Monday, March 31, 2014

Back on a Bike!

March 31, 2014 

Dear Family: 

Well this is my weekly e-mail! It was a pretty good week! Went by really fast. Mid week Elder Child called me and told me Jacob Hicks wanted me to come back and baptize him on Sunday! I got permission from President Smart and a ride set up, but a few days later they cancelled because his dad's family is going to come from Utah to see him baptized. So it is going to be April 19th now. That is ok. So later Saturday I got another call from Elder Child and he was at Delphina and Melissa's house. He called so he could tell me Veronica wants me to come back and baptize her as well!! That will be this weekend. I am super excited for that. I also got to talk to Delphina and Melissa on the phone for a minute so that was awesome. They are still super happy and loving being members of the church. Delphina just broke her shoulder so she can't go to church or the baptism right now, so I am going to see if I can stop by the house right after the baptism. There is one thing that is a big concern with Veronica so I called Elder Child to see if he has resolved it yet. They are going to go over it and then just have president interview her, when we already know there has been a problem we can just go straight to him. No other missionary has to come in and do the interview. I don't know if she will get baptized this Sunday or not. It all depends on how well they go over this concern with her. I will have Elder Child call me after the interview so I know if I need to call President for permission or not. I will see him on Thursday so it would be awesome if he could do it before then. Anyways that is all really exciting! I sent Elder Hammond an E-mail so he knows what is going on.  
So Monday was a normal P-day. That night we went to Ron Allen's house. He is a less active who is starting to come back to church. He has a wife who isn't a member we have been trying to meet with. She wasn't there. Some other members where there we asked to come and fellowship him. Ron is an awesome guy. He is an officer, builds guns, and a heavy lifting champion. He showed us all some of his guns, he has a ton! He has a parrot, it was kinda mean though so we couldn't pick it up. It was fine with him though. The bird was super loud. He went to Temecula earlier cuz he had the day off. He got a new set of scriptures and some commentaries to get him back into the swing of things. 

Tuesday we had exchanges with the AP's. I went with Elder Coleman into Jurupa Zone and Elder Wilkinson (the one I lived with in Corona for a month) went into my area. I got to drive!! Elder Coleman's license just expired. They have a Cruz like I had in my last area. It is so much better than the Corolla we have. I don't like the Toyota at all. The only good thing about our car is that it is almost at 50 thousand miles so that means we should get a new one soon. I learned some good stuff. I think my favorite one is how he showed me how to do "how to begin teaching" I haven't seen anyone do it that way before. For those of you who haven't been on a mission while preach my gospel is out that is just something we do to set expectations with our investigators so they know what we expect and what they should expect. His way was bold and that is what I like as a missionary. I have adopted it and it was very effective this week. What we basically say is we are here to help people strengthen their relationship with God by helping then read, pray, and go to church, and be baptized. We expect you to do all of these things. it is pretty simple ha. A lot of missionaries just beat around the bush so people think they are just portable church. They don't even have to leave their house to hear the word. Elder Coleman also has the same perspective as me on a lot of things so it was cool to talk about that. He showed me a lot of talks I am going to print off. Monday night I stayed at the people's house who took us to the Hintons/Younkins house PMF (part member family) and they fed us. We didn't see them though. I went back to the Younkins house and gave them a hard time about it. It got us in the door so we could teach a little and introduce the Book of Mormon. No interest yet.  
Kemo Sabe you didn't tell me...

To sleep with one eye open around missionaries!
Wednesday I was back in my area. We had a sick experience. The standard for this mission is to baptize one person a month. We did good this month and we left ourselves a few weeks to find somebody else to get the next month. I have to make sure I get the standard, or I can't expect it from missionaries in our zone. That is one really cool thing about this mission. President is really laid back (with the missionaries he trusts) but the expectations are very high, and as of late they are becoming increasingly higher which is good. We are progressing as a mission. So ever since we got Michelle baptized in my prayers I was doing everything I could to either make somebody we already had solid (didn't feel as though that was going to happen) or find somebody. Wednesday we found them. We were just doing some finding, visiting some people walking around talking to everybody we see. We were doing what is called "mooning" some people call it inspired tracting. This way we go knock on a less actives who might have a non-member there or a pmf. If they fall through or just an appointment we tract 3 houses on each side (or whatever we have time for) because we figure we went to that area for a reason. So we were on a street named Pottery. There is a house I wanted to go knock on but the dog looked pretty mean (I am not afraid dogs), but I wasn't going to risk this one. I found out later the dog is very protective, he would attack if one of the owners aren't outside and let you in, but is a really nice and well trained dog otherwise. As we walked past a fairly tall guy walks out. We talked to him and he was very friendly! His name is Ron. He told us he knew quite a bit about Mormons, that he was actually raised one! At first I thought we had just found another less active person. He went on to tell us that he was actually baptized Catholic because his home was split between the two religions but never baptized Mormon. Ron said he had a daughter who was just baptized down in San Diego and was moving up to live with them in Lake Elsinore. Ron and his wife Karen have been talking and they have been wanting to go to a LDS church they just couldn't find one closer than Murrita (they live like 2 miles away from our church, problem there is 20 churches in those two miles mostly Spanish and the Dexter building is  behind a ton of trees and is easy to miss). So we set up a return appointment for Thursday because we had something else we had to go to about then.  

Thursday we picked up 3 new investigators!! Ron and Karen loved the Restoration and understood it really well! We put them on date to be baptized the 19th (I just realized I could be going to 2 baptisms that day, that is when Jacob is getting baptized). Hopefully they make that date, they just have to go to church 3 times and make sure they are good on all the commandments (normally where things get a little sticker) All day we could really feel the hand of the Lord inspiring us where to go and what to teach. We picked up Gus as an investigator and put him on date to be baptized the 19 as well (he is already off date because he didn't go to church). That is a part member family. They members all are less active. He would totally love to come to church but we have to get him some oxygen tanks because he can't leave the house right now. He used a compressor thing so he can breathe. We caught Cindy. She is somebody we have been trying to run down for a while. Turns out her sister (Jessica) who just moved in with her was baptized about a year ago in Murrita. We didn't get to have a lesson but things are looking good there.  
More Signs Around Town

Friday we had exchanges with Elders Thurman and Godfrey. Elder Thurman in training Elder  Godfrey. We do exchanges with all the district leaders and trainers. I went with Eldedr Godfrey into his area on bike. It sucked. I hate bike. I am never riding one again after my mission. You know those walks we go on as a family? And how I always just rode the bike to the side of everyone and messed around popping wheelies and being weird? Ya I'm not doing that any more hahaha. I am just going to walk from now on. I got more used to it as the day went on, but after a while my butt started to kill. I have been in a car for almost 6 months. I have loved every minute of it! That night when we exchanged back we were in Ortega's apartment. I was standing up talking to everyone, three elders were on the couch. Elder Godfrey asked if we could feel the building moving. Everybody else could feel the earth quake but me because I was standing up. I laid on the floor really fast but I missed it. There was a pretty good sized earth quake somewhere in Orange County I think. I also saw a cool road that went right up the side of the hill. Elder Godfrey said it takes you to San Juan Capistrano (in other words the beach!!) It is just over the hill!!! (actually the hill is like 30 miles wide).  

Saturday we heard from Carolina. She dropped us. We were going to drop her because she wasn't doing anything, but she beat us to it. She did tell us a weird story about the crazy lady that lives in her apartment complex. They had to call the cops to get her out. She chained herself to a chair and had tons of stuff all over the inside of her house. Like creepy stuff. Anyways!! We had another lesson with Ron and Karen. We taught them the word of wisdom. That was cool to do as the second lesson. Might as well bring it out and have as long as possible to help them get over it so they can make their date!! They felt like it was from God, but did say it was going to be hard. Karen has been smoking since she was 12. Karen had some questions about the prophet (current and Joseph Smith). As she prayed that is what she felt like God wanted her to ask about. It went well. We saw some weird stuff that day ha. One thing was we were driving and some kid was in the road with a bear head on his head. He was kneeling down acting like he was a bear eating grass. He even had some grass in his hand. That night is when we got in with the Younkins like I was saying earlier talking about their parents. We also taught Martha, it was pretty all over the place though. To many people there with too much going on.  

Sunday Ron and Karen came to church. They didn't get there until right as the sacrament was starting so I was freaking out the whole time until they got there. They really liked it!! Sister Haycock is another missionary in our ward and she asked us where we found them, that they are amazing. The reason she asked was because in gospel principles the lesson was on keeping the Sabbath day holy and they made some great comments and totally supported it. For 3rd hour it wasn't the best lesson for Ron and Karen but it was great for the ward. Especially right before general conference. It was about missionary work. We got the last 10 minutes of the class to say what we wanted to. I think some members think that eventually the leading brethren and local leaders of the church are just going to stop talking about hastening the work and move on to something else. Our ward mission leader (Bro Cassio) spoke first, then Sister Haycock, and I got to finish us out. I only got two minutes. I just told them what I thought. I basically said everyone in our life has been put there for a reason. Members and non-members alike. God does not give us our friends just to have fun. He wouldn't do that. In no way does that serve our purpose in preparing to meet God (Alma 34:32) He gives us friends to strengthen each other. I would have liked to talk about how my friends and family have had such an impact on my life but I didn't have time. It would have been even cooler if I had time to talk about how all of my friends either brought me farther or closer to God. That there are no grey lines you either serve God or Mammon, but we didn't have enough time. I said it is our responsibility to share the gospel with them. And it is quite selfish of us if we are not willing to share it because of the effect it has had on all of our individual lives and what it can do for them. I hope one day they will give us longer to talk about it. I don't want to do it in Sacrament, I don't think that is as effective. You can't ask questions and get comments. I wish they would have given us longer but that is ok. Ron and Karen signed up to come to all the service projects and ward dinners and stuff! They are really excited! On splits that night I got things set up for us to go teach a part member family we have been trying to get for a long time (Lakisha and Mario) Elder Ringwood got a good lesson with Martha. Jason (our homeshares son)  was with me. We caught one person we have been trying to teach using a bong with his friend. It was funny to see them try and hide it really fast ha. No such luck with the teaching though. 

Well I hope this letter makes up for last weeks!! This is a really really long letter ha. Next week should be great. We have a super busy week. Tuesday we have DLC, Wednesday exchanges, Thursday we have MLC in Riverside, Friday we have ZDM, Saturday we will be at the church all day watching conference (I am super pumped for it!! I love conference!!) Sunday too and maybe a baptism!! Also Saturday night we have transfer calls, but don't worry 90% sure our companionship won't change unless President does something crazy. With ZL's they are almost always put into the area for 2 transfers, get a new comp for 2 more and then they can either be ZL somewhere else, or just go back to DL, or just a regular missionary. Mostly just a regular missionary or DL. I did the math and my last transfer as a ZL if I am here 6 months will be with the new mission president. That should be interesting. I don't want a new mission president!! Anyways have a good week. Enjoy conference!! Maybe they will zoom in on Ronny and Lisa and I will get to see them!! 

Love ya tons!!

Elder Wood 

Monday, March 24, 2014

The ZL Go-Fers!

March 24, 2014 

Dear Family: 

Last Monday we had one lesson. We met with Martha. She is the one I was telling you about saying "ya mean?". She has a lot of attitude and is super funny. It was a normal P-day. We just spent all day at the church again. Not a whole lot to do in Lake Elsinore. 

Tuesday we picked up a new investigator. His name is Austin. He is our age. He is married to a less active member named Jerelle. Austin is a Jehovah's Witness but not a very devout one. He doesn't do any of the holiday stuff, but he is starting to give on it a little, and I don't think he ever goes to church. He has had the lessons before but it doesn't sound like a whole lot of progress was made. We also had a lesson with Art, Elva, and Justin. We went in with the attitude of this being there last week before they got baptized but things quickly changed once we got in there. Art's mom has been doing everything she could to slow them down. She made Art promise that none of his family would get baptized until after she dies (she is 96). I don't know why but he gave in and promised her he wouldn't. The whole lesson I just kept praying for knowing what to say. So right now things are at a standstill with them. We met with them on Thursday as well so I will tell you more about what happened then. On a less sad note I am liking being a ZL! You get some pretty funny calls. Somebody had called us to take them some stuff, somebody else wanted something at the same time, and then we got a call that a companionship was locked in the church parking lot so we had to go bust them out. They pulled in for like 2 minutes and got locked in. Just all sorts of stuff like that. It makes you see all the stuff that really goes on with the missionaries. That night we had exchanges with Elders Fransen and Muir. 

Wednesday I was in our area with Elder Muir. We had a super good day. We found a super cool investigator just outside of our area on accident. We put her on date on the doorstep and she was excited about it. Her name is Kristy. It was the Ortega Elder's area, but she was YSA (Young Single Adult) age so we gave it to the YSA Sisters. They will be able to help her better. Michelle had a lot of questions in her lesson. She never lets me resolve them all of the way because she asks another one before I can answer the first one. It is good though she is really excited. We are trying to teach her mom Pat who lives with her. I think that is how things originally started. She has been gone for the last week so we haven't been able to teach her yet. She did sound super on board but Michelle said she isn't that interested right now which is a bummer. We are still going to try once she finally gets back. We had splits that night so Elder  Muir went with our ward mission leader to do member visits. I went with somebody else to find new investigators. Ron Allen family is a part member family. He grew up in the church but has been less active for a while. We finally caught one of them home. His wife (whose name escapes me right now) was home and we had a half decent lesson with her. My team up is a car sales man and he has the personality for it. Sometimes he just keeps going and going and it is hard to get a word in but he likes getting work done and is really good at connecting with people so that helps a lot. I introduced the Book of Mormon and shared a scripture out of it. She doesn't have a high level of interest but she said we could come back. Turns out her husband came to church with the two kids and stayed all three hours that week. He had a meeting with the Bishop after and I think the Bishop helped us out a ton. We have a really good Bishop in this ward. That night Elder Ringwood sent me a text that told me to bring all his ties when we exchange back, so I grabbed a few of mine because I knew what that meant. When we got there Elder Ringwood was giving them all a talk that they needed. Two out of the 4 Elders think that it is worthless to set goals and work towards the standard. An older missionary was living with them a transfer before that influenced the younger missionaries that there was evil in it. It is just like organized religion it will be used for whatever you use it for. Some people use it to help them stretch, some people don't care, some people are just stupid about it. So he pretty much told them they will never reach even close to their potential as a missionary unless they are striving for something. After that we had a quick tie trading session. I hadn't done it before because I liked all of my ties too much. I got a couple of cheap ones like a week ago I didn't care much for so I traded with those ones. It was pretty fun to be honest. 

This guy is always on this corner and he always wears crazy costumes. We finally got a picture. He saw us and we are pretty sure he didn't like us taking pictures cuz he pulled up his helmet and just stared at us

Thursday we took the Spanish Sisters over to meet Art, Elva, and Justin so they could sit with them at church. Art's mom was going to come every weekend so they didn't come to church with the excuse of I don't speak English. I said no way, you are going to church in the Spanish Ward then. Things didn't go quite as I expected. Right now the sisters are going to teach Elva so she can understand it better. She has been having a hard time with it in English. The whole lesson was in Spanish, I don't think I have ever wanted to speak Spanish so bad in my life. Elva only wants us to go over once a week now so things will be slowing down a lot. Bro Cassio was there and he helped them understand better what is going on. I am at the point where I am just praying for things to work out. That night we had a good lesson with Martha. We got pretty bold. I love lessons like that.  

Friday we found another part member family. Gus Flores is the non member. He is a super friendly guy. Everybody else is baptized though so there has to be some concern that is there. Sister Mohamed fed us lunch after we already ate lunch so I was stuffed all day. Another lesson with Michelle but Pat still wasn't there.  

I found a cactus farm. and some goats...
Saturday we helped somebody move. Went to Martha's she told us she wasn't going to be able to make it cuz she was going to see her son who was in rehab. It was a good lesson, in the end she decided she is going to come to church and go see him after. Our other lesson fell through so we went and checked up on the Bishop. He got after the Ward Council last week about doing missionary work (which I was super happy about) so we went to go see how he is doing. We are having his family each make a list of the people they are going to be focusing on. Then we also asked him to follow up in Ward Council Meeting.  

Sunday was normal. Martha came to church. We had splits this time Elder Ringwood went to visit the investigators and I went with Bro Cassio to the members. They struck out and didn't see anybody, but we caught a few. That is about all. Things were pretty boring this week. Sorry this letter isn't very good, I'm not in much of a writing mood right now. Well have a good week!! Love ya!

Elder Wood

Monday, March 17, 2014

I Found More People from Altamont!

March 17, 2014

Dear Family:

This week was pretty crazy! So I am going to just jump into it.  

P-day was normal. Just hung out at the church. We went to the outlet mall here in Elsinore. It has a Nike Outlet and sometimes you can find a good deal. I haven't yet though. That night we got Michelle on board to be baptized on the 12th. 

Tuesday Michelle had her interview. It went well I guess. In a later lesson she asked us what Elder Rock was talking about. It was his first baptismal interview so he didn't really know to not use Mormon Slang. We saw Carolina. She is starting to be more difficult. Her manager said she can't have religious people over cuz it was starting some drama with a crazy lady there in the complex. We are trying to meet with her in a members home now. We got Michelle's baptismal program all set up at Brother Casio's house.  

Wednesday we had multi-zones in Menifee. It was just the Lake Elsinore zone and the Menifee zone. Elders Feist, Beeston, Locklear, Craig, Wilkinson (AP so he went to all multi-zones) were all there so it was good to see some old friends. It was a really good multi-zone meeting. I learned a ton. We got there at 7 or 7:30 and didn't leave until like 4. Michelle's baptism was at 7 and it takes about 2 hours to fill this font because it is bigger and slower. We got it done. Michelle was super nervous. She was like shaking and stuff. Elder Reed came back from Corona to baptize her. Elder Albright came back because he taught her as well. It was good to see both of them. You might not remember but Elder Albright was my first district leader and was a good friend back in Hemet. It was good to see him. I served with Elder Reed in Riverside and he is a cool guy too. He is planning on going to Utah State. We pretty much spent all day at a church building. We didn't really get to teach anybody. Michelle's mom Pat came to the baptism. Eldedr Albright and I did a 5 minute restoration lesson while Michelle and Elder Reed were changing. Elder Albright and I have been trying to get to be comps my whole mission, it just hasn't happened. We are going to be teaching Pat now. She knows she needs to be baptized we think. She just has to stop smoking and I bet she is good. I have never met with her before though.  
Elder Ringwood, Elder Reed, Michelle, Elder Wood and Elder Albright
Thursday we had weekly planning in the morning. We tried to get it done as fast as we could because we were behind for the week. We tried but we didn't get a whole lot done. People just weren't around. We tried to get a split so we could each try and visit people but we couldn't find anybody for it. We tried to teach Art and his family. Art's mom was there and she is super Catholic. That would have been fine but she didn't speak English so it was hard to defend ourselves. We sat down for a lesson and she just kinda snuck in. We started and then she just started talking over us. She just kept going on and on and on. I could tell what she was trying to get across and it wasn't very nice. Art looked really uncomfortable. She got pretty into it. She kept using the scripture in Ephesians that says One Lord One Faith One Baptism. If I knew how to actually talk to her I would have shown her what it says a few versus down just to see what she said, but we just sat there. After a bit Art just cut her off and we said a few things closed with a prayer and left. He told us not to worry about it, he said she doesn't know what she is talking about she just believes in tradition. I know one of the things she said is that she has had many visions and just because she had a vision doesn't mean she just goes and starts a church. Art told us he thinks she is crazy and then apologized. I think it might have been a good thing we couldn't understand her. I think Art liked how we stayed calm and dignified and still left with a good feeling. They met with Art the next day but I was in exchanges in another missionaries area. He told Elder Ringwood that he is still on board to be baptized, but he doesn't think Elva is ready. He said he was willing to go ahead and do it without her. So we will see how that goes!! 
Elder Albright, Elder Ringwood, Elder Wood and Elder Reed

Elder Ringwood Pretending to Pass Out

Elders Laughing and Not Rendering First Aid

Friday I went into Wildomar with Elder Peterson who is a district leader and Elder Camper went with my comp. It was a pretty slow day at the first. He has only been there for as long as I have been in Lake Elsinore so he didn't know the area super well. We ran into a road block before lunch so we took some time to work out some things in his companionship and district. Elder  Peterson is a super good guy and has a ton of potential as a missionary. It is just figuring out how to help him grown on his own. We talked a lot about stretching yourself as a missionary and what kind of effect that has on your life and others. He wants to progress so he is willing to work hard. If he just strives for the standard he will do well. We had one interesting run in. I found a list of people in a folder they had and I decided we should hunt down some people. We tried a few. One we visited threw me off. When we knocked on the door they stuck there head around the side and said "hey we are back here! come talk to us!" I was like this is weird, they are super nice. They asked me where I was from and I said Altamont. I got that face again like the Hunters did. Like I can't believe that word just came out of your mouth. It didn't take long to figure out why his name was Bart Lindsey. He said his parents are Fred and Shirley. Turns out his wife (who I think is his second wife, and isn't a member?) lived in Altamont too. She said she lived by Floyd Lyons and I about died haha. She lived in that house just south of Floyd, with the long dirt drive way you can sort of see from our house through Floyd's field. I guess her dad sold it to Gary Bird, I don't know who has it now. I think her name was Donna Batton but I'm not sure that is his past wife and the one on the records. Either way she said her brother is David. Bart also told me he just bought a 4 wheeler from Pete Watson like I was supposed to know who that was. Anyways it was a YFZ 450 so it is a sick one. He has a lot of bikes. His son is huge into motocross. Anyways he showed me the old corvette he had parked on main all the time. He also brought out his year books. He graduated a year before mom haha. Bart also asked how our old snowmobiles were doing. He knew that grandpa Leon bought two 440 Exciters and grandpa Ronny got the smaller one. I think he was right but I am not sure. Anyways that was pretty cool. I wasn't expecting that at all! 
Bart Lindsey's 1977 Altamont High School Yearbook

Elder Wood with the '77 AHS Yearbook with Photo of his Mother's Class

Bart's Corvette that he used to park on Main Street in Altamont
at Lindsay's Garage Across from Swasey's

Saturday was super slow. We only got two lessons. One with Michelle and the other with Lankarts. They are recent converts all except their mom. We are trying to teach her, but it isn't really working ha. We just tried to visit people all day. That morning we did a little service. The Parahinog's (our homeshare) made us breakfast. that was good. At dinner I learned about maté. It is like a South American drink that is super social. I don't really remember how that came up. somebody talking about their mission. I guess.  

Sunday was a bummer. Art and Elva didn't come to church. We had splits that night. I went and worked with members. Elder Ringwood tried visiting Art to see what happened but they didn't answer the door. I don't know if I told you about Jacob Crumell in my last area or not, but I met his mom on Sunday. He lives in Corona with his grandma. I taught him some of the lessons again after he got baptized right as I was starting in that ward. We had a good talk with his mom and she is super friendly. She has a 9 year old. She doesn't know this yet but we are going to try and baptize him. The dad is going to be a struggle though. The 9 year old wants to go to scouts but the dad won't let him because something to do with the church. I don't really know, but we will see how that goes. anyways that is all I have for now!! I will talk to ya later!!


Elder Wood

Monday, March 10, 2014

I Found Larry Henry's Friends!

March 10, 2014

Dear Family:

Another good week! Once again I forgot my camera so I don't have any pictures. I did get my hair cut this morning though and she said she was going to text the pictures to Dad. I will try and remember next week!! 

Monday was normal for P-day here. We just kinda spend all day at the church hanging out and E-mailing in the family history center. It is pretty fun, we have some good Elders here to hang out with.  
From Last Week Changing a Flat in the Rain

Elder Wood and Elder Ringwood


Tuesday was busy. We had DLC and DDM that morning. We met with a good amount of people, I will just talk about a few of the main ones. Oh! first funny story. So I am the new guy so everybody always asks were I am from. When I said Altamont the Brother and Sister Hunter who were feeding us dinner jaw’s dropped. They are like, “No way, we just went there a few years ago for Thanksgiving”! The Hunters thought they would probably never run into anyone from there because of how small it was! They said they stayed with the Henrys and asked if I knew them. I know Mr. Henry all too well from going to the Principal’s Office so we had a good time with that. I also told them how he stopped doing that and became my math teacher and had a great impact on me and was one of my favorite teachers. They know the Henrys because Sister Hunter's brother (Marcus Arthur) married Amber Henry. She is the one who I think is Ronny’s age. She texted Amber and she said that she knew "Ron" well. After that we met with Art, Elva, and Justin. We taught them the word of wisdom. We had a pretty crazy experience with that. They started to teach us that lesson before we even started the lesson. Art was telling us about how he was messing with Elva and called her when he was like 5 minutes from the house to tell her he was going to stay in Orange County that night and get drunk. She was all stressed over the phone because the day before he had decided that he was going to stop hanging around those kind of crowds and stop drinking so he could set a better example for his family. After that Justin just out of nowhere was like "Ya and smoking is bad, because your body is a temple and God doesn't like that" We just started the lesson and hopped right into it. They really liked it. They don't smoke or drink coffee. They only reason they make tea is just so they aren't drinking plain water. They are just going to switch to like lemonade or something like that. The lesson with Michelle that night was a mess. She got Anti-ed pretty hard. She wasn't down to get baptized anymore which was a huge block because she needed to stop smoking the next day so she could get baptized on her 40th b-day (that is the day she set it to be on). The other problem was that she didn't show up at 8 like she said she would. We called her and she said she would be there in 25 minutes so we went and tried to visit some other people. We went back and she didn't get back until pretty much 9 and the kids were being crazy so we didn't get the lesson started for a bit. We didn't have a whole lot of time to resolve her concerns. We are supposed to be home at 9:30. We didn't make it home by then haha. Unfortunately we didn't have time to resolve all her concerns either. However we did smooth things over and she was back on board to quit smoking the next day. 
Elder Ringwood and the Broken Church Door


Wednesday we tried to meet with Michelle earlier. Another thing from the day before. She lost her job, but that made it so we had a lot more time to meet with her. She has been going through a lot lately. She is getting divorced, and going through a lot of stuff all at the same time. We didn't catch her when she was home so Elder Ringwood went while I was at a lesson with the Fernandez family. That morning we had to run Elders Therman, Godfrey, and Rock to Riverside to get another cell phone. They are in a trio. Last transfer the ward was split, but this transfer we have an odd number of missionaries so they got put back together. President called them and told them Elder Rock is getting a mini missionary and they would be splitting the ward again and that they needed to come get their old phone. That took up a good chunk of the day. When we got to Riverside I was mad at myself. I tried to get two of the missionaries to stay in their area and work while we took one of them with us but I didn't push for it very hard. When we pulled up to the mission office I saw that President’s car was there. Oh well, I tried to get them to stay ha. So splits that night went ok. The Fernandez family wasn't going anywhere so I set it up to drop them if they didn't keep the next commitment (I didn't do it just in case my comp didn't agree). He did so we dropped them on Friday. He met with Michelle and I guess it went well. She was in a really good mood which she hasn't been in while I have been here! (We think she has emotional disorders so it's not completely her fault) He got her completely on board to stop smoking and get baptized. I was a little worried because I wasn't going to be there. Elder  Ringwood is really quiet and if she got mad she would just talk over him and he wouldn't be able to resolve her concerns at all. He is a little like Enoch. He had some speaking problems before he came out so he is really self-conscience about it. But when he does say something it is always really good. The advantage he did have is they have a better relationship because I haven't been here very long. Michelle is timid of new missionaries because she had a bad experience when they had AP exchanges last transfer and the AP really offended her. Like to the point where she was not willing to meet with them anymore but it got smoothed over. Because of this all the hard commitments had to come from Elder Ringwood or she probably would have disregarded them. I have been slowly working my way in though. 

Thursday was weekly planning. We tried to meet with Shawn Bedient who is the less active guy I was talking about. Got baptized as a kid and never came back until like 2 weeks ago. He got kicked out of his house by his roommate so when we tried to meet with him we couldn't find him. He called us the day before and told us how he wanted to work towards getting the priesthood and being a better member. Now he is looking for a job and I am a little worried the only one he will find will be one where he has to work on Sunday. He called us on a friend’s phone and we got to go talk to him. He was still really really mad. I felt bad for the friend’s daughter who was there, cuz he didn't hold back on what he had to say about his roommates. She probably learned some more vocabulary words haha. He needs to overcome his fear of praying. We are helping him with that. We saw Michelle again. Also Art, Elva, and Justin. 
Some of the "Sticky Note Goodby" the Walters Family put
in my Scriptures when I left Corona


Friday I had to go to Riverside again!! Elders Therman and Godfrey needed a German Book of Mormon. That killed the first part of the day. We saw Michelle earlier. She was having a really hard time from not smoking. She was really sick and having a hard time. We were trying to look some stuff up in the car and some random dude walked up to the car and started asking us questions. The hard thing was he was good. He was using stuff that I normally use against people so I had no comback cuz they are pretty much impossible questions to get around. Plus he had some of his own. You just have to be the one in control of the situation. It wasn't a bash, I hate those. It was a discussion. The only reason we didn't just bear testimony and leave is cuz he seemed like he might actually listen. After a while he changed and stopped listening and started arguing so we stopped. He is all sorts of confused. The popular churches down here a weird. They are technically called "non-denominational" churches because none of them believe in organized religion. What they don't realize is that they are super deceived by these churches because they are very much a denomination they just don't claim to be one. It is like saying you don't believe in gay marriage, but you are in one anyways. That is a pretty accurate analogy for it. These places are more like social clubs than they are churches. They teach good things they just get distracted. One of the things they teach is that in John 3:5 "man must be baptized....water and spirit... kingdom of God. Water is when they are born (they literally use the word placenta) and the spirit is just like all the way around the world after Christ died. So in other words they don't have to do anything. It is very convenient. Anyways that is just to give you an idea of what kind of religious background people have here that I am teaching. We met with the Fernandez family and dropped them. After the wife was putting together some dressers they bought earlier. We saw there was another one so we started putting it together to help her out. While we did that and she worked on the other one the two sons and the dad just sat on the couch watching weird stuff on you tube in the other room. She was super grateful. It was good cuz we got to leave them feeling pretty good about us.  

Saturday was Michelle's baptismal interview. She didn't show up so we just went to bug her at her house. She didn't answer. We were getting super worried. She called an hour later and apologized. She was sick and crying and having a really hard time with the withdrawals. She wanted to meet with us later when she was feeling better. It is hard because with this hard stuff going on especially quitting she doesn't want to see anybody. She hasn't met with us since then but we are praying hard every day she is still going to get baptized. We ate dinner with Art, Elva, and Justin. It was awesome. After we ate we had a good lesson. I got a text on Friday from a weird number. It turned out to be Eddie Lapara (formerly Elder Lapara who was my ZL in Riverside who is now home). He came back to the mission and wanted to come see me when he came down to Lake Elsinore. We had a good talk and he is doing really well. It was really weird to see somebody I served around driving around alone, with an iPhone, in regular clothes talking about regular stuff. It was cool I was happy I got to hang out with him for a second. He says going out with the missionaries is hard now because you are a lot more easily frustrated with the investigators because you don't love them the same. 

Sunday only Art and his family came to church. I tried all week to get somebody else there so we could hit The Standard but once again we were short one person. I heard both Jacob Hicks and Veronica from my last area are on the way to getting baptized so hopefully I get to go back for that soon. We were on the 15 (Interstate 15) when some people were driving down the freeway. It was a bunch of 20 year old boys. When they saw us they all started freaking out. I got worried at first because at first I thought they were like going to try and harass us somehow. Anyways a second later it looked like they were cheering us on. We had no idea what was going on. After that they floored it and took off. It wasn't until they got past we figured out what was happening. They had a Utah plate. They were probably all RMs.  We had a good rest of the day, but still no luck with Michelle. Well that is all for now. I might run back to the house really quick and grab my camera so I can send pictures. Well, have a good week!! 

Love ya!

Elder Wood


Monday, March 3, 2014

Fixing a Flat in the Rain

March 3, 2014 

Dear Family: 

Hi! It has been a really long but a really short week. It depends on how you look at it. Either way, it was a good one. So Lake Elsinore isn't quite what I was expecting. My area here goes from more humble than Hemet to way nicer than Hemet. But still not as nice as my last two areas. There are some nice areas in Lake Elsinore, it just isn't in my ward. Canyon Lake where my trainer served is right around part of the lake and it looks like it is a pretty rich area. I think our ward and maybe Ortega Ward are the two ghetto ones but ours is a pretty small chunk of it. I am sharing a ward again with another set of Sisters. Sister Haycock and Sister Sterner. Haycock is a really good missionary, she just got done being an STL and is now training a new missionary (Sister Sterner). They seem like they will be good Sisters to split the ward with. We shouldn't have any problems there. It is good working here. I haven't had this many names to work with since my first area.

So Monday was pretty crazy. Between E-mailing, taking care of a few other Elders and their transfers, and chasing down flowers, I didn't spend a whole lot of time to packing, but I got it all taken care of. Packing isn't any fun anyways. My ride brought a Nissan Frontier. We almost got all my stuff in it (I have a lot of stuff....). My bike didn't fit so we left it in the garage and he just brought it to me Tuesday morning. We actually went and picked it up from the Walters first and then didn't have room for it. It was at the Walters cuz that is where the sisters left it so I could get it back from them. I was hoping I would get to see the Walters for a minute but by the time we got there they had to leave to a dentist appointment. I missed them by like 5 minutes. We drove to meet Elder Ringwood (my new comp) at the stake center. It was actually 2 miles closer for me to drive there than it was more me to drive to the church we went to in Corona. Where we live is only like 2 miles from there. I live in another home-share. It is a family. The couple has 3 sons who all live there right now. John, Jason, and Kimo (his name is actually Andrew but nobody calls him that.) John will be moving to Utah soon. Jason will be going back out on his mission soon. He had to come home for a little while. We really only see the two sons, and they will only be here for like another month and then it will just be us. The mom works out of town so she is only home on the weekends, the dad works nights so we have to be really quite all the time. Even at night because he works from home (I think in customer service?) so we don't want them to hear us. So in a month it will probably just be me and my comp all by ourselves, pretty boring. I like living with them but I miss the Hoyts.  

Tuesday we had District Leader Council. We have all new district leaders so we get to form them they way we want them, (to do stuff). It is nice. It was close to a 2 hour meeting. That is how the one at the first of the month always is. The other ones are normally just an hour. We went through accountability, setting a zone goal, and making action plans for this next month. Elder  Ringwood reminds me of Lance Frandsen. Quiet, funny when he says something, pretty shy, but a super good guy. He is from Holiday Ut.  He went to Olympus High not Skyline High, so he doesn't know Trent (Blake's brother who is my age). Plus he wasn't really a social guy. We visited a ton a people. The two main ones were Michelle and the Fernandez family. Michelle is on date to be baptized on the 12th but has major depression and mental issues plus she smokes 20 cigarettes a day. Right now she is down to like 7. On the 5th she has to go cold turkey. Fernandez are just crazy. Missionaries have been there for a while. I don't know how well they absorb what we are teaching. We will see how they go. Hopefully we don't have to drop them. We got a referral (it was weird I haven't gotten a referral in a long time!) When we went to visit it we nailed a den of J-dubs. There was like 12 to 15 of them. They said they were about to go "pioneering" and I was like whoa.. Mormons are the pioneers take it easy. You guys just showed up. It is actually another way of saying they are going out to teach, he just thought he would try and seem all smart. We saw like 4 German Shepherds that day. People really like those dogs here. 

Wednesday we got two lessons in before lunch. I didn't even remember that you could do that. In my last to areas people weren't around until after 3 or 4pm. All in all we got 6 lessons. We had splits though. It was weird because I didn't really know anything about the people I was going to visit but it was fine. I found out that this ward? stake? I don't really know, has one of the largest welfare loads in the church. That really surprised me. Some of the places in this stake are pretty well off communities.  

Thursday we had MLC (Mission Leadership Conference). It is the meeting that used to be ZLC (Zone Leader Council) but we have the STLs now. That is where the President Smart, AP's, ZL's and the STL's all get together to direct the work of the mission and set a new month goal. It was from 9 to like 2. It was cool to work with all the leaders and get extra training from President. This month we have a goal of 100 baptisms. We committed to our zone doing 9 of them. We had lunch with all the district leaders and then they had a meeting after. It  was cool. Between the two leaderships all of my mission friends were there pretty much. I guess I just like good missionaries!! That night we had a lesson with Art, Elva, and Justin. We did a lesson on church attendance and the atonement. It was what the AP's trained on in MLC. They chose that because that is what has been holding a lot of people back from getting the Standard of Excellence and baptizing. We were doing a short training on it the next day at ZDM so we figured we better try it out. It was good, they have seen the missionaries for a while and haven't been to church. They committed to coming. We met with Michelle. We do everyday to help her overcome her addiction.  

Friday was ZDM (Zone Development Meeting). This is where we train the Zone. It was as lot different this time leading the meeting. ZDM as a missionary is normally something that is exciting but not as exciting as multi-zones. It surprised me how much it felt like I was just in a large district meeting. It wasn't out of my comfort zone at all. I actually really enjoyed it. The rest of the day was crazy ha. I forgot my camera, I will have to send the pics next week. It rained super hard. Some sisters in the zone hit a big rock and busted the tire right in the worst part of the storm. So Elder Ringwood and I went and changed it for them. I tried to get them to sit in one of the cars. They wanted to watch I guess ha. I was wearing a rain thing so I let one of them use it cuz she didn't even have a jacket. That is the fastest I have ever changed a tire! It was record pace, I felt like it qualified us for Nascar, but only a few passerby's witnessed it. One of them used my camera and took pics, but I totally forgot it. Elder Child texted me and told me they got Jacob Hicks back on date to be baptized. We ran out of stuff to do. We went to the stake center and built our report we have for the stake presidency and mission presidency when we meet with them on Sunday. We only had one lesson with the Micini family. One of the kids just got baptized so now we are working on his mom.  

Saturday we met with quite a few people. On Friday Michelle dropped us. She had been going through some hard stuff and decided to give up and would not meet with us. We knocked for a while but they wouldn't open the door. We picked her back up on Saturday. It wasn't easy though. I had a moment that reminded me of Jason's mission. When he came back he would always say "What It Is!!" and I never got it. He just said that is what a bunch of the people there would say. Well I taught one of those people but she would say "Ya Mean?" after like every 5 words even though most of the time it didn't make sense. It just kept reminding me of Jason talking about that.  

Sunday we had to be at the church at 6:00 to meet with the Stake president, one of the mission presidency, and the high councilman over missionary work. Art, Elva, and Justin came to church. If we would have gotten Michelle to church we would have gotten the Standard of Excellence. She got sick though. We had a lesson with Art and his family that night. As we were leaving Justin asked if he was sinning living with his parents because he isn't married to them (we had just resolved a concern about stuff to do with that) I just was shocked and didn't know what so say (he is 9), his dad said he would explain it. I was relieved ha. That was pretty much the week! Well that's all for now! Love ya tons! Bye! :)