Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas 2014 in the Mission Field

December 29, 2014 

Dear Family:

Well this was a long but a good week. I don't have much to report on. Tyler was out of town so it was pretty boring haha. Plus I am short on time.  

Monday was normal. At night we went with the Ward Mission Leader and a few of the Ward Missionaries caroling. Our focus was part member families and less actives. It was fun!  

Tuesday we had our Mission Christmas party in the morning. This year president didn't let us do it as a whole mission so we were only a third of the mission. Really it was pretty lame compared to last year. We didn't have a fun talent show either. Just a serious one of a sort. It was just musical numbers in the chapel. We did have a short meeting and read out of Luke 2 and other scriptures. That part was good. It was really short too. We tried to visit people and maybe get in a lesson, but no luck. At night we had our last lesson with Tyler before he took off for Texas. It was good. I already told you about it on Skype. It was cool how the spirit had him study out tithing the day before we taught him about it. We sent him with church videos and other stuff to study while he was there.  

Wednesday in the afternoon we ran to Riverside to go get some more packages that came in the mail for the missionaries in our zone. Traffic was crazy this week! We took a wrong turn into a parking lot of a big shopping center when we got off the freeway. I think it took us 30 minutes to get out. In that 30 minutes we had a few cars almost hit us! After that we went to the Wheat's for dinner. We had to leave for the church at 6 because all of the missionaries were supposed to gather there. Sister Wheat didn't like that because they have always had the Elders there for Christmas Eve for the last 7 years! So instead she had me call President and get permission for them all to come to her house. It was super fun because there were already people there! President said yes so we added 22 missionaries to it!  

Thursday was Christmas of course! We got up early to open presents! I don't think it was even 6 yet. After that we all fell asleep again cuz we stayed up a little the night before. It was a good Christmas. Before noon we went and played basketball with the Wheats and a few other missionaries. We were planning on Skyping somewhere else but we ended up there because I wanted to borrow their iPad. Plus Steve got a new guitar I needed to try out haha. Skyping was fun! I didn't really know what to say most of the time. I swore I wasn't going to turn into that awkward missionary but I think I have haha. Skyping I think has made it easier for me to work harder. It made going home to me very real. It isn't just a fantasy anymore and I don't really know how to react to that. Once again that night we had to be at the church at 6. We actually went there this time though instead of the Wheat's. Not near as fun! 

Friday was really long. We tried visiting everyone! But nobody was home.  

Saturday was the same! It was a long week. Tyler is in Texas, so we won't see him until next Sunday probably. That was pretty much the week! I know it is short. Sorry! We are trying to find some more people. For some reason we are hitting a wall. But don't worry I am still going strong! 

Love Elder Wood


Monday, December 22, 2014

Working with Elder Peterson

December 22, 2014 

Dear Family: 

Hey it is Christmas!! Since I will be talking to you soon I will probably keep this one short. We had an awesome week! Even though I was sick. Elder Peterson kept me going. I had to lean on him a little this week. He is a good pusher. I can't even get my shoes on before he is out the door and half the way to the car! We have a long drive way. He always has the best attitude too. Everyday he says (with almost annoying enthusiasm at least when I am sick) Hurry up! Let's go preach the gospel Elder!! Aren't you excited?!? It reminds me of Dad early in the morning with that green toy tractor that says "Let's Get To Work!" So I am grateful he was able to help me last week. I am better now so we should be good. I was still out working but this week I will have a better attitude because I am not sick!  
Elder Wood and Elder Peterson

Monday we finally got to go to that Fender Guitar Shop/Museum. It was super cool I got to play some guitars that were in the mid $3-4,000. They only had electrics though! This week we found another shop and I got to play two nice Epiphones. Tyler came to FHE and had a good time. By the end of this week he had gotten a lot more comfortable with us. We sat down for a second away from the activity and talked about the Book of Mormon. I need to come up with a saying for how he keeps me on my toes. He says things sometimes that just blow me away because I have never had somebody say or do something when they are investigating the church. Maybe I should just stick with about falling out of my chair because that is how this all started. He just has the most pure desire that I have ever seen. One example from Monday was from Thursday when we gave him a Book of Mormon to that time he had read most of 1st Nephi in 3 or 4  days. 

Tuesday not a whole lot of exciting things happened. I honestly don't even really remember it. We got in for a few minutes with Aolani.  

Wednesday we had another lesson with Tyler. All our YSA team-ups fell through about 3 o'clock so we asked the Wheat's if we could teach him at their house. That was a really good experience for Tyler. We ended up having a ton of YSA fellowship there we weren't even planning on! Kelsey and Bri who are both recent converts and are both awesome basically live at the Wheat's so they jumped in on the lesson. They helped out Tyler a lot with their testimonies. We also had Mike there who is a returning member and on fire. Plus Sister Wheat who is a power house missionary. It was basically the best lesson. The way the lesson ran we ended up spending a lot of time explaining the Holy Ghost and how it works. I don't think I could have picked a better group to teach it to him. They are all great and I don't even have to prod them, they all just throw in what they have to say. After Sister Wheat wanted to feed us all ice cream. I was sitting by Tyler and decided to help him put the Gospel Library on his phone so he could do more studying there with all that is available. He already had downloaded a copy of the Book of Mormon. That surprised me but not that much because it was Tyler and he is a go getter. It was when I was telling him about how he can check out General Conference Talks and I told him what conference was and he said. "Oh ya! Like those talks by Thomas S. Monson! I was listening to those. I think Jeffery R. Holland is my favorite." I think he thought I was crazy because I just sat there and stared at him. In my head I was saying OK I give up where is the camera you have to be punking me you are a member and the church is like making a video or something. I didn't know what to say. I don't even know what I did say. He then started teaching us and told us all we need to watch the Mormon Channel cuz there is some good stuff on there. He told us about one with Holland called "Wrong Roads" he then told us the whole story almost word for word. Then he taught us the take away message or the principle. It was awesome.  

Thursday we went and helped Sister Cameron's neighbor with some service he wanted to do for somebody else who is actually a member as well. We asked if we could help him. He really likes the missionaries but isn't interested. He knows tons of members. He will get baptized sometime, he just doesn't have the desire right now. We had some good lessons.  

Friday we taught Tyler. This was the Word of Wisdom, and Law of Chastity. Once again he is already living them so no problems there. That enabled us to spend more time on just testifying and promising blessings because we didn't have to resolve concerns.  

Saturday was long! We got to teach Aolani, but pretty much everybody else was not home. We went to President Zimmerman's house for a Christmas devotional kind of thing with all the missionaries. It is an annual thing the Zimmermans do. I was there for it last year as well.  

Church was awesome. Both of them. We had a meeting at 7 with the stake presidency and linger longer until 6 so I was at church for 11 hours. the only break we got in the middle was travel from the stake meeting to the other building. Tyler really liked church. In Priesthood we were looking at the teachings of the prophet book and I saw a picture of Moroni coming to Joseph Smith in his room so I started to tell him the story. After I got through the first part he told me the rest of the story about how Moroni kept coming back and sharing the same thing and then Joseph working with his dad and then falling over the fence. Also how he returned to the Hll Cumorah each year for 4 years. I think the reason it surprises me so much is because the only thing investigators normally know is what I teach them. I haven't taught him most of the things he knows. He just searches it out. I am learning a lot from Tyler. He texted us Sunday night at said "Well boys I am to Second Nephi!" Pray for him. I don't think I have prayed more for an investigator. I just don't want anything to change. Just to keep how they are going. Well got to go! 

Love ya!

Elder Wood


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Last Transfer!

December 15, 2014 

Dear Family: 

I am short on time! Today has been crazy with transfers. I have to make sure everybody gets where they need to be! It hasn't felt like I have had a P-day. It was even more challenging because they are still painting our car so we had to steal other people’s cars to go fix problems!  
Monday we went to Riverside to take our car in to get painted. We didn't go to the YSA wards family home evening because of our car. I don't think our investigator went either. We didn't see Vanessa until church because she cancelled her lesson, but it still sounds like her parents might let her get baptized.  
Not Cops!  See the Prison in the Background
Elder Larsen and Elder Wood

Due to time I am going to skip from Tuesday to Thursday. Not a whole lot happened in the middle. Just a lot of biking and team-ups driving us around. Thursday we had the craziest thing happen! We got a text on our phone from the church about a Tyler Martin. We get referrals from the MTC all the time. Normally a member is too scared to invited their friends to take the lessons so they just send us the address and they either won’t open the door or it doesn't go anywhere because we just show up. It is pretty much tracting. The only exception to that is Alex. His friend invited him first and we had an amazing lesson with him. This referral didn't say who it was from. I didn't think much of it though. The day before we set it up so we had a good day. We brought Cameron Keller with us who is a recently returned missionary so we wanted to have some good lessons set up. That morning everything called in and fell through. I spent all day trying to set stuff up for the night and everybody kept saying no. All we had left was to just drop in on people. It wasn't until we talked to Tyler that I realized why the Lord kept any plan from going through. When I called Tyler he was willing to meet with us that night. He told me he called the number on the churches website because he wanted to learn more and get it from the source. I almost fell out of my chair. I didn't know people would actually do that! Before we got there, and the more I thought about it, I thought it was going to be a set up. Either a bash, or somebody either my companion or I knew from home trying to be sneaky and meet up with us and found out our area or something. Both happen way more often than this being legit. 
Elder Caples After Spearing Something with a Fork
Tyler is 20 years old. He grew up in Texas. He’s from a split family living here with his dad. He wants to be a fireman. I found out after the lesson and at other times we are into very similar things like snowboarding, motorcycles, and cars.  The lesson was the best! I don't even know how to explain what happened in that lesson. It was to the point where he was asking "When I get baptized will I be expected to go on a mission like you guys? Can I be married in the temple? Can my family who are not members come inside?" He knows a little bit about the church already. He knew one or two members in Texas. He is so solid though! At church he asked me if I or Elder Robbins would be willing to baptize him! He says things all the time now along the lines of "when I get baptized...." We set up a lesson for Saturday. I like meeting then because it is more likely they will come to church. That and I had exchanges on Friday and I didn't want to miss the next lesson. When I was on exchanges he called Elder Robbins and moved it up because he had more questions he wants answered! I was really impressed with that. Sunday he really liked the YSA ward. He is a cool kid and social, so it was easy to connect him with people. He is coming with us to the YSA activity today. He really wants to be involved with what is going on. Really it is the perfect situation. It doesn't even seem real sometimes because he has no hold backs and wants it so much. He is already living the word of wisdom. He decided a while ago he didn't want to drink anymore because he didn't like where it was putting him in life. He doesn't even like coffee or tea! I think the best part is when he sent us a text because Elder Robbins is leaving. I need to write down what he said. Maybe I will put it in my next letter.  
Nice Tie and Suspenders!

This is the first day of my last transfer! My new comp is Elder Peterson from Snowflake Arizona. I served with him in Lake Elsinore. He is one of my favorites! I was so happy when I found out. I am staying here in this area. That is what I wanted. This is going to be a great transfer! Sorry I am out of time!!  
Elders Robins, Powell, Wood and Larsen

Love ya tons!

Elder Wood


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Its Raining

December 8, 2014 

Dear Family: 

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

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


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

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

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

Our District

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

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

Elder Wood

Monday, December 1, 2014

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

December 1, 2014 

Dear Family: 

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elder Wood