worry about teaching false doctrine to my investigators. There are some guys here that are RM's and work selling bug control. One of the guys I found out just found Elder Feist a new investigator so that was kinda cool. He is also the one who got Carol to come to church. They still do some missionary work while they are selling bug control. It’s kinda a weird combo, but it’s pretty cool too. That night we were looking for somebody and ran into some college kids who live by us and are part of a religious club at school. We ended up sitting down with three of them in the grass and we were having a really good lesson about the restoration. They had a lot of questions. Then all of the sudden like 10 more of them showed up and just wanted to bash with us. So it got pointless to be there so we left. 

That is pretty much my week! That felt like a really long letter so enjoy! Love ya!

Elder Wood 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Getting Around in a New Area

August 12, 2013

Dear Family:

Hey! Will this weeks letter is going to be better than last weeks ha. I still am not going to have near as much time as I did in Hemet. I will give you a quick run down of the last two weeks.  Monday Bro Reeves got a trailer and brought me Cook and Hawkins all in his raptor to Riverside. We also brought Elder Allen who was in Anza who is now in a neighboring ward in Riverside. That night we went to Bishop Merrill’s house and taught a lesson to the Silvas. They are converts of like 5 years, so it was a good first night for getting doubled in!

Tuesday I saw Jessie Jorgenson from Roosevelt. I know him fairly well. I am serving in the same ward as the Office Assistants (different from the AP's). Here AP's just do trainings and are regular missionaries. The OA's do all the moving and running around the mission. So it is kinda like separated by the spiritual and the physical needs. We had a meeting Tuesday morning at the mission office so we rode with the OA's. It was incoming day for new missionaries and e-mailing the week before Skyler told me Jessie is coming into this mission until he gets his visa. So the OAs left us here because they had to run to the store to get a bunch of sandwiches for the new missionaries and Elder Hawkins and I put a bike together. Then Jessie showed up so I got to give him a hug. I didn't get to see Sister Graham (also from Roosevelt) because she accidentally left her ID or something at the airport so her car had to go back for it. But this last Friday I think they lost their phone so the OA's took them a new one and talked to her for a little while. She knows who I am, but I really don't remember her ha. I remember her face in her picture, but I don't remember from what. Also we did a lot of biking.
Wednesday we also did a lot of biking. Our area pretty much consists of a big hill. I am fine with it, most of the time I actually enjoy biking it. Elder Hawkins hates it though, so it is hard to keep him motivated to go up and down it. 

Thursday I got your letter so I have a few questions. Sharee, who is your new friend Kevin? You just talked about him/her, not really giving any background. I dunno how I feel about them changing the parade to 5. I am a creature of habit and enjoy long lived traditions, but I will get over it. Other than that Longhorn Days sounds like it was awesome! Yes Mom after I got to this area I was sad for like a day because I had Hemet going well for me, but now I am starting to like this area a lot even though it is a lot harder of an area. During the day we just tried to find people to teach and weekly planned. That night the OA's called us and needed our help to go give the sisters in Elder Spencer’s district a blessing. Sister Neilson is the brand new one and was having some anxiety problems so Elder Spencer gave her an amazing blessing. After that Sister Fia (S. Neilson's) comp asked me to give her a blessing because she was having some headache problems. 

Friday Dad should have gotten a picture text of me in front of Roadhouse. Anita (Elder  Spenser's recent convert) took us all out to eat. That day I got to be a car missionary. The OA's had to do a bunch of office work so they didn't need their car. It is a 2013 ford fusion. It wasn't bad. I like the sport mode cuz you get to shift instead of it being auto. It was just nice get a lot more done and not take days biking up the hill. Also I found out Elder Haslem is from Vernal. He has been out just over 3 months. I also heard that there are a bunch of protestors at the Provo temple when the missionaries do their Sunday temple walk. That is pretty stupid. 

Saturday I don't have any notes, and I don't remember what we did.

Sunday I got to meet a bunch of cool people at church. I found out President Plocher (he is President Smarts 1st or 2nd councilor) is in my ward. He is super cool. This church building has a real organ in it. So that is cool.

Monday we went to Bishop's for dinner. We ate shark and it was super good. He went with the young men deep sea fishing and that is what he caught. It wasn't a regular shark though; it was just a spade head. It still tasted bomb. 

Tuesday we actually had some names to chase down because we caught up with our ward mission leader who had been out of town. It is a lot harder to contact people here. Hemet everybody is always home. It is also a lot harder to get OYM's here cuz here people have a lot of money and just drive to where ever they are going. After dinner we finished up our OYM's at a super nice park and made some friends with some kids our age who were super good at the guitar. Two of them played guitar, one of them sang really well, and then the other guy played the cello. 

Wednesday was Elder Hawkins B-day. We went out to lunch but that is about all that we did for his B-day. That night we had dinner with the Vance family. He actually knew where Myton was! But not Altamont. He sometimes hunts around 9 mile, so that is why. That night we had a great meeting with Bishop Merrill at the church. He is really missionary minded and wants to get this area going. He is being a big support. He knows that this is a hard area for missionary work so he is helping us work with the members a lot.

Thursday we had President interviews. It was what I needed. Between meeting with President Smart and Bishop Merrill, all my prayers for the last two weeks were pretty well answered. He gave me some good ideas for the area I told me about the past of the area. He said they haven't seen success here in a while. He also gave me some ideas on how to help my companion. That night we were out finishing up our OYM's at a little shopping market next to our apartment and met a pretty cool guy. He pulled up in a nice BMW blaring some screamo music. Hawkins likes that kind a little bit so we were talking about it and he overheard us. He came up and asked us if we liked that kind of music and we started up a good little conversation. His name is Benton and he is in the band Assuming We Survive. We talked to him about that a little bit. He is the screamer for the band. They just got off of the warped tour. His band is on tour right now but ended up having to leave because he thought he had strep so he had to leave right then just in case he got the singer sick. Elder Hawkins had him show him some music even though I didn't want him to. He showed us his new CD that won't come out for another week or two, it wasn't half bad though, however, it definitely drove the spirit away ha. After that we started talking about his belief system. Then we got to teach him a little lesson. It went ok. 

Friday we chased the rest of the names the ward gave us. That night our dinner cancelled and gave us money. I talked everybody into Chilies and loved it! I got the same thing I always do on the 2 for 20. 

Saturday we tried contacting part member families. I am trying to wrap it up, it is the other elders turn. That night I met with our new investigator Mary Ann while Elder Hawkins went and did baptismal interview for somebody. I got to have a brand new missionary with me, so I really enjoyed that. Elder Lunt from Farmington. We put her on date for the 31st, but then her fellow shipper will be gone that day, so it is still up in the air right now. 

Sunday church was awesome. This ward is solid. We told them about all the names we chased down and then they gave us more! I was excited. Sacrament the talks were awesome and the same in Sunday school. 

So some question from your last letter. Are their Elders just in Altamont? Elder Hawkins knows the Langston family pretty well. I have talked to Elder Langston’s dad quite a few times because his ward shares a building with Fruitvale and Langston is in the Bishopric. Yes Mom you can send pictures and yes keep doing it, I enjoy it. You can give my dirt bike to Ronny, but I wouldn't put any money into it. Skylers brother and I took it apart and the piston is shot. Jetson and I in Vernal one day went to the Yamaha place and priced buying a new one and replacing it myself and for that much I could buy a newer used one. Also what kind of cars are you looking at? Kia, Nissan, Honda? There are a few cars from Nissan that are good, few from Subaru and Honda isn't the worst, they make good dirt bikes though! I always thought that Dad would buy something made in America? I have other things I have forgotten to tell you about but I still need to write president a sentence or two. Love ya!

Elder Wood

Monday, August 5, 2013

Short but Sweet

August 5, 2013

Dear Family:


Whoops!!......Well you guys are going to be upset with me! it is 5:52pm and I have dinner at 6 so I don't have long to write a letter! It has been a crazy day ha. We spent a long time at P-day activity and then Elder Spencer wanted to go to the mall here in Riverside. We ended up being here all day cuz this mall is sick! I am used to the one in Hemet though with only 4 or 5 stores. it probably isn't any better than some of the ones in Utah. That and it took forever to get a library card. Everything is awesome here. This probably would have been one of my longest letters I have a ton to talk about. To shorten it up I am in the Canyon Crest Ward in the Riverside Stake. Check out its boundaries and then look at it on Google Earth. I cover the north side from Central down to Allesandro. It is one big hill. Look at Canyon Crest Street and you will probably be able to see what I mean. My suspicions were right about what needs to be done in this ward. We have no investigators and nothing has been done in this ward for a while, just like my last area. I am ok with that though, keeps me working hard. Missionary work is different here though. This is a super nice area with a lot of money. In Hemet I could pick up a investigator on the street every day if I tried hard enough. Right now we are trying hard for referrals and part member families. I like it here though. Well that is all I have time for this week. I got to see Jessie Jorgensen on Tuesday, he is in my mission now.  I will tell you the story next week it is kinda funny. Sorry for the short letter, I will make up for it next week. Love ya bye!

Elder Wood