"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 8, 2014

Transfer 16 surprises!

Hello family and friends!

So, lets get down to the nitty gritty. St. Nazaire. Great place. I have learned so much here! Definitely thought I was going to finish my mission here. But, turns out I was mistaken! I got a call from the Assisstants on Saturday morning telling me that I'll be moving to a new city called Riems! (pronounced Rance) And I'll be training a new missionary! Président Babin is having a lot of finishing missionaries move into leadership positions which I think is really cool. I'm super grateful that I'll get to train though! We'll be reopening the area, so it's definitely going to be an adventure! Pray for my baby boy.

Other than that exciting news, this week was really great. We've been Christmas caroling for about 2 weeks and it's been really fun! We have yet to be let in just to sing, but because we've been following what our leaders have told us to do we've definitely been seeing some miracles. Mom asked about how people are here around Christmas time. They aren't super different from people in the states, just all hustlin around to buy stuff and decorate and everything, but for some reason the people are a lot more open to the message of Christ. As we've been finding and teaching I've been really surprised at how many more opportunities we've had to testify of the birth of Christ and His divine mission. I'm super grateful to be a missionary around this time of year! Also the book of mormon has proven to be a crowd pleasing Christmas gift haha. The new initiative of the church "He is the Gift" really is hitting home for a lot of people too. Our ami Xaviere watched the video and was so amazed that media and pictures could be put together to make such a beautiful message, like she had never seen something like it before. It was really cool to see her reaction. I sure am going to miss her and our other amis here! But alas, the Gift must be shared with the people of Reims as well. I will go and do! Haha #cheese. I'm way happy to be able to serve and I know we're going to be able to help lots of people come closer to Christ. 

Also, yesterday while saying goodbye to one of my favorite families, I was presented with a super radical christmas gift: a can of foie gras (spreadable exploded duck liver) and,,, Pokemon, Red version, In FRENCH. Haha,, so awesome. I'll probably play it the day I get home. 

Hey Hoareau family, thanks for the present. 

Due to the transfers I no longer have any Christmas plans! So hopefully next week I'll let you know about skyping and all that. I love you guys! Thanks for all you do and your general awesomeness. Share the "He is the Gift" video!! Have a great week :) bisous! 

Elder Wood

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thanksgiving and birthday week

Hola family!

What a week. Thanksgiving and my birthday and tons of miracles! 

This years thanksgiving was a lot different than last years but it was still really good. We actually had turkey! One of the companionships tried to make sweet potatoes with marshmallows on it, but it kind of ended up being this weird brown sugar sweet potato soup with pink marshmallows on top. We called it "marshmallow swag" and ate it nonetheless, because it was delicious. Also their was lots of giving and thanking going on and lots of gospel sharing moments. I sure am thankful for the day we had though! 

Also thanks for all the birthday wishes this week! I had a super good birthday. One of the awesome things about being in a branch is that you get really close with all the members, and a couple families made me birthday cakes!My favorite birthday present I think was going to Stake Conference in Nantes. We got on a train early in the morning and had a gigantic stake conference in the congress hall in Nantes. The speakers were all really prepared and the meeting was really edifying. Afterwards though I got to see all the members that I knew from Rennes!! It was so fun to see everyone again. They are all such good people and I'm so grateful that i got to serve there! My second favorite birthday present was when a family let us in to teach them about Christmas! We read from Luke 2 with them and the spirit was definitely there. I love sharing my testimony of Christmas and teaching people about Christ. Have you guys heard of the He is the Gift program the church is doing for Christmas this year?? If you haven't already you should definitely check it out  at www.mormon.org/christmas. It really will be a super great way to share the Christmas message with everyone. But voila that was my 21st birthday, it was a really good one. No better way to spend a birthday than in the service of the Lord! 

And, it finally happened, last week I bought myself a birthday suit. I think I'm gonna buy some pointy french birthday shoes today. Haha, when in France, right!?

Voila that was the week though! I hope everything keeps going super well on the home front.  I'm super grateful for our family! I hope you guys can get into the Christmas sprit and share the Gift this week as well. I love you and I'll talk to you soon! 

Elder Wood 

p.s. how are we going to do the Christmas skype this year? Can we do a 3 way skype with Carley? That would be super cool! 

and voila some photos! au revoir! 

Elder Quentin Cook

Hello family! 

How is everyone? Good? Good. I am well. This week Ruled! There were many highlights. Let me share some with you! 

We are really being blessed right now to be able to teach families! We found another family this week, they aren't new ami's yet but they will be soon! They are african and have 5 hilarious children and were happy to let us in to talk to us about God. We just prayed with them quick but the spirit was strong and they said we could come back. Miracles! 

Today during lunch my baguette had a big air bubble in it so i could fit in twice as much cheese as normal, definitely a highlight. 

To save a little time I'm just going to skip to the best part, we got to go to Paris and be taught by an Apostle of the Lord, Elder Quentin L. Cook! It was such a great opportunity and just got me so pumped to do missionary work! Its actually really easy to be pumped to share the gospel but Elder Cook definitely got me more pumped than usual. This conference was super cool because it was the first time is a really long time we've had the entire mission together in one conference, all 280 of us! I saw sooo many people I didn't know. But i also saw some of my old companions which was really fun. Elder Cook taught us a lot about Preach My Gospel and about loving the people and loving God. He told us a lot of stories about things that happen just between the general authorities and it was really funny and cool. He said that sometimes when they have their meeting in the temple of thursdays ElderPacker, who has been an apostle since 1962 or something says "I still haven't figured out why I was called into the Quorum of the 12" Haha! I thought that was really funny and a good lesson for everyone that we don't always have to have everything figured out in life. But maybe my favorite part was that he INVOKED A BLESSING ON US! At the end of his talk he said "i now evoke a special blessing upon you all" and it felt like he was giving us all a priesthood blessing. It was so cool and it really helped a lot of missionaries. Seeing him was another huge testimony to me of this work. I really know that Heavenly Father is running this work and Jesus Christ makes it possible for anything to happen! Im so grateful for the gospel and the opportunity to represent Christ here in France and to help people. I also know how much love Heavenly Father can allow us to feel for people when we serve them, i feel like i love it here more and more everyday. 

After writing that all other highlights seem not as cool! I'm super grateful that i got to see an apostle this week and for my mission and for you guys and all your prayers and support! Have a steller Thanksgiving down in the mansion haha, eat lots of turkey for me! I love you and I'll talk to yo soon! 

Elder Wood 

ps my camera is pretty broken, so thats why I haven't sent many pictures. But I'll figure out a way some time soon! 


New Companion

Hola hola! 

This week. Nuts. Great and super nuts! 

First of all, i have a new companion! 

His name is Elder Pumford, he's half from Canada (making this my second Canadian comp in a row) and half from Michigan. Dad, he was really impressed when I knew what the Big House was. He looks kind of like Clark kent, he plays the french horn and the organ, he's already done 3 years at BYU and worked for Adobe as a computer programmer, and he's a Mormon. Can you say super successful companion??!! I kind of hope that he is my last one because he's super cool and we get along really well. It was pretty bizarre to get a new companions after 18 weeks of Elder Ericson, who is missed, but it's been really great so far and we're seeing some miracles!! 

We have been super blessed in finding families lately. Last sunday we found a guy and his son, and this week his wife became an investigator as well, then yesterday we did a pass back to an african lady and her whole family was there plus some friends who because new ami's as well!! I just feel really humbled and greatful thet Heavenly Father in letting us teach these people. A few weeks ago though we fasted to be able to find families, and its now that the Lord is really answering our prayers. Im so grateful that he listens to us! its amazing how much joy can come into our lives by these small responses He gives us, or big responses in the form of awesome families to teach! 

I read something that really made me think today. President Eyring said that the gift of life is time and the capacity to dispose of it. Time is the inheritance that we all get from Heavenly Father, and its up to us to use it to our best capacity. He's given us the gospel of Jesus Christ as guidleines to know how to use the time we've been alotted on the earth. Have you ever thought about how important our time really is. President Eyring also said that managing our time only is not enough but we need to actually change how we feel about our time, and that will determine how we use it, and if we end up using it how Heavenly Father wants us to. Im just really grateful for the time that i have to serve the people of France and to spread and live the Gospel! 

I love you guys! hoorah for Israel and all that, I'm gonna see if i can go buy myself a new suit! 

Elder Wood 
Hello Family!
As my old haitian/bostonian companion Kerby Louis would have said, this week was bumpin. Especially yesterday! Elder Eriscon and I have had a hard time filling our sunday afternoons with things to do in the past, but we've recently found the perfect sunday afternoon miracle-producing activity: Porting with the Young men. There are 4 Young men in our branch and 3 of them will be leaving on missions within the next year and a half, so we thought we'd give them some help preparing! We've been doing it for a couple weeks now and we are just seeing some awesome miracles. Yesterday we went with Manutea, he's half tahitian, and found a new family to start teaching! Its been a huge blessing to work with these Young men.
In other news we are going to have Elder Quentin L. Cook coming to visit our mission next week! This will be the 2nd apostle ive seen on my mission and im super excited. Im also super stoked because the whole entire mission will be assisting in one meeting! We havent done it at all in my mission but im excited to see some of my old companions and mission friends. Also, you were right mom, this week is transfer week! I am actually going to be staying here in ST. Nazaire for a 4th transfer! This will be the second ville ive done 4 transfers in. Im really happy i get to stay though, i love this place. At first it was a big change and pretty dificult at times, but i have grown to love the members and amis and we've been finding some people lately with a lot of potential that i really want to see progress! This transfer will also only be 4 weeks long, then the next transfer will be 8 weeks. Kind of weird but it'll be cool. Who knows, i could even finish my mission in St. Nazaire! We'll see what happens in 4 weeks i guess! Elder Ericson will be going to Valenciennes, a city in the north of France, and i will be getting a reletively new missionary named Elder Pumford. I dont know anything about him! But im sure he is going to be super cool.
P-day is rapidly coming to an end and we still have things to do and people to save so ive got to go! i love you guys and hope you have a great week! Bisous!
Elder Wood

Scary Night

Hola hola! 

Haha, I love pretending to speak Spanish. How was everyones Halloween?! Hope it was nice and festive! People don't really celebrate Halloween here, so instead of a scary party Elder Ericson and I had a Missionary Night at the chapel centered on the spirit! We a little activity about following the spirit in missionary work and turned the whole chapel into a maze and had people to through it blindfolded, and when they needed help they had to kneel down and raise their hand to get help. The "Holy Ghost" slash Me was the one in the maze helping people find their way! it was super interesting to see how some people reacted. Some people were reluctant to kneel down, and others kneeled down like 10 times, even when things weren't very hard. The coolest part of it though was just how stoked our branch was afterwards to do missionary work. Goal: accomplished! Now we've just got to keep them motivated! There really are some great missionaries in our branch though, St. Nazaire just has so much potential. I have this dream that I'm going to come back in ten years with my family and the chapel will just be full of people! It'll happen someday soon I'm sure of it. 

Other cool story of the week, remember how a few weeks ago i told you how we were porting with a young man from our branch and a really nice lady let us in? Well yesterday we went back and taught her and she officially became a new ami! She just had tons of really sincere questions and we were able to promise her answers and she was really open to learning more. This week was a huge blessing because we found the most new ami's since I've been here, which is really what (sorry i accidentally sent the first message before it was done haha) we needed. Heavenly Father really blessed us this week!

About Marie, she actually will no longer be getting baptised. It was a bit of a sad day actually because she got a bit mad at us. She just told us she refuses to stop drinking coffee.. its crazy to me that something to small can stop someone from making such an important step in their life? Im a little bummed about it just because she is not willing to continue with us really, but its okay because we really did try out best to help her and teach her.  I think that she will come back one day though just when she is ready. 

Well family that was the week! im super grateful for it and for my opportunity to be a missionary. #missionsrule 

I love you guys and hope you have a great week! 

Elder Wood
Hola hola! 

Hey guys, hope all is well! I cant believe all the stuff thats happening back home! Anna is engaged, friends are coming back, Grandma and Grandpa Wood are going to Sweden on a mission? Crazy! But i wish all those people the best of luck! 

This week we had a couple really cool things happen. Thursday, we were in a lesson with an investigator who was supposed to get baptised this saturday. She said some things that made Elder Ericson and I really feel like she wasn't ready for baptism this week, so we prayed about what to do and felt like we needed to teach a very specific lesson about forgiveness and change the baptismal date. We fasted this weekend for everything to go well and that this persons heart would be softened, and it was! The lesson went really well and she changed a lot, and Sunday morning we were able to change her baptismal date without a problem, she was really happy about it and the members really supported her. I feel like when i describe it like this it doesnt seem like a super big deal, but it was exactly what we needed and what we fasted for, and the Lord responded really quickly and perfectly with the needs of our ami. This experience definitely strengthened my testimony of fasting! 

Next cool miracle, we were in a family home afternoon yesterday with an awesome family named the Hoareau's, and their son Amoz, who is preparing for a mission, asked if he could come porting with us! We said yes and we went to a rather nice neighborhood that we've been working in for a while. The last door we knocked let us in right away! It was a single mom with 3 little girls, so it was perfect that we had a member with us, and she said she had had a lot of trouble praying lately, which happens to be what we wanted to do with her. So we said a prayer with her and the spirit was really strong. She thanked us and accepted our invitation to come back and teach her more about the restoration! It was so cool for us but even cooler I think for Amos to see that there are people out there that need the gospel and to be lead by the spirit. Miracles are happening in St. Nazaire! 

Amos and I after porting #superhappy
His umbrella broke so he fixed it with toothpick and he said "I am McGyver" and it was really funny.

As for the rest of the week, we worked hard! Haha, St. Nazaire is really growing on me, and things are just going well right now and I'm super grateful for it. That's basically all! Thanks so much for all your prayers, they work! Love you guys :) Talk to you soon, have an awesome week! 


Whats happnin Family! 

Hope all in well back on the home front! 

Wasn't conference great?? Its such a blessing to have prophets and apostles to lead us today! Some of the main themes i notices were taking care of the poor and needy, the importance of each individual in the church and receiving our own testimonies, and the biggest one for me was following inspired leaders. I loved President Eyrings talk when he talked about his mom's advice and the council and example of his ward leaders as a kid. He is so humble and relatable. I definitely feel like he does about some of the leaders that taught me as a young man and about my parents and mission leaders as well! Its really a blessing to be able to be a part of such a big and progressing mission, they leaders that we have right now are really inspired! Im grateful that Pres Babin has left Elder Ericson and I here for one more transfer together because things are going really well right now, and we are going to be able to have a baptism in a couple weeks! The Lord really does love the investigators here. We saw a couple super cool miracles this week! Marie, an ami who is getting baptised, was able to quit drinking coffee! She only drank coffee because it helped prevent migraines, but she decided to stop and we prayed for here and since she stopped she hasn't had any migraines or headaches! And also on our way to conference a man stopped us on the road and told us he was looking for a the true church, so we were able to talk to him a bit and we'll be seeing him this week! Just little things happened like that all week, and i really felt the love of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for this little branch and our investigators! We're getting super close with the members and its been really fun actually to see the fruits of our mission presidents inspired change to our mission. 

Im really grateful for the Atonement this week. I think we sometimes get too stressed about our imperfections and faults, but what we need to remember is that Christ over comes those things for us as long as we do our best. I definitly have a lot of imperfections and faults haha, but I'm just really grateful for Christ and the progression we can make with Him and for the opportunity that i have to represent Him here in France. I really love our Savior a lot and am grateful to be able to follow His example. 

I love you guys! Thank you so much for your prayers and your support and everything. Keep up the good work at home, spread the gospel! Hoorah for Israel!  Have a great week :) 

Elder Wood 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Middle Aged Single Women

Bonjour everybody! 

So, this week we got transfer news! The big news is that I will be staying in St. Nazaire!! Elder Ericson and I will be doing a 3rd transfer together, which will be the longest i have ever stayed with a companion! I am happy about it though because things have really started to go well in the last few days! 

Our ami Marie is progressing really well and she said something really cool during a lesson this week. We asked her how her testimony of Joseph Smith was coming along and she said it was coming slowly. But she tole us that she is really excited to get baptised because after she is baptised she will have the Holy Ghost and things will make more sense to her spiritually. Cool, right? To hear that from someone who has been to church less than 10 times was really cool for me, and i really think it shows a lot of faith on her part. She is progressing well and our other amis are doing well too! There is this interesting thing happening recently though, which is that we've only been finding middle aged single women to teach. Elder Ericson and I have nothing against middle aged single women, but they make things complicated when you have so many of them to teach but so few preisthood holders to come and teach them with you! But its alright, its a really good problem to have haha, because all the middle aged single women in the world need the gospel too. And they are really nice. 

All joking aside though, it really is a life changing experience to be a missionary. No matter how old or young or what height or race or age, every person needs this Gospel, and I feel incredibly blessed to be able to share that every day. Tough times have come in St. Nazaire but no matter how hard, the demand for the Gospel in peoples lives never diminishes, and the Lord needs worthy and willing messengers to get it to them.  I just know that the Lord loves us all equally, and that we all are important to Him, and that all our efforts count in His eyes. 

Our week was good and we're looking forward to a great week #1 in this new transfer! Give Jordan Higgins a big bisou for me! i love you guys, have a great week! 

Elder Wood 

Miracles people!

Hello everyone! 


This is P-day lunch every week. Baguet, appel and cheese. We usually pick a different cheese to try every week, but i took a picture this week because this is my favorite cheese! Ive been trying to figure out how i can bring it home in mass quantities, so we'll see how much I end up stuffing in my suit cases. Its crazy good stuff. 
This week went really well! We had a couple miracles that really helped us out, the Lords hand was definately present in the work this week! First off we had an exchange with our district leader in Nantes. During the exchange we were able to talk to a bunch of people and teach some really cool lessons on the street! One of my favorite things to do if we dont have an appointment is to prepare a lesson and then go out finding with the intention of teaching it. It really ups our chances of teaching people on the road and it just gives a lot of motivation and direction for what to say to people. So that helped us out a lot and we had a killer exchange. Then, back in good old St. Nazaire, we were able to fix a baptismal date with one of our amis named Marie! It was really cool because she had a date 2ish years ago, but she dropped the missionaries because she didnt like the idea of tithing. We refound her and started teaching again and she said that the first time she walked back into the church she knew she was going to get baptised! I'm so grateful for all that the Lord does for us and these little miracles that happen! We just have to remember that its on the Lords time table always. Things havent gotten any easier, but just like He did for the people of Alma, Heavenly Father sure did make Elder Ericson and I a little stronger this week by helping us fix a date! 

Also, another small miracle, the old Book of Mormon DVD presentations. Have you seen those things? Pure genius. My favorite one is the first one when Susan invites Linda to the laurel activity. Man, you gotta watch them. I wish everyone still dressed like they did back in the day. 

The Lords work is hastening! Transfers are in two weeks and its 50-50 if i stay or go, but a hunch and some common sense leads me to think that it will be me leaving. But luckily we've got at least a solid 17 days left of St. Nazaire lovin! Wish us luck and pray that we will find new amis. I love you guys and hope you have a great week! 

Elder Wood 

Suns Out Guns Out


We had a few spiritual funtivities this week, allow me explain them! 

Zone conference! Always a blast. It was cool to see some of the younger missionaries I knew who are now leaders in the mission! We got some really great trainings from our leaders and our Mission President. One of the main things I learned from this conference is just that it's super important to stick to the basics, always! It's easy to think that we have got the gospel basics down, or the missionary work basics down, but there will always be areas that we can improve in! 

Right after the conference we had an exchange in a city called Nantes (said like nahnt) and I was with Elder Cutshall. We had great time and were able to teach some really cool lessons on the street. We met a woman sitting on some steps by herself and when we asked her her name she said "it's like I don't have a name" because she was just feeling so unimportant, but we were able to testify to her that God loved her and that she was important to him. It was cool to see the change in her eyes as we talked and she said she would try and come to church! Then the next day we prepared a lesson during studies about finding out if God is there with the plan of finding someone to teach it to, and after a bit of contacting we were able to teach an English guy  the lesson we had prepared! It was cool just to see that God really blesses us as we are prepared to do His will. 

We also got some strange news this week in our branch. Our branch mission leader told us on Thursday that he was moving to a city called Lille, and on sunday, poof! He was gone! so nuts! So we were left with no branch mission leader. Then, a family gets up on Sunday to bear their testimony, and they told everyone they found work and were starting monday, but it was in Paris! So poof, they up and left today! So in total, 7 people left from our branch in one weekend. 7 is not a huge number, but when you only have 35 to 40 people every sunday, 7 missing is a lot! We are expecting some very interesting developments in our branch in the next few weeks, and hoping to find 7 people to get our attendance back up!! 

Have you ever thought about what is means to say "I know the church is true"? Joseph Smith said that the truth in things are they are, were and always will be. Saying that the church is true is actually a really deep statement! For me that phrase resumes a lot of history and sacrifice, when we think of all the saints that have come before us and have worked and in many cases died in order to progress the work of the Lord, and to bring the Truth forth. Im just proud to be able to say every day that I Know that the church is True. 

Nevertheless, things in St. Nazaire are going well. We're seeing some little miracles and the Lord really is helping us. Its getting pretty hot down here! I, being the 20 year old boy that i am, found myself one short sleeve shirt short the other day, and had to ask my companion if i could borrow one of his. Little did i know that his sleeves were super short, and so i just had my little white arms blazing in the sun all day! Thus the title, suns out guns out. And voila, le week! I love you all and hope to hear from you soon! Until next time!

Elder Wood 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Whats up family! 

What a week folks, what a week. Let me tell you about it. 

We surprise found a sweet less active! We were just porting in a building, had no idea that she lived there, then she anwsered the door! We had a great lesson, her neighbor was interested too, and she came to church yesterday. So cool! Little miracles! 

Thursday we had our first real interveiw with President and Sister Babin and they went super well! Dispite the fact that we were in Anger (the city, we weren't angry) literally all day, we got to know the Babin's really well and they taught us some really great things about being consecrated. Its cool how we can always always improve ourselves. I made the decision at the beginning to be a consecrated missionary, like many others do, but the conference helped a ton to just refocus and learn more and be even more consecrated then before! Also Pres. Babin is super cool and kind of reminds me of a gray haired, french Super Man. 

Sunday was also really cool because at fast and testimony meeting all the young men (all 4 of them) got up and bore their testimonies about Scout camp and EFY. I was just kind of thinking about when i went to those kind of things and how much it prepared me for my mission, even though i didnt really see how much it would help at the time. One thing that i really have learned is thats its just the little acts that change us. Going to EFY or Scout camp really is not that big a deal, but the principles and lessons taught there can be eternel! Im super grateful that i got to do those. So, all you young men and women, or possibly moms who can pass this message to their young men and women or i dont know, go to EFY and Scout camp! It will help you much more that you know. 

Also these photos are of something called a Doleman, pretty sweet eh? Its kind of like a little mini stone henge and there are tons of them all around Bretagne, which is the region of France im in. We went with the Harris couple this morning! Its funny how such little moments become so exciting as a missionary haha we were only there for about 20 minutes but it ruled. 

Thats about it for this week. The work is progressing and your prayers work! Thank you so much for your support and prayers and everything. I love you and ill talk to you next week. :) bisous! 

Elder Wood 
Hello family and friends! 

Have you ever seen the mormon message with the prospector who leaves his home to go look for gold?? He searches around for gold for days and just doesn't find what he wants, so he has a dramatic/kind of funny moment when he throws a rock in the the river and yells,"Theres no gold here!!" Then, an older prospector comes along and helps his realise that he shouldn't be looking for huge nuggets of gold, but just the little tiny flakes, and the prospector finds what he was looking for all along. 

This week i totally had a "Theres no gold here!!" moment. We've been working and working and just havent been able to find the people we're looking for. I was just frustrated and worried and kind of embarrassed that we werent succeeding how I wanted. Finally though I just was humbled, and asked Heavenly Father for some help. Sometimes our desires to go good and help and succeed are so big that we dont count the little successes that we are having. So I went back through the week and just tried to count our miracles and this is what i found!: 
-We ported into an old investigator who said she is again interested in taking the lessons. 
-We helped a less active member take down her wall paper, service rules. 
-We got several referrals from members and a random woman who had received a brochure a long time ago called and wants to meet up with us! 
-We spent a day with two young men in the branch and talked to them about preparing for their missions. 
And there was just a lot of little gold flakes like that that had happened that I had missed. The Atonement is such a great thing because it allows us to start over and do better no matter when, no matter what! I am so grateful for this power and opportunity that I have to use the Atonement in my life and to help others do the same. I love being a missionary, and i love our Savior so much! 

So, the old Prospector showed me how to be grateful and find the little flakes, and now everything is great! Everything is golden, i guess you could say  and we are going to have a killer week! Also, last miracle of the week, we found some apartments to tract out and the parking lot was full of kittens!  They are too fast to be touched, but thats probably good because i am too allergic to be touching kittens. So voila, that was the week. Thank you for your prayers and all that you do, go share the gospel this week! 

Elder Wood 
Greetings from ST. NAZ-AIR! (thats how you pronounce it) 

This week we moved and it was a DOOZIE. There was a senior couple named the H's that worked here as well, but they finished their mission last week so we got to move into their apartment! There are serveral good and bad aspects of this move:

Good things: Their apartment is quite large! Double the size of our old one. The old one was pretty small, but it's ok. We possibly will inherit their car. We live super close to some families in the branch. And we didn't have to buy that many groceries because they left us a ton of food. 

Bad things: Listing bad things is lame, but the only thing I feel is necessary to say is that the apartment was A. MESS. We cleaned for 3 days!! 3 days, people! It's still not totally clean, but we're getting there. 

We also had two of everything! Two washers, dryers, 4 desks, 3 beds, what to do with all these extra things you ask? We were able to help some members and the local community by giving the beds and washer and dryer and tables and things, but at the end of the day we had 2 desks to give away still that we didnt know what to do with. But, fun fact, in Europe/France there are lots of Gypsies. Turns out that its completely socialy acceptable and within the law to leave your extra things outside on the sidewalk, because the gypsies will come and take them! So we haven't checked back yet but I'm pretty sure by now they have snagged up our two old desks. So that was exciting. 

So this week I learned that gypsies will take all your old stuff, but also some more about patience! Obviously we would have much rather have been out teaching and finding than cleaning the appartment and moving things, but to the end of the week i looked back and we were still able to see some little miracles with the moments we had to work with. It just makes me grateful for all the time that i have and i want to use it to its fullest! I love the Savior and His work here, a mission is a true priviledge! i love my mission so much. A few months ago i would have been a little sad and scared about going home, but it really is just going to be a moment of rejoicing and a celebration of 2 years well spent in the service of the Lord! And more than anything im just motiviated to put my shoulder to the wheel and accomplish more here! #alwaysinthemiddle

Anyways haha I get a little carried away sometimes! Thats all for this week folks! i love you and wish you week full of joy and gospel spreading! bisous! 

Elder J. Wood
Buenos Dias! 

How is everybody? Good? Thats good. Im glad your all home safe from Lake Powell! This week was pretty wonderful. Our amis are doing well and we were able to find some new people as well! And im finally LEGAL!! Thursday we went down to Paris and to renew my temporary legality thing, and they had me actual card ready, so voila! That was a little miracle all in its own. While we were there we also got to meet some people! Talking to people EVERYWHERE is so important. We are often lead by the spirit to find new people who are ready for the gospel, even if we dont always have some sort of miraculous revelation. Often we dont even know we are being lead, so you just have to put your faith in the Lord and talk to everyone around you! The people we met in Paris were super cool and it was great to be able to just testify to them. Sometimes you are lead by the spirit as well, you testify and teach, but people dont accept the gospel. Its seems super weird in the moment and we tend to get a little confused or a little frustrated, but its important to remember and have faith that the spirit continues to work with people and that we are just intruments in the Lords hands. We had many experiences of these two kinds this week, nothing super huge, but it helped me a lot just to be grateful for all the little blessings that the Lord gives us as missionaries and as members of His church. I feel like this was kind of a collage of spiritual ideas haha so i hope you understand what im trying to say! Basically this week the work just boiled down to faith and gratitude. Also im really grateful for the boardwalk by our house, because its really pretty and there are loads of young families there. 

And voila, thats about all! Elder Ericson and i will be staying in St. Nazaire for another 6 weeks, and there is work to be done! I love you guys and hope you have a super great week. Talk to you later! 

Elder Wood 

this is not nearly as bad as my farmers tan

Hello Famille! 

Well, I guess you won't get this until your home from Lake Powell, lucky ducks! Being by the ocean eases the pain, haha jk. but really. 

This week, where to begin! Had some cool things happen. We are finally starting to find some new people and baptisms are going to happen! It's been kind of cool to just see the real power of faith at work. Go out the door believing something is going to happen, and it does! The next step to keep that up is to just thank the Lord for what he allowed to happen and do it again. I also got to do an exchange with the legend and my old companion Elder Louis! It was just like old times, me just following in amazement as he finds and teaches in a ville he doesn't even know. Haha not literally, but it was fun because we got a lot of work done together. He is going home in like 2 weeks! It's weird because most of the people I knew in the mission are already home by now! They are all sending me photos and everything and it makes me feel so weird, I don't feel like any life but the mission exists! But from some in depth discussions with ElderLouis, I gleened some steps to staying focused, which are: 

1. Set goals.
2. Do daily personal self evalutations. 
3. Have good morning studies. 
4. Don't think of home
5. Cherish every minute. 

Also there are just a couple other phrases that are seemingly cheesy but effective when put in practice! "Do it. Do it right. Do it right now." and the definition of Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, expecting the same results. Doing all those things helps you stay focused and work effectively no matter where you are in your mission! And i feel like i said this a couple weeks ago but really all that i have learned during my mission is just being put to the test in St. Nazaire! Its a challenge but its so much fun here and things are looking up! I wager that Elder Ericson and I will stay together for another transfer, because this week is the last week of the transfer. We'll see though, anything is possible! 

Also this morning we went through the Escal' Atlantique, which is the Cruise ship museum here! It was super fun and we learned tons of useless fun facts about french lines, which im sure will have some purpose sometime in life. Usless facts never really end up being useless, the Lord did tell us to gain knowledge, right?! 

That was the week folks, and it ruled! I hope yours was equally awesome and that you are safe in lake powell or with working or in the mtc :) I love you! Bye! 

Elder Wood 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sleeping spiritual giant

Ni hao! 

How's it going? Great I suppose! This week was good, just full of service and party planning/party plan realizations and spiritual experiences. 

So last p day, we were on our way to the store to do our shopping for the week, and a really nice older man starts talking to us, turns out he had a pretty crazy story! He is about 70, German but living currently in Tonga and on vacation here alone. When he got here he got super sick from some boat mold and it caused his lung capacity to go down to 29%! Thus, he is not fit enough to fly on an airplane. He explained that he had to pay so many hospital bills and hotel rooms that he was totally out of money. He is not a member, but had been talking with the missionaries in Tonga and assisting church in Tonga with his wife, who is a member. He asked us if we could help him find a place to sleep, so we tried the hospital and some hotels and the hostel but had no luck, and eventually found him a room with one of our very charitable members, the Poisbeau family. He just asked them for one night, but they let him stay for 3! How incredible is that?! So much charity in these members. 

Also we had an awesome branch BBQ! This was the surprise baby that the sisters left us before they left: that we were supposed to plan and throw the party for the branch. Turns out that planning a party is pretty stressful but also pretty worth it! We invited everyone to bring their friends and we actually had a super good turn out! Two really nice families came and they had a really good first exposure to the church. The power of member missionary work is to huge though! Instead of trying to kindle a great relationship that permits a person to feel the Spirit while screaming over cars and construction, you can kindly talk to a friend in the comfort of your own home about something that can change their life and let them realize who they really are. Do you understand the importance/awesomeness?!! The St. Nazaire members are really making some great efforts to do this and its coming along! There is SO much potential here, we just need to unlock it! That'll be the plan for this week, awake the sleeping spiritual giant that is St. Nazaire. 

Make a difference for somebody this week! I love you, talk to you soon! 

Elder Wood 

This week. What even happened this week? I know a lot of hard work happened that's for sure! Before I forget though, 

4 Rue Pierre Mendes-France
44600 ST. Nazaire

Voila my new address! 

This week though we got some exciting news, coming in August/September of 2014..... Ipad's in Western Europe!! What? I never thought I'd be in the mission field when this happened, but it's here everyone, we're getting ipad's. Which means that Sister Wood will probably get one too?! I have no other news than that we have to buy them ourselves, but we also get to keep them after our missions, and that's basically it. I'll probably tell you a little more in weeks to come, when I find out haha. 

Also this morning we went to see a partially submerged retired submarine! That was super cool! The Harris', the missionary couple here, who rock a ton, took us! It was the first submarine to break through the ice in the North Pole, so that's pretty cool! There are a lot of things to do like that here because St. Nazaire was a huge naval base for France in both world wars I believe. I will attach a photo. 

 As far as work, this week was really good and really hard! I love it here and there is so much potential in our branch and just in the city in general, but for some reason I just feel like you have to work a lot harder to keep things going how they need to be! In a couple of instances on my mission I've felt like we were just given blessings and things were relatively easy, but here, it's like I have had to take everything I've learned so far from those successes and experiences and put them to the test. Honestly this week was a challenge! But on Sunday night when you just get to reflect over your week for a minute, it feels really to good to be able to have made even a little difference in the lives of some of Heavenly Father's children. And we did get to make some differences this week.  We taught our ami Y yesterday and he kept saying "This is all the same stuff I've learned in the Catholic church, what was even restored?" From there we just got to talk about everything, what happened to the prophets? The apostles? Why did revelation stop and nobody wrote scripture after the bible? Where are the temples? Why aren't people obedient to commandments anymore? Just tons of stuff to show him that the church is here again! And it was super cool to see him start asking himself questions and being a lot more open and curious. Also we are focusing on less actives this transfer and have seen quite a few of them start coming back to church already! They all have a their own difficulties and everything, but it's such a blessing to see them act in faith to overcome those. Just a ton is going on! And we're going to keep fighting to help everyone have the blessings of the gospel!

I am super happy though and being a missionary gets better and better every day! We've gotta run and do our shopping but I'm stoked to get your letters and I love you guys! Have a missionary experience this week! Bisous au revoir! 

Elder Wood 
  The "swardfish" submarine

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

St. Nazaire

Bonjour family!
Well, here we are in St. Nazaire! This week was just out of control! Whitewashing is super crazy and pretty hard, but we were blessed this week for sure and saw some cool things happen.
First of all, St Nazaire is just an awesome place to be. It's kind of like Radiator Springs+Huntington Beach+France all mixed together. It's really small, and there is just one road where everyone does their shopping and everything else, and it's right on the coast. Our apartment is probably a 5 minute walk from the beach! Also they build cruise ships here. They are now in the middle of building the world's largest ship! Pretty cool, eh? But the most hoppin' part of St. Nazaire is the missionary work. We were left a little bit to do by the missionaries that were here before us, but not much! The first day we got here we just got to the apartment, dropped off our suitcases and went outside to contact, and the first guy we talked to became a new investigator! It was super cool and we were able to teach a few lessons in our first week which was awesome. And the branch, they are so great! I think I told you last week that there was about 20 but there are actually around 40, and they are super motivated to do missionary work! The second counsellor in the branch presidency is a convert of 2 years and he basically runs the show and it's super impressive, and our branch president is from outside of the city and has a farm, so he speaks hillbilly French! He's super fun to talk to and a super great leader.
​Last night we had dinner with the Poisbeau family. He is French, she is African. The conversation somehow turned to "bou bous", which are traditional African clothing. I said "I've always wanted a bou bou" and bam, she whips out 2 and gives them to us! Behold:

Also, this is my companion! Elder E, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. He is in his 6th transfer, likes physics and maple syrup and loves serving the Lord. We're gonna get some stuff done here!
It's gonna be a challenge here but I'm up for it! I really like it and I've already learned a lot and I'm just excited to see what the Lord has in store for us. I love you guys! Have a great week and I'll talk to you soon. :) 
Elder Wood

4th of July


This was one wild week! I kind of felt like Dwight and Jim when they were the party planning committee because we had to plan a 4th of July party for our branch this week! Why celebrate American Independence in Belgium, you ask? Because everybody loves America! Even though Belgium did beat us in the world cup, tons of people came to the party! We played football (real american football!) ate pancakes and hot dogs and had a line dance. Needless to say it ruled! And the best part was that there were tons of non-members there, even the guy sitting next to us on the bus showed up! Luckily though we have 4 sister missionaries here, so that's

 probably the reason it was so good.  I just wanted to talk to the ami's and play football, so it worked out pretty well :) 

Then on Saturday our awesome friend Guy André got baptised!! It was probably the best baptism i have even been to because all the members that have helped him out were there and the spirit was super strong as he was baptised and testified of his life and conversion afterwards. It really is the same feeling for me though every time I get to see a baptism, that this is just whats supposed to be happening! Its not always some big huge magical thing but its a fulfilling sense, just a pure joy that comes from having helped someone come unto Christ. I got the opportunity to confirm Guy André a member of the church on Sunday! It really was a huge blessing for me and I'm really grateful for it. He really is going to be a huge addition to the branch here, he is really active already and wants to have a calling and get engaged, it was just so cool and such a blessing to teach him! He will definitely be a friend for life. And the next crazy thing iiiisssss....

Im getting transferred again!! SO nuts!! I completely expected to stay here in Liège, but I'm going to a little city called St. Nazaire in France! Its along the Western coast of France, its really pretty and there is a little branch of 20 people there. It will be a lot of firsts for me! My first 2 man apartment, my first small city, smallest branch I've even been in, and first time with a Canadian companion Elder E, and the first whitewash I've ever done! White wash means instead going in to a companion that knows the area, we will both be going in at the same noob level not knowing anything about the area! It sure will be an adventure and i am super excited! Im not zone leader anymore either which will be another change. So much new stuff!! When i found out i was super shocked but also i just got this feeling that it was for a reason. I have no idea what the reason is, but i know there is a really good reason i need to go to St. Nazaire. We're gonna get some work done! 

The last couple days have been full of surprises! And tonight and tomorrow ill be saying lots of goodbyes, kind of like Carley!! (Whom I love and am so proud of by the way) Missionary work is the best thing ever! I know Christ lives and that He leads the work today. It's not an act, it's just real life and real Eternal life that we're working towards, and what a crazy privilege we all have to be a part of that! I really love my mission :) I'm so happy here, and I'm going to be so happy in St. Nazaire and Carley in going to be so happy in Portugal!!

I'll cut it off here so I can get some packing and shopping done before tonight! I love you guys and I'm super grateful that you are my family. Have a great week and I'll talk to you soon! 

Elder Wood