"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, June 30, 2014

Murica v Belgium

Howdy ya'll! 

How's it going over there? Pretty great I hope! I'm super stoked to get the package you sent! That'll go along quite nicely with all the other exciting crazy things that are going to happen this week! 

This last week though was really good. Not a ton of really exciting things happened but a ton of little things happened all week that added up to some pretty cool experiences. I think the Lord was just trying to teach us to be lead and be patient this week. Everytime we prayed to know where to go or what to do, we didn't really get answers, but everywhere we went we found and taught people! It was super cool but I was kind of confused about it for a couple days but then I re-read one of my favorite Preach My Gospel quotes from Elder Oaks on page 101. It's long so I wont type it all out, but it says basically that we cannot expect to be guided in everything. Sometimes either choice is acceptable to the Lord, and it's just up to us to use our best judgement and go for it! He gave us a brain for a reason, right? We gotta use it! We are just expected to do what we think is right and try to do the will of the Lord, and He will make things happen and use us as tools, whether we recognize it or not. That was a valuable lesson for me to relearn! 

Also this week there is going to be a couple conflicting events. #1. Belgium vs. America in the World Cup. Seriously, what are the chances of this happening?! I think its really awesome, but also people are pretty crazy towards us anyways, so I'm interested and nervous to see how they will react after the game! Win or lose, it'll be exciting. #2, the 4 of July! The day we celebrate our Independance (may I remind you that my companion is English?) We have planned a rockin' America Party for our branch and we've been inviting all our ami's and everyone is super excited, but then the game just ends up being 2 days before the party! Haha we're just praying that everyone in Belgium will decide to be really good sports this week. #'Merica

The last unconflicting event that is going to happen this week is that our great friend Guy-André is going to get baptised on Saturday. I don't know if I've told you about him, but he is one of best investigators I've had on my mission! The only struggle while teaching him has been that I had to step up my teaching game so much to actually bring him anything because he was so prepared! He's from Burundi and is working on his doctorate here. He already participates really well in the ward and is super excited to have a calling and progress the Lord's work! I feel like if he was a bit younger we could slap a badge on his chest and send him out because he loves people so much and he especially loves Christ. I'll send you some photos next week!! 

And voila, that's about all! Things are just climbing here and I really love it. Being a missionary is the best! I love you guys and hope you get some chances to share the gospel too :) bisous! Go America! 

Elder Wood

Monday, June 23, 2014

World Cup Mania

Howdy family! 

Glad to hear you're home safe! Mexico sounds like a pretty crazy place. And speaking of crazy places, I will start by telling you what happened last night here in Liège! As you know, the World Cup is going on right now. I feel like it's not that big of a deal in the U.S., but in Belgium it's lyfe. They won their first game last week and it was relatively crazy in the streets, but last night was so much crazier, and we got stuck right in the middle of it! We were knocking some doors by the church, when at about 8 o'clock the neighborhood all erupted at once because Belgium had beaten Russia. Everyone ran out of their houses and got in their cars with their Belgian flags and started speeding around the the streets, honking and hanging out the windows screaming, "Allez les Belges!!" (go belgium) This was in a pretty quiet neighborhood, so we were a little surprised, but we had no idea what was going on down town where we live! There was like a mile of traffic, every car honking its horn and being driven by a drunk person and everyone either standing on top or hanging out the window waving their Belgian flags, and between us and our apartment, there were thousands of people screaming and kicking soccer balls in the air and all the other crazy stuff you do when your country wins a game. So we start making our way through the crowd, and a large group of people surround us and paint our faces with Belgian flags! They were really nice, and I have to say it was pretty fun, but really surprising, especially in missionary mode when all you can do is nervously sing "The Spirit of God" and let them paint your face! But we looked a little more pro- Belgium with the face paint, so we made it through the rest of the crowd and into our apartment safely. Then we all moved our mattresses into the quietest room in the apartment to try and sleep through the party outside that lasted until late into the night. It was so wild. My only fears are if they win again or if they end up playing the states, but we'll see I guess! 

The week before that, however, was one of the best of my whole mission! We've been so blessed with finding and teaching lately, its been incredible! Our ami's are quickly progressing towards baptism! I just had the impression that everything we did this week was done how we were supposed to do it. Especially with some of our ami's we're teaching. They are so smart! It's like they are all already members because the doctrine just makes so much sense to them, and I often think, "how am I supposed to teach these people? What am I supposed to bring them?? They know everything already!" But somehow, they still learn and progress and it's really refreshing to see these people coming unto Christ. I've also learned how great and blessed of a life we have in Utah! The stories that our ami's share with us are unbelievable. This week I heard stories of people trying to kill our ami's, but somehow they made it out, their families still living in danger while they are here working to save them, poisonings and robberies and people losing every member of their family, and fleeing from war torn countries.  These are people that have really had to fight and struggle to survive and somehow they make it here and they meet us, two young kids wanting to teach them about Jesus on the road. So when we start teaching them, I realize that it's not us who were looking for them, but the Lord. It's Him who needed to heal their spiritual wounds and change their hearts and we are just His humble tools. There really is nothing that can slow this work down! They "hope for a better world" just like everybody, and it's such a great blessing to be able to proclaim that possibility to them. 

Also, this was President Poznanski's last week! It was super sad to say goodbye to them and I'm going to miss them a ton! My favorite thing he ever said was "it's not about what you do but what you establish" and they really have established a great mission here that is going in a great direction. Definitely a bitter sweet moment. President and Sister Babin come in on Thursday!! 

This was a long one! I'm super glad your home safe though and I love you guys! Have a super great week and watch the USA soccer game ;) bisous! 

Elder Wood

photo 1: Last photo time seeing President and Sister Poznanski!  
photo 2: Belgian pride! Thank you, strangers in the street, for ambushing me and painting my face!

Jun 16 (7 days ago)

Hola hola! 

I hope all is going well down in Mexico! I can only imagine the amount of Nacho Libre quotes being thrown around. Sometimes before we leave the apartment I say to my companion, "I saw these two bums the other day and I said to myself, 'Lets go teach these guys the gospel.'"

This week was wild! We lost two whole days of working in our area because we went to Versailles for an exchange with the assistants, but we still taught more than our average amount of lessons! It was a huge blessing! One of the reasons we were able to teach so much this week is definitely attributed to the World Cup. Belgian's soccer team actually made it into the top 8 teams in the world! (or so I'm told) and Belge people, like most other Europeans, are super crazy about soccer. So, when you get on the bus, all you have to do it sit down next to someone and say "Hey did you see the match last night?" and voila, your talking! My soccer knowledge has significantly increased, and so has our teaching pool! 

Another super cool thing this week was this guy we met named Guy. He was a referral from our awesome members and we were able to fix a baptismal date with him the first lesson! When we met him he told us that he had seen us several times on the bus and around town and whenever he saw us he felt something and he wanted to talk to us and learn who we were. So when he found out his neighbor was a member he asked if he could learn more, and the member called us right up! During the first lesson, we talked about how families could be sealed forever thanks to the restored gospel. It was really one of the most sweet moments of my mission, the Spirit was really strong and he gladly and quickly accepted the invitation to be baptised. It's so true that people really are prepared to receive this gospel in their lives. And another really cool thing is that these temple blessings will be available for him and his family even sooner than expected, because as of last Friday construction of the Paris, France Temple has finally started!! There won't be anything stopping its progression anymore, and it will be done in 2 or 2 1/2 years! Elder Anderson was just in France when this happened and he told the mission presidents that this is the moment to work, because the Lord is going to prepare this country more than ever to have more people come unto Christ and be able to receive these blessings for themselves. How prophetic, am I right?! In the next few months a lot of things are going to change for the missionary work in France and Belgium, and I'm so grateful that I get to be a part of it! 

Be safe in Mexico! Don't get too sun burned and have tons fun! I love you guys! Adios! 

Elder Wood 

photo 1- the Englishman and I at a cool lookout stop of Liege! 
photo 2- huge flowery staricase leading up to the cool lookout spot
photo 3- voila


Bonjour from Liège! 

What a week! I'm way glad to hear that everything went well with Carley's farewell! I can't believe she is leaving so soon. Also, you never told me you were going to Mexico! That's so cool! It's about as hot as Mexico over here right now but the weather changes are even more dramatic and fast than in Utah! It's cool, though, makes things exciting. 

We had some really cool things happen this week! We were extra guided by the Spirit to find some really great people. I'll recount! The first one was a two day story. Wednesday we were on an exchange, and I was in Liège with Elder P, my best friend from California. We really felt like we should get off the bus and go into a neighborhood to find some people. We turned down a little road and there was one lady pushing her stroller, so obviously, we went and talked to her! She was really nice and told us she was happy to meet us because she is currently searching the true faith. At the end of our conversation she thanked us but was hesitant to give us her number or address, so we gave her ours and she said she would do some research and give us a call. I was happy but that happens every day, and nobody ever calls us. We continued on our way though and I didn't think much about it again, but her neighborhood was really nice, so we made a note to come back and knock doors again one day. So, skip to Friday night, we only had a couple hours to find so we hopped on the bus to go to a specific place we had thought of earlier. When we got there we felt like we should stay on the bus and talk to someone, so we did, and he wasn't interested, but the stop we got off on after talking to him was a stop near the road where we talked to the nice lady, and I remembered that we could go knock doors in her neighborhood. So we started knocking! The first door said no, but at the second door was a really large muscular Belgian man, who was also really nice and knew who we were so we got to talking. We answered a lot of questions for him and the Spirit was really strong actually, and about 15 minutes in his wife came to the door to see what he was doing. Who was his wife? The lady we talked to on Wednesday! So we got to meet their kids and teach their family and we are going back this week to teach them more. How great is that?! When I write these emails every week I feel like they kind of become the same thing over and over, but you guys really wouldn't believe all the little specific directions the Lord gives us to be able to find and teach the people who are prepared to hear His gospel. 

I'll make the second one quick, but it was equally cool. Sunday there was a really huge multi stake conference broadcasted to our chapel from Bern, Switzerland. Elder Tiexiera, Elder Anderson and President Uchtdorf all spoke and it was really spritual! Half way through one of my favorite members, Frere K came in and sat by me with his friend F who has been interested in the church for some time. We watched the conference and talked afterwards and he ended up fixing a rendez-vous for later in the afternoon. F is a really great guy from Congo, and he lives out in the country where the church in not present. Ever since he first knew the church he has been interested, and finally his job sent him to Brussels for 2 months for some research, and he decided to come to church and meet with us! Right at the beginning of the lesson Frere K laid down the law, and told him that this could be one of his only chances to be baptised while he is here. Even though its super fast, I agreed with Fr. K, and Elder S and I felt really prompted to tell F that if he was willing to make this change in his life the Lord would be able to use him as a great tool in starting the church where he lives in Congo. It was one of the most powerful moments of my life as I expressed that promise to him, and he told us how deeply our message touched him and that he would sincerely pray to know if he needed to do it, and we'll find out more when we see him this friday. 

I'm just kind of amazed at some of the things that can happen during a mission. I don't really have like a ton of crazy cool stuff going on but stories like this happen almost everyday, and I'm not very articulate in telling you them, but I can tell you that this truly is the work of the Lord. And He needs all of us to participate as much as we can! I also like to just share the stories each week because I hope they push you to do more and participate in sharing the gospel! 

I love you guys so much! Thanks so much for your prayers and all the support you give, it works! This was a long one, but go out there and help somebody today! Bisous bisous, talk to you soon :) 

Elder Wood

Mon Famille Bonjour! 

K check it out, this week is transfer week! Elder Louis and i had a pretty crazy 6 weeks together, taught so many people and saw tons of miracles! And he taught me so much as well and I grew a lot with his. Unfortunately he will be leaving us, but the good news is that i will be getting an englishman as my new companion! Elder S! I haven't met him yet, but from what i hear he is a super nice guy and im so stoked to 1. work with his because I've heard that he is super cool and fun and I will get to perfect my English accent and say things like "Cheers" and other english phrases. 

And Elder Louis sure did go out with a bang, because this week was super crazy! For some reason a lot of our normal progressing amis stopped responding and we could not get ahold of them, so we set out to find others! We had few fixed appointments but we were able to teach a lot of people on the road and get let in while knocking doors! We found a neighborhood of enthusiastic italians, who are all related and all know members of the church, we met a woman who only speaks Bulgarian, but luckily our trusty Bulgarian Branch mission leader was there to help us with that one! And we found out that every single young family in Liège hangs out at the park on Sunday, so we went and taught a bunch of them! It was just so fun and the joy that comes out of this work in unreal. It really is surprising sometimes to see how much the Lord blesses us when we are willing to do what He asks of us and when we come to Him in faith and prayer to know what to do. Yes, there are difficult moments, but I don't write about them often because they get faded out by all the great opportunities to teach the gospel! In Helaman 10 verses 4 and 5, the Lord blesses Nephi because of his unwearyingness in declaring His word. And I don't often think about the end of my mission, but when it's done I hope to receive these same blessings because of my dedication and unwearyingness. So that's what and Elder Stobbs and I are going to do this week! 

I hope everything back on the home front is going splendidly and that you are having the same kind of growth and miracles chez vous! Also, I wear a french shoe size 41,  I think thats around and 8 in American sizes, and the echos are the best shoes. Hopefully today we're actually going to go bowling,  so pray that I can re-find my skills from before! I love you and I hope your week is great! Bisous 

Elder Wood

Photo 1: Elder Beane and Elder Pfost and in Versailles 
Photo 2: Soeur Doyle and I by the Eiffel Tower eating a crêpe #fpmlyfe