"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, May 28, 2013

short but sweet

Dear Family,
I just wrote you a big fat nice email, and the whole thing got deleted. This is the worst! So, I am just going to sum everything up, and I will write you a better email next week.
Work is going really good! We have been just finding like crazy lately, and this week our finding efforts are going to pay off. We met a couple people who I really think will be baptised. Including this one lady named A. We got her phone number from a member named Ya Gaston (awesome name) and he told us she wants to be baptised. When I called her and told her it was the missionaries, she just started laughing and yelling because she was so excited and she set the quickest rendez-vous possible. Also remember the investigator that got baptised, C? I gave him the preisthood yesterday! It was really cool and spiritual, and he later told me that I was really important to him and that he had wanted me to give him the preisthood for a long time. Also he is planning and preparing to serve a mission! He's so cool and he is a huge testimony builder to me of the Lords love for us. Alme 29: 9-10 explains perfectly how I feel.
Elder A is boss. We are co comps, which means he is not my trainer. We got in a few arguments this week, but its cool now. It's cool to see that even though we are very different, the Lord had given us both strength to keep working hard and overcome our differences to accomplish our goals. He is a really good guy and I like him a lot.
Autumn, hello :) I love you too. I guess its a slippin' slide! Am I right? Tell grandma and grandpa not to sell the cabin, there are too many family memories up there. Write me a letter!
To see grandma and grandpa on the 23rd would be great, but super super difficult. It's Stake Conference that day in Versailles, so I'll be about an hour outside of Paris, and it's also the last day of the transfer, which would mean that if I have to go somewhere I'll have to pack, which is super possible. Tell them they can still call President Poznanski if they want, but lunch would be very difficult.
I'm really sorry this letter is short and has little info, the other one was super good, but alas, it is gone. I love you all so much and I will write you again next week! Thank you for raising me in the Gospel. I love you guys.
Elder Wood

Monday, May 20, 2013

2nd Transfer homie!

Hello Family!!
Mom, Thank you so much for your email and update on Brooke's farwell and everything you shared about the scriptures! I love those chapters. And the Alma 31 verse 5 scripture is so good! That's one we share with less active members to get them to come to church. So good job!
So, as you know, some crazy stuff has been going down in the mission with all the new missionaries and what not. So after 6 weeks of training, I am now co comping it up with Elder A! He loves the Matrix, which he regularly quotes to me, he actually does speak fluent Latin, and he wants to be a lawyer. He is very serious and just ready to get to work. Which is really cool. We are gonna do some work this transfer!
Me being a total noob still, and him not knowing the area at all, we've had some interesting times trying to find our way around. One night, we only had about 30 more minutes of work, so I thought we'd just take a short walk around town and try and find someone to teach. I turned left at the little town hall place, thinking we were still headed in the right direction. After walking for a while things started looking unfamiliar, until we found ourselves in a small town called Cachan, which is just really, really far away from our apartment. I laughed and just decided, what can we do but try to find our way back?! But, unfortunately, Elder A was not too pleased. We had had a bit of an argument earlier that day, so emotions were running high, and he just became very angry. Not at me though, just at himself for not saying anything. We started making our way home in an awkward, happy/angry way, and I just didnt know what to do. He was just super ticked. So, after looking over my "how to cheer people up knowledge", I did what any Jim Halpert fan would do. Without looking up or at him, I just started singing. "Awimba-way, awimba-way, Awimba-way, awimba-way.." I continued for a minute or so, not knowing if it would work, but soon enough I heard a timid "in the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight.." We sang and marched our way home, and Elder A was angry no more.  I'm glad we spent all that time watching The Office together. Thank you, Jim.
Other than that everything is going good!! The first week in always a killer because you lose a couple days of work, but this week we are really just going to be able to hit the ground running and find some new people to teach!
Sorry I don't have a lot of time today, and this is really short! But I love you all so much. Thank you for always being such a good family to me. I am very blessed. And dad, where is my letter eh?
Bonne Semaine, je vous aime!
Elder Wood

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day

also family
Yesterday seeing you was so crazy. I think it was the closest feeling someone could get to teleportation. It was like I was with you, just talking and being family, then I was back in Paris 30 seconds later! 'Im so glad we got to talk though! What a blessing all this modern technology is. You all looked so good and I'm go glad things are going so great!
And Mom, I'm sorry I didn't cry when I saw you (he got choked up when he saw his Dad, but nothing for me! :) HaHa). I will next time. But I hope your Mother's Day was so, so good and I love you so much! Thanks for raising me and teaching me the gospel. I wouldn't be here on a mission today if it wasn't for you! :) <3 I love ya.
Well, I don't really have a ton to say, it's only been like 10 hours since I talked to you! Things are still just going really well. Elder M found out that he is going to be zone leader in Caen, which is up north, and a guy named Elder J will be coming to replace Elder W because he's leaving too, and my step dad (new companion) will be Elder A. Pretty sweet!
I guess all the changes that are gonna go down here are pretty crazy. I don't really know any better, but all the older guys are saying that nothing like this has ever happened before. It's just really been a testimony builder lately about how the Lord prepares people! He really does qualify who He calls. Last night, I could tell Brooke was ready. She looked like a Sister missionary. And with all the new missionaries coming at younger ages, they have some big roles to fill, but I know they will all be able to do it. Even our amis and the people here, they are so ready to hear the  gospel. This time in the church is pretty unreal! Now all we need to do is just keep sharing and being good members!
This morning during personal study I read about Christ walking on the water. When Peter asked if he could come, Christ said, Come. As long as Peter was focused on Christ, he could walk on the water towards him. It was only when Peter took his focus off Christ and saw the waves that he began to sink. But he still turned back to Christ for help, and He was right there to catch him. When we are focused Christ, we really can accomplish amazing things. We can bring people back, or into the gospel, so long as our focus and goal is Christ. He really is the answer to everything. Also, another interesting point to this story is something that Grandpa Wood pointed out to me before I left. Even though he sank a little, Peter still had enough faith to get out of the boat in the first place. Our journey to Christ starts with our own willingness, we have to get out of the boat. And so long as we are focused on Him, we won't sink.
I guess that's it for this week! Today we're going to the Louvre, then working tonight and tomorrow, and I'll get my new trainer on Wednesday! Pretty stoked, a little nervous, but I can do it. Thanks for everything again! I love you all so much. Don't let that small animal poop in my room. (or is it Lizzys room now? weird.) Have a super good week!
Elder Wood :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

5th week France

Bonjour ma Famille!
So, Mom sent me a letter with a bunch of questions, so I will start by answering them. 
 1. The man who sent me the alluring photos is Elder W. He is one of the other missionaries in my apartment and he is really funny. He reminds my of a young Uncle Lane. But that is a girl he knows and he was just pranking me by sending her picture. He says hello to Mom. 
2. I live with my comp, Elder W and Elder T. Elder W is really funny and cool, he is from Orem, so is my comp, and he plays rugby for BYU. Elder T is from Arizona, he loves Napoleon Dynamite and basketball. And my comp is Elder M, he is also from Orem, is really good at soccer and he gets me a new cheese to try every week. Its great.
3. My appartment in about 15 minutes outside of Paris in Bourg la Reine, it's on the top floor of our building and there isn't an elevator, but ça va because it's only 4 floors. My guess is that it is about 90 years old and there are some really crazy dungeon storage things in the basement. Also its really, really tiny. The whole apartment could fit in our living room, but its nice.
4. For breakfast I usually have an egg and a bowl of musli, which is like oats and raisens and apples and bananas with some milk from a box that has like a 9 month shelf-life. Lunch is usually some sort of pasta so we have energy, lots of the time with a baguet and some cheese, camembert is my favorite. Dinner is always different, sometimes it's with a member, in which case it's some sort of African dish or just huge assortments of bread, meats and cheeses. Also we make just crazy amounts of rice and noodles with lardons, which are just big bacon squares basically. Each week I try a new pastry, and I get one of my favorite things in the world, a Kebab. I've been waiting to tell dad about them in a detailed letter, but basically its just some delicious meat from who knows what animals, in a pita-ish bread with lettuce, tomatoes and samurai sauce, and french fries. They only cost 5 euros, which is just outrageous because they are so good they should cost like 20, but I have to limit myself to one a week or less because they are super not healthy and I'd get huge.
5. Typical day, you ask? I will tell you. 
-6:30, wake up and work out. My belly is getting a little larger, but my muscles are just huge. 
Shower, eat, then studies from 8 to 11. 
11 we go contacting, or we have a lesson, usually contacting though because everybody is either out shopping or at work at that time. 
12 lunch
1-4, spiritual finding and teaching people. We try to have a rendez-vous at this time, but we do lots of porting and contacting. 
4:30- 6, dinner and language study. Awesome
6-9, golden hours. We work really hard at this time because this is when most people are either home or out doing something after work. This is when we have most of our lessons and when we find the most people. Then we just come home at 9 and plan and go do bed!
Fun right? It really really is so fun though. I feel the spirit all day and just get to talk and learn and serve the Lord. Who wouldn't want to do that?!
6. I have not seen any celebrities. But I do know some missionaries here who saw Jermain from Flight of the Condords last week and talked to him.
7.  Ya I did hear about the bombings from some American kids we met, so crazy. I'm glad they caught the guys though. And Brooke said she is just totally fine with it. She's such a champ.
8. I got the package! Thank you so so much. I haven't had a piece of candy in ages. And the tie is way cool, I made it into my power tie. And Erin, Big Catz? So good. Thank you so much. Made my day. And I will send my ipod home soon! I'd like some Alex Boye, Mindy Gledhill, and this album that I think I already mentioned called Nearer, it's super cool.
This week was super cool! Mostly Saturday and Sunday. Saturday night we were just waiting for the tram and this man walked up to us and said, quote: "How can I become like you?" unquote. How nuts is that? And in English! We just talked about the godpel on the tram, and we're gonna teach him more! It was such a huge blessing, I just freaked out kind of and was just laughing for like 10 mintues after. Then we had a baptism! He is the one I've told you about before, C. It was so cool! We have all the baptisms in Versaille, which is really cool, and you pass by the château on the way there. But the service was nice, he was baptised along with another ami of the other elder's named Kareena, and it was very nice and spiritual. But I realized, I really didn't do anything. I went to Chris's house and bore my testimony, but he made every decision. He got baptised on his own, He chose, he was prepared by the Lord for that next step. It was a really cool experience and I'm really so gratefull for him! I love him a ton. Also this week was fast sunday, so I got to bear my testimony in church. One of the things I fasted for was for my French to get better and have more desire to learn, not that I don't have desire, just that it would be nice to have more of. So I pumped myself up, said my testimony a few times in my head, and went for it. I got up and said what I knew and sat down, it probably only lasted like 1 minute. But last night Elder M told me that while I was talking everyone was silent, and my French was perfect. I always thought of how cool it could be to have those moments when you can speak the language without knowing what to say, but I realised it happens to me every day. It was a huge blessing to be able share my testimony with everyone, and I really love french so much! 
Also, I would like to share something about the French people. Many, many people told me that this mission was going to be hard, that French people were mean, and lots of other things. I wish all those people could come contact with me for an hour, so they could see that the French people are kind, very loving, and very in need and prepared to hear and accept the gospel. Yes, every mission is hard, there is no such thing as an easy mission. And the France Paris mission is no different. These people are amazing! Baptisms are possible. The Lords work here is progressing at an indredible rate, and I will not let anything get in my way of finding those people here that the Lord has prepared.
Thats all I have for this week! Thank you so much for the letters, keep them coming! I am doing really good! Go share the gospel with someone this week, invite someone to church, something. Bear your testimony! I love you all so much, Bon semaine! (have a good week!)
Elder Wood
ps: I will be calling next Sunday! I can't Skype, only because there isn't a place to do it and we didn't plan well enough. But! It is much much cheaper if you call me, and the only time we can do it is at 7 o'clock here, which is 11 o'clock a.m. your time. I know you'll have to skip church, but is that okay? Let me know and I will check my email later this week, if you can't pull it off we can work something else out, but for now lets plan for Sunday the 12th at 11 a.m.
I love you!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

First Pics

 Top of the Eiffel Tower
 ZL's  and Elder Wood with Comp.

 First Crepe

 Elder Wood contacting

Park with crocheted bench

Week 4 in France

Hello Family!
Merci beaucoup for all the letters. They rock so much. I hope everything is going good still! 
This week was great. We met a couple new investigators who I could really see getting baptized! Not many huge things happened though, just keeping on with the work. I feel like my expectaions for the mission were that I would get some sort of super power and just convert everyone and have tons of fun and everything, but that's really not how it is. It is work, and it's hard! But, nothing has yet to sway me from having a good attitude. I really do love it. I don't think I would love it as much if it wasn't work, actually. It's seriously so great. 
I dont know if I've mentioned this before, but the ward here in Antony is seriously so cool. Yesterday at church my goals were to talk a ton and share in all my classes. When I shared a story in priesthood, I just destroyed it. My French was horrible. But they all just helped me and talked to me even more afterwards! And I got to pass the sacrament yesterday. That was really cool. I haven't gotten to pass for like 5 years, so I had forgotten what it felt like to be able to administer such a sacred ordinance to people. I wish I had learned/recognized the importance of the sacrament when I was a deacon. Also, we eat really nice baguet's for bread, it rocks. 
And on Saturday I attended my first baptism! It was for the other companionship and his name is Xavier.  It was different to see a grown man, who had diligently searched and gained his own testimony be able to get baptized. Different than an 8 year old. I felt the spirit very strongly as he got baptized and talked to him after about it. The cool thing is that I felt back to how I felt when I got baptized. That's also why it was so cool to be able to pass the sacrament. It was just a baptism/covenant making/renewing weekend!
This morning I found one of my new favorite scriptures: DC 6:33-37. It's Christ talking, telling us to not fear and have faith is Him. It just really touched me with how gentle it sounded. Christ loves us so much. That's why missionary work is so important, because we have the opportunity to help other people feel this love. 
That's about all for this week, nothing too exciting. Good luck with everything, be safe, I love you!
Elder Wood