Monday, January 27, 2014

I'm an Old Missionary!

January 27, 2014

Dear Family:

Guys.. I just realized I am an old missionary. It was kinda sad. It took a while for it to hit me. A couple letters and E-mails saying you're at your hump!! That and Elder Child won't stop bringing it up ha. It has gone very fast. I am afraid of how fast the next year will go! I have loved every minutes (almost ha) of my service to the Lord. I don't do the best job of showing it through my letters (sometimes this is my venting session!), but being a missionary is the life!!
Monday was pretty boring. We didn't have any miles and the library was closed, so we didn't go to zone activity. We are the farthest companionship away from everybody else. We just stayed home. Cleaned, cooked, played with the dogs. Just stuff. Nothing too exciting once we went out that night.
Tuesday was busy. Had DLC and then DDM. Both were good. I didn't get as much time to train the missionaries as I like. I am trying something new and having everyone in my district give a 5 minute training. Accountability and all the opening stuff took extra long and then Elder Child took more than his 5 minutes!! It's OK, I will just save it for another time. After that I did a baptismal interview for Alisia. She is an investigator that two sisters from the El Cerrito Ward in my district have been working with. El Cerrito is a hard ward. Last year they only had one convert baptism. It is cool to see those sisters doing so well. We had a lesson with Delphina. We taught her about missionary work and temple work. There are like 10 non-members in that house. We are really trying to get some of them to let us teach them. We Met with Carlos as well. He isn't progressing very well. He is on my list right now.
Wednesday we met with a return missionary in our ward. We are trying to teach some of his friends. He showed us a way he used to get referrals in his mission. His name is Joe, he served in Guam or Micronesia maybe that is the same place. He went into an area that hadn't had missionaries in a really long time. They worked super hard but only got one convert. After he got baptized they did this lesson with him and the island he was on exploded with work. People were lining up to get taught. One day they got a team-up for each comp so they could teach two lessons at once. They sat a little ways from each other and then stayed in one spot for 6 hours. People were lined up waiting to hear the message that their friends invited them to listen to. One day they got 112 referrals. Now I don't think we will have the same effect here. But we are going to fine tune the lesson for the states and try it out. If it works we will share it with the other missionaries. If it helps us find one person, I am ok with that. More would be nice though!! We had a lesson with Mike. It was fine. I have been getting frustrated with our investigators lately. We have all hard ones now.
Thursday I woke up stressed after a bad dream. I dreamed we were leaving the church and I was really frustrated because we hadn't gotten Delphina to church to get her confirmed. In my dream we forgot to go get her!!  We met with Logan. I don't feel like he can learn that much more. He knows plenty. His parents just are making things difficult. We finally caught a member we have been trying to chase down. She is friends with a part-member family we have been trying to catch but moved somewhere else in the ward. We found out she moved like 4 houses down ha. So now we just have to catch them at home. At night we went to Delphina's house with the intent to teach her family, but none of them would sit down with us. So we will keep trying.
This is a part member family with kids who we have been trying to run down. They live on the same road as us so we try all the time. This sign didn't used to be there. I think they bought it for us. I have been knocking anyways.
Friday we went and gave a blessing to a non-member here in the hospital. A lady in Utah called us and asked us to do it. She asked for your number. I guess to call you. I didn't talk to her I was driving, so I am guessing you got a call from her. We had interviews with President Smart at the stake center. I had some good questions and things to talk to him about this time. The interview always goes by super fast!! I don't know how. We had a good conversation.
Saturday my nightmare about not getting Delphina to church came alive to haunt me. The members we were borrowing the wheel chair from said we couldn't use it anymore because the medical facility it came from wanted it back. It took us a while to talk them into it. This week we are having some ward members get one with her insurance. That is something we tried to do the first week, but the member who was helping us out forgot to tell us he wasn't going to be able to get her one. We had a breakfast at 7 at the church with the stake leaders and all the missionaries in Corona. After that we had a meeting. We met with Mike again. We went to Alisia's baptism. I tried to get an investigator there, but it didn't work out. We are supposed to have a investigator there for us to go. Alisia asked me to be there though, and I wasn't going to say no! I was sitting there when President Smart walked in. I love seeing him, but not as much when I could be being more effective elsewhere. It was fine though, he knows a lot of district leaders go to the baptisms for lots of different reasons. Get invited, make sure the sisters can fill up the font (it's been a problem in the past!), and I think that's all I can think of. What made it worse was the other set of sisters in the district showed up for no reason! But I couldn't say anything to them about it because I didn't have an investigator there! Oh well. It's pretty funny really. President left for a call and then came and sat by me in the back. We left early so we only got to talk to him before it started.
Sunday we did get Delphina to church! But Mellisa was super sick, so she will have to get confirmed next week. After church Elder Child got to go back to Hemet for a baptism. I stayed and took a Priest out to work with me. We only had 2 people at church. I made a goal for 4. We will get them next week though!

Well that's all I have for this week!! Love ya tons!!

Elder Wood


Monday, January 20, 2014

Filling the Font

January 20, 2014 

Dear Family: 

Well this has been an exciting week! First week with the new comp, had two people get baptized and some extra excitement that happened with that. 

Monday was a sad day. Elder Hammond flew out, Elder Feist moved zones but I got a new comp so that was exciting. We squeezed in a trip to the bowling ally before everyone bailed. Elder Hammond and I went back to pack. Elder Child showed up about 4:30ish I think. Elder Hammond had a lot of stuff he gathered in the last 3 months. He shipped a box to Australia that cost about $150 and loaded his suit cases until they couldn't hold anymore. The office Elders were supposed to show up at 5:30 to come pick him up to take him to L.A.X. I didn't get to go this time because I already had a companion. The office Elders ended up being 50 minutes late and I let them know that I didn't like that. He must have still made it to L.A. on time because I haven't heard otherwise!  
It's too hot for January!

Elder Child eats weird things

Tuesday we had District meeting as usual. We met with Mike that day. I have to pray a lot to go into that house with the spirit. They have two dogs that I really would rather not spend any time with. And I love dogs!! We are working with some pretty stubborn people right now. I am beginning to understand more the overwhelming amount of patience Heavenly Father has for his children. How he does it, I don't know. Mike is one of those people. The hand of the Lord is so prominent in his life and after reflection and us trying to show it to him he still refuses to recognize it. We have asked him to pray twice out of our 3 lessons. The amount of times he had prayed in his life to that point he could count on 1 finger, when he lost control of his semi. Both times he prayed he cried. He said he felt enlightened. We try to help him see the correlation with that and the spirit but he just doesn't seem to get it. We will keep working on it though!! We met with Delphina and Melissa everyday this week to help them prepare for their baptism. 
 Elder Child hits 6 months in the Mission and wanted to burn a tie

May have been a good idea!

Wednesday was pretty much the same. Delphina and Melissa got interviewed by the zone leaders. Normally that is what the district leaders do, but I can't interview her because I taught her.  

Thursday we had weekly planning. Elder Feist had to come back to go to the doctor, so he stopped here and ate lunch with us. He is in a trio. I feel bad for him, he is pretty much babysitting the two that he is with. That night we ate with Mike's in-laws and he was there so we taught a lesson after. That night I saw something I really didn't like. We have been trying to chase down a family for a long time who's son just turned 9. Now to get baptized he has to be taught by us. I was expecting this to be the easiest baptism I have been involved with. His parents are both returned missionaries (from the same mission which I think is a big part of the problem), who have been home about 10 years and not a lot of that time in activity. It was scary what their son didn't know and I was disgusted with his parents (no I didn't say that, but I think by the surprise we showed I think they know) . He didn't know who God is, and had no idea why it was important. His mom has him scared of being baptized because he has to read pray and go to church because he promised Heavenly Father he would and she straight up told us she was not willing to do those things. She doesn't really support us being there, but won't completely deny us. The husband and wife disagree about him getting baptized. The dad however seemed remorseful. If we have any hope of support it will be from him. It really blindsided me. I had no idea we were going to have to try and talk a return missionary into letting us work with her son. The idea didn't even cross my mind, but once it did there were a couple of scriptures in Doctrine &Covenants I would love to share with her. 

Friday we tried to met with Carlos, but no success.  

Saturday we met with Zack. We have been trying to meet with him all of last week and this week. He is completely different from Mike in every way except for in his stubbornness and the greatness of it. He has had witness after witness showing him what he needs to do. In the time that I have been here I have seen 5 very easily seen miracles all testifying that he needs to be baptized now. He has had the discussions before, we haven't gone over that at all. All we have done is shared scriptures that we have been led to by the spirit. I originally wasn't going to teach him, he is one that gets worked with enough and I didn't feel inclined to. Two weeks before Elder Hammond left Zack kept popping into my head, I brushed it off for a while. After a while I gave in and sought out to meet with him. The last week he was here we finally got to meet with him. I had 3 scriptures in mind. Other than that, no plan. By a miracle I wasn't expecting it turned into one of the most powerful lessons I have ever taught. He felt something that night. He admitted it to me. He knew what I was saying was directly from God. He committed to being baptized on a specific date. After 8 years of missionaries in and out of his life he felt something and committed, that is what he told me. Unfortunately the spirit left with us and he didn't feel the same the next day. He got invited to church by a member so his plans were all ready to go. They said the same thing at church. A friend brought him a talk by President Uchtdorf that talked about when the best time was to plant a tree. Another miracle it stayed on the table until I saw it. The next huge one was that I remembered what it said. I pointed out the other witnesses he had received that he was choosing to not accept. We had another lesson. We showed him the hand of Heavenly Father in his life. We testified our hearts out. We showed him scriptures. Then scriptures that showed him what would happen if he chose not to act upon this message. Sadly he still isn't giving in, now I am praying like Alma did for his son.   
Checking the Font Depth

The Baptism of Melissa and Delphina


Sunday was stake conference. It was a broadcast from Salt Lake. President Eyring, Elder Anderson, The General Relief Society President, and a member of the 70 spoke. They were all wonderful talks. All about missionary work. I think some of the members think that they will eventually stop getting hammered with the hastening of missionary work. I am going to start telling people that it will never stop until everyone starts to do it and we are ready to receive more responsibility.  That night was Delphina and Melissa's baptism. It is great to see the changes they have made in their lives. Elder Child and I went early to fill the font. There were 4 baptismal services that day so I knew there was water in it. But we wanted more!! So I changed and got in. I plugged the overflow drain so we could fill it as high as possible. It was good, but then the ward mission leader came behind me and put more in. Oh well! I wasn't going to try and get rid of just some of it and lose too much. Melissa and Delphina both asked me to baptize them. I try not to do that, I really want members to do it, but I always took ladies over to be her fellowship and they can't baptize em! Melissa went first and when she got in the water was right at the top of the stairs. When she went under it ran over into the walkways, no big deal at all. When we got Delphina in (which was scary because she can't really walk) and then 4 Elders, water was running into the relief society room haha. Nobody is going to forget me!! Somebody went and grabbed a shop vac and started on it right after the service. I had Sister Tucker and Young from my district give a 5 to 10 minute restoration lesson for their family that was there. Delphina and Melissa told us about the overwhelmingly good feelings they had and the spirit they felt. The ZL's hung out in the changing room. They forgot extra white shirts haha. I hope this is a better letter and is a good one. I had extra time because I didn't have to take other Elders to the library so P-day was a lot different today. Well love you all!! Bye!!
I'm watching you.  (This is one of the dogs that live here in our home share)

P Day at the house we live in. 


Monday, January 13, 2014

Elder Hammond is going to Australia!

January 13, 2014

Dear Family:

Well Elder Hammond is out and I am staying in this area. That is what I wanted. Elder Hammond got his visa, so he is going to Australia today. I am getting my first Utah companion. Elder Child. He is from Kaysville. He has been out about 6 months. He has been in Diamond Valley in Hemet the whole time. That is the ward right next to my first ward. I left Hemet the same transfer he got there. The same guy who helped me move to Riverside is the one who is bringing him here. Brother Reves he is a cool guy. Plus he has a Raptor so he is even cooler.
Monday we went bowling again. It was probably the last chance I will have for a while. We had a group that all liked it. We will see if anybody else will want to go. That night our dinner cancelled so we called the Hoyts. They had more company that we met the day before. They were all going out to Chili's to eat so they just took us with. It was super good as always. The hard part was the BSC bowl game was on. Elder Hammond hated it because he hates Auburn and FSU so he didn't even know who he wanted to win. We tried hard not to watch it haha.
Tuesday we had district meeting. We has a great lesson with Delphina and Melissa. That night we exchanged with the zone leaders. I stayed in the area and Elder Locklear came with me. Elder Hammond went with Elder Wood into the other area.

The Wheel Chair Elder Wood and Elder Hammond got for Delphina
Wednesday we got a lot done. Good lessons with Delphina and Mellisa, and Logan. Dinner fell through again but they gave us money so we went and ate pizza. We had a crazy experience after we ordered and came back to pick it up. We ran into this guy who said he was friends with President Ukdorf and knew more about the church than we did ha. Elder Locklear is super knowledgeable and not one left without words but he didn't have anything to say back. The guy wasn't a basher, he was encouraging us. We still have no idea who he was and why he had an accent. When we exchanged back Elder Hammond and Brown Wood (the whole mission knows us as white or brown Wood) didn't have that great of a day.
Thursday We had a great lesson with Zack Patterson. He is married to a member. Bro Hoyt had a birth-day that day so we showed up there for dinner for his surprise party. We got a call that night from President Smart saying Elder Hammond had his visa.
Friday We had another lesson with Mellisa and Delphina.  We went to Riverside to get Elder  Hammond’s Visa and airplane ticket. While I was there I showed him what I biked in Canyon Crest ward. It was nice to just power up the hills in a car. We ate with the Walters and taught one of their friends. She wasn't really interested.
Saturday we met with Logan’s dad and talked about the baptism. He is still holding him back mostly because he is an atheist. After that we caught the Wongs, they have a son we want to work with. We have a return appointment for Thursday. We met with Mellisa and Delphina every day this week. We are helping them overcome some things. Delphina’s daughter Veronica came back from the hospital so we got to see her again. I’m out of time! I might send a note once I get back home. Love ya have a good week!!

Elder Wood

Monday, January 6, 2014

Busy and Successful Week with a Small Miracle


January 6, 2014
Dear Family:
I am going to have to write fast! I had an awesome week! And I am already short on writing time...
Monday Elder Hammond and I went to Riverside to get him a Cali driver’s license. He didn't renew his before he came out so he can't leave the country until he has a new one. It was also his B-day. He is 19. We went to the mission office to see some missionaries there. We went with Elder Cook and his new comp to breakfast even though it was like 10:30. He seems to be doing well. After that we stuck our head in the Tyler Mall, but didn't have time to look at anything. We went and E-mailed and then went bowling.
Tuesday we had DLC in the morning. That is where the zone leadership gets together and figures out what the zone focus and stuff will be. We normally have one a week. This one made two, we had to do this one because the AP's were coming. We actually had our zone focus already done and they made us change it... but I like this one as well. That day we found a new person to meet with but he couldn't do it that day. Carlos Nunez. He is married to a member. We had to be in by 6:00 for the New Year. All the Elders got together at a church and played basketball and board games. That night the Hoyts had tons of food out they were trying to get us to eat. We didn't fall asleep for a while that night. We could hear all the stuff they were doing in the next room. Right before midnight I asked Elder Hammond if he was asleep. He said no, I told him that was a good thing because he would have gotten woken up. Bro and Sis Hoyt were in bed as well. The cousins and TJ (son) went crazy with banging pots and stuff. It was super funny even though I couldn’t see them. The next morning one of the pans was all messed up. They have some fun traditions.
Wednesday we had "Mission Wide Deep Clean Day" We weren't supposed to be out until noon. We had two lessons that day. This week Elder Hammond and I committed ourselves to work crazy hard. We haven't had a lot going on in this area and we made a goal to hit the standard of excellence. The standard is kinda like the mission goal for number of member present lessons, total lessons, church attendance, OYMs, that Pres sets for everyone. If I was to go back to Hemet that would be so easy now that I know what I am doing, but in this area, it is hard to get. Pres. sends an E-mail with everyone’s names who gets it in a week and it is a pretty short list. It all started on Wednesday, but we didn't make a whole lot of progress.
Thursday we met with Logan and his mom finally let us talk to her about him getting baptized. She is having a hard time with it. We are making some steps and he should be able to do it this month. Later one of the sisters in my district asked for a blessing because she was sick. Her first name was Erika. It was weird for me because the only Erika I had ever heard of was Erika Willard. Elder Hammond anointed. I accidentally said Erika Willard, instead of Erika Tucker.... She didn't like that very much haha. We had a lesson that night with Carlos. We have a lot of work to do with him. After that Elder Hammond got stuck in his seatbelt. I still haven't figured out how he did it. But he got pretty stuck. He accidentally locked it so when he moved it would just get shorter and shorter until he was about upside down. I thought we were going to have to cut the seatbelt haha. I told him I would have to cut his foot off so the fleet coordinator didn't get mad at me for damaging my car. He got out a little faster then. It still took him a while to get all the way out though.
Friday we met with Mellisa and Delphina. Veronica is in the hospital so she couldn't be there. It was a great lesson. I only have 10 minutes left on the computer!!!
Saturday We had a lesson with Mellisa and Delphina again to help them get to church. It took all the scriptures and testifying we could muster. We helped Delphina exercise her faith. She can't really leave the house but she has to go to church. It took a lot to overcome it, but we got her committed to church. All we had to do was get her a wheel chair. Wheel chairs aren't that hard to find. I found like 6 in the ward. The problem was we needed a big one. After calling people all day and a lot of prayers on Elder Hammond and I's part we got one!! It was a miracle in itself. We didn't get it to us until about 10 Saturday night. We also met with Carlos but he absolutely refused to go to church. It doesn't help that the ward brings his wife the sacrament when all they would have to do to get to church is ask their daughter for a ride. That bugged me. We have a lot of resources in the ward for him, we aren't dropping him yet. The lesson we taught him was crazy spiritual. I still don't know how he denied us in going to church.
Sunday I didn't think we would get the standard. We only had 3 people at church and we needed 4. I did lots of praying. We worked way too hard to have that hold us back. We got a tender mercy. A former investigator stopped in. I texted the ZL's. They said if I get a return appointment with him to count it so I did and by a ton of little miracles we hit the standard! I am out of time got to go!!!

Love ya bye!!!

Elder Wood