Indonesia, Jakarta Mission 3/13 - 3/15

Monday, December 30, 2013

Goodbye 2013

So, a lot of last week you already know about, but there has been a few cool things happen since then. First off I will start with Christmas Eve.  I already told you that we went to Papa Ron's pizza for dinner, and on Tuesdays it is buy a large get a large free, so we do that for each companionship, so each Elder has his own large pizza to eat.  Pretty gross, ya, but it is awesome and delicious.  Well, we couldn't quite finish all the pizza since we had already eaten that day, so we had them put the extras in boxes. But then we realized we don't have any way to heat it up again, and it really probably wouldn't get eaten in the next few days.  We didn't want it to go to waste, so on the way home, we gave several homeless people that we passed a box of pizza with a pass-along card in it, and wished them a Merry Christmas!  It was something so simple and dumb, but it made us all so happy, and it was so cool to see how grateful and how surprised and excited these homeless people were to receive what is a very nice meal here in Indonesia!  And we felt awesome because we were doing service and helping the needy and spreading Christ's name and message at the same time!  It was just awesome, and we were just so excited that we belted Christmas Carols the whole way home!
Christmas Eve at Papa Ron's

Christmas... I have already told you most everything about.  It was fun!

Christmas morning french toast

Thursday we called, and that was absolutely awesome!  I loved hearing from all of you, and seeing all of you and being able to do all that!  It sounds like you are all doing well, and you all look great! Talking was so awesome!  I can't believe how quickly the time went, though!  It flew by way faster than I realized!  But I don't think it was too big of a deal, so don't worry too much about it.  Well, after we talked, Elder Wintolo and I were trying to figure out what to do for the day.  We usually do weekly planning on thursday, but there were a few appointments we wanted to try to get in, and we wanted to pass out all our invitations to the Solo 2 Ward Christmas party that was on Friday.  To be honest, after talking I was momentarily homesick, and missed the normal just relax for a few days after Chrismtas, and it was hard to get motivated to go work for a few minutes.  But, we just forced it and went and got started.  Well, it all got better once we started working!  That really is the key:  work!  It makes homesickness and everything go away.  Just go to work!  Well, that day we rode all over our area giving out invitations and getting in a few appointments and lessons.  In total, we got two solid lessons in, and we visited briefly with and handed out over 13 invitations that day.  

Friday we had our study time, then we had District Meeting, which was good.  Then we had an appointment and we had to help an inactive crippled member get to the Christmas party because he really wanted to come.  But we didn't have time for both, so we went on splits with the other companionhip who didn't have an appointment yet.  So we got that done and got back to the church just in time for the Christmas party to start.  Well, it was totally awesome!  In total, we had over 16 investigators and inactive members that we had taken invitations to, or that we often visit, show up there.  And there were several inactive members where this was their first time stepping into the church in probably over 30 years!  And we had taken an invitation to this random lady we had heard was Christian, and she came, too!  It was totally awesome to see people who are new investigators come and make friendships, and long-time inactive members come back and renew old friendships and hopefully build ties to help them come back to church!  So that was awesome!!!

Saturday:  First off we went and got my bike fixed--the brakes weren't working at all for some reason. So now I am a lot safer because I can stop! :) So that's good!  And I got a bike tool so I can fix stuff myself, too.  After that, we went and got in some good appointments.  One of them was really cool to me.  It was with an inactive member, and this was the first time I have ever met with her.  Well, we were just about to start a generic "keep the commandments and be blessed--so come to church and read the scriptures" message, because up til then, we hadn't really been able to find what her needs or anything were.  But just after we finished praying and were about to open the scriptures and share our fallback message, I had a specific question come to my mind to ask her, so I did.  Well, through that question, we were able to immediately find a specific need that we could help her with, though at first, I wasn't quite sure how.  But, as it became time for me to talk again and help her overcome this need, immediately a scripture popped into my mind that I had read a few days ago, though never had actually used in a lesson.  It was a good vrese, but before this lesson it was one I never really thought I would use in a lesson, either.  But, it came straight to my mind, and so did the chapter and book that it was in. So I opened to that chapter and almost immediately found the verse I wanted, without having to really look for it much.  Well, we shared that verse and a few others, had a good quick discussion, and she committed to start reading the Book of Mormon every day and to come to church tomorrow!  It was awesome!  (Even though she didn't come to church the next day, which was a bit disappointing.  So, time to follow up on that)...

Sunday:  Today was good, but it was also kind of a bummer.  We didn't have a single investigator that came to church today, which was sad, because we had a goal of 8, especially after the Christmas party. But, oh well I guess, we did our best to help them, and its their agency.  Several of them had decent excuses though, so I guess we will follow up with them all this week and try again next week!  But today was good, too, because we got to meet with ward council from Solo 1 and with the WML from both wards to help us better coordinate the work.  Then we got some study time and weekly planning done.  Well, with all the meetings, and 2 church services and study and planning, we had a pretty full day, til 10:00 at night!  So when we finished planning we just showered and went to bed.

Today:  Today we woke up and cleaned the house.  Then we all met at the church for pinewood derby, but it just seemed too complicated with 4 companionships, 1 saw, and limited time.  So, luckily i had brought that little foldy frisbee thing that you sent for Christmas, and we went out to the parking lot and played Ultimate Frisbee for a while.  It was a ton of fun!  That frisbee thing is awesome, too, thank you!  After that, we played some Uno, then some more frisbee, then came here to email.  And later hopefully we can get in a few appointments.  

Well, that's about it for this week!  Things here are great!  Sounds like things at home are good, which I'm glad for!  I love you all and you are so awesome!  Thanks for everything!  Mom--I shared some of the caramels today and everyone loved them!  And later I will think about sharing some of the cookies!

I don't know...those are pretty precious!  Haha just kidding, everyone will love them though!  Oh, and please tell Brad thanks for his letter, it was so awesome and nice of him!  I will try to write a letter or email back to him sometime, but for now I am out of time.  Tell everyone I love them and am so grateful for their love, prayers, and support!

I love you all so much!  Have a great week!

Love Elder Wood

Home sweet home

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Almost solo in Solo

Hey! Hey! Hey!  

Man, I can't believe its almost Christmas!  I still remember running through the airport in San Fran frantically trying to talk on the phone with dad and trying to catch an international flight and thinking, "This is my last time to talk to my family before Christmas!" And thinking that Christmas seemed like an eternity away!  And look, its already almost here!  We get to talk again soon!  

So, I am sorry I haven't been able to tell you how it is going to work until just now.  We only just got told today, which makes it kind of hard to coordinate.  But we are allowed to call home on one of 3 days:  December 24, 25, or 26th for one hour on Skype!  

So, I was thinking that maybe I would call on the morning of the 26th here, or the night of Christmas for you guys.  I don't know if that works for you or what, but I was thinking that might be a good time because it is still Christmas for you and I can already have opened my package and you guys can tell me what you all got and did for Christmas and stuff.  But if you have a better day or time, I am open and flexible any of those 3 days here for 1 hour!  I can't wait to talk to you guys!  Especially getting to do it over skype!  So you will need to send me your skype address/ info so that I have it and can call you guys, because I don't think I have an account yet... So I will have to make one next week.  But ya, if you could get me that information, that would be awesome!  Thanks!

Well, this week was better than last week.  I don't know.  There is not a whole lot to talk about this week either, though.  Nothing really all too exciting has been happening lately.  We don't really have any new investigators up to this point, so we are just kind of trying to work with those that we have, help inactive members get active, and trying to find some new investigators.  Which is pretty hard to do here with our proselyting restrictions, but we are working to try to figure out how to do it.

Well, I guess the biggest thing that happened this week is that the 2 other Elders in the house are getting transferred.  They both got the phone call on Thursday that they are both moving.  One is going to Jakarta and the other to Bogor.  I am still staying here with Elder Wintolo.  And, the interesting thing is, there is a shortage of missionaries right now because like 10 missionaries go home tomorrow, so there is no one coming to replace them, at least not for the next little while (probably like 2 months it sounds like).  So, Elder Wintolo and I will be alone in the house and will be covering both areas!  So, covering both areas will be exciting because we will hopefully be able to stay super busy and stuff!  And being alone in the house will have its positives and negatives.  It will be a lot quieter and more boring to not have other Elders to mess and joke around with and talk about our days with.  So that will be a bummer.  But it will also be nice because I will be able to help Elder Wintolo a little bit better I think. 
So, I am excited and think that this is a good opportunity for us to go work hard and hopefully have some good success!

Well, it is kinda a bummer this week because some of my new friends are going home, as in all the way to America, tomorrow morning.  It is pretty weird to see people going home!  And the mission couple here in Solo is going home tomorrow, too!  That is a super big bummer!  Now we won't have brownies and cookies and stuff at district meetings!  Haha!  But I really will miss them!  Senior couples are so awesome and help out so much!  It will be weird not to have one around!  But I guess that we will learn to cope.  Later today we are going to help them move out of their apartment, and then tonight they are taking us all out for pizza as a last parting gift.  So that should be a lot of fun!

Other than that I don't really know what to really say for this week.  It has just been pretty normal, trying to visit people and teaching the gospel.  Nothing too special or extraordinary really happened this week, but it was good.  Oh, next week we will be having some parties for Christmas on Christmas and stuff with the wards here, so that should be fun!  Other than that, things should be pretty normal.  Oh, I am not entirely sure if I will be able to email you next Monday.  I know our P-Day has been changed to Wednesday for Christmas and is all day, but I am not sure if we can email Monday or not. Sorry.  They have not been very clear on getting information out to us very quickly on this all, and I have never been through it before, so that is making things kind of frustrating and hard to coordinate with families. Hopefully we can make it all work out alright!  And hopefully the internet here is fast enough to handle skype...That is another reason to try to do it on the morning of the 26th here, because the internet is usually faster in the mornings.  But I am flexible, so whenever works on those 3 days for you guys.

And thanks for the Pre-Christmas stuff, like the 12 days of Christmas letters and stuff!  I love opening and reading those every morning, they are awesome!  So thanks again! 

Well, I think that is about it for this week.  Sorry, this is a pretty lame email!  But I can't wait to talk to you on Christmas!  That will be so awesome!!!  I love you all so much, and I miss you, but its okay, because this is where I'm supposed to be.  Well, I love you!  Merry Christmas!  GO skiing and send me pictures haha!

Love, Elder Wood

Friday, December 13, 2013

Forget Yourself


Hey!  Sounds like you guys are busy at home!  But it sounds like things are going well!  I always love hearing from you each week!  It is definitely my favorite part of Monday!

Well, this week I'm not gonna lie, has been pretty difficult.  We have been working pretty hard and trying to go to everyone we can think of, but only got a handful of lessons in.  At so many places, there either was nobody home or they told us to come back another time, but wouldn't give us any time that they would be home (that is the way most people reject us here--culturally, they will not say don't come back at all), and then there were a few that did tell us not to come back.  Well, after feeling like we were working fairly hard but not seeing any results, it was beginning to get pretty frustrating. Especially because this began at the beginning of last week.  Well, after about a week and a half of riding around all over Solo, going to everyone we could think of going to, and some of them several times without any success, we were running out of ideas and getting pretty frustrated.  I began wondering what we were doing, and what more we even could do.  I was having a pretty hard time.  I never really wanted to quit and come home, but I did keep thinking about skiing and mountain biking and Christmas and my family, and how much I would rather be doing those things than continuously getting rejected here. But, I knew that thoughts like that weren't healthy, and they were making it far harder for me to focus on the work and be effective.  Well, I kept saying silent prayers in my heart.  Then on Wednesday night as we were riding home from somewhere quite far away, we were on a dark road, it was starting to rain, there weren't many cars around, and I was feeling pretty lonely and discouraged and down after a long day without much success.  I was trying to think about what we could do the next day, and was honestly coming up completely blank.  I didn't know who we could go visit--there was for sure no one that I knew for sure we could visit, and only a few ideas that I was fairly certain would fail.  Then I was feeling sorry for myself that I am stuck as a trainer and a senior companion having to lead an area when I myself never really got any training.  I have no idea how to proselyte here because we can't just go knock on doors, and none of my companions before ever went proselyting, so I don't really know how to do it.  

I was pretty down at that point--one of the lowest points I have been in the last several months.  But luckily at just the point I most needed it, my silent prayer was answered.  I just felt a peace come into my heart and I knew that things would be OK.  I still had no idea what we would do.  But I wasn't so scared or feeling sorry for myself.  Then President Hinckley's words came to my mind, "Lose yourself and go to work."  I have always had those words at the back of my mind and always thought about them, but until this point I never really understand the meaning of them.  I thought they just meant go work hard or something.  But this week they took on a new meaning for me.  I learned that the "Lose yourself" is the most important part.  It is super easy to get discouraged if I keep thinking about myself and all the other things I could be doing if I were at home.  But, at that point, I decided that what it meant is focus on missionary work.  Forget about skiing, mountain biking, boating, Iron Man, whatever it is, for two years,and focus on the missionary work.  Focus on who can I serve, how can I serve them better, and what more can I do to help the Lord, and how can I find joy in doing that, not "oh man, I could be skiing right now."  Then the next morning for personal study I read 2 Nephi 4 for personal study, and that hit me pretty hard, because I could really relate with Nephi feeling sorrow at the beginning of the chapter.  But I love the example of how he recognizes the good things in his life and commits to rely upon God to be his support after he has done all he can do.  So, when I started thinking more like that, I did almost a complete 180* turn in my emotions.  I realize that if I am doing the best I can, that is the best I can do and the Lord will make up the rest.  Well, I had a test of that again Saturday.  We had an appointment that didn't go very well--the guy didn't really believe anything that we said and said it.  Then after that we had a really hard time getting in any other appointments.  It rained all day long and we got wet, we were out riding around trying to get in appointments, but the poeple just weren't home.  Well, again, at the end of the day we were riding back to the house on a dark, long, lonely road.  And it was raining pretty hard.  It was like deja Vu, only this time I wasn't feeling depressed or down.  I was thinking to myself, "How awesome it is that I am in Indonesia, living here, speaking the language, experiencing the culture, and serving the Lord.  And it is kinda fun that I am in dress clothes riding a bike in the pouring rain and getting drenched!  And I feel good about myself because I know that I have done all that I can to try my best to serve the Lord today.  I was at that point genuinely happy, where in the exact same situation 3 days earlier, I was miserable and questioning why I was here.  

I think that was an experience that I needed--to learn humility, to rely more upon God, and also to personalize 2 Nephi 4, because I think I can use it to help a few investigators and inactive members here.  In fact, I already shared it with a guy I contacted last night proselyting after he told me of some problems in his life.  Who knows if things will get better, if the work will pick up and get easier or not this week?  I don't.  But He does, and I know what I have to do, and that He will make up the rest and help me feel joy in the service!

I'm so grateful for all the experiences I have had on my mission.  It has been the hardest but most rewarding experience of my life!  I know without a doubt that God is, and that he loves us and will help us!  I also know that this church and the Book of Mormon is true.  My testimony has been strengthened so much from my experiences on my mission, and even if I don't baptize a single person on my mission, I know that my service converted at least one person to the gospel--myself!  And for that I am grateful, and know that no matter what else happens, my mission was not in vain.

Well, sorry this email is just all me rambling on and stuff, and different from the other emails.  But you probably didn't really want to hear about going door to door to door without any appointments really, so I thought this would be of greater value.  I love you all so much and pray for you always! Thank you for praying for me, I can feel it!I love you and can't wait to talk to you on Christmas, though I don't yet know what time.  Sorry, we haven't been told by President yet.

I love you!

Love Elder Wood

I'll write a separate email for this.  I got the Christmas packages this week!  Thank you so much!  The pre-Christmas one was totally awesome and I had a ton of fun decorating the tree!  That was such a fun idea and I love it hanging in the house!  And the "Night Before Christmas Book"  Was pretty funny, too!  We all got a good laugh out of it!  Especially the dogs barking and the rap!  Haha!
I don't know if you know how hard it is to not just rip open all the 12 days of Christmas and the big package immediately!  It is so tempting!  But thus far, I have been good and not.  And I think I can make it until Christmas, though it will be a test!  But I got some good pictures of decorating the tree and hanging it up today, so I will try to send a few.  That is what I spent my morning doing!  Thank you so much for putting that all together--I know it was a ton of work, but it means a lot to me and I truly appreciate it!  You guys are the best family ever!

Also I have a big envelope that I am going to send off today.  It has the memory card with my pictures from the first few months (they are backed up--don't worry) and a few letters for the family, and for a few other people.  It is a lot cheaper to send them in one envelope, so can you hand them out to people? Thanks!  And I apologize it has taken me so long to get these letters off, I am really bad about going to the post office.  But today the envelope is already sealed and in my bag, so it is going!  Hopefully it gets there before Christmas!  

Well, anyways, I am out of time and need to send the pictures.  I love you all! and thanks again!

Love Elder Wood

Chillin' under the Christmas tree

Decorating the tree
Our Christmas decor

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Undercover Missionaries

Well, this week was pretty good!  It started off on an awesome note!  Ya, last week was Thanksgiving, and I was kinda bummed because I thought we weren't going to have a good Thanksgiving dinner here.  But, the Knorpps, the senior couple, really came through for us!  They invited all the Solo missionaries--10 of us--to come to the church last Monday night for a Thanksgiving dinner.  I wasn't really sure what they would be able to prepare in Indonesia, but was excited nonetheless.  Well, when we got there, it truly was a Thanksgiving Feast!  There was turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, real butter, fruit and whipped cream, vegetable tray, and soda!  And then for dessert, we had apple crisp and pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting! It was a complete, real, genuine Thanksgiving meal!  And it was DELICIOUS!!! I can't believe they were able to find all of that stuff and put it together here in Indonesia!  And it must have been a ton of work, because they only had a 2 burner stove to cook on, and one of the burners had the oven box on top of it!  But somehow they made it all work!  They are awesome!  And we even played Bingo, just like with grandma!  It felt so home-like, it was cool!  Afterwards we watched Brave together too!  It was such a fun night!

The rest of the week, however, has been a little bit slower and harder.  

Tuesday:  Today we had a lesson with a long-time inactive member.  He was offended by a comment someone made about something like 30 years ago and hasn't been back since I think.  We are trying to help him, but he has already moved to a different church, although he is inactive there too, and doesn't seem to want to come back really.  We will keep trying!  After that we went and visited with P.D.  This was probably the worst lesson I have ever had as a missionary.  He just abused us on the Bible.  He just asked us questions about really high or weird points of doctrine that I wasn't sure on the answer.  And then the members' house who we were at, they started to get frustrated with him and they started debating.  Then I started to get frustrated inside because there was absolutely no Spirit whatsoever.  I tried to politely answer his questions or just tell him we didn't know the answers, then he would want to debate about it with us.  Dad, I remembered your story about not debating with people, so I just sat there quietly as he rambled on for a while, then when I got a break, I just told him that we were not there to debate.  That is not our purpose, and it doesn't help anything.  Then he got all apologetic and let us give our lesson.  I honestly can't even really remember what the lesson was on, though.  I just couldn't wait to get out of there.  It probably wasn't the most Christ-like feelings on my part, but I was a bit offended at the way he berated us on not having a perfect knowledge of every gospel topic ever. Well, finally we got out of there and went to English class, then to dinner, and that was it.

Wednesday:  Today was pretty hard.  We thought we had a pretty decent plan made.  Well, pretty much everything fell through.  We went and visited all our planned lessons, but only got in one.  The rest of them cancelled or weren't home or told us to come back a different time.  Then we went to back-up plans, and got one more lesson in, but got rejected a bunch more times too.  Then we just started thinking of whoever we could visit.  We tried a few more houses, got rejected a few more times, then finally got in one more visit for the day.  Then it was night and time to go home.  We rode all over Solo several times, visited 10 houses, and only got in 3 lessons.  And we didn't even eat dinner before we came home.  It was a pretty frustrating day for how hard we worked.  But oh well, that happens sometimes.  Luckily the mission is always a new day every day.

Thursday:  Today was pretty good.  We had service picking up trash at the park, then we had study time, then weekly planning.  Then we had sports time--we are allowed to go play basketball or volleyball at the local sports field if we work to contact people and to bring investigators, members, and inactive members. So we went and played a little basketball.  Then we went out and visited a newly active member and had a lesson.  Then we went and visited a new contact of ours that we are slowly teaching him without him really knowing he is being taught.  It is kinda funny--like under-cover missionaries.  But he is someone that we are fairly certain would not receive us if we immediately came out and said what we were doing. But we have been teaching a little about families and the Plan of Salvation every time we visit, and establishing a relationship, and he is liking the stuff we say, so soon we are going to tell him more about the church!  Well that was Thursday.

Friday:  Today we had study time, then we had District Meeting.  It was good, but it went super long! After that we went and visited with a less active member and had a good lesson with him, and found out a lot about his needs and stuff.  And he came to church again on Sunday, and brought his whole family!  After that meeting we had English again, then dinner, then it was night time.

Saturday:  Well, this was another sort of frustrating day.  Wednesdays and Saturdays are our longest days here because there are no other meetings or classes to break them up, so it is just working all day. We went and taught P. D. again today, and had a much better lesson than last time.  The Spirit was actually there pretty strongly at a few parts, which was good! Although, he made a comment at some point or another, that combined with all our past experiences with him, really made my companion offended with him, to the point that he refuses to go back now.  So, I don't really know...we were thinking of not visiting him for a few weeks and then going back later, but now my companion refuses to go at all ever.  But the guy still reads the Book of Mormon and comes to church every week, so I'm confused what to do.  But we will figure it out.  The rest of the day we tried to visit a few other members and investigators and got in a few visits which was nice.

Sunday:  Sunday was good.  Fast Sunday--always a lot to fast for as a missionary haha!  Well, we had 6 investigators at church today, which was pretty good again!  After church we went to see a baptism in the other ward--there were 3 people baptised today which was pretty cool--one of which I taught a few times before, so that was cool!  After that, we did some study time, then we went out and tried to visit a few appointments.  We had an appointment that was pretty far away, so we went there.  Well, they had forgotten and weren't home.  That was frustrating.  So we tried to go to several other places--everywhere we could think of actually, and nobody was home!  That was kinda frustrating again haha! Well, we tried to find peope until night, then went home and broke our fast.

Today has been pretty fun so far.  We went to Jogja this morning and played futsal for a few hours and then came home again.  It was pretty fun!  Oh, and guess what I found out?  Sister Sheffield is transferring to Solo this week!  Weird!  I feel like we are just going to follow each other around for the whole mission or something!  Well, we had a good laugh about it. Now we are emailing, then later we have a family night to go to.  

I love you all and am glad you are all doing well!  Bummer for Rufus--I hope he can hold on for a while!  GIve him some pets for me!  I will keep praying for your missionary opportunities!  I love you all so much!

Love Elder Wood
Thanksgiving Feast!

Thanksgiving at the church

Monday, November 25, 2013

Eight is Great!!

Hey hows it going!?  Sounds like you are all doing really well, which I am really glad for!  I love to get your letters each week, and especially your pictures!  They are so awesome!  And hearing of all your missionary experiences at home!  

Mom, you had said you hoped I was being blessed for your missionary efforts at home.  Well, I will tell you, this week we definitely were!!!  Yesterday was church, and we had 8, yes, EIGHT investigators there in Sacrament Meeting!  That is a record for me!  And for many of them this was the first time they have ever come!  Several of them are even Muslim, and this may have been their first time coming to a Christian church!  And the best part is that every single one of them had a great experience and wants to come back next week!!!  And that is not even all.  We also had 2 long time inactive members come to church for the first time in probably a year or so!  And another formerly inactive member come for her third week in a row!  It is so awesome!!!  And it was a really cool program for all of them yesterday.  It was the Young Women's program in Sacrament Meeting, and the Spirit there was so strong!  There was only one problem.  There were more investigators than my companion and I could sit with!  Haha but luckily several members helped out and sat with several of them, and everything worked out well!  So cool!

And, the fact that we had 8 investigators come this week is even more of a miracle because we have not been able to do a whole lot of work this week.  We have been stuck at the house a lot since Wednesday because my companion has chicken pox.  For the second time... Poor Elder Wintolo!  Luckily it is not too bad and he is not too miserable, but he has had to stay at home and rest most all the time so it doesn't get worse.  And he has felt fairly weak.  But luckily he was blessed with enough strength to go to church on Sunday, because I don't know what would have happened with all our investigators had we not been there.  So many little amazing miracles in this work!

So, there is not a whole lot to report for the week.  We got all of our most important meetings with investigators and stuff in at the beginning of the week before he got sick, and the others I was able to go on exchanges with other Elders so that we got everyone covered.  So I am grateful for that!

P.D. is still progressing.  He still has a baptismal date for the 22 of December and we are still working towards that.  We are a little worried about him though, because he doesn't really have a Testimony of The Book of Mormon or of Joseph Smith yet, he just wants to be baptized Christian.  But we are still working towards getting him a real testimony and preparing him for baptism, and he is still working too, so I have faith it will happen.

We also have Sister A. and her daughter. They have an incredibly strong testimony and a great desire to be baptized, but do not yet have their husband's/father's blessing/permission.  The other daughter has also been coming to church lately, even though we have not yet been able to teach her.  They are awesome, and we are really trying to help them prepare for baptism.  It is just hard because they live too far away to bike to, so we have to get a ride from someone with a car or meet at the church, and they are very busy.  But they try to make time to meet with us, and are good about coming to the church to do it.  But we want to try to go to their house this week so that we can talk to the father, and hopefully get him to give permission and to begin learning himself, because how much better to bring a whole family into the church!

We also have M., a 9 year old boy.  He is the son of a member that is just returning to activity.  He has not yet been baptized, but wants to be.  But it is hard because we have to teach him all the lessons first, very simply.  But, he has a learning disability that makes it hard for him to focus for longer than 2 minutes and hard to remember much.  But he is awesome, and we are working with President Donald to figure out how to best work with him and help him progress.

The other investigators that we had come to church are actually not even investigators yet.  One of them is a kid who just showed up last week, and we invited him to come back this week.  We have been trying to meet with him this week as well, because he wants to learn, but he is busy with finals at school, so we have not been able to meet yet, but he has already come to church twice!
The last two investigators who came are a cool story.  One of them has been coming to English class for a few weeks now.  He is Muslim.  But, he told us that he feels really happy and peaceful when he is in the church building.  So we invited him to come to Sacrament meeting.  Well, this week he came and he brought his wife and son!  So cool!  And they had a great experience and said they want to come back next week as well!  So we are going to try to start teaching them this week as well!  Exciting!  A lot of possibilities and people to help find Eternal Happiness!

Mom, I can kinda feel for you with your friend passing away this week.  We also had a member that I really liked pass away here.  He was a pioneer member here and had a stroke a few weeks ago and passed away Tuesday night at 2 am.  They don't waste any time here, though.  On Wednesday morning we were invited to go to the funeral.  This was cool, though, because it was an LDS funeral, and they talked a lot about the Plan of Salvation.  Which is awesome, because there are so many people there that are not members of our church.  What a great missionary opportunity for the church and the family, and that they took advantage of that opportunity, even at a time of great sadness for themselves.  

Well, I will start to wrap it up here.  I hope you guys have a great Thanksgiving!  Don't worry, we actually are having a Thanksgiving here.  The Senior couple here, the Knorpps, are cooking us a big Thanksgiving Dinner and all the missionaries are having a Thanksgiving Dinner together at the church tonight!  So we are pretty excited about that!  Thanksgiving--even in Indonesia.  We are even having turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy!  SO GOOD!

Oh, and tell grandma and grandpa thank you so much for the package!  They are so awesome!  And tell grandma to get well soon for me!  I am glad that she is doing well!  Also tell the Jessens thanks for their package!  I have a few letters written for them, and for you guys that I will try to get sent off in the next week or so.  Sorry I am so bad at sending real letters here!

Say hi to everyone for me tonight and tell them I miss and love them all!  But things here are awesome and I know I am right where I am supposed to be!

I love you all so much!  

Love, Elder Wood!

Pictures from the Bishop's mountain house on p-day last week

The pine trees made me think of the cabin back home!

Beautiful Views!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

My Testimony


My testimony of missionary work:  I know personally from experience that God is our Heavenly Father and that Jesus is His son.  They know and love each of us individually and will make manifest to us that love in our lives if we will ask and look for it.  Jesus Christ really is our Savior and Redeemer, and he truly came to earth to atone for our sins and to teach His gospel and prepare the way so that we can each return to live with our Heavenly Father and our families eternally in a state of never ending happiness.  What an amazing blessing and hope!  I also know that through Joseph Smith, the true gospel of Jesus Christ, the power of God given to man--the Priesthood, the Book of Mormon, and all keys and ordinances of Salvation were restored.  Joseph Smith truly saw what he sad he saw on that spring morning in 1820.  God the Father and Jesus Christ truly did appear to him and restore all truth through him.  There is no doubt in my mind that he truly was a prophet called of God.  I also know that Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet of God on the earth today and that his counsel is inspired and will help us in our lives.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true, that it is the word of God, and that it will help us in all aspects of our lives.  I know that this church is true and that it has brought me so much joy in my life and I have seen int change the lives of others too!  I testify that missionary work is absolutely amazing, and is the greatest opportunity of my life!  To see others find truth and knowledge that they have been hungering or thirsting for, whether they knew it or not, is such an awesome feeling!  The work is truly hastening, and members truly are the key!  I know that the focus of so much of conferences has been member missionary work lately and you are probably tired of hearing about it.  But, it is because it is true!  Members are the key to the hastening of this great work!  And, though it may seem like a hard thing to do, just remember, opening your mouth to share the gospel is the same as anything else scary to do--take skydiving for example--it only takes 1 second of great courage to jump out of the plane and then you are out there flying.  Same with sharing the gospel.  One second to get it out there and then you can have an amazing experience and memory!  I love this gospel and the chance I have to be a missionary!  I grow closer to my Savior every day, and see His hand in this work, because it is truly His work, and it is amazing!  I know that this is the best place I could possibly be right now, and I love it!  And I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

So, sorry I don't have too much time to share a whole lot else.  This week has been fairly slow except a few big events.  We have an investigator who for a while has not really been progressing at all.  His name is P.D.  I was running out of ideas on how to help him, and just hoping that something good would happen to help him.  Well, last week on Tuesday we did a "district fast" for all of our investigators.  Then, on Thursday when we met with him, he directly asked when can he get baptized!  I was in shock and didn't know what to say, and honestly had a bit of a hard time not showing it!  We had seriously just been talking about how much longer to keep teaching him before dropping him, at least temporarily.  But, he now wants to get baptized!  So that is awesome and we are super excited about it and can't wait to keep helping him along the path to get there!  

Then yesterday we had a young man just randomly show up at church.  So, we sat with him and he attended all 3 hours, and really liked it.  Later he texted us and said he felt extremely blessed by the talks that were given, and that he wants to meet again to learn more about the church!  What an amazing blessing!  I don't know what we have done to deserve this, but it is amazing to see!  And I feel so blessed!

I keep praying for you guys to get blessed with an opportunity to do missionary work yourselves, too! Just keep looking and talking to everyone!  You never know who wants to hear about it!  Like P.D., he was talking to someone at the ward the other day--a mom whose kids go to the same school as his kids. They had met before but never really knew each other.  But they recognized each other at church the other day and P.D. asked, "SO you are a member of this church.  How come you never told me about it?"  The lady was telling me about it later, and how it made her realize we truly never know who we can help by sharing out testimony with!  I thought that was so cool!  And it helped her want to always share her beliefs with people now!

Today for P-Day we went up to the bishop's mountain villa to hang out and mess around.  We played some soccer and tag and stuff, ate some good food, and had a ton of fun!  They are awesome!  Now we are just finishing up emailing, and were going to go to a family home evening appointment but it just cancelled, so I am not sure what we are going to do for the rest of the night.  Well, that's about it for this week!  Sorry this is so short and lame, I will do better next week!

I love you all so much!

Love, Elder Wood

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

With Faith, It's Never a Fail!


Holy cow, time flies by so fast!  I can't believe it, but I just hit the 6 month mark this week!  Where did the time go?!?  I still feel brand new haha!  But it is awesome, I love it here!

I'm glad that stake conference was good!  Member missionary work is definitely the big push right now!  If President Hinckley was known for temples, President Monson's time will definitely be known for missionary work!  And it sounds like you guys are getting the opportunity to do a big part in that this week!  So, I will keep praying for your success!  I don't have too much advice, but I will give you what little I can!  First, mom, like you said, you were flattered that the people cared enough to try to "save" us.  So, no matter who you try to share the gospel with, if it is done in love, they will feel that, and the conversation will flow naturally and it will not feel weird.  Ok, it might still feel weird, but it won't come out seeming weird.  Two, never be scared to share the gospel.  Ya, people might not accept your invitation.  That happens to me all the time.  And, it happened to a member here this week that took us to meet one of his friends.  But, it didn't ruin their friendship, he just wasn't prepared to receive the gospel yet.  But the seed is planted, and who knows, maybe several years later some other missionaries may be able to harvest that seed.  Three:  this is something cool I have learned for myself and heard that previous mission presidents promised to the missionaries.  Ask people what their greatest hope or desire is in this life or the life to come.  Now, no matter what that desire is, if it is a righteous desire, you can promise them that the Gospel can help them attain that desire.  Four:  If you are not sure how to approach someone, ask the missionaries when they come over to help you role-play.  You will feel dumb when you do it and they will probably laugh because role-plays are a joke among missionaries because we all hate doing them, but we also know how much they really help, and the missionaries will be able to help give you pointers. Five:  Do it with love and just follow the Spirit. Pray for the Spirit to help guide you, and then go do it.  Don't wait for the guidance to come, because the guidance won't come until you have exercised your faith and started the conversation, and then in that very moment, the Spirit will give you what you need to say.  And last but not least, just remember that no matter what happens, you will never fail.  If they reject at this time, you have planted a seed, you have done your part, and you will be blessed for it.  We get rejected all the time! But it is usually after we get rejected that we soon have the most success in a different area.  Look at Saturday of this week for an example.

So, this week has been a pretty good one!  A lot of things happening and a lot of crazy news!  So, I will just get going.

Monday:  We cleaned the house.  then we went to a referral from a member, and he came with us.  We got to know him and taught the Restoration and the Book of Mormon.  He was pretty shaky about receiving the Book of Mormon, but we did our best to encourage him to read it and reassure him he would get an answer.  Then we emailed and shopped and stuff.  Then that night we taught a member family who is having some trials right now.  I ended up using a lot of the stuff from my farewell talk about the enabling power of the Atonement, and we had a really good lesson with them and hopefully helped reassure their faith!

Tuesday:  Today we had a lesson with an eternal investigator.  We taught him about the importance of coming to church and also quitting smoking.  He has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and the church, just has a hard time acting on it.  So, he has been a former investigator for a long time, and we are trying to work with him again to see if his desire has changed at this point.  From his words it has, but we need time to see if he really acts.  So we will keep working and praying for him.  Then we had a lesson with P. D.  He is hard, because he always tries to intellectualize things too much, and has a hard time understanding the Book of Mormon because he doesn't fully understand the storyline because he hasn't read it yet.  So we are working on getting him to read and understand by faith and not by details and worldly knowledge...if that makes any sense.  My English is going downhill a little bit when I talk sometimes, and now when I write a little bit too.  Then we had English class.  Then we went to a pizza place for dinner with the whole district for Elder Hobbs' birthday!  That was fun and delicious!

Wednesday:  Today all of our afternoon plans failed, so we spent some time trying to proselyte, but didn't really have any success.  Then that evening we had an appointment with a member whose talents are needed in the ward more than they are currently available (haha that was my attempt at not labeling as "less active" mom).  That was a good lesson, but we had hoped he would invite his non-member friend to come too, but it didn't happen. Oh well.  Then we had another lesson with a member who is needed more than he is available.

Thursday: Today we had our service picking up garbage at the park.  That was actually pretty fun today for some reason!  Then we had lunch together, then study, then weekly planning session.  That ate up almost the entire day!  But we still got in one lesson with a nonactive member.  It was a really cool lesson, too.  We had just learned about "teach  people, not lessons"  that morning in companionship study, and I really wanted to try and apply it tonight.  We had no idea why this guy was inactive.  He is 27 and a returned missionary who used to be super strong in the church, but now doesn't come at all.  Well, we got there and just talked for a while.  He told us about his mission and all that stuff.  Then we got to talking about why, if he enjoyed his mission so much and knows the church is still true, why isn't he coming.  He told us he was just tired from work and lazy so he slept on Sunday.  But we knew there had to be a little bit more.  But that was all we could get out of him at that point.  So we shared Msh 2:41 with him about promised blessings for obedience to the commandments. He liked it and agreed, but it didn't seem to have any effect on him.  So we kept talking. Eventually through talking and asking some hard questions that felt weird to ask but that also felt inspired, we found out that he had quit coming because he never felt the Spirit in his life anymore and that made church boring to him and stuff.  Then we found out that he had also quit reading the scriptures and praying.  Immediately I had a memory of a personal experience in my life that I had not forgotten, but also had not planned on sharing with him come to my mind.  I knew that was what I needed to share with him.  So, I did.  And I felt the Spirit really strongly because it wasn't just reciting scripture that I hoped would help him, but it was a personal experience of which I have real conviction, that related perfectly to his needs, and that was prompted by the spirit.  So, I loved that lesson!  I hope he felt something too!  I'm not sure yet, because he didn't come to  church yet this week, but we will go visit again and hopefully help him find the Spirit in his life again and he can get active again!

Friday:  Today we had a lesson with an investigator for the first time.  It went pretty well, and hopefully we will be able to follow up and teach him again later!  Then we had district meeting.  I had to teach the lesson.  It was rough, because I was told the night before, and we had a lesson this morning so I had no time to prepare really.  So I tried my best to teach on "teaching people not lessons" and "faith"  It went pretty rocky, but oh well, the material got out there.  Then we had another lesson with P.D. We have just started to read the Book of Mormon together as our lessons at this point for a while to help him get a testimony of it.  So that is going well for now.  Hopefully he will begin to progress more and actually gain a testimony!  On the way back to the church for English class, it rained pretty hard, which is fun but annoying at the same time.  We have rain suits, but seem to still get wet because of the heat and humidity inside the rain suit.  Oh well.  Then we had English and the famous Pak Jon's.

Saturday:  Today was the day of days haha!  We were so excited for today!  Last night we were positive we were going to get 6 or maybe even 7 lessons in today!  We had a solid plan for each of them, and then backup plans.  In total, we had like 12 different lessons planned for possibilities, and like 5 of them had already been confirmed appointments.  So, we started the day with our first lesson. It went well.  But as we were leaving, our next lesson called and cancelled.  So we went to the backup plan, and tried to go straight to a house of someone that had been taught before, but they weren't home. So we went to our next appointment, an inactive member who was supposed to be home, but she wasn't.  No worries, we still had like 6 more appointments--3 of which were for sure.  But, as we were leaving that house, we got a text from the next house we were going to--a new investigator, actually the referral from a member on Monday, and he told us he didn't have time, and that we didn't need to ever come back because he already has his own church and doesn't want to learn about ours anymore.  Ok then, still a few other possible appointments.  But, shortly thereafter, our last 2 confirmed appointments cancelled on us--said that they were busy today.  So, now it was 2:30.  We had only gotten one lesson in, and all the rest of our lessons for the entire rest of the day--all like 9 of them--cancelled.  Haha, we couldn't believe it and didn't know what to do.  So we sat down on the side of the road for a minute to think.  We remembered another inactive member who lived close to the house, so we went and taught her.  She was nice, but not really interested.  But maybe with time we can help her.  Then we went to the house of a young woman who is inactive.  We just had a short visit, and she said she would come to church tomorrow, and did!  Then we went to Bro. P's house.  He is a newer member.  When we got there, his wife, who is a very strong member, told us that his faith was beginning to waver and she was super worried about him.  We had no idea what to teach, so came up with a possible idea.  Shortly thereafter he got home.  We prayed and were just beginning when my comp leaned over and said, teach him about family.  So we did.  We were not prepared at all, but winged it and were blessed and guided because we followed his prompting.  We shared about how families can be eternal, but it requires a team effort from everyone.  I think it was the best thing we could have shared at that time with our new knowledge of the situation, and it was a cool lesson to have thoughts come to mind of what to say and share about.  Testimony that the work is true!  After that we stopped by the house of another inactive member who committed to come to church and reminded her to come tomorrow.  And that was it.  So, we still filled the day effectively!  And I think it was meant to happen the way it did, because I think the people we ended up visiting needed it more than any of the people we had originally planned on. God's plan really is perfect and His hand really is in this work.  We just have to recognize it and keep going, especially when things don't go as planned!

Sunday:  Today was good too!  We had church, I had to translate for the mission couple, and we had 5 investigators there!  So awesome!  Sorry, I am out of time.  So I will be short.  After church we tried to find some inactive members' houses. We found a few but they weren't home or had moved.  Then it started raining and I didn't have my rain suit.  I got soaked!  And we couldn't find one of the houses we were looking for.  Then, after 2 hours of searching, we found it, but we were soaked and it was too late for a lesson, so we made a return appointment.

Today:  This morning we were lazy and just hung out at the house and cleaned.  Then we went and got lunch.  I had a steak!  For under $10 and it was delicious!  We went all out today on lunch!  Now we are emailing, then we will shop, then we have a family night later!

Well, I love you all and hope you have a great week!  Dad--live it up at the Ritz!  Not much like that here haha!  
I love hearing from you every week!  Sorry, I gotta go!

Love you,

Love Elder Wood

Monday, November 4, 2013



Hey, Hey, Hey!

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELIZA!!!!  I hope it was awesome and that you did some super cool stuff!  I hope that this gets to you while it is still your birthday, but if not, you can read it Monday morning and your birthday can last a day longer!  But know that I love you and am sad I can't be there in person to wish you a happy birthday or anything, but I wish you a happy birthday from here and hope that you had a great day!

Ok, well everyone else now haha.  Glad to hear everything is going OK at home!  Glad that grandma is doing ok and recovering well it sounds like!  Tell her to get well soon for me and that I love her!  

That is crazy that it has already started snowing!  Hopefully it is an awesome winter for you guys--then you can take some pictures or videos of getting some face shots over in sunshine bowl or out on sisters or something and send them to me.  I don't think I will be seeing any snow here for a long time...but I have started to see some rain!  And man does it rain here!  It is really actually pretty cool to see and kind of enjoyable!  But I think it might get old kinda quick, because it makes it a little hard to go out, and everything just gets ruined...But I'm glad I brought a dry bag--it has saved my stuff a few times!

Oh, and sorry about last weeks email being so lame!  I promise I will try not to do that any more!  

So, I am a trainer now and I have a new companion.  His name is Elder Wintolo, and he is actually originally from here in Solo, and actually from the ward we are serving in.  In fact, he is even cousins with the bishop's family.  Crazy, huh!  But his family moved to Jakarta about 2 or 3 years ago.  His mom is LDS and has been since birth, but his dad is Muslim.  Elder Wintolo was Muslim with his dad until about 2 years ago, and then converted to the church, which is pretty cool!  He is awesome too!  He is funny and patient and wants to really work hard, and he can already speak the language!  Haha so that helps a lot!  We work well and get along well together, so that is awesome!  I am excited to work with him!

So this week has been pretty good!  Monday was P-day and we went to the Bishop's house to hang out and eat food and stuff.  They took us to this really cool restaurant with like floating bamboo huts on a lake-pond thing, and it was really cool and scenic!  

Tuesday:  So, this morning was a little bit of a fiasco.  We started having a problem with our plumbing yesterday where our kitchen sink won't drain...the whole pipe is clogged up.  So, we had a plumber come over and take a look at it this morning, and he said it is a big problem...Well, we can't get ahold of our landlady to get her to take care of it, so we had to spend the whole morning trying to figure out how to get it taken care of, meeting with the mission couple and all people involved in our housing situation here.  Luckily we got together and figured out a plan and how we would get it taken care of.  Then we taught P. D.  He is a fairly new investigator.  He is really hard to teach because he always asks hard questions that aren't very important to anything, and that I really sometimes don't know the answer to, or don't know how to explain it clearly.  So we are having to try to work through that and get in the lessons that we need to teach, and tailor them to help him so that he understands and so that they help him.  And we found a member that lives close to him that has started coming to all the lessons to fellowship and whatnot, and that has been helping a lot, too!  So, we will continue working with them and hopefully help him come to understand the importance of the Book of Mormon and the Gospel.  So, he lives a little ways away.  Like a half hour bike ride from the church.  And just after we left his house, it started pouring rain!  And we had to get to the church for a meeting with the Zone Leaders...So we rode on.  Well, by the time we got to the church, I don't think I possibly could have been any wetter...I was dripping wet and dumped a cup or more of water out of each of my shoes...and all the missionaries from the whole zone were that was funny.  everyone else there was dry and my comp and I were dripping wet.  But we had a good meeting to discuss a little about zone conference tomorrow.  Then we had a meeting with Piaga, a newer member.  After that we had English class.  It was good because we had a lot of people come, all of whom are non-members but who we are slowly introducing to the gospel.  So that is awesome!  Then after English class, we went home because we had to meet with some people to discuss how to take care of the situation with our house...Luckily we were able to get ahold of the landlady and she is coming over on Thursday morning to have a look and get it taken care of.  But, I was still soaking wet and getting cold.  Which is weird, because it was still at least 75 or 80 degrees outside.  I must just be getting used to the heat...I am going to be in trouble the winter after I come home...But, I really was freezing, and actually made a cup of hot chocolate.  Well, Milo, that stuff that grandma and grandpa hated in Malaysia.  I actually like it, and can see why Mike Tribe still imports it.  Its pretty good stuff if you make it right!

Wednesday:  Today we had Zone Meeting.  And it was a special one, because President Gong of the 70, who is also the President of the whole Asia Area of the Church came.  So that was pretty cool.  We talked a lot about the Atonement and how to teach it quickly and powerfully to our investigators, because here it is really so important to help people, especially those without a Christian background, see why the Savior is so important in their lives.  So that was really good!  Afterwards, President Gong picked a few people to interview, and I was one of them.  That was cool to have a few minutes to sit down just one on one with a General Authority!  So zone conference was awesome!  Afterwards we went and tried to visit a new investigator.  She is Christian of a different religion and we contacted her and taught the Restoration the other day.  Sadly, though, she rejected us and told us that she is "scared of God."  We tried to understand why and asked if she had read and prayed, but she didn't really answer.  She was nice enough, but just not interested, and thinks we are wrong.  So that was a bummer.  That was the first time I have been outright rejected like that.  Usually people here just ignore us or always say they are busy.  I actually like getting outright rejected better, though, because we can stop wasting time trying to contact someone that will never accept us.  Ya its a bummer, but we did our part the best that we could, and we still left her with the Book of Mormon and a seed, and who knows, maybe that seed will grow someday and she will accept our message.  But we did our best.  Then we had another meeting with an inactive member.  He is frustrating because he always accepts us well, but he never acts on what we ask him to do.  He accepts our invitation to come to church every week, but then never comes.  So that is a bummer, and I am running out of ideas on how to help him. 

Thursday:  Well, today was totally lame.  We had to hang out at the house all day long while we met with the landlady and then while the plumber fixed the problem.  The underground pipes from the sink were going to be hard to fix.  So, they did it a different way.  It is pretty funny, but would never fly back at home haha.  They made a new route for the sink water to drain into the gutter (that is where all sewage here goes--straight into the gutter, not an underground sewage system...).  SO, they ran pvc pipe from the sink, along the floor of the house against the wall, then knocked a little hole in the wall, ran the pipe though that, along the ground, and out into the gutter...haha it is pretty funny.  It is by far the cheapest and worst plumbing job I have ever seen! But hey, it gets the job done I guess... so that is good.  Well, we just had to hang at the house all day waiting for that to get done, so we did our weekly planning and a lot of study.  It was pretty boring, but oh well!

Friday:  Today was really good!  We had a lesson with Sister A. this morning.  She is still progressing really well and wants to get baptized so bad!  The only problem is that she hasn't been able to get permission from her husband yet.  But she said that she is convinced that she will be baptized with her daughter before the end of this year!  So we will keep working with her and hopefully her husband too eventually!  Then we had district meeting.  Those are always good and motivating!  Especially the end part when the mission couple brings homemade brownies for us to eat!  That is one of the best parts of the week haha!  After district meeting we went and taught P.D. again.  This time the lesson went fairly well!  We were able to get the information we needed to out, and he seemed to understand pretty well. And his questions are getting much better--they are actually related to important things now, so I think that is a sign that he is learning and progressing which is awesome!  After that, we tried to do a little bit of proselyting with a little bit of success.  Then we had English class.  There is a guy who has been coming for a few times now.  He is Muslim, but says that when he is in the church building at English class he feels peaceful and happy!  The Spirit is working on him.  So, we invited him to come to Sacrament Meeting, and he said that he wants to come next week.  He can't this week, but he will next week!  So cool!  And, after English Class he took us out to dinner!  He is a super cool guy and we are building a good relationship with him!  Hopefully we can keep it going!

Saturday was another solid day!  Today we rode out to M.I.'s house.  He lives about 45 minutes away by bike.  We haven't been able to contact him for 2 weeks, and didn't want to lose him because he wants to be baptized and has had some really cool spiritual experiences already!  So we went straight there hoping to at least get some information about him.  Luckily he was there when we got there!  So we were able to teach him again.  He has forgotten a lot of what we have taught, but still remembers the feelings that he felt and the desire he has to be baptized!  So we are going to try to keep working with him!  He wants to be baptized before Christmas, so we are going to do all that we can to help him reach that goal!  Then we met with a member who took us to a long-time inactive members' house.  She wants to come back to activity, and her son is 9 years old and has not yet been baptized, and wants to be!  So we had a fun time playing games with the kids and building a relationship there too!  And we got a little lesson in and a return visit!  So awesome!  Then later that evening we got in a lesson with another inactive member.  It was a good lesson, and he promised to come to church tomorrow!    Well, all our appointments were really far apart, so that was all the way until night, but each of our 3 appointments today was super effective and awesome!  Such an awesome day!

Sunday:  Well today was fast Sunday, and there is never a shortage of things to fast for as a missionary haha!  But it definitely makes fasting a lot easier when you have a good purpose for it!  But today was awesome!  We had 5 investigators come to Sacrament, including Sister A., her 2 daughters (one of which has never met with us yet, but is just becoming interested in the church), P.D., and the inactive sister and her 9 year old son!  Plus the inactive brother that we met with last night came, AND he brought a friend who is not a member!  So awesome!  So that was super exciting because Sacrament meeting is where we begin to see the fruits of our labors!  And because of this success from our hard work, we are gaining the trust of members and beginning to receive referrals, which is awesome!  After church we had study time, then a Priesthood meeting, then we went and taught an inactive sister, who just asked to get Sunday off from work so that she could come back to church, and got it, so she will hopefully come next week!  So cool!

Today:  Today we cleaned the house this morning.  Then we went to an appointment with a member who took us to meet a friend and introduce him to the gospel--those referrals I mentioned.  The meeting went well, but the guy is a pretty serious Christian in his own religion and thinks the Bible is it.  We did our best to explain the Book of Mormon, and to encourage him to read and pray about it.  He said he would, which is great!  That is all we can do up to this point.  Now the rest is up to him!  Then I got a haircut, we did some work on the bikes, and now we are emailing.

Well, sorry, time is about up.  But I love you all and will pray for your missionary work!  Just a suggestion, never underestimate the power of inviting someone to family night and inviting the missionaries too if you want to.  Family nights are one of my favorite things to go to here, and it is so exciting when the people have invited friends.  There is such a strong spirit there when it is a family and a close friend, because there is a spirit of love and togetherness.  Even if the missionaries can't come, just have people over for family night--snacks, games, and a quick lesson or message.  They are awesome!

I love you all and love hearing from you each week!  Stay awesome!  And Eliza, HAPPY BIRTHDAY again!  

I love you!

Love Elder Wood

(p.s. tell Suz and Mae sorry the pictures haven't come yet, my card reader is broken so I need to buy a new one and I will try to send some good pictures next week, thanks)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Short but sweet!

October 27, 2013

Hey, sorry this email is going to be super short.  Our P-day activity went a little too long and I feel guilty not going out and trying to do a little bit of work tonight.  So, I will probably not be able to tell you too much now.  But, my new companion is great, we get along really well, and are going to work hard and do great things together!  

It sounds like Haiti was awesome and that you did a lot of good and helped a lot of people!  THat is so cool and I love hearing about it!  Sorry I can't say too much more this week. 

Oh, but I got the Halloween package!  Haha that is pretty funny!  Thank you so much!  It is awesome!  And tell Suz I got their package and will try to take some pictures and send the stuff back to them next week!

I love you all and can't wait to tell you more about what we are doing and how things are going!  I love you and am glad you are all doing well!

Love, Elder Wood

14 Lessons

October 20, 2013


Mom and dad--well you won't be reading this until you get home from your trip, but I hope Haiti was awesome and that you loved it!  I hope you didn't catch any crazy jungle diseases either!  But I hope it was totally awesome and I want to hear all about it!  

Well, this week has been awesome!  We got 14 lessons in and a few other visits with active members. So, that was a really productive week for here, and we have been working hard!  I think that this is the busiest week I have had yet here, so that is awesome! 

Monday was pretty normal.  Just getting things done and whatnot, then we had a lesson with an inactive member.  It was good.  She is inactive because of her job, but says she wants to quit her job now and find a new one so that she can start coming to church again!  So hopefully all goes well for her!

Tuesday: We had a little barbecue thing with some of the young men and women in the ward.  Then we taught a lesson with an investigator.  He is awesome!  He has so many things to overcome and change in his life, but he knows that this church is true and says he wants to do everything he can to change his life and come to the truth and return to his Savior!  So, we are going to be working with him a lot for the next little while!  But he has a baptismal date for November 24 right now, so that will be awesome hopefully!  Later we visited an active member.  Then we had English class.  There is a 22 year old girl who has been coming for a long time now.  She is Catholic, sometimes comes to church, but has never really been interested in receiving the lessons.  But tonight she wanted to watch the "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration" movie.  So we did, and now she wants to meet again because she has a lot of questions and good feelings about it!  So we are just working slowly with her! But it is coming along.  By that point it was night and time to go home.

Wednesday:  Today I was on splits with me, Elder Tessers and Elder Hobbs in our area.  I was leading. It was super stressful, because every appointment we had planned cancelled on us last minute, so I had to scramble to try to figure out what to do.  So, we went and tried to find several inactive members to visit.  We actually ended up getting in 3 lessons, which is a pretty productive day!  And we got a new contact who invited us to her house sometime to share our message.  So that was awesome!  Then we had to go to choir practice to practice for Stake Conference on Sunday and Saturday.

Thursday:  Thursday we had service in the morning.  Then we were invited to go to Sister A's house to meet her family and several members of her old church and to help her make the transition to our church.  So we were super excited about that!  But she lives far away--an hour by car, so her husband came and picked us up.  We thought it was going to be so productive and we would get so many contacts.  Well, it wasn't quite what we expected.  We just went there and watched mass--in Javanese--and ate food and tried to talk to people.  So, not as productive as was hoped for, because we didn't even have a chance to teach her a lesson.  But we were still able to show her our support and help her transition to our church, and also establish a relationship with her husband so that we can open the door to teach him later as well!  So hopefully all will go well with that.  Later that evening we also had a few lessons with inactive members, so that was good.

Friday:  Today we had District Meeting and all that. And the zone leaders came, so I was on exchanges again.  So, district meeting was good.  Then we went and visited 2 inactive members.  They were short on time, but we worked our way in with love and got a short message in and helped show them our love and desire for them to return to activity.  Then we visited I. D., our contact from the other day.  She was busy, so we set up an appointment for Sunday evening.  As we were leaving her house, it was already pretty close to time for English class, and it started to rain.  So we headed for the church. Right as we got there, it started to downpour!  It was crazy--I've never seen it rain so hard!  Well, because of that no one came to English class, but one of the members at the church got a call that her house was flooding, so we went to help clean it up.  It was crazy--the street had 2 feet or more of water rushing down it!  It was like riding through a river!  It was crazy and cool and fun!  Luckily the rain didn't last too long, though, and by the time we got to her house it had stopped and the water was already drained.  So we helped to squeegee and mop the rest of the water out of the house so that it could begin to dry out!  So that was nice and a fun little service opportunity.  Then it was off to Pak Jon's for some more chicken and rice.  Except the power was out, so it was a candlelight dinner in the drizzly weather.  Kinda awkward with just a bunch of Elders...but funny! 

Oh, and I found out one of the Elders in my district--Elder Giolas--who I have become really good friends with and is one of my favorite Elders, his family just moved to Midway and live on main street just a few minutes away from the cabin.  And  he and I have a lot of hobbies in common, so we were planning all the fun things we are going to do hanging out in Midway and Ogden once we are home! Haha it was a fun conversation for a few minutes--good to thing about home but not be homesick!

Saturday:  So, today we had to go fix Elder Hobbs' bike because he fell over when he rode into the church yesterday and tried to do something cool to show off to the members!  It was funny to say the least!  And we all had a good laugh at him!  Luckily he wasn't hurt, but he broke the derailleur completely off his bike.  So tht was  problem.  And the bike shop is far from the house, and he couldn't pedal.  So he sat on his bike and held onto my backpack and I pulled him to the bike shop.  Oh the things we figure out how to do with bikes as missionaries...  But, if you see Matt Howard anytime soon, tell him I miss the Bike Shoppe and mechanics that know what they are doing and do it right.  He had to get his derailleur completely replaced, so they did.  Once we came to pick it up, they told us that they didn't have the right one in stock, so they put a different one on, but now he can't use several of the gears.  And when I asked if they could take the right derailleur off one of the bikes just sitting in the showroom that had the right derailleur, they were unwilling to.  So, his bike sort of works, and they still made us pay full price.  So dumb!!!    Whatever...  

After that we went and taught a new investigator who we just got a referral for.  He wants to learn about our church and the Book of Mormon because he is confused reading the Bible and has a lot of questions.  His name is P. D.  He is pretty much golden it seems like, so that is awesome!  After that, we had the Saturday Evening session of Stake Conference.  All the missionaries were here, and we all had fun talking together again!  And conference was awesome too!  A lot about making the trip to the Temple for members here!  So awesome to see their desire!  It is so different from home where we have a Temple 10 minutes from the house! But they have to work so hard to go there, but those that have gone are so grateful and say it is completely worth it and that they were so blessed in their preparing and saving as well as while and after being there!    After that it was night and we went home.

Sunday:  Sunday morning we went to watch a baptism of one of the investigators of some of the other Elders.  It was awesome!  Then we had stake conference.  It was good.  It was a broadcast to all of the Asia area.  There was  again a ton of stuff about member missionary work and Temple work and stuff. They are really stressing that and it is so good, because I can really see the importance of member missionary work now, and how much a desire to go to the Temple helps people stay active and strengthens families and the church!

After conference, we went and taught I.D., our new contact.  She has never heard of The Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith, but she seemed to accept it fairly well, or at least desire to know for herself.  So that is good, and she invited us to come back again!  So good!  2 new investigators this week! After that, we went and visited with P.A. to help try to give him some support to overcome smoking and prepare for baptism!  He is really trying and has good desire, but smoking is just so hard for him!  So we keep praying for him to overcome that!  Then we went and interviewed one of the Sisters' investigators for baptism.  She passed, so that is great!  The work is progressing here!  Well, that is it for now.

Monday/Today:  This morning we had a lesson with P.D. again.  We had to start from the beginning again, because he is kind of confused.  But we got things cleared up with him for the Restoration, and he likes what we are teaching and seems willing to act on it, and invited us back again!  And he even closed with prayer, though a little reluctantly, but it was such a good sincere prayer, and he even cried a little bit!  So we will definitely keep working on him!  Then we went and did a little shopping, picked up my suit--its finally done and looks pretty good.  But I forgot my camera, so sorry, no pictures.  My bad!  Now we are emailing, then we have some futsol, and then a lesson with a fairly new member. So, we are busy but it is good!  And Wednesday I fly to Jakarta to get some training and to pick up my new companion, so that is exciting!  Then we come back Thursday night!  Exciting and nerve-racking.  But I think it will work out well--so long as we just keep working hard and do what we are supposed to do and rely on the Lord to make up the rest--I know he will not leave us hanging out to dry!  I have already seen that the last few days.

Well, sorry, I have to go!  I love you all and hope everything is great at home!  Love you!

Love, Elder Wood

Oh and I just got an email from the Jensen's last week but haven't had time to respond yet, so tell them sorry for me.  But tell them thank you for the letter, it was awesome and gave me a good laugh and made me happy!

Still waiting for the package, but it usually takes quite a while, so no worries yet!  Thank you!

Love you!!!

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