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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happy Day! First real letter!

Chere famille (Dear family),
What is up?  I was so happy when I got your letter.  For real.  It is awesome to get letters!  Write me as much as you want ;).  Oh man, the MTC is a well-oiled machine.  My day is planned out for every 15 minutes, from 6:30 in the morning to 10:30 at night.  I've been keeping a list of all the things to tell you, so here we go!
Wednesday (his first day) was nuts! Leaving the car was way hard.  Maybe one of the roughest moments of my life.  But immediately, as I started walking, I was just thrown into this crazy new life style. I was manhandled by an old lady who cut my suit pocket open, because is was still sewn shut. Then she slapped my badge on and whizzed me to a ton of different tables.  Then, I went right to my room, dropped off my bags and went to French class.  Only French.  English is not spoken. O-n-l-y French. Needless to say, I was utterly confused and very overwhelmed.  But I didn't have any time to cry or anything because there was so much going on!  After 3 or so hours of just French, we had dinner (Dad was right, the food tastes ok but produces ridiculous amounts of flatulence).  After dinner we went to the first devotional, taught by the MTC president.  As soon as we started to sing I was overcome by a spirit of peace, calm and confidence.  I knew that I was supposed to be there and my fear was totally gone.  These are the notes from my journal:

1:13pm - is it bad that I'm getting less and less excited and more and more scared?  Time to say goodbye.
1:47pm - goodbyes are hard.  Driving away from the temple towards the MTC. Scared. Don't know what to say.  Here goes nothin'.
2:38pm - I love French, I love everything!
3:01pm - All fear is gone.  I'm a dang missionary!!

Also, in my first meeting, I met my first companion!  He is way cool.  He's from Orange County, speaks fluent German and knows bits and pieces of like, every other language.  We have the same taste in music, he's a little sarcastic and bossy, he helps with French a lot, I love him.

On Friday, we taught our first investigator lesson. ALL IN FRENCH. Haha, what a joke right? Actually, it was way awesome.  All we did really was bear our testimonies.  My companion didn't like it so much, but I had a tremendous spiritual experience. I can bear my whole testimony all in French!  Which is going really well actually.  I really do love it.  I have learned so much! I bare my testimony to everyone I see that I know, so probably like 7,8 times a day.  I just want to speak French and share the gospel!  We have actually taught three lessons to our investigator Nicolas.  He wouldn't let me use the book to pray from, so my prayer was "please bless our investigator, Amen!" But, really it's going so well.  I love it.

The first couple of days were a bit rough, but really I love the MTC.  In the Sunday night devotional the speaker said "Stand up if you are in the 'Honeymoon Phase' of missionary service". So, naturally, I stood up way fast, and everyone laughed at me because I was the first one up.  It's great.

*Josh goes on in his letter to tell a rather gruesome tale about a stool sample, so I will not include that.  It was really funny though.  Who thought you would need to do that to get a Visa?  Weird.

Other than that and the nightly hands-up-stands-up contest in the hall, everything has been spiritual here.  It's true what they say, the Spirit is very strong in the MTC.  On my 2nd day, I ran into Elder (Jake) Jackson and right when I saw him, we embraced, then he bore his testimony to me in Spanish.  The Spirit works in interesting ways, because I didn't understand a word he said, but the Spirit filled my heart with so much comfort and courage, more than I had ever felt before.  And every time I see a friend, it's the same.  Elder Johnson, Elder Marse, Elder Townsend, all of them give me the same feeling.  I love them so much.  And when we are teaching Nicolas, the Spirit is so strong too.  Even though I don't know much of what he says and I struggle to convey my message, I know that he and I are both feeling the Spirit.

The first song I sang in French was "Je said qu'il vit mon Redempteur", or "I Know That My Redeemer Lives".  As we sang, I knew that I was going to be able to learn French and again I felt that I COULD DO THIS.  This song has kind of become my mission motto.

Right this moment, I am on a plane flying to San Francisco to get my Visa!  It's been fun.  So excited to get to France!

Well, to sum everything else up, it's seriously great.  I love missionary work and have grown so much already.  And also, I really miss you all.  I love you so much, and I know that even though we will all be separated for a while that our family is going to grow so close and receive so many blessings from this.
Je sais que Jesus-Christ est le fils de Dieu. Je sais que l'Englise de Jesus-Christ des Saint de Dernier-Jour est vrai, et je sais que le livre de Mormon est le parole de Dieu. l'Evangile de Jesus-Christ est le chemin pour retourner a notre Pere Celeste.  *hopefully I typed that right!!!
I love you all so much!  Don't hesitate to send treats or letters or anything.  I'll write more next week.
A la prochaine...
Elder Wood

ps.  I only play foursquare during gym.  They call me "Elder Sneaky" because I am so good!  haha FourSquareForever!  See ya

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

No news is good news...sometimes

So, there was no email from Elder Wood today because he flew to San Francisco today with his district.  Apparently, he has to meet with the French Consulate in order to get his Visa.  I found this out because my neighbor's son, Elder Tanner Johnson, flew out to California today and saw Josh at the airport and they got to say goodbye.  Anyway, hopefully all is well and his Visa goes through.  Here is a picture from behind the walls of the MTC, that great and mysterious place!

Friday, February 22, 2013

FIRST LETTER actually just a note BUT HOORAY!!!!

HOORAY!! Elder Wood is alive and well in the MTC!  Got his first note today!

Dear Mom and Dad and Family,

I am safe.  I am alive.  I can do this. It's really close to bed time so this is going to be short, but here are some helpful things...my approximate departure date to Paris is April 1st. \^^/  Unless they decide to prank us!
Today is seriously crazy! (first day)  The MTC is a well oiled machine.  I have to hit the hay now, but more will come on Tuesday because that's P-day.  I love you guys!

Love, Elder Wood
Bonne Nuit! (good night, that's what I learned today)

OK, so not much, but boy was I one happy momma to see that letter in my box!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

MTC day

Elder Wood went into the Missionary Training Center today!  It was a bittersweet day.  We will miss him so much, but know that he is acting as an instrument in the hands of The Savior.  He will be an amazing missionary!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Elder Joshua Wood

Elder Joshua Wood will report to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT  on Feb. 20, 2013.  He will be serving in the Paris, France Mission which consists of northern France, southern Belgium and Luxembourg.