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

 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Its Raining


December 8, 2014 

Dear Family: 

Monday we helped a member move a piano. Those things are super heavy!  

Tuesday we had DLC but no DDM. We had a ton of lessons. I don't really remember from the names I have written down which ones actually went though. I keep forgetting to take notes. I do know that night we went to visit a referral named Litza. Oh little side note! It was raining! Like a lot! I loved it! I hope it dumped snow on you guys! If it was the same storm this was a good one. I don't think I have seen one this consistent here. I rained two days straight. So when we went to visit Litza it was late. About 8:30 I think. So it had been dark for hours. She was outside luckily. That made it easier. She was a little freaked out about two guys in all black (we had on sweaters) approaching her. I don't blame her she was alone. We were quite a ways away to help her be comfortable but after we had talked for a bit she invited us to come to her doorstep out of the rain to talk. A member referred us to go see her and share the "He is the Gift" video with her. I don't remember the conversation. I know we didn't get inside and she didn't have time to talk long. It was all small talk. We hadn't taught anything. A thought came into my head to say a prayer. I was waiting for my companion to get done talking to ask when he said "can we say a prayer?" Later in the car I asked Elder Robbins why he asked to say a prayer. He told me that a thought popped in his head and he brushed it aside thinking it is a weird situation to do it and not good timing. It came to his mind a second time and that is when he asked. I still don't know why the spirit told us both to do that. Maybe Litza just needed prayer. Maybe it was a learning experience for us. I do know that after the prayer I could see in her eyes that she was very humble and reaching out for God. I believe she felt the spirit. I haven't asked her yet, but I need to. I thought it was interesting that the spirit spoke to both of us as a companionship. I don't know if I have had that happen before. It is normally one or the other. I am not sure the purpose of that. 
It's raining so much the rain has gotten inside the walls (Elder Robins)

 

Wednesday we finally got our hair cut! I needed one. We have a non-member do it. She works at a salon. She cuts our hair when she has an open appointment and we do service for her. She won't let missionaries teach her. But she loves missionaries. I want to share the He is the Gift video with her. We met with Bishop about Sarah. We are just waiting on him now. Everything looks like it is in our favor. Thank you for your prayers. I am a little worried that Sarah has not gone to church the last 2 weeks. She has had reasons but I don't know if they are reasons or excuses. Elder Larson was there for exchanges with Elder Caples so that was fun.  
 

Thursday we found out we had to take our car in to get it painted. This is the second car this has happened to me on my mission! I don't know anybody else that this has happened to except my companions while I was still with them. Maybe I am supposed to be learning something. Both times my companions were driving. It has to be painted because we were driving and some tar got flipped onto it from construction. The fleet coordinator gave us stuff to take it off. I am just going to blame all of this on my comp haha. He is the one that took off the tar and it scratched it really bad. They have to paint the whole car, so I will be on bike a week to two weeks. Still bad notes. Don't remember.  

Friday was ZDM. I tried something new. We did a combined training instead of one with one topic and one with a different. I liked it better. It was easier and more effective. After that we went and did service for Terrisa (person who cuts our hair). It took all day pretty much.  

 
Our District

Saturday we had exchanges with the AP's. Elder Thurman came with me into my area. We had a great day. There have been a lot of missionaries complaining about Corona being the hardest in the mission. Its demographics are very different from the rest of the mission. Meaning there is money here and not even close to as ghetto as the rest of the mission. I don't see it has harder, just different. President got tired of hearing about it so he asked if he could come and walk around our area with us and just street contact people. I will admit we did give him the easiest part of our area. I shouldn't have done that. Now he thinks all of Corona is like that. It was pretty cool experience. Elder Robbins and Elder Bloomfield came back with President and we all blitzed that area. We went in our exchanged companionships and then President went on his own. I think it would be super weird to do that by yourself. I have to hand that one to President. He did something that was super funny. When we met back together he told us he would have had more contacts but he found our Elders Quorum President and met with his family. He shared He is the Gift with them and committed all of them to share it. I got a good laugh out of that. The whole time I was thinking. As a return missionary what are you thinking when randomly a mission president comes to your house and he invites you and your family to do missionary work? From that families perspective that is a kinda crazy experience I think haha. We had a kid from the YSA come out with us. His name is Jeremy. He is one of the cool ones that I really like. We taught Aolani Gutierrez again. She is the 9 year old. It was hard to get in the door but we finally did. I am really glad we brought Jeremy. During the lesson one of the concerns Aolani had is that they don't have a dad anymore. Unexpectedly Jeremy opened up and had a little heart to heart with her about how his mom passed when he was young. We had just got done talking about the Holy Ghost so Jeremy went back to that and taught about prayer as well. We had a good lesson with Litza as well. We got in and were able to share the video with her like her friend asked us to. She really opened up to us. She is going through a really hard time. She just went through a really bad divorce with an abusive husband. She is struggling with a lot of other things as well. We didn't teach a normal missionary lesson. The spirit was really strong.  

Sunday we had a cool experience with the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. A member had us over for dinner and the devotional. They invited their neighbors. I really enjoyed Elder Christofferson’s talk. Especially the story of the community coming together. We only got to see part of President Eyrings. The DVR only recorded half way through. I am sure it was great as well. We are going to help the neighbor family with some service this coming week. Well that is all for now! Love ya1

Elder Wood

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving at the Wheat's, and to the Temple with Patty Cole


December 1, 2014 

Dear Family: 

Monday was just normal. Because of Thanksgiving YSA didn't have FHE. We set up a lesson with a family who's kids haven't been baptized yet. It would have been good but we got a call from the dad saying they had to cancel. He is a police officer. They found some human bones in the mountains and he said he was going to have to be there for a while. Maybe I am wrong but it seems like missionaries get canceled on for the most random reasons haha.  

Tuesday we had our normal meetings. After that we had a great lesson with Vanessa. One of the better lessons I have had in a while. She just needs to get over her concern of her parents (who I don't think are that against it). I don't know how bad she really wants it, it think it is a cover. But the lesson went way better than I had hoped. We meant to plan for it but ran out of time. The Lord blessed us anyways. We went to visit some YSA people that live in the same complex as some of the other missionaries in our zone. All of the zone was there except us and one other companionship. They were pretty surprised when we knocked on the door haha. One companionship grabbed their stuff and ran out as fast as they could. All the others tried giving us excuses. Next time they ask me why I think they aren't baptizing I will remind them of that day we found them hours after they were supposed to be in their areas. I thought the companionship running out the door was funny. I felt like Mom disciplining her kindergarten students and she has to try and not laugh when they do something funny because then they might get the wrong idea.  

Wednesday we had MLC in Riverside. Pretty much this whole week was eaten by meetings. This MLC was different. It was just ZLs and STLs but President invited a couple other missionaries who he wanted there. Elder Larson was one of them. I think it is because he wanted the future leaders of the mission there. Elder Larson didn't like that though when we would tease him about it haha. Two guys from Salt Lake came down. They are from the Missionary Department. They trained us on lots of stuff. One of them was on using the new Christmas video called "He is the Gift" it is super good. I am sure you have seen it. If not you should find it. They church made a huge push on this video. They bought all of the home page on YouTube for December 7th. On Times' Square they bought a month's worth of advertisement. They sent pass along cards in the church magazines. They also gave us a boat load. That is not why the guys were there from Salt Lake though. They come a couple months to every mission who has a new mission president to feel things out. They also trained on planning (they said every mission is horrible at this), and teaching skills. It was really really long. We didn't get home and out to teach until after we ate dinner.  
Steve Wheat, Elder Wood, Sister Wheat, Elder Robins, Brother Wheat

Thursday was Thanksgiving!! It was fun. We played Turkey Bowl of course! It is a lot different here because It is 30-40 degrees warmer and I can feel my hands and feet! There were tons of games going on at the park we went to. One of the local high schools is called Sentinel. One of the best at football in the country. Steve Wheat invited some of those kids so there were some pretty intense games. We ate dinner at the Wheats. It was super fun. Sister Wheat's sister and her family (if that made sense) came down from Centerville. They found out I snowboard so we talked a lot about what is going on with Park City and Canyons. They are skiers though (sorry mom). The Wheats didn't understand the rivalry so they started to explain it. I didn't say anything because that would have started a whole big mess haha. I still know I am right ha. I don't need to say anything. After dinner we played card games like scum and some ping pong, bumper pool, stuff like that. 

Friday we were super busy but not with teaching. We had service in the morning. Another mini multi zone so President could train us on sharing the new video. The day continued like that. We were on exchanges. I was in my area with Elder Ferrin. He is new. I forgot something on Tuesday. Tuesday night we had a lesson with a guy named Alex. He is 20 and from South Africa. I never would have guessed that though he doesn't have an accent. I could tell just from when I met him that all he wants is to be a successful guy. He was wearing classy clothes. Reading books and stuff. He is really intelligent and very outgoing. He talked about his vision board where he has stuff on it he is working for. He is working real estate right now. I think he has a mentor. Anyways a friend that is a member gave us the referral. The lesson went amazing. It would be in the top 3 for first lessons I have had with somebody. He really grasped the concepts of the Restoration, Priesthood, and Book of Mormon. I have high hopes on this one. Hopefully it works out.  
Elder Wood, Sister and Brother Cole, Elder Feist
 
Saturday we left early to head for The Temple. I made my goal! I was able to see one of my converts go through the temple! Patty was really excited. Her husband was too. He was taking out his endowments as well. It was weird to see ward members I hadn't seen in about a year and a half. The Relief Society president was funny. Her name is Sister Pulsiver. I didn't get to talk to her until we were waiting to go into the sealing. First thing she said was "Hi! Are you married yet?" When I said I was still on my mission I don't think she believed me at first. She must have thought I was in that ward at the end of my mission ha. I can't think of a better experience I have had on my mission then to see somebody I taught be endowed and sealed. It is something I have looked forward to for a long time. I am just happy the Lord allowed me to have that experience. Elder Fiest and I were able to spend a lot of time with Patty in the temple. We waited about an hour for the sealing. The whole time we were in the Celestial Room sitting on the couch just talking. The sealing was amazing. Of course afterwards we went to Cafe Rio. 

Sunday was crazy as always. We gave talks in Sacrament Meeting. I really don't like speaking in church. We gave the Gospel Principles class as well. I like that much more. For some reason I can't think on the stand. I am fine in class though. Well that was pretty much the week! Hopefully you had a great Thanksgiving! 

Love

Elder Wood 

 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sara is Close to Baptism


November 24, 2014 

Dear Family: 

Monday we were going to a Fender Guitar Shop Elder Larson just found to look at guitars but my comp didn't really want to go because of how far it was so we didn't. Pretty boring day. We had FHE. We were late and just caught the tail end. Luckily they all love us so we got to have pumpkin pie anyways. Somebody overheard me talking about how my family eats a ton of it this time of year (mostly Jason) so they gave me a whole one to take home. I am still working on it. There is a kid there named Mike. Super cool guy. He is returning to activity. We spent most of the time talking to him. He is thinking about moving to Utah so he was asking us about it.  

Tuesday we had a lesson set up with Vanessa I was super excited for but she canceled. She had to go to the doctor because she has a blood disorder? I don't even know what that means. She lost her job baby sitting. The kid threw something at a really big expensive tv and broke it. On the plus side she has more time to meet with us now! Bishop asked us to help him move a member. It made for a busy day. In the morning we went to a member’s house to give their non-member friend a blessing before surgery. It went really well. Hopefully something comes from it. Then we went and helped The Bishop and then he took us to lunch. He is a genius. That man can read anybody like a book. He is a really successful and well known family and marriage counselor. We had another lesson with Jakinstalers. The dad was there this time. We taught and then watched the restoration. They have a son who is maybe four who is crazy.  

Wednesday nobody wanted to see us! Cuz nobody was home!  

Thursday was normal until the end of the night. Mostly after dinner. At dinner we asked a lot of questions about what kind of missionaries they look for. They are a very missionary oriented. It helped a lot because Elder Robbins and I had to do a training on it the next day at multi-zones. We got a call from Taylor. She is Sarah's fellowshipper and longtime friend. First a little back story. We have been asking Sarah to talk to her parents for weeks about her getting baptized. We want to just go over and talk to them but we can't because the dad doesn't want any religious people coming to the house. Sarah is super scared to talk to her parents because the one time she did her mom freaked out. She did talk to her parents though. I think what the problem is she didn't tell them when! We still could have fixed it though. Something that actually went really well was that she got over her fear of talking to her dad and he is in full support. Her mom said it would be fine after the holidays. That means to me she wants her to spend a little more time and she isn't completely comfortable because she is unfamiliar with the church. If we had met with her I am positive we could have persuaded her into sometime mid-December. The more it was talked about the more the parents were comfortable with it.  

Friday we had multi-zones. Elder Robbins and I did a training on working with members. Multi-zones are only every other transfer just like temple trips. It was my last one so I gave my outgoing testimony. It still doesn't seem real. I am still in denial and I am fine with that haha. I will just stay there for now. Pray for Sarah and her mom! I am out of time. Not that much happened the rest of the week anyways. Have a great Thanksgiving! Love ya!

Elder Wood

P.S. I need to come home and get out of this stake. I keep getting into trouble! I know everybody and am way too involved!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Visit to the Temescal Valley Ward


November 17, 2014 

Dear Family: 

Monday was good. Normal P-day. For dinner a member gave us money so instead of going to dinner we got an extra hour long P-day. The day just goes by way too fast! The rest of the week seems to have no problem taking its time though! Speaking of things taking forever I still have forever left on my mission. Don't worry I am hanging on, but Skyler is coming home in two weeks. So if you could go to his homecoming for me?  Or at least like call him maybe if you can't make it. That would be awesome. I miss him, Jetson, and Kaiden. Even though we talk every week haha. We went to FHE. It was clear down in the Temescal Valley ward where I used to serve. We ended up being late and just catching the last bit of it. A lot more people are coming out then when I first got here. It is actually pretty fun. Yes, really awkward at times, but fun. There is a ton of potential for missionary work too. That is like the best part I think. There is one girl named Julia who just got home from her mission. She has already taken a bunch of Books of Mormon from us to give to people she meets and is trying hard to find somebody for us to teach. A lot of the returned missionaries are doing their best to help us out besides her as well.  
Elder Wood and Elder Robins
 
Tuesday we had our regular meetings in the morning. It was a super nice day. We had cloud cover all day and it kept it from getting hot. We thought it would rain but we had no luck. We did service for a part member family we are teaching. Mario Segera. I am pretty sure I told you about him already. We had to talk him into letting us help and he finally gave in. He didn't want help because he knows he could do it on his own but we wanted to do service for him! We just did yard work. Trim trees and weed eat mostly. There was a lot to weed eat. It was fun for me though. I got to work on the weed eater and get it started. It felt good to get to use a power tool Sometimes it is nice to physically see what is coming out of your labor. The natural man I guess. We all like immediate gratification!  I can't believe I thought that was fun though. I hated doing that before my mission. Don't worry after about a day or two of manual labor I will probably not enjoy it anymore so, no Dad you don't need to add anything else to my "list" haha. We had a lesson with the Joachimstalers. Don’t try and pronounce it. It sounds nothing like it looks. I guess mostly the daughter. Her mom wants us to teach her the lessons before she gets baptized. She mostly wants her husband to sit in and listen who is not a member but he didn't end up being there.  

Wednesday I don't remember what we did. I didn't write anything down. I think we might have come to the church to work on Elder Robbin’s BYU application. If so all I know is I brought my guitar and I broke my nice pick. I didn't even know you could do that. They are just plastic though and I have more. You guys asked about Elder Robbins. I guess I forgot to tell you about him. He is from West Valley. Has been on his mission 15 months or so I think. Also Elder Caples moved in with me! That has been fun. His new companion is Elder Barton. I was looking at his pictures the other day and he was in one with Hallie Pugh. I guess they were pretty good friends before he came out here. 

Thursday we went to Redlands to go to the doctor. Hopefully I have told you about my doctor, but he is really cool. He is a super good Christian guy. We had some great discussions about the gospel. I was going to do my best to get him to take the lessons and get his address and stuff but he wasn't there! It was another guy! Unfortunately that was my last time going. We went to Cafe Rio after :) At night we went to the Bishopric Training meeting with the Stake Presidency. I was just planning on talking to them for like 10 minutes but it ended up being almost like an hour. President Aragon (who is a boss) kept asking us questions and opening it up to discussion. It went really well. Like a lot better than I would have expected it. The Bishops asked really good questions and were really willing to learn and make changes. We have a Bishop who is notorious for not getting along with his missionaries at all. Then just one or two who don't do anything for or against them. And then the rest are all great Bishops. I called out the bad one on accident a little bit. I didn't mean to say what I did it just kinda flew out of my mouth before I even realized what he said. I was sitting by President Zimmerman. It caught him off guard and he accidentally laughed haha. I think that was the funniest part. I found out today that the meeting actually helped. The one who struggles with the missionaries approached them and said he wants to start going out with them. I was really surprised by that. We had a lesson after with Sarah. Things are headed in the right way! We taught some of the commandments. She is ready to be interviewed this week. Still there is only one roadblock in our path. She is super nervous for us to come to her house and get the baptismal white signed by her parents. Not just nervous but like way beyond. It bothers me she really doesn't want us to do that. It makes me think she really hasn't talked to her parents about it like she should and told us she has. Realistically this whole thing could get blown way out of proportion. She just needs to talk to them. But if she has talked to them things will be smooth. If so great! Maybe she just is nervous for us to come over for some other reason. 

Friday I also didn't take notes so I don't remember what we did. That could have been the day we came to the church and did the BYU application for my comp. Either way we did it one of the days. The funny thing is after we spent all that time he isn't going to apply there anymore. He is really slow at writing essays (he says I don't know) and he wasn’t even close to finishing so he decided to give up and apply elsewhere. He said with his grades and stuff he wouldn't have made it in. Oh well, I just played guitar when he was applying so either way is fine with me.  

Saturday we had exchanges I got to go back to Temescal Valley Ward for a day! It was super fun. Plus I got to drive my favorite mission car! They really don't have anything going on. It is a hard area. Only one person has gotten baptized in that ward since the people I taught a year ago and that was like two weeks ago in the sisters area. The Elder’s area hasn't had much luck finding people. I stopped in on the Hoyts! It was good to chat with Brother Hoyt for a bit. Sister Hoyt had a migraine so I didn't get to talk to her unfortunately. I still know that area like the back of my hand. I have never known a ward better. If I have it was the Fruitvale Ward. I think I knew where every member, less active, and part member family lived in my side of the ward, and most of where the members were in the Sister’s area. I knew the ones that fed us at least! We didn't even use the GPS. I was pretty proud of myself haha. It was just really fun for me to get to go back. I went with Elder Godfrey. He has only been in that area for 2 weeks now. I served with him in Lake Elsinore so that made the exchange even more fun.  

Sunday we had stake MCM in the morning. Then straight to Auburnadale Ward. Then YSA. It was really busy. After YSA they had a break the fast sort of deal but it was really for Thanksgiving. They did it early so when people went out of town they wouldn't miss it. I think that is the most people we have seen in this YSA Sacrament Meeting. If there is food they will come! After that we had dinner with the Wheats. They had a special dinner for their good friend Kelsey. She pretty much lives there. It was her year mark from getting baptized. She is putting her mission papers in soon. Steve has got some friends he is trying to get to take the lessons. He is supposed to be talking to Jenna again this week. He had a cool experience where one of his friends on his football team who is a senior in high school "atheist" texted him asking questions about God. Hopefully the dialog continues. Well that is pretty much all I got! Have a good week! Love ya!

Elder Wood

 

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Old Companion is My Twin!


November 10, 2014 

Dear Family: 

Monday was a regular P-day like any other. After P-day was over we had a good night though. We had two appointments to cover so we split up. I went with another set of missionaries to pick up a new investigator. Her name is Sarah. Elder Robbins went to go visit a less active family. Sarah has a lot of member friends at school. She is a junior so like 16 or 17 years old? I don't really know haha. Her best friend "I think" is a member I have known for a while. Her name is Taylor Thompson. I taught her in seminary about a year ago and we work really close with her dad for missionary work stuff. Sarah was taught a little by other missionaries but they turned it over to us because she lives in our area. It takes a little bit but she seems to be understanding pretty well. We went back over the restoration with her just to see where she is at. She really wants to be baptized. Right now her parents are the only thing holding her back. She is really shy and doesn't like talking to them about it. They aren't very religious people and for some reason it is a sore spot with them. Also a big contributing factor is I think she is afraid of her dad. I want to go over and talk to her parents and make sure everyone is on the same page but Sarah is giving us a little resistance. Other than that though things are great with her. 

Tuesday we had DLC to great ready for ZDM. We got two different district leaders, they have been district leaders before. It didn't really seem like the zone leaders they both had before knew what they were doing though or pushed them very much. They said DLC was a lot more productive then they are used to. After that I spent a lot of time trying to come up with something to do. My companion is filling out college applications so I just kinda sit around and watch ha. At dinner we had a member who asked a funny question. Well at least I thought it was funny haha. She asked what could cause a  teenage boy out of nowhere to turn into a brat. I asked if he has a girlfriend and she said ya that is the same time it happened! And also she asked her seminary class that and they said the same thing! She didn't believe them though. After we said it she finally accepted it. So I got to explain that whole deal about how we aren't mature enough to handle it yet because I did the same stupid thing. I can't believe that I am admitting this but everybody was right! I was dumb hahaha. I know now I guess! Now it is to late because every dinner now that knows how long I have been on my mission says "are you ready to go home and get married?" I always say yep in 6 or 7 years! For some reason none of them believe me! That night we had a good lesson with my boy Dupree! He is super cool. We are going to try and get him to come to YSA family home evening today (Monday) 

Wednesday we had another good lesson with Sarah. We had another lesson set up for Friday but we had a little hiccup that day with her family I will tell you about when I get there. Eddie is a recent convert in the ward. He is the one I told you about that married a member. He texted us because he needed somebody to talk to. We went over to see what he needed help with. He is a really cool recent convert. I found out I am actually a couple weeks older than him. I thought he was like Brett's age ha. So thinking about him freaked me out for a couple hours that day. I dunno why it was so weird to me. He is thinking about going into the military and wanted to ask us question on getting answers to prayer. Hopefully we helped him out. I think honestly the biggest help we gave was pushing him to get a interview with our stake president. President Aragon is a former Green Beret so he knows a little bit about it. His son is the bishop I told you about in Lake Elsinore that is my favorite one. Sunday I got myself into a little bit of trouble with that ha. The zone leaders meet with the stake once a month or more depending on the month. He asked me (because I have served in half the stake) about the relationship with missionaries and Bishops, Ward Mission Leaders, and the Ward so I told him what I thought. I mostly talked about the difference it made being so unified with the bishop in Lake Elsinore. Well now I get to go to the training meeting the stake has with all the Bishops and talk about it there. Sometimes I need to keep my mouth shut. Oh well, I'm not too worried about it. I know all of them hahaha. 

Thursday was pretty slow. I did get a call from Patty Cole though! For those who don't remember she is my last convert in Hemet. She told me that she is headed to the temple on the 29th and she wants Elder Feist and I to go! We are both pretty excited for that. I am going to meet my goal of going to the temple with a convert on my mission. The extra cool part though is I get to see her endowment and her get sealed to her husband and kids! 

Friday we had MLC. That is where all the zone leaders go to Riverside to meet with President. Normally this is really fun, but I don't really like it that much with President Mullen. It is ok I guess. I miss President Smart. Also it went about 3 hours longer then it should so that was really boring. President Mullen is trying to change too much all at once. We had a list that took a hour to go over of new stuff he wants the missionaries to do. That would be fine, but this had been a few months in a row now though, so pretty much everybody has forgotten the last few months ones because there is just so much of it! It was whatever though. Brown Wood is a zone leader too. This is his last transfer. We talked about how we were weirded out to be there. We thought we had served our time as ZLs! Sarah's mom freaked out and told her she couldn't get baptized until she was 18. Then the next day they talked about it and she decided she would support her. So now it is just keeping the mom from doing that again and getting the dad to be OK with it. We had a dinner from the YSA. Her name is Alesia. She is a recent convert. I did her baptismal interview when I was here in Corona the first time. When I got out of the car she didn't seem to either recognize me or not recognize me. Elder Fiest was here before me. A lot of people in this ward just think I am him. In Hemet people would ask if we were brothers. He hated that haha. So after we got our food (we were at Panda Express) we were having a good conversation and I was like "ya know when you were interviewed to be baptized? Was that like a awkward experience or was it cool? How was it?" I was hoping she would tell me about how awkward it was and that she hated that and maybe even hopefully she would say the missionary who did it was weird all just so I could tease her about it because I interviewed her. Instead she figured it out and said "it was you!!!!" She was pretty surprised! I was too because I thought she was about to fling her food everywhere on accident when she lifter her hands up. So we had fun with that conversation.  

Saturday we had ZDM. I didn't like it because we don't normally have meetings on Saturday because there is a lot to do, but the mission had MLC Friday so we had to. It went well. We did service for the Wheats. Other than that we just visited a ton of people. 

Sunday we had our two sessions of church. Also our meetings with the Stake Presidency and the High Councilman over missionary work. After that we didn't have much time. We went and saw Mario. He is doing good. He really enjoyed seeing his kids in the primary program. We have been talking to members about questions they get about the church and helping them so they could answer. When we did this with Mario's family it was super funny. Mario was like "well because I haven't been baptized I get all the weird questions people are too afraid to ask all you guys!" I think the best part was when somebody tried to tell him Joseph Smith didn't see God. He was giving us a play by play he told the guy "no Joseph Smith really did see God!" and would continue telling him about what actually happened. I don't know why he is so stubborn about getting baptized. He already goes to church all the time he might as well just do it! Well that is pretty much my week! Love ya! (I will try and take some pics this week. I know I have been slacking)

Elder Wood

 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Treats at the Wheat's


November 3, 2014 

Dear Family: 

Alright looks like I am staying here in Corona stake in the Auburndale ward! This is an awesome ward anyways, so it is hopefully where I end my mission. I only have 2 transfers left (3 months!) If they take me out my last transfer I will be pretty upset. I am going to beg if I have to. Pray for me!! It mostly covers Norco. That is a city by the way. Norco is a good place for me to come to so I can start adjusting back. Norco is also called "Horse Town USA" Instead of sidewalks there are dirt trails for the horses. It throws you off at first because you are in Southern California, but after you have been there a little bit it’s not bad. I feel like a ton of them are just posers, but maybe I am just being judgmental because I am in Southern California and not many people here are into country things. Anyways it is a unique area to say the least. The best part though is the Auburndale ward is famous in this mission for being one of the most successful and fun for missionaries to be in. They normally baptized more than both the Spanish and English Wards, but the last 6 months has been really slow. Hopefully we can help them get back on their feet. I am excited to be here!! If I stay both transfers I will have been in Corona a total of 10 1/2 months. Good thing I like Corona! Some missionaries don't but I do! I have now served in 5 wards in the stake. I can go most anywhere and know somebody. I don't think I mentioned this yet but we also cover the YSA ward. That is super fun, but also really awkward sometimes haha. It is a pretty small YSA, but we are teaching somebody right now who will be getting baptized soon if her parents allow it. Going to Family Home Evening on Mondays is fun. Two churches gets a little long, but there are cool people there so that helps. This week was pretty slow, so not a lot happened. I will do my best to remember what I did though and tell you about it. 

Monday was the day we didn't have time to E-mail. All I got done was writing to the President. That night we went and tried to visit some people, but no luck. We also went to Family Home Evening in the YSA Ward. It was a Halloween party! We got some costume stuff we were going to wear over our Missionary clothes, but we were late to the party and were only going to be there for a little bit, so we didn't put them on. It would have been fun though. I had a blond wig that looked like Justin Beiber hair and I put a snap back over it also with a tank-top and gym shorts and a pair of vans. Elder Robbins had an ugly brown suit and a Afro wig. We should have done it!! 

Tuesday we had our normal Tuesday meetings. This is where the week started to get slow. A return missionary was visiting the mission and stayed in the Auburndale Ward. He came out with us a few times. He helped but he also slowed us down. He is one of Elder Robbins favorite missionaries so it turned more into hanging out then doing work. I was a little frustrated but it wasn't too bad. 

Wednesday I forgot to take notes, so I really don't remember what we did. I didn't do the best at taking notes all week, so this letter might be a little dry haha.  

Thursday we went to meet and teach a recent convert. His name is Eddie. He married a member named Katlin. They are super cool. Other than that we just stopped by and tried to visit people.  

Friday was more of the same. Pretty much all the set lessons we had cancelled on us.  

Saturday we helped somebody move. The cool part was it was raining!!! Well the family that was moving wasn't that happy about it, but I was! It finally has cooled off a little! I heard it is supposed to heat right back up though in a few days. We will see. Right now it doesn't bother me much either way because it isn't blistering hot anymore and I am in a car, so I am climate controled hahaha. Best part of the week though was Saturday night. Earlier in my E-mail I said the Auburndale Ward is famous in the mission. One of the reasons is because of a family called the Wheats. Their kids are popular and really strong in the church. The Wheats house is also one of those houses that all the friends come and hang out at to all the time because they have tons of fun stuff like ping pong, other games, and bumper pool (the same house about a year ago I told you I played bumper pool at) and lots of food. They are a super missionary minded family so they have us there a lot when the kid’s friends are there. As a result there have been lots of baptisms and tons of people’s lives changed. They have an event once a month called "Treats at the Wheats" where a bunch of people come and play games and eat food. We make friends with them and then start teaching them! It’s actually a lot more natural then otherwise. Before we went we already had in mind somebody we wanted to work on. Her name is Jenna. She is really good friends with one of their sons. She came to Stake Conference and liked it. She also was at their house once and saw a “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet. She read a bit of it so "Momma Wheat" (everyone calls her that) gave it to her. Then she read the whole thing! She met Elder Robbins and Elder Feist at Stake Conference but she wanted to talk to us at Treats at the Wheats. We made friends with her. She seems really interested so hopefully we get to meet with her this week. Her parents don't take her to church so hopefully they don't mind. They don't seem to have a set religion. We also met a lot of other people as well that we are going to try and catch up to. I tried to get Steve (the Wheat’s son) get one of his friends there. He plays football for one of the high schools here in Corona and he is the 1 or 3 best high school quarterback in the nation. He is already signed on to play at Alabama. He didn't end up asking him, but he would be a cool kid to baptize! Maybe we could get him to switch to BYU or any Utah school really haha. We had to step out in the car from Treats at the Wheats to get transfer calls. I am staying here with Elder Robbins. 

Sunday we are super busy. We have two wards, and two ward councils. They overlap in really awkward ways ha, so it is a good thing we have good Ward Mission Leaders in both, because we can't be everywhere! This was my first YSA testimony meeting. I was thinking it was going to be a whole lot worse than it was. I was ready to get up and take a lot of time because when we first got there nobody was there! But it filled in and so did the people bearing testimony. At night we had a lesson with a referral some other missionaries gave us for the YSA ward. His name is Dupree (said Dupray) He was really cool and very open. When we asked why he wanted to meet with us he told us he wanted to learn more because he felt an emptiness in his life. That he needed more of the Word of God. Then he continued on to say he also didn't accept what other people had told him about Mormons and that he wanted to learn from the source itself and see if that is what he needed. Well that made it really easy to teach him and testify that this is the path that God wants him to take!! Our Ward Mission Leader in the YSA and his fiancée are both recently returned missionaries so that also made it easier to teach him. We all took turns doing how to begin teaching. I have never had a member help me with that before it kinda threw me off at first because I wasn't expecting it! We didn't even tell them beforehand to do it. I think the church as a whole will change when all these missionaries serving now get into the leadership. There was a huge difference in how we taught that lesson and our future plans. For example we have a lesson with Dupree tomorrow (Tuesday) and then Wednesday Skyler (our Ward Mission Leader) is going over with another RM to read the Book of Mormon with him. I thought that was awesome! I have never had a member offer do something like that! Even if they did I would never let them go without me because I would be freaked out they would mess it up! I trust Skyler though. Especially with the sheer number of how many returned missionaries there will be in the future. I think this has a large portion of the hastening of the work. Well that is all I have for now!! Love ya!

Elder Wood

 

Monday, October 27, 2014

7 Hours of Church

October 27, 2014

Dear Family:

Monday I was transferring so I got up and moved out my stuff first thing.  It took 2 cars.  I need to get rid of some stuff.  I should specify 2 mission cars, so you can't fit much.  Normal P Day after that.  Got to play some guitar with Elders Feist and Larsen.  We were supposed to go there today and write a song, but my comp messed up that plan!
Tuesday we had DDM.  The first day in the new area was not fun.  I did not have the best attitude about the mid-transfer.  Don't worry.  I repented later in the story and came to terms with it.   My new companion is Elder Robins.  I didn't really know what to do.  That was really his whole week.  He doesn't seem like he knows the area at all.  The problem is he has been here 3 months! 
Wednesday Brother Mike (my old Ward Mission Leader) took us (me and Elders Robins, Larson, Feist, Penell) to this awesome place called "Cowgirl Cafe".  It was so good!  It is a breakfast place and the portions are huge!  Brother Mike wanted to take us there before I left so Luckily I didn't leave the stake.  By the Way I wasn't with Elder Robins, I was on exchanges with Elder Pawleti.  He is one of the Spanish Speaking Missionaries.  We had a good day.   We were in his area.   All of the lessons but one were in Spanish.  The one lesson was with a guy who's name I can't remember.  He is a recent convert and going through a super hard time.  The Spirit was really strong to the point where we were teaching way beyond our own experience.  I just mostly set back and waited to see what else came out of my mouth from the spirit.  I pulled my pen out and took notes about 2 or 3 things.  It wasn't on what I was telling about, but on something I needed to learn about teaching people.  So I was learning a few things!  Hopefully he was too.
Thursday morning we had splits.  We had dinner with a Part Member Family in the ward.  The only reason he hasn't gotten baptized is cuz of his drinking problem.  He has to quit now cuz of his health.  Hopefully he wants to get baptized.
Friday I was on exchanges again in some other Missionary's area. On a bike.......  Good day though.
Saturday was a normal day.  Just us trying to visit a ton of people.
Sunday we had like 7 hours of church.  We are over a family ward and the Young Single Adult (YSA) Ward.  We had a lesson with a YSA investigator.  Only reason she isn't baptized is because her mom is an atheist.  Well that's it for now, I need to send this letter or you won't get it this week.

Love Ya! Elder Wood