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

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

5th Week MTC

Hello my Family!!
How is everything going?? I was way glad to get your letters this week Mom, you totally rock.  Also everyone else rocks too a ton.  And usually throughout the week I take notes on what I want to write about, but I forgot it this week! So this letter will mostly consist of random Gospel and non Gospel related events.  Let's begin.
Yesterday during Zone teaching our District did a flash mob. It was really awesome.  We sang and danced to this song called "Champs-Elysees" in  which my teacher Frere Blosil converted the words to be about missionary work.  I pretended to be a investigator and get baptised and it was pretty legit. 
I am for sure leaving to France on MONDAY!!!! YEEHAAA!!! I'm so excited!! We got our travel plans last Thursday. We fly straight from Salt Lake to Paris! I leave the MTC at 1:30 in the afternoon, and our flight leaves at 4:50 p.m. So transfer that to Arizona time (is it even different?) and expect a call between those hours! I will be sure to remember to call on Dad's cell phone.  And one of the teachers told us all about the first day is Paris.. nuts. I'm so stoked.  We get off the plane, hop on the metro and go to the Eiffel Tower to hand out a Book of Mormon! Then we do all these cool activities and eat pastries and then the next day we get shipped to out first area.  How cool is that?! We've been practicing contacting a lot since we found this out and it's been super fun. On the way to the temple this morning we just stopped (more like ambushed) this lady and my companion contacted her in French while I translated.  It was cool and also really hilarious because we were treating her like an investigator but she wasn't and she was just really taken back.  Still, contacting is fun. 
Also I went to the temple for the last time for two years today. It was great because it was the temple and I was helping out the Lord, but it was very sad. I haven't missed a week of going to the temple for more than a year, and now I can't anymore. The temple is such a huge blessing in our lives.  I feel so much closer to Heavenly Father while I'm there.  Take advantage of all the temples we have to close to us! Will you do that as a family for me? Go to the temple! 
You are going to Arizona without me?! I thought we agreed, no vacations until i got home? JK. That sounds way fun, and way warm! What are you all going to do there? 
Oh and mom asked what I do as a District Leader. It's not that exciting. I get to get the mail and deliver it to the district, for which I am highly regarded.  Also I conduct meetings, lead District discussions, go to leadership things on Sunday, just things like that. I like it a lot! And my District is soo cool.  I'm gonna miss them a ton when we leave! 
MTC life is basically the same.  Except tomorrow i get to host! #woop. It should be fun.  Sister Tanner (Brooke's roommate) comes in, so I might get to help her! Which would be cool.  And also tomorrow my companion and I  have been asked to do a "How to begin teaching" activity, where we role play with an investigator for all the new missionaries. Pretty stoked! It should be cool.  
Easter is this week! I'm really excited.  Easter is so great, and with conference also? It's like a spiritual Superbowl. It's gonna be a really good weekend for everyone to focus on the Savior.  I know I've said this before, but I really have learned so much about Christ while being at the MTC.  A cool thing I learned: My great friend Brooke wrote me this in a letter.  And also sorry if I've already shared this, I can't remember.  But did you know that the word "succor" really comes from the word that means "to run to"? How cool is that? So I was reading in Alma 7:12, which is explaining why Christ did the Atonement.  It says that He did it so He will be able to succor his people. So actually He did it so He would know how to run to His people. Imagine that, Christ is literally running to us.  It's like we are at one end of time, and He is at the other.  He is running to us, He's working for us, He's tired, He's suffering, He's devoted completely to finishing His race back to where we are.  When I had this thought, I thought, what am I doing? Am I just strolling along, minding my own business, or am I running? We know how devoted Christ is to us, but how devoted are we to Him? I want to be a runner.  I think we should all be runners, and Easter is a great starting line.  That's what I'm gonna focus of this Easter, running to Christ, just like He is running to me. 
I love you Family! Thank you for all you've done for me. I miss you all dearly.  Be way safe going to Arizona, and have to much fun! I'll call you on Monday, but then the next time you hear from me will be from France!!! #missionsrock #iloveyouall
Elder Wood
 p.s. sorry for my grammer and punctuation and spelling and stuff.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pics of Elder Townsend and Elder Wood their last week in the MTC

Elder Wood and Elder Townsend at the Provo Temple.  Best friends and coaches for life!
Both Elders will be leaving for the mission field next Monday, April 1.  
Elder Townsend to Hong Kong and Elder Wood to France!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Heyo Family!

Qu'est-ce que bon, fils? (tell Erin to translate that) How is everyone?? Thank you so much for all the letters! I love them a ton. I'm way glad to hear that everything is going well back at the good old Wood home.  I hope all continues to go well.  So, I realized I have neglected some birthday wishes ( though I was totally aware of the birthdays, this whole 30 minute timer thing on the email is intimidating) Also, sorry for my spelling and grammer and what not.  French is taking over.  But Happy Birthday to Dad!! I love ya dude!  Miss ya.  I'll write you back today hopefully.   That's way good to hear about Tanner! He's gonna kill it.  And Mom, would you send word to Sister Higgins and tell her thanks for sending me Jordan's letters? It's way nice. I get an update on him every week! So if you could tell her thanks and that I'll try to write her back soon that would be very nice of you. 

So this week was pretty good! It's been the Semaine de Consecration (week of consecration) PVL, which means we were supposed to speak only French all week.  Our teachers gave us the challenge and the district graciously accepted.  But shortly after we started, we decided to just speak only French for the rest of the MTC!! As much as possible at least.  It's been way, way cool and I'm leaning a ton.  Sometimes it's pretty hard to get out what I want to say because, in case you didnt know, I do not speak French.  But it's been such a good way to learn.  This is like the most English I've spoken all week actually! And it's not even really speaking, it's typing, but still.  I looooove french. 

Joke of the week: How much does a hipster weigh?  An Instagram! hahahaha.... that killed me.  My companion told me. 

So, do you all know how important the Atonement is? This is something I've been really learning a lot while I've been here.  Sometimes in class I get a little discouraged because everyone is super good at French, and when we share spiritual things or have discussions, I don't know how everyone else knows so much.  This happened one day this week, we were having a discussion with the Branch President and our district and everyone was just sharing these way deep spiritual answers and I just though to myself... why dont I know what to say? How come I'm not able to keep up with this or give answers? It was a little sad for me.  So I sat and just tried to listen, and I started thinking about the Atonement.  I was thinking about how Heavenly Fathers knows everything that is happening, future past and present, all at once, like one big eternal view.  I continued to think and I had an idea. If Heavenly Father sees past, present and future all at one time, it's as if the Atonement is happening right now, correct? (probably not, and I don't want to  preach false doctrine, so if I'm wrong please correct me) But when we repent, eternally it's as if we are actually changing the experience the Savior had is the Garden.  And though the Atonement did overcome all of our sins so that we can be forgiven, the Savior also suffered for all of out pains, trials, etc. Everything we have gone through, he knows exactly how we feel. So I continued to think, is it that Christ knows how I feel right at this moment? Is He is up in heaven, feeling my discouragement right now? This was a huge comfort for me. It is true, Christ knows everything we are going through at the exact moment we go through it.  Erin, trying to decide whether to run for class officer? Christ knows.  Lizzy, having any trouble with school or allergies? Christ knows.  Carley, ready to be done with High School? Christ knows.  Mom, having trouble raising five children? Christ knows.  Dad, having trouble is Cali? Christ knows. Autumn, is Math hard for you? Christ knows how you feel.  The Atonement is the enabling power that allows us to over come all these things. And while they are small, we can still receive help with them.  Pray to get help, pray for answers, take the Atonement into your life and you will be able to do anything.  Big or small.  This is what I've learned this month. 

And one more thing, I'm getting my travel plans this week! Whoop! I'm pretty sure it's just a straight flight to Paris on April 1st! WOO!! So stoked!
It's time to go.  I love you all so much! Thank you all so much for everything you've done for me! You are all such good examples and have taught me a ton.  Keep on keepin' on, I'll talk to you next week!

Love Elder Wood

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

3rd week

Yo Yo Family!!! 
WOOHOO!! How is everything going for you all?! I really love getting your letters and emails and packages and everything, It's so fun! Like a little present every time. Carley, you have dance concert this week! I can't wait to hear how it goes and I wish I could see it! Good Luck!!  And Dad, a paddle board?! haha no way.. that's so cool. I call first ride Lake Powell 2015!
  Moral is high here at the MTC. For me at least :).  I don't see why everybody thinks it's so lame! You get as much food as you want, everyone is way nice and cool and you get to learn about the gospel all day, every day.  Way sweet.  But Mom asked me to send more of a daily schedule of what we do, so here ya go:
6:30 arise and prepare ( I get up at 6:15 so I don't have to wait for a shower)
7:30 breakfast
8:00 class untill 11:00
12:15 lunch
1:00 Language study of some sort
2:00 gym (foursquare time)
3:30 additional study
4:00 some other form of gospel/language study
5:15 Dinner
6:00 class until 9:00
9:30 prepare for bed 
10:30 lights out. (we try..)
Throw in a couple extra additional study times, comp and personal study, planning time and a service project and that's basically what the MTC is like.  Sundays are way cool too.  They are a lot more relaxed and the spirit is very strong.  
I get to see Elder Townsend and Elder Marse from time to time, and it's very comforting.  I love seeing them.  It's comparable to seeing a Pikachu on your first trip to the Veridian forest, it's your favorite pokemon and you gotta catch it, but it's very rare.  
That's cool that Chelsea is home! In French we also say Nephi like NEFI (neyphee) But I'm glad she's home. Tell her and Jackson I said Hello!
Funny story of this week.  After the devotional on Sunday nights we get to stay and watch a gospel movie.  Sometimes it's in French, but this sunday we got to watch Legacy in English.  Before the movie started someone with some authority stood up and asked that everyone refrain from hooting or hollering at the movie because it was a church production.  The audience agreed and they started the movie.  About half way through the love story starts to unfold, and everyone went nuts.  It was like it was the most scandalous/hilarious movie anyone had ever seen, and when the two main characters kissed for the first time... I've never been in a more rambunctious group!  Everyone was laughing and crying and talking about how much they missed their significant others. Gotta love a bunch of love sick missionaries.  (Not me, I genuinely enjoyed it.) 
On a more spiritual note, I had my first really cool experience with French this week.  During class we have lots of surprise role plays that are always in only French.  I usually get pretty scared for these, so naturally when my teacher announced that we would be doing one, I was terrified.  Elder Colindres and I were the missionaries, and Soeur Carter was the investigator.  We started trying to share about the Book of Mormon, and suddenly when it was my turn to talk i could just talk.  It wasn't like fluent french or anything, but what i knew all came back and i was able to feel the spirit as we testifies of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon in a different language.  This also happened in lessons with our investigator this week. One of our investigators is Danielle ( our sister teacher ) and the other is Morgan ( our brother teacher who plays a 9 year old and it's quite hilarious). But during the lessons we struggle through the French, and normally I can't understand much of what is said. But when it comes to my turn to testify, I know exactly what to say and the spirit is always very strong.  
The spirit works in such cool ways.  I would challenge everyone at home to try and learn how the spirit works with them! It will help you in times of need and your spiritual growth will increase if you know how to communicate with it.
Well, I am far over my 30 minute time limit, so I must go. And sorry my letters aren't that good, I'll try to get better.  But I love you all so much!! Thank you for all that you've done for me, I miss you so much! I'll talk to you next week!
Love, Elder Wood
 The Paris, France District
 Elder Wood and comp
 District, notice how many Sisters?
 Elder Wood and fellow French missionary
 Getting his shots!
 In San Fransico

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What up family!!!!! Here we go with the first official missionary email, woop woop! There is so much to tell you.  Lets start with a couple orders of business:

1. Thank you so much for the package. It was so awesome, like getting a christmas present!!! Also, thank you for the medication.  
2. I will write a weekly email, but if you write me a letter I will totally write you back.  (thanks Mom, Erin, Lizzy Autumn and Dad)
I'm glad to hear that the funeral was good.  I'm sad I couldn't be there, but she is totally in a better place right now.  
That's way cool that you got to go see Chelsea come home!! I bet she looked like a champ.  I think she is the coolest.  
So what's new with me you ask? Well, I will tell you! There really isn't much,  the MTC is the same thing all day e'rry day.  But here is something I didn't get to say in the last letter.  I wrote it on the plane on the way to San Fran, which was so much fun! We went right to the Consulate which only took like 30 minutes, then we went over to Pier 39 to get some lunch and walk around.  There were 10 of us, so we couldn't all decide where we wanted to eat because everyone wanted something different.  We walked way down the road until there were no more food places and everyone was tired and hungry, moral was low.  BUT, suddenly, a handsome Brazilian man walked up to us and asked, "Hey, where is the church around here?" We were taken aback for a moment, but then we had to tell him we didn't know because we were just on a day trip from Salt Lake.  After some talking we found out his name was Jose, he was in San Fran for 5 weeks studying English, he lives in Brazil, and he was a non-member (woop!). His dad was a member, he was Baptist, but he was super interested in the Church.  We told him we were looking for a place to eat, and he just straight up asked if he could come with us and talk about the church.  Awesome.  He took us to his pizza place and I got to sit right by him and answer some of his questions about the church.  It was super cool! We ate and talked and he was a way, way cool guy.  Turns out, on the plane, I just happened to write my testimony in a book of mormon that I was planning on giving away, and Jose just happened to say that he had read 1st and 2nd Nephi and wanted to finish the rest, so i gave it to him.  WOOOOO!!! WOOO WOOW OOOOW    WWWWOOOOOOO!!!!!!! (thats how I felt afterwards). I just casually handed it to him, told him he could practice his English reading it,  but I hope he gets something more out of it. It was a way cool thing, can't wait until I can do it a ton more in France! 

Besides Jose the Golden Investigator, things are basically the same! I really do like the MTC a ton, even though not very many people here seem to.
Also! This is a cool thing I learned that I wanted to share with you all. In Isaiah 61: 3 (which is a beautiful scripture that you should all read) there is a phrase that says "to give them beauty from the ashes", which really stood out to me, because that's how much Christ loves us.  But, in the French bible, Esaie 61:3, the translation is a little different.  It says instead. " un diademe au lieu de la cendre.." Which literally translates in English as "a crown for a princess from the ashes." It would be a good thing for you girls to read and think about.  A crown for a princess from the ashes. 
Also I memorized the First Vision in French this week. Also, I was really sick for like 4 days, and I have an ear infection. But I have medicine so, ain't no thang.  My time is up, so more will come next week! (and hopefully some pictures if I can get the right computer, its pretty difficult.)
I love you all! Thank you so much for all that you've done and do for me! I miss you so much.  Have a good week!!
Love, Elder Wood

This is couple that we know named Elder and Sister Boyce!  They are from Logan and are close friends with Josh's grandparents, Owen and Janet Wood.  They just happened to be in the MTC at the same time as Josh.  They are headed out to serve a mission in Boston, Mass.  It was good to know they got to see our Elder and report to us that he was doing well!