Monday, August 25, 2014

The Old Man Challenge!

August 25, 2014 

Dear Family: 

Monday! And I actually have something to write about it!! We went to Menifee to try and "beat the old man". Some of the Elders in the mission were giving president Mullen a hard time about being old a few weeks ago. So he challenged the whole mission to a physical contest. He did it in two sections. I went to the 2nd one. I actually found out a few hours after the event that he made ours harder because one Elder beat him at the last competition. You have to realize that he is kinda an old man. He is Like 60 or 70 and taking on a bunch of 18-25 year old kids. You also have to know he is in awesome shape haha. He is into diving and has done 400 plus dives all over the world. He is also really into exercise. So we did a Cross Fit thing. It was a non-stop 20 minute workout that began with President putting a big garbage can in the middle of the gym floor for whomever was going to lose their breakfast. Luckily my last companion was Elder Hugie and we pushed each other for workouts pretty hard. That is the best I have worked out on my mission I think. Before we started he showed us all the exercises and then gave us different reps. only 6 reps for easy. 8 for medium. 10 for "keeping up with the old man". To beat him we had to do the last one and do it faster than him. I’m not going to lie it was pretty hard to beat him. But me and 2 others did it! One was in the military; the other was Elder Hugie, and then me who was about ready to use the trashcan ha. We have a lot of college athletes. If they had actually been in shape they would have whooped us all. The only reason I did half decent is cuz Elder Hugie would take pre-workout every morning which gets him going fast so with me just keeping up we had a lot of good workouts! After that about 20 of us Elders all showed up to an all you can eat pizza place. Nobody was there so nothing was out. They were super quick at getting all the pizza out there and stuffing us all. That is pretty impressive considering we had the two polys (Polynesians) with us that got the 2 for 20 at Chili’s for just one person and pounded it plus 18 other elders.  

Tuesday. I forgot to take notes this week, so I am going to be struggling on this letter ha. We had normal DDM. Pretty much what Elder Larson and I are doing is just talking to almost every person we see. We are in a major finding stage. So we have a lot of random street lessons, but not a whole lot to really talk about. I forgot how many crazies you meet on bike. Luckily we are in Corona so the number of crazies is the lowest compared to everywhere else in the mission! We had a meeting with the Sisters, the Bishopric, and the Ward Mission and other random auxiliary members. To me the meeting was literally going nowhere ha. They were trying, it just wasn't working. It felt very long for me. Mid-day we sorta had a lesson. President Krippen (he is in the Mission Presidency and lives in Lake Elsinore) has a friend in my area we are stopping by and doing service for, but he doesn't want us to push teaching really hard. Super good family. A younger family. He just got cancer and she just had a baby so they are having a rough time right now. He used to play college football, so we talked about that for a bit. We set it up for the Relief Society to bring them dinner 3 times that week. They have a crazy diet though. They are strictly vegan. Sister McKee told us it was quite the adventure to cook for them. 
Our Pet Lizard
Wednesday I stole the Spanish Missionaries car because Elder Larson has already busted his bike. He stripped out the peddle, but I think the Office Elders that put it together cross threaded it. Anyways we took it in the car to a bike shop and he has to replace the whole crank! So he got permission to call his dad (who is a bike guy) and he is sending the parts. I also went by and visited some referrals while I had the car. The Spanish Elders study forever anyways! They don't need it! We met with David. He has come to church before and the Sisters taught him a little before we got there. We put him on date to be baptized but he didn't come to church this last week...  

Thursday we taught the other David. Of the O'Flynn variety. He is the Irish recent convert I told you last week that looks like Robin Williams. He has a crazy story!! He could have told us about his life all night if he wanted to about what it was like in Ireland and how much he has changed. When we showed up to his house he was outside in his golf stuff. He is super good at golf. Before he was baptized how he got his money is he would basically just gamble at golfing and whoop whoever he was playing. He almost went pro a while ago. He had to give up the gambling to make money to get baptized though. Anyways back to him being in his golf stuff he is in a really humble circumstance right now so he can't just go to the driving range or go hit 18 holes. It cost too much. He had a mattress and he was smashing a golf ball into it. He was very consistent. He had a cover of sorts on the mattress because he was putting holes all the way through it. Sometimes when he would hit it, it would get stuck. His 3 kids are awesome. They are all on fire right now. All reading the scriptures everyday and praying. We had a good lesson with them. We also had weekly planning and Ward MCM that day as well.  

Friday we had exchanges. I was with Elder XXXX (Not Elder Larsen). He is an interesting guy. He reminds me a lot of Tommy, except a lot smellier than Tommy. We taught David and the next time David saw me he was like "where is that stinky guy?! If you had warned me he smelled like that we would have gone outside for the lesson!"  He has only been out 2 weeks. Hopefully he gets things figured out soon. At night we slept with all the windows open. He is really funny though. He is a Spanish Missionary, so that was helpful because half of my area is pretty much all Spanish speakers. So Elder XXXX whipped ‘em into shape with his 2 weeks of Spanish haha. It made for an interesting day!  

Saturday I was back with Elder Larsen.  We went and taught Omar. I dunno if I told you last week how we found him. Last week we went to his apartment because a former investigator used to live there. Omar only moved in a week or two before we showed up. It turns out his family has had the lessons before as well! So that is cool. His mom is a 7th day Adventist, so they had already been to church when we got there. He is a cool kid though. like 17. Wrestles, and wants to learn more!! 

Sunday was a pretty normal Sunday. We had a meeting to put together a lesson we are doing with the youth (they will be combined because it is the 5th Sunday) to help them with their  missionary work. Sorry got to go! Love ya tons!! 

Elder Wood


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New Companion Elder Larson and Back in Corona

August 18, 2014 

Dear Family: 

Monday was crazy! It took me forever to pack! I have a lot of stuff... I had a ride set up for 8 in the morning but that wasn't going to work. I hadn't seen everybody before I went so I set up a different one for later. When I got to Corona, Elder Thurman helped me unload my stuff. I served with him in Lake Elsinore. The roles are switched now though. It is kinda weird. He was training while I was a ZL and now I am training while he is a ZL! I stayed with him and Elder  Wood (brown wood) because he is training as well! This is the 3rd time I have been in the same zone as Elder Wood. He got doubled into Temescal Valley. That was the ward I was in last time I was in Corona. It was weird having him drive me around in my car! We had fun though. Monday and the first half of Tuesday we didn't really have anything to do. I helped Elder Wood out a little. I wrote down a list of people for him to see. The missionaries after me were idiots. The only and the last things that are in the area book (I opened a new area) are the things that I put in there, so everything that was done between Elder Wood and Elder Wood was nothing. I am not the best at using my area book, but I make sure that the new missionaries can find my old investigators! The Hoyts told me the area was dead and they had very few investigators, and I know they had taught a few people.  One’s name is Peter but now it is impossible to find him! I looked through the ward list and wrote down all the members I knew who were missionary minded and could help them out. I am going to have to bust this out quick I only have 30 minutes left!! 

Tuesday we went to Riverside to get our new missionaries! I love training. The two other times I have trained have been the best parts of my mission! They fed us dinner there and the meeting went long so we didn't get home until about 9. It was cool to see how excited Elder Feist was to train. That makes me a grandpa in the missionary world. I kept giving Elder Feist a hard time he was going to get a super weird one that did something dumb in front of everyone. I didn't really want that to happen though. We both got the two coolest ones by far! I was worried I was going to get somebody who was weird because this time I have been out for a while and I would be able to deal with it better. Elder Larson is really cool though. We have a lot of the same interests.  
My Posterity!  Elder Gormus, Elder Feist, Elder Wood and Elder Larson

My new trainee is the one with strawberry blond hair. His name is Elder Larson from Centerville UT. Elder Feist is training Elder Gormus, So in other words I am a grandpa (trainer)!!  

Wednesday we had DDM and got to meet the zone. I am so happy to just have to worry about my own area and not any other missionaries now. It is the best!! That is what I told President I would prefer. Our week didn't really start until Wednesday. We had a meeting with our Bishop. The Ludvicson's (the senior missionary couple in our ward) took us to somebody’s house they gave a Book Of Mormon too, but it hasn't gone anywhere yet. We had a bomb first dinner for Elder Larson. Younger couple, really cool. He is lucky he didn't get somebody wacko for his first one!  

Thursday we had his first real lesson. He is lucky he didn't have a crazy one of those too! I told him all the missionaries I have been with have had crazy first lessons to start them off. I guess the Lord really does answer prayers, cuz he answered Elder Larson's!! We met with our Ward Mission Leader both Thursday and Friday. Elder Larson busted his peddle off his bike his 2nd day, so the last couple hours we were on foot! I think the Office Elders cross threaded his peddle and that is why it busted. 

Friday we stole the Spanish Missionaries car to take his bike to the shop. He has to get a whole new crank which is over 100 bucks. He got permission to call his dad cuz he is a bike guy so he is just going to send us the parts and we will fix it. We made a big list and got things pretty organized. For the most part we just tried to find people to teach this whole week!! We went to lunch at Chili’s cuz it was Elder Thurman's B-day. 

Saturday we had two team-ups to take us around and hit people up. Nobody really answered or worked out though!! One of them was our Ward Mission Leader. I think he likes us more than the Sisters already. I share a ward by the way with the Sisters. I am tired of doing that. I want to share with Elders or have my own ward! I almost want to do something stupid so President doesn’t trust me to be around them all the time. I wouldn't actually do that though. Don't worry! The Walters from last time I was in Corona came and picked us up for dinner cuz we didn't have one set up so that was super fun. 

Sunday we scheduled so we could have max prime work our guts out time! But we still didn't really get any lessons. We will get em next week though!! There is a new recent convert we are going to be working with. His name is David O'Flynn. He is a super short Irish guy. He accent is awesome. He looks exactly like Robbin Williams except way shorter and more Irish ha. I told Elder Larson that and he told me Robbin Williams killed himself. I thought he was messing with me though. The members told me it was true though. Anyways David is awesome! I am super excited to teach him. Well I am all out of time! Love ya tons!!

Elder Wood

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Back to Corona

August 11, 2014 

Dear Family: 

We had a crazy awesome week. Only down side is I don't have much time to write about it so I will just have to give you the highlights. I am getting transferred today back to Corona! I knew I would go back to serve in Corona, but I thought it would be at the very end of my mission. I will take it early I guess! I am going to the Corona Ward this time instead of Temescal Valley. Brown Wood is actually going to Temescal Valley so that should throw them off for a little bit haha. 
Jr and his Family 
 The Bishop and his Family
 The Parohinog Family (our old Home Share)
Elder Hugie, Michael and Elder Wood

I am just going to hop right into Tuesday. One of those very boring DDMs again. I drew more pictures... I drew pictures of a pirate and his ship this time haha. That district leader has been released. I doubt he will be one again. It would have been different if he actually tried. He just didn't care. We had a super good lesson with Seth! We gave him 3 dates to pray for baptism. We also had him write down his testimony as homework. That was one of his concerns. He kept saying he wants to have a testimony first, but he already does! It was kinda a slow day. We saw other people as well. 

Wednesday we had exchanges. I stayed in my area with Elder Montague. The Olson's left for a few days so we took care of the dogs. I got to learn how to give the blind and diabetic one shots! I got to do it twice a day. I was afraid I was going to find the dog dead though. We always joke about that with the Olsons. He always looks dead. He just lays down in weird places and doesn't move for anything. We found the Erik Roblez finally. He is a recent convert. We taught him and his brother (Juan) a little bit. I would go back and teach him, but I won't be here!!  

Thursday Elder Hugie did the ice challenge. Ya know the one you see on youtube. So we picked up 30 pounds of ice and went to Jr.’s house and used his coolers. His face was blue an hour after it was done. We had to go get tickets early for "Mormon Night" at storm stadium. We were in charge of getting stuff set up. We had to find somebody to speak for all the missionaries, somebody to "chase the squirrel", and a bunch of tickets. We had already spent some time on the phone with a rep from the stadium. When we got there it turns out he is a member! And he actually used to live next to an Elder in the zone before the mission. Elder Gillette has only been out about 7 or 8 months. We called him and asked him to speak at the stadium. He didn't believe us. We told him about his neighbor who works there and he started to get pretty nervous. We weren't going to actually make him do it, we were just messing with him. We hung up with him and called him back like 2 minutes later. His comp said he was freaking out. Don't worry he can take a joke, we didn't freak him out to bad. It was pretty funny though. I called Bro and Sis Hoyt earlier in the week and asked them to come down for dinner because I was thinking I was going to get transferred to the opposite side of the mission. It was fun. They surprised me with TJ. I didn't know he was out of the Navy. So that was cool.  
 Mormon Night at the Baseball Game
Elders Hugie, Wood and Feist 
Elders Hugie and Wood and some photo bomber
Lake Elsinore Storm Game

Friday we had some really good lessons. At night we had a tailgate party for the Lake Elsinore Storm game. Elder Feist had to get special permission, but got to come down with a recent convert of his who used to play AA ball. It was fun to hang out with him at the game. The Lake Elsinore and Menifee zones were there. All the missionaries got to go down on the field at the first of the game while Elder Bushman spoke. He is the one from Midland. He did a good job, all we were asked to talk about it why we are out here and what we do. We couldn't really teach much. Elder Hugie "chased the squirrel". It was a mascot who is a college runner. He has never been beat at the game. If somebody beats them they get 500 bucks. He gave Elder Hugie a head start and a good lead, but then kicked it into gear and smoked him. I went with a few other Elders to mess with one of the mascots. They took us in through the dugout, so I got to stand in there with the players for like 5 minutes. Then they had us run out and distract the mascot and so one of the huge Poly Elders could come in and tackle him. People really liked that one. Even our new mission president.  

Saturday I got to go to San Diego Temple unexpected!! I was so excited! It wasn't for anybody I taught. I got to go with Elder Hugie with a less active person he worked with at the first of his mission. That is a new rule that we can go with our companions. I should be going back with Elder Feist soon with Pat. That was by far the coolest building I have ever been in! I really want to go back! I got a call that morning telling me I was training a new missionary again!! I am excited for that! Elder Hugie is getting switched to being a Chinese missionary. He picked up the language a little bit in Riverside. Saturday night I found out I am getting doubled into Corona. I will be opening up another area. For the 3rd time. I dunno why this keeps happening to me ha. 3 brand new phones. 3 brand new area books. Also this is the 3rd time I will be training a new missionary! I guess I am supposed to learn really well how to start from scratch. I think I got the curse from my trainer Elder Allan. He was a plower. He told me I would probably get the curse. They get sent somewhere to plow the way and then people come in after things are going. I am ok with it I guess. I am super excited about getting doubled in! I like it better. I have only not been doubled in once and that was here and I dunno if I really liked it.  
Elder Hugie and Elder Wood at the San Diego Temple

Sunday we spent all day saying bye to people. It was sad but it was time for a change. I have been there for 6 months. We have things set up really well for the next elders. The investigators all have a connection to the ward that will help them get used to the new missionaries. Also everybody is really close to getting baptized. So I expect to come back soon!! Well I am out of time, gotta go! Love ya bye!!!!  Elder Wood


Monday, August 4, 2014

Israel (Moses) Defeated their Enemies by Holding up the Staff

August 4, 2014 

Dear Family: 

We had another exciting week! I will just hop right into it 

Monday I did actually take notes, so I do know what happened. Worked out, opened church for Sisters as always, got things settled in more, played the guitar, E-mailed, didn't shop it was the end of the month and out of money!, played settlers, and then back to work! We had a cool experience that night. I didn't know where I wanted to go, so I just kinda drove while I talked about something else not paying attention to where I was going and ended up in front of Martha's house! So I figured we are here so might as well see what she is up to! I didn't realize that the spirit lead us there until after we left there that night. We had a super good lesson. She was off drugs and doing good a day or two before that and a day or two after but after that the cops showed up and she got super stressed and fell back into it. One blessing is that the one cop who comes and gives her the hardest time came with a less active member and Martha was telling them about her meeting with us and he gave her a lot more slack after that.  

Tuesday. The night before I must have had a rough night because I kept Elder Hugie up with my sleep talking again. I had a dream inside a bad dream. It was trippy. And also really hard to explain haha. In my dream I went home early from my mission dishonorably, and I couldn't remember why. I thought I was sleeping so I woke myself up. When I woke up I was at home (but obviously I was still dreaming). I remember I was running into stuff  and pinching myself to make sure I was awake. Next thing I know we are in the home chapel singing a hymn in our usual seat at church and crying. Then after that I actually woke up and had no idea where I was and was super stressed out. I had another weird dream this week about ruining the launch of a rocket with a fire extinguisher, not very realistic I know haha. I think I have been around crazy people so much I am turning into one of them! I guess a was pretty loud through the whole ordeal and kept Elder Hugie up. The Mosels came down here for something at their old house and took us to Chili's for lunch. It was super fun until some lady called animal control because their dog was in the car. We grabbed our food and ran and got things worked out. It didn't take the cop or animal control very long to show up. Ty Aragon was pulling though the drive through of Del Taco and saw us talking and he called and asked if my companion had bitten somebody. I guess he was trying to get our attention and was barking out his truck window at us, but we didn't hear him. I don't know I told you but we are now teaching one of the Sister's investigators. His name is Seth. He is about 17. We were told they needed some help with some stuff so we went to the church when we knew Bishop would be there. When we told him we were teaching Seth he was pretty excited. You might say that we are his favorites haha. Don't tell the Sisters that though. They are jealous about it enough as it is. 
Elder Hugie in front of the New HomeShare

Elder Wood doing a Rain Dance

This used to be a Pair of Pants???

WHOA!!!! That was close. I just accidentally closed this page pushing the wrong key and I thought I lost the whole E-mail but it was saved in the drafts!! Anyways Bishop helped us with Martha. He knows a member who has a super strong testimony and overcame meth and is open about it. He is very bold and says he has scared people in the past so we will have to balance him out, but he set it up so he can come with us.  

Wednesday another weird sleeping thing (I told you I had a lot this week). I woke up Elder Hugie again because I was yelling in my sleep "It's the Missionaries!!" We had a good lesson with Seth. He could be baptized anytime. He just needs to make the commitment. I think he is ready. We were supposed to have the member who was going to come see Martha come with us, but when we went to go pick him up, he thought it wasn't for sure that we were supposed to call him. He knew better. He was just being difficult, when we told Bishop he showed us the texts and it wasn't like that at all. He is kinda crazy too. He lives in a little camp he built in the next ward over and has 3 wolf/huskies. Some people call him the dog whisperer. I don't really know why haha. Anyways he will be a big help once he stops being difficult. We went to see Daniel but he was working from home (doing tattoos) so we had to come back another day. He was about to start a couple hour long one.  

Thursday we had MLC in Riverside with all the other Zone Leaders. Pretty much the whole time Elders Feist and Cook were trying to talk me into going to Dixie with them down in St. George. They are pretty persuasive, but don't worry I haven't switched to the dark side yet (sorry Lisa haha) Elder Feist was the most convincing. He told me he would go less active if I didn't go down there. He needs me to keep him out of trouble. It is kinda like Brett with Blake hahahaha. Elder Cook had some good arguments as well. I am pretty stubborn still though in going to Utah State. I don't think I can be wavered. We were in Riverside forever!! It was way longer because all the changes with the new mission president. Instead of them feeding us lunch and letting us go we ate lunch and went for 3 more hours.... but we got home eventually. Nothing huge, just little changes to how he wants to run things. Nothing hard to support. He is more lax in some areas and more strict than President Smart in others. That is just natural though. I think everybody likes him and respects him. During the meeting we kept getting calls from Bro. Parohinog because he was giving a ride to Michael to the DMV and I guess things got interesting. They didn't end up seeing eye to eye on some stuff and Bro Parohinog called him out on it. It was pretty funny ha. Michael needs that sometimes to keep him in line. I think by the end of it they were pretty frustrated with each other. At the very end of the night we went to some of the Sister's recent converts we just moved close to and painted action figures for a game they just bought. It is called Zombieside. I dunno how the game would be, but I like painting a zombie. I made it look like me. White shirt, black pants, blue tie, Book of Mormon. Then I might have added some blood to make the zombie look cooler, but that isn't important. The dad of that family reminds me a ton of Elder Hawkins.  
Are we really in California?
Friday we had ZMD. Elder Hugie and I did our best to get the zone pumped. We kept the meeting short. Let them take a break. We even did fun stuff to get their attention! It was better then past times, but for the most part they were still all boring. Mine was that I had Elder Blanchard  (he was the one in the army) hold his arms out holding up stacked hymn books (I had to go get a lot, he is pretty strong!) and then applied it to Moses holding up the stick and Aaron and Hur holding up his arms so Israel could defeat Amulek. We met with Terri. She is getting to be more solid every time we meet with her.  
Elder Hugie and Elder Wood
Saturday we had lots of lessons. Surprisingly a lot of them were totally un-expected. Either running into past investigators or whatever the situation. The one the surprised me the most was Anthony. We helped him jam a couch into his trunk that only fit about a 4th the way in, he found sitting outside somebody's house they didn't want. He wants us to come back now he has his life sorted out a little better. We saw Pat. She has been gone for like the last 2 weeks. Michelle's ex- husband was there so I got to meet him for the first time. They are thinking about getting back together and wanted advice. I told them to not ask me! Talk to Bishop about it!! The lesson with Pat and Michelle was as out of control as ever ha.  

Sunday we had a bomb day! All expect us having to be at the church at 6am that morning. But that wasn't that bad. Seth came to church. We went to Priest's Quorum with him. Jr. taught the lesson. We had a lesson at Bro. Cassio's after church with Seth and it was cool how the spirit is working with him in how well the lesson at church tied in with what we taught about trying to resolve his concerns. At church I taught a Jewish lady. She is working on building faith in Jesus Christ. It was a weird lesson because I was on my own. Elder Hugie went with Seth to his class and Jr. and I went to teach this lady. Nobody was ready to teach Gospel Principles so I just did the first lesson. Well I am out of time, we will talk to you later!

Love ya!

Elder Wood