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