"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