"In the service of the Lord, it is not where you serve but how."
David O. McKay - Teachings of the Presidents of the Church

Monday, December 30, 2013

Light of Christ

Why Hello! 

I actually saw you guys and talked with you this week! That was so wild. And, just as I predicted, after the skype session I left the member's house, walked out the door into France. It really is so strange to just go back and forth like that, but what a blessing it was to talk to you all! I send my gratitude to whomever invented Skype. 

After Christmas we just jumped right back into the work like normal! The only difference being that all of our amis were still out of town and wouldn't be home until after New Years, so we filled our time with finding. And find we did! We met a really cool guy in an elevator that lived in Vannes, which is a city south east of Rennes, but he is now being taught by the sisters there with his family! I had a rather exciting exchange with Elder Evans, who knows the Arnels and the Jessees somehow. During that exchange a Chilean woman blessed us on the road, and a very drunk man tried to fight me on the bus. That was exciting.  Sunday was super good too because our ami Liz came to church for the third time and she really loved it. It still is strange to me how everything just seems to work out here! It actually seems like our whole mission is really progressing and seeing some huge miracles happening right how. It's such a cool thing to be a part this work! Our mission had over 300 baptisms this year which is so awesome! President told us this morning that we averaged about 26 per month which is really awesome. But, for the month of January 2014, we already have 49 baptismal dates in place! What progression! Missionary lyfe guys. It rules. 

I read Luke 11: 31-35 today. It talked about light, and how our eyes are the light of our body. If the light in our eyes is good, the rest of our body will follow. I felt like this related super well to missionary work, because as a missionary or a member of the church, everyone is watching us, no matter what we are doing at the given moment. Our role is to project this light that we have so that when people look in our eyes or see our action, it can spark in them too. I've seen this on my mission a lot, when people say "there is just something about you.." but they can place it, it's the light of Christ that they are seeing.This is something we talk about all the time and we've known sense we were small, but it's one of those things that is so important to put into action. Light doesn't just sit around, it goes forth and is bright and it warms and helps! So, people notice! Go out and show that gospel light! 

I hope you have a super good New Years! Don't get too crazy, but have fun! I love you guys, and I'll talk to you next year! 

Love Elder Wood

Monday, December 16, 2013

So Cool!


Rennes, France

Hello tout le monde! 

That basically means everybody. 

Rennes is so so cool! It's in western France in a department (county) called Bretagne. I'd say it's probably about the size of St. George, and it's got two universities, so there are lots of students. Some cool things that I'll get to do and see here are Le Mont Saint Michelle, which is a castle on a tiny island that you can only get to by land when the tide is down, a little city called St.Malo, which you can look up on the internet and see how cool it is, eat Gallettes, which are basically really delicious dinner crepes that are a specialty of Bretagne, and also there are lots of other castles and stuff to go and see. I'm so excited!!  The ward though is SO COOL!! Everyone used to be Catholic, so they all have such huge testimonies of the restoration, and they are really engaged in missionary work as well. It's only been 5 days, only 3 of which I have actually spent working in Rennes because of mission conference, but for now everything seems really perfect! Knock on wood, but I really think that great things are going to happen in this new ville! Elder Smith is in my new comp and is a total boss. He's in his 13th transfer, which is non-mission language means he has about 6 months left of his mission, and is just full of missionary wisdom to teach me about. I live in a cozy 4 man appartment again with Elder Evans from Midvale, and Elder Harris from Kentucky, who are opening up a new companionship here. They are some cool guys.  Also, get this, on Saturday we had  a ward Christmas party, which upon arriving to (does that phrase make sense?) we were asked to perform 2 suprise musical numbers! What? So, being that talented singer that I am, the other elders and I graced the ward with some beautiful Christmas songs that probably would have brought the spirit really powerfully, had we all been born with better voices. It was hilarious but also a great ice breaker and the next day at church everyone told us "good job" and we fixed lots of family home evenings with them and our investigators, who are also super cool here. Being a zone leader is super fun and I like it a lot! Friday we got to go to mission council and talk about cool missionary things. It was cool to be a part of and be able to participate and have that extra opportunity to serve. 

Also, I would like some more info on this, the Thompsons moved out? Are the people who replaced them members? Probably not if you got asked to fellowship them. But, that's so so cool! You guys gotta seize that opportunity! Let me know how it goes! 

Also some Christmas info: on the 25 I'll be able to skype you guys! Invite whoever you'd like, but I've gotta keep it to an hour, and it'll be anywhere from like 2 to 6 in the afternoon, France time, which I think means pretty early in the morning for you guys. I'll go for the latest possible so you can like open presents and not be zombies. Further info will come next monday

I'm not sure what else to write, which is pretty lame, but also we're runnin late today! I'll be more spiritual next week. Oh also my address here is:

Les Missionnaires
Elder Joshua Wood
29 rue Tanguy Prigent
35000 Rennes
France

C'est tous! Have a super good week, I love you guys! Be safe and share the gospel and everything, and I'll see you soon! 

Love,
Elder Wood

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The wise men


The three "wise men"

Hey there! 

I've gotta say, your letter's crack me right up. We don't have an emailing time limit, but sometimes I take too long because I'm laughing at your emails and reading to them to my comps. I have no idea if they like it, but they know all about you guys and that your so funny! Haha so thanks for being hilarious. 

This week was good! I can't remember if I told you or not last week, but one of the elders in my apartment had to go home because of some sickness, so we've been working in a trio this week. A trio was fun because we had double the investigators, so we taught double the lessons! We set goals for how many lessons we're going to teach each week, and sometimes its easy to get a little taken away in trying to accomplish your goals instead of really teaching the people because you love them, but this week I wasn't even teaching my own investigators half the time, and I realized even more how much happiness and joy this work brings. The idea of getting high numbers just went down the drain and we all were able to teach out of charity for these people, and because of that the Lord blessed us with some really good lessons and some new investigators! Last week was really good. 

So, you remember Anderson, the guy we prayed with, and then lost contact with him? We reconnected with him this week and taught him again! It went super well and we're seeing him again tomorrow before I leave. (which I will talk about in a minute) But we just decided to call him and he actually answered and said he was free, so we went over and the lesson was very spiritual! He brought up an interesting subject that confused me but ended up being really good; I'll try to explain. He pointed at the picture of Christ on the front of one of our pamphlets and said "Is that Christ?" and I said yes, and he said "How do you know?" I gave him a kind of lame answer like, the painter may have received revelation or something, because I was feeling rushed in trying to anwser his question. He brought up a couple other things and how he thought it was disrespectful to make an image of someone sacred like Christ, then a thought came to me of how to answer. I pulled out all the pictures of Christ that I had with me, and all of them were different. I showed him all of them and explained how they were all different, except the people who have seen Christ, we don't have an exact image of Him, but the important thing is not what he looked like, but what He did for us. We all got to testify of the Atonement and the Restoration, and afterwards he said he was really touched by our response, and that he had even a greater desire to know more. The spirit was so strong, and it was just cool to me and a testimony builder that the spirit will help us when we need him. 

And I got your birthday package this week! Whoa! Thanks so so much! You guys know what your doin! I really loved the music and the sweaters and especially, the chocolate covered cinnamon bears. I haven't had one of those babies forever. Merci! 

Also our ward Christmas party was on Saturday night! It was super fun, and on Saturday afternoon we got a surprise call from the bishopric asking if we could be the three wise men and give the kids gifts, we happilly accepted the invitation. Pictures will follow. 

Also coming back to transfers, President Poznanski called me today. I'm going to be a zone leader in a city called Rennes in western France!! Woop woop! Im so so excited! It's apparently the best ward, even better than Strombeek! I'll be taking a train through Paris and over there on Wednesday

Well family, that's about it for this week! I love you all so much and am so grateful for your support and the unity a mission can bring to a family. Keep preachin' the word and I'll see you soon! For real because it's almost Christmas!  

Love,
Elder Wood

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A little bit of everything

Hello family! 

It seems like things are going really good! It was nutz to see those pictures of everyone haha. Scone Sunday sounds way fun too, keep up the good work. Maybe you could start a scone truck and make the girls run it though the winter! When you're a missionary you get filled with really good ideas like that one. 

This week was a rough one! Not morale wise, but lessons wise we struggled. Only 1 other lesson with an investigator, and 1 person let us in while we were knocking doors, but that's all! It's strange how things come in waves. For 2 or 3 weeks you just find tons of people and they come to you and every thing is great and you teach! Then for some reason, things settle down and things disappear, and with no change in work ethic or faith or effort, things just kind of stop. The highs and lows of missionary life are so huge. One moment you are on top of the world and then you just fall to the floor the next. Crazy! Seriously though, during these times that are maybe a little more difficult, you grow so close to the Savior. It's just a good opportunity to get on your knees and reevaluate, and get back up and go again! And even though this week the work struggled a little bit, I'm still so happy. Being a missionary does that to you! I'm just excited for one of these waves to come along that includes a baptism! 

Yesterday during investigators class at church, we had a really cool experience! The sisters' ami came who speaks French, then a man we met came with his daughter, they speak a tiny bit of French and mostly Algerian and Russian, and the teacher is American, speaks English and was baptised in China not even a year ago. Before the class started, I was very interested to see how it would all work out. We got some Russian and English and French speakers to come in and do the translation, and the lesson ended up being really spiritual and great! Being in such an international ward seems kind of difficult I think because of the obvious language barrier, but everyone speaks the language of the spirit, you know. If someone testifies to you, it doesn't matter what language they are speaking really, because they can feel the spirit that is there. It was a great experience! 

There is not a lot that really went on this week to tell you, so this one will be a little short! But I'm really grateful for you all and I love you! I'm pretty sure I'll be skyping on Christmas, depending on where I get transfered to that is, but it's gonna be great to see you! Keep up the good work and I'll talk to you soon! 

Bisous, 

Elder Wood 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Testimony of Jesus Christ

Howdy! 

How's it going? Good? Sounds like it! Sounds like Halloween was super fun! Halloween is super fun, but also is one of the worst missionary nights ever I think. From what I've heard, Halloween and trick-or-treating just started in Belgium like 5 years ago, so people love it. The day work was normal, but at night we went out to knock doors and the streets were full of costumed children who were already knocking all the doors. We finally found a door that was free, we watched for 5ish minutes to make sure no children came to knock it, and we went for it. The lady just opened the door and stuck out her bowl of candy, and when we awkwardly explained that we weren't there for the candy and we were there to testify of Christ and His Restored Gospel. She just made us take some candy and closed the door. So, needless to say little success was found that night, but we tried. 

Other than a fruitless Halloween, this week was pretty good! Remember A, the man from the email last week? He has disappeared. We think he is really scared of the spirit he felt and is avoiding us, but, its okay, because he still felt it, and the next time we or other missionaries see him, he will know of the spirit that comes with this true message of Christ. That was a really long sentence. We did find two other young men who we will be teaching this week though which was cool! One is C, who also didn't belive in God, but promised us he would pray and ask if God was there. Get this also, he has 5 student friends that are all members from Utah, and they gave him a book of mormon right before we taught him. What preparation, am I right?! The other is M, a spanish/mexican/congolaise high school student who accepted a baptismal invitation! He has great faith, the largest afro I have ever seen with my own eyes and a mustache to rival that of Pedro from Napoleon Dynomite. We're teaching him tonight, so hopefully all goes well! 

I was reading in John chapter 10, I think, when Christ heals the man born blind. I don't have my English scriptures with me, but towards the end of the chapter the healed man testifies to the Pharisees. He says that God doesn't talk with sinners, but Christ had healed his sight, and that if Christ had not been sent from God, he would not have been able to work such a miracle. It just made me think of the reality of Christ, because we see his works so much in our lives, how could he not be our Savior? Even if we only think about history, Christ is the greatest man who ever lived. All of times major events and discoveries and everything is based around the year Jesus was born. Probably the most treasured book in human history testifies of Him and his short 3 year ministry on the earth.  We see his church today, with 15 million members in just 200ish years, and how fast it is growing and all the good it does for the entire world, how could this not be His true church? How could he not be our Savior, and how could he not be leading this work right now?! There are so many evidences that He lives and is our Redeemer and that He loves us. What a blessing to be a member of His church! And what a priviledge we all have to be able to share this restored gospel with everyone. Being a missionary rules. 

Guys, I love ya. Keep up the good work over there in the good old US of A. Belgium does this crazy raining thing, we just call it Belging, because I've never seen it anywhere else. It's like, the thickest mist possible, but without being fog and without actually raining, it just soaks you the minute you walk outside, and from what I've heard, this is what it will be like for the rest of the winter. However unfashionable it may be, I'm super grateful for my Mr. Mac coat that keeps me protected and warm from this stuff. 

Again, I love ya!  I pray for you every day! Have a great week! See ya on Christmas! 

Elder Wood

"For with God, nothing shall be impossible" Luke 1:37

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hi Guys - 

Transfer 5 was great, we taught more than ever, found some really cool people, and now its transfer 6! Just like that! I will be staying in Brussels for another one, so that means I will definitely be leaving next transfer. But, I'm going out with a bang!! #Brussels4lyf

We had a pretty good week! We're still working on finding people, but the struggle this week has been the weather. Belgium has taken a turn for the worse everyone. Most of our contacts came from people we found while street contacting, and fewer come from knocking doors, but this week the wrath of the Belgian rain has been unleashed so we've been forced to do nothing but port. Tuesday night we were talking to a muslim teen on the road when it started to drizzle. It was pretty normal, so we just huddled onto someone's tiny front porch and kept talking. Like 9 seconds later it started raining probably harder that I've ever seen it rain before, and it didn't ever stop! It was like a 2 hour crazy rain storm! By the time we finished talking to the muslim boy, we were a 30 minute walk away from home and the trams had stopped. So we took it like men and ran home. My clothes were drenched and my shoes didn't dry for like 5 days! It was nuts. The weather has continued like this all weekend, so there is nobody on the streets. I prefer porting, but it's just slightly more difficult to find people that way. But, we've found nonetheless! Thursday we knocked into a man named A and his family and fixed rendez-vous for sunday.  Yesterday we went over to teach him and when we asked what the importance of religion was for him he said he was Athiest, and he had invited us in so we could prove to him that God existed. We stayed calm while he tried to tell us that God didn't exist, and when it was our turn, we just told him that we knew God existed because of prayer, and invited him to pray right then and ask God if he was there. We all knelt and he gave a decent prayer, but afterwords he just laughed and said he didn't feel anything. Then we taught him how to pray correctly and told him that it had to be sincere with real faith. We knelt to pray again and he gave a very powerful and sincere prayer. It was silent for a couple minutes after and eventually he said he couldn't stand up because of the strong feelings he had on him. He asked us if we were magicians, but we explained that it was the power of God telling him that He is there. We had to leave, but during the closing prayer he started to cry and asked what we had done to him to make him feel this way, and why the other people from other churches hadn't been able to make him feel anything. We just explained that it was God, and that this is His church, and he told us he had to understand more, and we're going back tonight. Prayer works!! Rain or shine, the Lord is always there and wants his children to come to Him! 

I love you guys! I'm really glad to hear that all is going well! Keep up the good work, tell everyone I say hello and I love them. Pray that things will keep going up hill, even if the weather isn't! Pray that we'll be able to find a family. That's about it for this week, I'll talk to you soon! 

Elder Wood





Monday, October 21, 2013

Please Pray for a family for Elder Wood to teach!

Hey yo everyone! 

I love Scone Sundays. That's so fun! We tried to make scones once and I almost burned the kitchen down. I'll save that story for after the mission. 

It's weird how I think of things I need to write in my emails all week, then I sit down in front of the computer and it just all disapears. So, prepare yourself for another ramble fest and we'll try to make it spiritual and uplifting. 

We had some miracles this week, but.. I don't even know how to explain. I'll just tell you and you'll see what I mean. So our goal is to find a family, and we've been trying so hard. We knock doors as much as possible and I haven't passed someone pushing a stroller, no matter how weird the situation, for like a month. So we're knocking doors in this really nice neighborhood, and we came to the last door on the street. They came out and met us and we explained, they asked of we were Christian, we said yes, then they said "Do you want to come in and eat with us?".... I had no words. Eventually I think I said yes and we followed them inside. They had 3 boys all above 16 and 2 older children who weren't there. Their house was so fancy, with music playing and they fed us deer! We sat around the table and they just started asking so many questions. Everyone participated, we taught all about the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation, and the spirit was thick in the room, like I could have touched it. We laughed and it was such a good time! They even offered to drive us home because it was late. We got back to our house and got out planners and things to exchange information, and when we told them we'd like to see them again and continue, they said no. It just killed me, we've been searching and praying and working, and there they were! They were right there! They felt the spirit! But they still said no. We've had several other experiences like this this week. We were walking to the train station to meet a member and a beautiful young family walked out in front of us. I stopped them and we talked, and we were able to testify of the plan of salvation, and again the sprit was so strong, and we asked of we could see them again and they don't live in Brussels, and we left without getting their number for the elders in their city. Man, the Lord works in mysterious ways. And it's strange how you can feel so much love for someone who you met on the road and talked to for 3 minutes, but you do. But, even though it may not be me teaching them, I am confident that those two families will have the fullness of the gospel in their lives one day. 

After we met that second family on the road, we ate with the Hatch family. They made us some really American food and it was really fun. But the best part was the closing prayer Sister hatch gave. I think I've only ever heard a couple prayers that were so full of faith and love. She just prayed that we would be able to find a family and accomplish our goal, and that the ward would be able to help us. She brought a tear to my eye and helped us grow in our desire to find this family. 

Also thanks for updating me on all my homies. Tell Jackson that I said Happy Birthday and that I love him a lot. Also tell Anna hi too! And thanks for the letters! I'll try and write you all back today. 

Those were events that happened on Saturday and Sunday, but the rest of the week was good too. I went to Paris on Tuesday for Elder G's legality. He's doing super good by the way. His French has gotten a ton better 
and he is always ready to work and helps me work hard too. I spent a night in Nivelles, a tiny ville outside of Brussels on an exchange and knocked doors in the rain for like 3 hours #soaked but for some reason, I had lots of fun. It's weird how that happens too, situations that seem kind of terrible, like getting rejected 24/7, and being soaked in freezing rain for hours at a time, turn out to be the things I love to do, because when you find that person that needs the gospel, it's worth it. 

And this week we're gonna keep going!! Everything rocks! I love being a missionary!! Have a super good week, work hard, help out the missionaries a little, and I'll talk to you next week! 

Elder Wood 

 Elder Wood and Elder G. (his baby)
 Elder Wood in front of the Basilica in his town
 Sunrise in Brussels from the balcony
 #cardipardi
 In Paris again for legality

Monday, October 14, 2013

Personal Revelation


Hey Everyone! 

I'll start with the cool story of our new Italian friend Nico. He totally came to church yesterday! Without being asked, because it is very difficult to communicate to him the message that we want him to keep coming, but he came on his own! And this time it was actually church, and we were able to introduce him to the Di Lillo family in our ward who are from Italy. They just roped him in and became best friends, and we found out that Nico has a family too! They will be moving here as soon as Nico finds a job. He has a wife, a 12 year old boy and a 19 year old boy. I really hope I get to stay here and meet them! But it was really cool and a huge miracle. I'm buying an Italian dictionary today. 

This week basically nothing that we planned happened, but a lot of really cool unexpected miracles happened! President Poznanski told us to start leaving the appartment at 10:30 every morning instead of 11, and to pray for guidance from the spirit so we can start teaching more. So, on wednesday on my exchange with Elder E, we did that! This is usually our least productive time of day, and our only plan was to follow the spirit and contact around our house. But we went out, and ended up teaching two lessons on the road! One to a guy who had been to our church many years ago and another to an investigator who we has lost contact with. It was a huge miracle and testimony builder. Personal revelation, am I right? 

Also my little bleu cut his head open yesterday. We stayed after church because we were going to give an investigator a church tour, and while we were waiting we decided to clean up all the leaves that got tracked inside. While Elder G was sweeping, he somehow hit his head on the massive firehose holder contraption and started bleeding. He was bleeding a lot. So much blood. But turns out, he just had little cut on his head. Where did all the blood come from? I don't know. He's okay now though!

Also, the weather is getting pretty crazy up here! Yesterday it was 10° C, and then it dropped to 6° C with wind chill and some really cold rain. I'm not sure what that is in farenheit, but it was cold. and wet. But also it was cool. 

Keep praying for us that we can find a family who will accept the gospel. Also pray that our investigators will progress towards baptism. We've set some pretty big goals, and we've gotta accomplish them! 

I love you guys! Keep working hard, having fun, and so on and so forth. And thus was the letter from Elder Wood, on the fourteenth day of October, in the two thousand and thirteenth year of our Lord. Talk to you soon! 

Elder Wood

Friday, October 11, 2013

A little Italian for ya

Bonjourno! Itsa mia, Elder Wooda! 

I'm going to learn Italian this week. How does it sound? I really want to learn Italian because of an awesome guy we met this week, and right now I will tell you what happened:

Saturday, all of our plans fell through. We had this cool idea to do Service Finding! So we got in our service clothes and were planning on knocking doors and asking people if they had any service we could do for them, just as a new way of finding people. We walked to the metro station and both looked at eachother and said "This is a bad idea, we should not do this." So, with that powerful warning from the Spirit we went home and changed back into normal missionary clothes. At this point we had no plan, because the man we were supposed to meet with cancelled, so we decided to get out and follow the Spirit. Maybe this wasn't the smartest idea ever, because I think the Lord expects us to be a little more prepared that we were, but things worked out okay. We followed the Spirit as much as we could and acted on every thought, and eventually found ourselves in the middle of the Muslim Commune. The muslin people are really kind, the actual practicing ones, but it's bad for finding because we are not allowed to teach or contact them because if they convert, they run a very high risk of getting killed if they ever return to a muslim country. So, we were very lost. We sat down, said a prayer, and decided to walk home because it was almost dinner time. We walked passed a bar and a little Italian guy popped out and stopped us to talk. The conversation went like this:

Nico: "Bonjourno! (itallian chichiblachliblah) Mormoni?"
Us: "Oui! Do you speak French or English?"
Nico: "No. (lots of itallian) Address? Missionarios?"
Us: "Oui! Heres the address!"

In reality this lasted about 15 minutes and there was lots more pointing and Italian involved, but what we understood was that his name was Nico, he is form the south of Italy and is here working, but had been meeting with the missionaries in Italy, and he's read the Book of Mormon all completely. He even called the missionaries in Italy so I could talk to them! But we just got his number and gave him the address to the church and then went home. The next day though, on our way over to the church for Preisthood session, there was Nico at the tram stop with his friend! They came to Preisthood with us and an Italian member of our ward very kindly translated for them, and we're going to start teaching him! What a miracle, eh? 

Then this week we also had Zone Conference with President and Sister Poznanski. I dont know if I've told you, but starting in July the mission's goal was to have 100 baptisms in 2 transfers, or 12 weeks. We reached 100 by week 10, and reached 115 by week 12! It was a huge accomplishment for the mission, especially because in the past, the months of July and August have been the lowest baptising months, because literally everyone leaves on vacation for weeks on end. But in this zone conference, we fixed a new mission goal. Every companionship to baptise one family before Christmas as a gift for the Savior. Wow! We are all really stoked about this new goal, and I really believe we can accomplish it. But, what was even cooler was in General Conference when Elder Ballard said: "If every member young and old would reach out to just one, millions would feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ before Christmas. What a wonderful gift for the Savior" or something very similar to that. What a confirmation of my mission's goal and the inspration of our President! I thought that was so cool and am really excited to find this family! Pray for us! 

Seriously tons of other things happened this week, but this email would be way too long if I put them all. It's hard to chose just one or two miracles every week to share! My comp is doing so good, he's just a little boss. I really like him a lot and he's a great missionary. And he doesn't even do any weird stuff, that's me. Also, do you guys realize we were watching Conference at the same time?! And that's so cool that you were there! I actually tried to scan the crowd a little bit because I was thinking it was possible that you were there, so voila. I'm so grateful for the Prophet and apostles and for the spiritual boost they give us during each session. We got to go to our chapel and watch in English which was really nice, and members even came and watched and we all had lunch together. So fun. 

That's about it for this week! I love you guys, I'm proud of ya. The speakers talked a lot about families this weekend, and it made me very graetful to be a member of such a great one. Keep up the good work, champs. I'll talk to you next week! 

Love Elder Wood

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"My Eggo is preggo"

To see a video of Elder Wood meeting his "baby bleu", log on to Facebook and search for the France Paris Mission Poznanski.  There are also lots of pictures of him!


Salut! 

How is everybody? That picture of the flood looked nuts! I'm never there when that happens. But I'm glad to hear that everyone is doing good! 

My week was really good! The transfer is over and I'm now in my 5th which is pretty cool. My thoughts are really scattered today and I cannot seem to remember very many specifics from the past week except that it rained basically the whole week. So I guess weather wise, it wasn't that good, but missionary work wise it was great! For some reason we always end up talking to the thugs that live near us. TOTO, the leader of the gang, doesn't like me that much because I wouldn't give him money, but his cronies like us because we're American. So, ya, I'm really thug. Then last night we got to go teach a family we haven't seen for quite a while, and the dad named A explained to us how he was angry with God for all the things that are happening with his family in Africa. I explained to him how we don't always have a reason why things happen to good people in life, but all we can do is continue on the path and God will strengthen us. Then Elder W used the story of Alma and Amulek when they had to watch all the people be burned and the Lord told them not to do anything. It was super cool to see A change in a matter of minutes from very angry with God, to very humbled. We asked him to pray and he gave a really good prayer asking for strength and help for his family. It was just cool to see how we could so immediately help someone. We help people with every lesson, but we don't always get to see the results so directly and plainly. It sure was a big blessing to be able to teach that lesson. 

Yesterday we had Stake Conference and Bishop Davies spoke to us which was really cool! He's the 2nd councilor in the presiding Bishopric. It was funny because all the people before him gave really well planned out and serious talks. They were very spiritual and good, but as soon as Bishop Davies got up, he just cracked jokes the whole time. The Lord must have a good sense of humor, because all his general authorities sure do. He didn't plan anything either, he just got up and started talking about his family and the joys the gospel has brought them. Every time I see a general authority, I feel like I'm the investigator and they are the missionary teaching me! It's incredible to hear their stories and knowledge and testimony and I want to know how I can have it! But how we get all that is really simple, a heart completely turned to the Savior and doing His work. No matter  our position in society or church or whatever, God promises all, if we will just give our hearts to Him and keep the commandments. Bishop Davies said something that was really interesting, he said that God has given us everything, so we should't feel like we're paying him back with like tithing or money or whatever, because he already has all that. The one thing he doesnt have that we can give him is our will. That really pushed me to always be better and continue to turn my heart completely over to the Lord. 

Also last night I got a call from the Assistants, and they told me I'm gonna be District Leader/Trainer this transfer!! Woo hoo! I'm getting my own little baby bleu!! I couldn't be more excited and I love him already!! And being District Leader, I feel, is going to be super fun and I'm gonna learn so much! I've just been thinking about my bleu all day, he's probably sleeping in the MTC right now dreaming about the field, then tomorrow he'll leave and come here and I'll meet him on Wednesday!! So excited!! 

And also at the same time, I am a bit meloncholy to be leaving my pals I made here in Strombeek. Well, I'm not leaving, but Elder W and Elder D are, and me and Elder P are gonna stay with our new comps. It's been super fun living with them for the last 12 weeks and we're super tight, but they are going off to bigger and better things now! Reminds me of the gang. Just gotta keep up the good work!! 

I suppose that's it for this week! I'm super happy to get to stay here with my amis and meet my new bleu, stoked to have some good sucess this transfer! I can't wait to get all your letters and see how you are doing. Share the gospel with somebody! I love you! Talk to you next week! 

Love Elder Wood 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Come back when I am alone

Hello Family! 

How's it going?! My week was good! Brussels is still just awesome. Transfers are next week but I think I'll stay here for another. The weather was nice. All summer, only above 80 degrees a handful of times, but as soon as September hit, it got cold! Its good though, I like it. We look super classy with sweaters on all the time. And surprisingly enough if you look classy it makes a difference in whether or not people talk to you sometimes. 

But anyway, this week was good! Kind of a dry week, in the sense that not a ton happened. I went on 2 exchanges which went well, and knocked a lot of doors! People are all coming home from vacation, so they are more often home, but this is kind of how the conversation generally goes: 

Us: "Bonjour! My name is Elder Wood, I'm from the US, here for 2 years to help families be strengthened through the gospel of Christ. Are you a believing person?"

Them: "No not at all"

Us: "That's okay! That's why we're here! Would you and your family have 5 minutes to talk to us tonight?"

Them: "No my whole family is home and I have lots of children and a wife"

Us: "Oh wow that's perfect. Can we talk to you all about Christ tonight?"

Them:"No, I told you, my whole family is here and we are busy doing family things"

Us: "Yes, that's why we're here too! To pray with your family all together tonight!" 

Them: "No. Come back when I'm alone"

Then it continues like that until they close the door haha. I've had that conversation like 150 times this week. But then sometimes we get let in and it's like winning the spiritual lottery. 

I've never been stuck on what to say! So instead, I'll just type and whatever comes out,, comes out. 

So we met this girl named Antoinette who is a member from Ghana. We invited her to church this last week and she was really excited. When we called her to see if she could still come, she said her mom wouldn't let her and she was really sad. Later on Sunday night, we ran into her on the road and talked for a minute and she just cried because she wanted to come to church so bad but she couldn't, and how her mom made her go to a different church that she knows is not true. It made my really sad and we want to help her but aren't sure how! But we've recruited the help of the sisters, so we'll see if they can help with her mom. 

Last p day we wandered around looking for a journal because mine is almost finished. During our stroll around downtown Brussels we found the 3 most hipster places in the country probably. #underground

Mom asked what I study everyday, great question! It's most important to study the missionary lessons in PMG, and the standard works. So usually I go through the day and figure out what we are teaching people then study out the lessons. Sometimes we all get a little sucked into deep doctrines, and it's really fun, but mostly I just dive into the scriptures and use PMG for all my studies. 

I guess thats all for this week! I love you guys, and I loved the pictures too! Tell everyone I said hello and I love them and stuff. Talk to you soon! 

Gros mille bisous <3

Elder Wood 



A Taste of the Glory


Howdy! 

This week was a busy one! Which is always good. I suppose I'll just start with Monday! It was P day so we didnt do a ton, but that night we had interveiws with President and Sister Poznanski and let me tell ya, they are some inspired people. Seriously though, I feel like they are my temporary parents. It's so fun to be able to talk to them. 
Tuesday was Zone conference! WOO!! I love zone conference so much. It's a 4ish hour long meeting where President and Sister Poznanski give a little formation, then the Zone leaders teach, then we have district meeting, then lunch. I guess it doesn't really sound that fun typed in an email.. but it rocked. Then I started my 48 hour exchange with Elder Adams! He goes home in 3 weeks, so I just decided I was going to profit and gain as much dino-missionary knowledge as possible. Tuesday night and Wednesday we spent in his area and Thursday we came back to mine and things really went super well. I think I can safely say that those 2 1/2 days changed my mission! It would take super long to explain the whole thing, but for real, it was awesome. We did so much work. 
Thursday night I was reunited with my good old comp Elder Wilson, who is so fly by the way. He just hit his year mark like last week and we've become great friends. Such good friends in fact that we've set a date for the ultimate Guitar Hero battle after our missions. The fruits thereof will be great, meaning that I will win, but he's still really cool. We sat down Friday and just decided what we needed to do to really get the work progressing, and we're already seeing so many of the blessings from our new plans! Things are just lookin up! Not that they were down before, but there is always room for improvement, right? 
Saurday was good, and Sunday was nuts. We went to church which was really great as usual, then ate with 2 member families! That's right folks, 2 families in one day! It was a miracle, and even squeezed in a lesson between. They were both American families, yes, but still, it rocked. The families here are such good examples of what I want to be doing in the next 10 years or so. #familylyf
Oh and on Sunday! This was cool. We were walking to the metro station with Eric, one of our amis, and this young girl ran up and stopped us. She said her name was Antoinnette and she was a member from Ghana, that she had lived in Belgium for a year but had not been able to find any missionaries or the church. She almost started to cry and just said how grateful she was to see us and that she couldnt live without the church. It was so cool because we got to help her but also because our ami got to hear a little of her testimony and meet another normal member of the church. #miralces! 

Then here we are! I feel like just going through my weeks is not the most productive type of email, but Mom really seems to want "a little taste of the glory, see what it tastes like." So, know that things are good and that I am safe and I love you and so does Heavenly Father. Miracles are happening over here! There are about 2 weeks of the transfer left and I feel as if I will stay for another here, but nobody knows. I'm off to buy myself a Bou bou today I think, and if I do end up getting one, you'll see what I mean next week. I love you!! Have a good week! 

Elder Wood


Monday, August 19, 2013

Trials

Hello World! 

Thank you tons for the letters you send. It's like finding a golden ticket in the mail every week. You guys rock so much, our family is so cool! Sometimes I just wish I could take a little clip of our life and happiness as a family and members of the church, and somehow use  my psychic powers to put that clip into someones brain to just show them how good our lives together are and how happy we are. Because, let's get real, our life is so awesome. I feel like if I could do that, everyone would get baptised because they'd know the blessings and joy that come afterwards. 

There is a story in Mosiah, about Alma and the people of the Lord. They have escaped from the Lamanites and found the place of Helam. They raise crops, are way righteous, and basically are just living the dream. Rakin' in the dough. Then, even though they are really righteous and doing everything right, the Lord allows them to fall into bondage again by the Lamanites. The people freak out, but Alma says "Yo, everyone, this is a test. If we put all our faith in Heavenly Father, he will deliver us." So, thats what they do! They pray, use their intelligence to figure out a plan and the Lord provides a way. They escape by night to the valley of Alma (I think) and all is well. My week was very comparable to this story. Last week, we were profiting in the land sooooo much and taught a ton of lessons and found a considerable amount of people! But, because the Lord must chasten his people and because he loves us, we were totes put into bondage this week. We only taught a couple lessons, and did looooots of street contacting and porting, and the fruits thereof were slim. But, like Alma said, we will put our faith in the Lord and be delivered up from this bondage! 

I actually had a really powerful experience this week. It had been two days since a lesson, and we finally got one. We were stoked, so we went and taught. Young family and everything! I taught and testified and the spirit was strong, I felt enough courage to extend the invitation to them to sincerely pray to know if the things we taught were true. I extended with love and boldness, and they said no. I thought, it's okay! I'll just re-testify and re-extend. So, I did! I explained, I testified, they liked it, the spirit was strong, I re-extended the invitation to pray and,,! My efforts were in vain. They again refused my invitation to pray. I didn't know what I had done wrong, and was heartbroken. I had testified to hard! I loved them so much, and they still would not pray. We trudged home, downtrodden. We had tried so hard all week, and the one time we had a lesson, they would not accept. Before bed, I knelt to pray. Maybe the most sincere prayer I had ever offered. I prayed for that family, and I prayed to know if my efforts had been accepted by the Lord. After several minutes of praying my prayer was answered. The comforting presense of the Holy Ghost filled my heart and I knew without doubt that the Lord was proud of me and had accepted the work I had done. I will always remember this experience and the love I felt from my Heavenly Father for me whenever I have a trial. The Lord will deliver us out of our ami bondage soon! 

Missions sure do change people. But mom, I have only gained 15 pounds, not 15 kilos. I would be a really chubby little guy if that was the case. But I also have lost about 5 since coming to Belgium, so no need to worry. I won't be ultra large when I get home. I love you all so much! I'm so grateful for our family. Stoked to get the package also! Have such a good week, keep the faith, share the gospel, etc. I pray for you always! I'll talk to you next week! 

Love, 
Elder Wood

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Pictures

Pictures!
 inside the Arc de Triumph
 top of the Arc de Triumph
 statue
 the Brussels District
 Elder Wood and companion
 #win
 the boyz of Brussels
The Basilica right across the street from Elder Wood's apartment.  (sorry it's the wrong way)
Hey Family!! 

I'm so glad your home safe and had a killer time at Lake Powell. I'm way glad you had such a great time, as usual. And that's so crazy that you got to stay on the Big Dawg! I was a little taken back when I smelled this ladies sunscreen the other day...it was like my mind just went into Lake Powell mode and I just really wanted to be there. I also was thinking this week, some of the most important and meaningful memories and the times when I really just felt the happiest were in Lake Powell with our whole family. It seriously changed my life to be able to do that! We can never let this tradition die! I feel as if my career choice at the moment will be geared towards whichever career allows me to get a boat and take my family to Lake Powell every year. So thank you for all those great lasting memories and the things I learned. I love you guys! 

Transfer 3 ended yesterday, and I am officially a Transfer 4 missionary! It feels great. This transfer I'll be staying in Brussels with Elder W and the other two guys I live with. To answer the question about do I get to do other stuff because my comp is DL, yes, I do. It's not a huge deal, but I just get to go on a few extra exchanges because he has to go on an exchange with every elder in the district. But it's really fun and makes for a nice change of pace! And also since I'll be staying where I am, you guys can go ahead and send that package :) #woop! 

This week went really well, we definitely saw some miracles! In this mission we do tons and tons of finding, and we continued to do that this week. But instead of finding lots of new people we ended up getting in contact with a few old amis who are really cool. Saturday night this man named B called us asking for help, it sounded pretty urgent, so we went right over. When we got to his house he was just a mess. He was slightly drunk and smoking tons and crying and scribbling down all his feelings. He's had a really hard life and made some pretty huge mistakes, and now he's just looking for God. He felt like he should kill himself so that he could go and be with God and get rid of his sadness. It was a kind of intense situation, but we eventually calmed him down and shared Alma 7: 11 through 13 with him and explained about the Atonement. I told him I'd be there the next morning to bring him to church, and turns out when we showed up, he was sober and ready to go! He said he immediately felt something when he walked into the chapel and lots of people came up and talked to him and became his friends. Then during testimony meeting he was really touched, and he asked if he could go up and share what he was feeling. I told him yes, even though I was really scared, and he went. He gave a really short, simple testimony and just said that he has had a bad life, but he knows he will find his answers in the church. It was so cool and such a huge blessing! We're gonna keep working with him and I'm really excited about it. Also this week we found a hippy to teach! His name is M, he plays the guitar, writes poetry, has a cat and 2 guinea pigs and his house is covered in his own paintings . And he has dreads. Awesome dude. Also we got the phone numbers from a group of street youths and we're gonna teach them. It rocked. 

For real, too much happens in one week to tell you everything! But all in all, things are going so well, life as a missionary is the best and I love it. And I love you guys too! Keep doing good things! Share the gospel with someone! Have a good week! 

Elder Wood

 Studying yo!
 The Brussels District
 saying goodbye to a Sister