Monday, October 28, 2013

New Area - Corona California

October 28, 2013
Dear Family:

So I have had a crazy two weeks! I will try and run through all of it really fast!
Actually now I think back I don't really have much to tell you about last week. It was either really uneventful or I actually just don't remember ha. Last Saturday I saw a possum for the first time in my life. That’s about it. Last Sunday I got to go to a ladies baptism that I helped teach on exchanges. So I guess to this week! It was pretty crazy, I was homeless for like two days.

Monday was a weird p-day. Oh wait I thought of something that happened last week! Sunday night we had our whole apartment back up. We walked in and it smelt like poop. We found some water on the floor so we went into the bathrooms and the tub was full and the toilets were full. Then something happened and they all started over flowing! We emptied out our garbages  and started bucketing out water. We couldn't keep up with the sewer ha. I called the maintenance guy and he came and pulled the plug of the sewer line somewhere. That night they had a carpet guy sucking up all the water and ripping out carpet. They are lucky we were there to fight it. They neighbor apartment is just a showroom so the whole place was soaked. I bet they have to redo a lot there. We even had a member bring a shop vac and we were fighting the sewer with that. We ended up sleeping at the ZL's place cuz ours stunk.  So Monday I went and saw everybody at the office before I took off to Corona. By the way I am in the Temescal Valley Ward. I am with Elder Hammond from Alabama who is waiting for a visa to go to Australia. We split the ward with two sister missionaries. Anyways mid-day I moved all my stuff to Corona so it was there when I got there. I met my roommates Elders Wilkinson and Janks. They are cool, Wilkinson was actually Elder Allen’s last comp before he went home. He also plays basketball for U of U. The coolest surprise though is that Elder Feist lives in the same complex as me so I got to see him while I was unloading my stuff. Then I went back to the office to be companions with the Office Assistants Elders Cook and Braithweight. That night I got to go to Ronny's mission! I rode with them to L.A.X! It was super cool. We took Elder Cram there who was headed to Australia. I don't think I have ever seen a city that big! We drove through at night. It was like 8. The airport was sick. Lots of lights and cool stuff. We missed our road on the way there and accidentally went past Knot's Berry Farm. That was weird. I looked at the GPS and we were super close to the ocean for quite a while. That was a cool trip. Once we got back to Riverside at like 9:30 or 10 and ate some Wendy’s for dinner. That night I slept on the floor in their new apartment.
Tuesday morning I hung out with the ASL missionaries so I didn't have to chill at the office all day. They were going to volunteer at the deaf school though so they took me to Elder Hawkins. I helped him and his new comp clean a little bit and then they took me to the office so I could go to the trainer meetings and get my new comp. Meetings were super good. There were only like 5 Elders training and then like 15 sisters. It was weird... A lot different that the first two times I was in those meetings. That night we drove to Corona, It was a good thing I bought a GPS. We had some of the sister’s suitcases in our car so we took that to their place. Then we went to ours. We unpacked a little bit and then just crashed in our beds. Elder Hammond at the time had about 3 hours of sleep for the last two days. I was pretty tired too. 

Wednesday we had district meeting. After that we met with the sisters to work out where we were going to split the ward. Then they gave me a bunch of records for my area so my area book wasn't completely empty. We have a brand new one because this is the first time this ward has had two sets of missionaries, just like my last area. We had a meeting with our ward mission leader because I asked for it. I think it just confused me more. He isn't the kind of guy who just gets things done, he would just beat around the bush and not answer any of my questions. All the names we got were from the sisters.
Thursday morning we met with a guy from church headquarters. S.L.C. They were from the Research and Investigation division or something like that. Chose our mission to come visit, and President Smart chose our zone. We had a little focus group kind of thing. We have a large zone so they split us in two. Somehow it ended up being Elders in one and Sisters in another. That was a blessing in disguise. Because we were in different rooms we told them things that they hadn't heard were problems in other missions probably because the sisters were in the room. They mostly asked about the age change and how it has affected our mission. It was pretty cool. Both Elder Feist and Elder Hammond got to talk about their individual experiences on how the age change effected their choice to come and how it affected them once they got here. That day was boring until night time. I got to do baptismal interviews for the 3 people the sisters were teaching in our ward.

Friday was slow as well. Mostly just trying to organize the area and stuff. I think I forgot to mention. Once we had our areas all figured out and got working on it one of the sisters had a feeling that we needed to switch the areas. So we had to call the Pres and say just kidding we want to switch that. I didn't think it was a very good idea for a few reasons but oh well. That night our dinner canceled. We started making some visits with no luck. One part member family was home. We had a little chat and then they invited us in for dinner which was super nice. We had a bomb dinner and then a lesson. This guy knows he needs to be baptized, so I pretty much just asked him why he wasn't and then let the lesson go from there. After the lesson we were walking to the car and the sisters called us and told us we had a dinner all the sudden. I was stuffed and we didn't have the miles to go up there. Luckily they covered for us!
Saturday We finally got to meet with the Bishop. We got a few names from him. We had to try a lot harder than I thought we should have though. I dunno why. Elder Feist’s comp went to a baptism so he got to be our 3rd comp for a little while. It has been fun being able to hang out with him a little bit. We went to the baptism of the 3 I interviewed. I will have to hurry, I only have 5 minutes left!

Sunday was good. Got to meet for a minute with the high councilman over missionary work. He is going to be a big help. We picked up a really solid potential investigator because a kid invited his friend to church and then just decided to ask him if he wanted to get baptized and he said yes. The Spanish Elders and sisters were having a baptism right after our ward. He started asking questions and wanted to look at the font. It was super cool. We had some other meetings and then that was pretty much the day. Well it was a good week, but a crazy one! Love you all!

Elder Wood   

Hey just letting you know my new address so you can send stuff there. 1172 Chestnut Lane #204 Corona, CA 92881. Also I got a package from Suzie I will have to tell you about later that was awesome!! But your letter didn't make it for some reason. Talk to ya soon bye


Monday, October 21, 2013

Riverside Mission's Newest District Leader!

October 21, 2013

Dear Family:

Hey I dunno if I am going to get to E-mail much this week so I will send you a quick note now. I am getting transferred to Temescal Valley Ward in Corona. I am super excited! Saturday I found out I am training again. So that means I am getting doubled in again, the only way I have ever gone to a new area my whole mission ha. I will have my first car! I am super excited for that!

I am at the mission office right now. I was looking at the board with all the missionaries on it to see who went where this transfer. I just found out I am a District Leader. I am excited, I was going to see how much longer I could avoid it though ha.

Riverside zone had huge changes this time. They split the zone and changed a lot of companionships. I had a super good week. If I get time today I will come back and E-mail. I have to take all my stuff to my new area and then come back to stay the night so I can pick up my new comp and car tomorrow!

Most exciting thing that happened this last week was last night while I was gathering stuff up our whole apartment backed up. We started bucketing water out with our trash cans but we couldn't keep up ha. it ended up being a crappy job... Literally. We called and the maintenance guy came and had a carpet guy come. The maintenance guy fixed the pluming and the carpet guy soaked up all the water and ripped out a bunch of our carpet. It was a pretty fun adventure!

Well I will try and send a better E-mail soon. Pray for me! I don't know how to be a car missionary ha. I would send some pics of our apartment but my SD card reader isn't working. Oh, try and send that other SD card again. This one is full already haha. Well love ya! Talk to you soon!

I forgot to mention. I might have to buy a GPS so my bank account is going to be suffering so if you see 100 bucks gone don't think I am wasting money I am being super careful. I am going to have to spend some money on it when I go shopping because I am getting transferred and don't have any food there and am out of my missionary money card thing. 
Love ya tons! Elder Wood


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Stake Conference

October 15, 2013

Dear Family

Hey! I am going to have to keep this fast. I don't know how long I have to e-mail today.

Last Monday I don't remember what we did for P-day activity. That night the Maness family canceled on us so that was sad.

Tuesday we had district meeting and then did exchanges. It was weird. Normally we exchange the night before but the ZL's had to change their exchanges to do AP exchanges. I stayed in the area again with Elder Lapara. My plan was to work his just as hard or harder than Elder Beeston. Last time Elder Lapara almost threw up biking haha. My plans got changed though. Elders Cook and Braithwaite let me take the car. I was going to make him bike all day and then when it cooled off at night maybe drive the last hour or two, but I wanted to drive to much. So we used the car all day. He was grateful when I told him, he only has a week left as a missionary so he didn't really want to be going through all of that. We had a good day. Elder Lapara is a pro at guitar, so we messed with that for a minute. He really likes my guitar. Found out he has the family force 5 Christmas CD. I thought that was pretty funny. He stayed that night and then we exchanged back that morning.

Wednesday Elder. Hawkins and I left the mission. Don't worry, we had permission from President. Brandon Hodges took us. We went to Loma Linda in Redlands. Afterwards we all went to In-and-Out. Super good as always. That I think finally didn't break 75 that day. It rained all afternoon. It was nice, it is way too hot here. Today (the 15th) it is still high 80's outside! Elder Hawkins didn't want to bike in it very bad. We didn't a whole lot, we did what we needed to. For the most part we walked all day. That is the first time the nice umbrella I bought has gotten used. It would have been more fun if that day we had exchanges so I could mess with Elder Lapara!

Thursday we had a good lesson with Joseph our new investigator. We were going to teach the first lesson but his mom showed up with like 2 months worth of food. So we helped her get that in. Afterwards our team up (Bro Burnham) wife who had family just come into town got locked out of their house, so he wanted to get out of there. We just had a short lesson and set another appointment. I got your letter that day. To answer your question no I haven't switched areas yet. I know they have a new apartment that is in the perfect spot that the Chinese elders just moved into. I just E-mailed president about it. I am assuming we will find out Saturday night when we get transfer calls. I am nervous for the calls, I dunno what is going to happen!

It sounds like my little sister is out doing me. She is having a lot of fun in high school. That is good. Also I think I may have given you guys the wrong idea about Elder Hawkins. I am just making sure. I love Elder Hawkins. He is super fun and we get along great. Yes he is pretty lazy and sometimes it is hard to get things done. But I would rather be with him then with some of the other people that could be my companion who drive me up the wall. We had a really good talk about it. We still got along, but I pushed really hard the first transfer. I really wanted to get out there and do what I came here to do. He seemed to be fine at the time, but now I found out that he was having a hard time with it. It was a good thing I slowed down a little for him. Now I am not pushing near as hard, but we are a lot more unified. So yes it is a challenge and frustrating at times, but it isn't near as bad as if I had to be with somebody that I don't like.

Friday we had mini-multi zones. Moreno Valley came to Riverside to meet with us. It was really good. It was all on the new program that the church just put out for missionaries and how to handle stress. It was short. That day I don't really remember much of what we did ha. That night we had a really good lesson with the Silvas. We talked about Elder Bednar's talk and the temple. It was good. After when we left their place he wanted to know if we wanted a ride so we didn't have to walk in the dark (we live close so we walk) I just said no and I am glad I did. As we were walking one of the guys at the bus stop when we walked out of their place chased us down and told us he wanted to ask us some questions. Elder Hawkins stepped back and said "you got this one" I dunno why I should ask him. Anyways I was pretty excited for these questions. He pretty much told us he doesn't want to be Catholic anymore because he wants to be religious not because of tradition, but because he actually believes in something. In my head I said "Well you came to the right place!" He had a lot of questions. Unfortunately he lives in Moreno Valley. I tried to get it set up so he could meet with the Elders over there in his home but he wouldn't do it. He wanted to come back and meet with us again. Thursday we are supposed to meet him at Starbucks ha. He will meet with us this week he said next time he would have us meet with his wife and kids. After our lesson running over and that street lesson we ended up getting in super late.

Saturday we met with Joseph again to help him prepare for baptism. That day we tried to visit a lot of people, but didn't have a whole lot of luck. That night we were asked to go to the adult session of stake conference. I knew a 70 was going to be there so I said no the first time ha. I remembered what happened my first week in the field when I went to Priesthood and got asked to leave! This time we got invited by the 70. The meeting was awesome! The whole thing was pretty much about missionary work. Elder Falabella was the visiting authority. He was cool, he had a lot of personality. He was complimenting the choir saying they all needed to be in the tabernacle choir. After he wanted them to sing again. They opted out but said they would sing the closing hymn. During his talk he asked all the Missionaries to stand. He thanked all of us. Then pretty much told all the members we needed their help. He opened it up to everyone to share ways that they have shared the gospel and then he would make comments after each one.

Sunday was stake conference. That morning President and Sister Smart spoke. They both did awesome. Then the Redlands temple president. Then the Stake president. Afterwards was Elder Falabella. He taught a lot of really good things. I wish I hadn't left my backpack in the car, it has my notebook in it with quotes from all the talks. One I remember was at the end of his talk he said something to the affect of "I think it is time for lunch now." He taught one more principle, and then ended his talk. There were a lot of good things said. He is the 3rd 70 I have been in contact with on my mission. One thing I noticed is that once again they have a real organ in their chapel. I don't think I have seen that in Utah. It sounds so much better! We got ripped off.

Monday for Elder Lapara's last normal P-day we had a surprise breakfast for him. Everybody was supposed to bring some food. I was surprised, but everybody did a really good job of bringing something. We had a ton of food! I made hash browns because I have onion powder and season all. It must have been good, because they ate it all! That day we went to the mall again. Then we drove across the parking lot to Barns and Noble cuz elder Hawkins wanted to go there. Elder. Cook didn't want to go, but once we got in there he found a book about dogs and the 3 of us had to drag him out of there. 

We had District meeting today, but that's it! Well that is all for now!

Love ya!

Elder Wood

Monday, October 7, 2013

It's a hard area - most days!

October 7, 2013

Dear Family:

Hey! I had another good week! It seemed a little long, but it was really good.

P-day was a long time ago, I don't really know what we did in the middle of the day. That night we had set up to go visit the Mannis family. We took their home teacher with us. We knocked on the door but they didn't answer. I could see their daughter in the house though. Their home teacher knocked a bunch of times. They didn't answer. We went back to their home teachers house for a minute and ate some ice-cream and then came back and knocked. This time they answered! They were super friendly. We gave them a harvest blessing and were then on our way. We are headed back there tonight to start the lessons with them. Hopefully we can get in. Oh I forgot to mention, they are a part-member family. We have been trying to visit them for a while now.

Tuesday we had an awesome harvest blessing with somebody I just talked to in her front yard a day or two before. Her name is Tracy. She has a really nice house. The blessing went really well. We were headed back to teach her Friday morning but we found out we had a meeting. I forgot to get her number the last time so we couldn't call her. We went by on Thursday to let her know. She wasn't home, but we did catch her son smoking in the back yard with his friends. They were going to be smart alecs until I asked for his mom by name haha. Then they ran inside. I went to the front door and the kids wouldn't talk to us. I wrote on a note and stuck it in the door but I doubt it ever got to her. We went by Friday morning to try and see her on the way to our meeting for a second but with no luck. We will try back again sometime this week. That night we had dinner with a younger couple. They just brought pizza to their apartment. They live in the same complex as us. After they wanted ice-cream but forgot to buy some. We met them over at a closed Rite-Aid. We got some ice-cream and then went and sat down on some benches. He is a return missionary and was asking about the area. He wanted us to be dead honest and tell him how this area compared to other ones. We told him it was a super hard one, everybody here has a lot of money and is content with their religion or lack thereof. As we were in the middle of saying this some little kid walks up to us and says "can one of you come over here? My mom wants to talk to you about church." So Elders Cook and Braithweight walk over and talk to us while the couple teases us about how it didn't seem very hard to us. A few minutes later the other Elders walk back and say that the people they talked to live in mine and Elder Hawkins area. They actually live right in our complex. Anyways, the kids mom is a member from Las Vegas and just moved here and wanted us to come teach her 9 year old son and baptize him. Bro and Sister Gueno thought that was pretty funny, and will probably tease us as long as we are in this area ha.
Wednesday we had exchanges with Arlington Ward. I went into their area with Elder Henrie. I found out that Elder Henries dad actually owns the haunted house on 13th in Salt Lake which I didn't know before, he told us we all needed to come next year. That morning we had service. We were pulling some weeds and stuff for a older couple who couldn't do it themselves. As I was digging I struck gold! There were what looked like gold flakes all through the dirt and stuck in some of the rocks! I gathered a few rocks and washed them and showed the old lady who lived there. She said when they built the house they thought the same thing. They had it checked out and it was a huge cash of pyrite (fool's gold). It was kinda nice to be able to do some service like that. I haven't gotten a chance to do much service for a while because everybody in my area just pay for people to do stuff for them or do it themselves. She surprised us with lunch which was really nice of her. I ate two lunches that day because after service Elder Henrie had promised another family we would come to their sons homecoming party from his mission in Illinois. I was super full. It was hard to ride a bike. The newly returned Elder hung out with us quite a bit. He didn't know us, but he still seemed more comfortable around us. We had to exchange back earlier than we normally do because they had some meeting they had to go to.

Thursday we saw Sandy for a short amount of time. We couldn't find a team up so we were just going to do the lesson in her front yard. As we were starting her gardner showed up so we moved the lesson to Friday. Then she had to leave town so we didn't get to teach her this week. Other than that not a whole lot happened other than what I told you happened at Tracy's house.

Friday we had zone meeting. It was good, but it went long. We had a zone lunch after and didn't get back to our place until like 2:30 or 3. We didn't have much happen the rest of the day. We went and saw the Silvas after dinner and asked them to watch general conference. It was a good thing we did. Bro Silva thought that it was going to be stake conference. I hope they watched there was one amazing talk in the Saturday morning session that they needed to hear and applies to them well.

Saturday was pretty much taken up by conference all day. Saturday morning session Elder Richards, the one who was just at our mission, said the opening prayer. It was weird to think about that you guys were in that session. Conference was awesome! I learned a ton! The choir that had the families in it had somebody who just left our mission. The senior couple, the Davis that live across from the Browns were in it. They were the ones who it zoomed in on. he was shaking pretty visibly. He always does that.

Sunday once again was taken up by conference. Just not the whole day this time. Conference was super good, I really enjoyed it. Other than that I can't think of anything to tell you about! Oh wait, during the Saturday session I noticed the prophet was looking good in a nice grey suit. Elder Cook and I liked that. We have the exact same grey suit. I think it is my favorite now for suit or pants. Well now that is all I can think of! Love ya!

Elder Wood