Hey Hey Hey!
Well, Manado is pretty sweet! There really are so many things going on over here and so many exciting opportunities! It is almost overwhelming how much work there is to be done here! But it has been a totally awesome experience so far because of that. I have learned so much to rely on the Lord and to seek His will, because there is just no way to focus on everything that needs to be done here all at once, and it all seems so important. So I have had to learn a lot more to collaborate with the other missionaries, and especially with the Lord through prayer and promptings of the Spirit to learn what things we should focus on and when to most effectively progress the Lord's work here, and to do it in His way. I still have a long way to go, a lot more to learn about this process, and a lot more to figure out. But it has been an amazing experience to just get started and to seek and recognize the guidance of the Hand of the Lord here. I truly have learned so much here, and I know that this is where I need to be. I don't know if this is where the Lord needs me for His work, but I know that He knows that this is where I need to be for my own progression, and I hope that I can fulfill HIs work and will along the way!
So, it is kinda crazy here. It is almost like a completely different mission. The culture is really quite a bit different here. I went from a 95% Muslim city to a 95% Christian community. So, the way to approach the work is completely different, and it becomes a lot easier to proselyte and stuff. But the challenges and setbacks and stuff are completely different as well, so there is a big learning curve. Also the language is different. The basics are a lot the same, but for common words there is a different vocabulary as well, and the accent and speech pattern here is completely different, so it has been a lot of learning again to understand people. But it is coming along. Also, the church is a lot different. I went from covering two strong wards in a city that had a stake as one companionship. Now I am in a small branch that is held in a storefront space because there is not enough church attendance to build a chapel. Also, the branch President has only been a member for about a year and a half, and there are 6 missionaries and a mission couple in the branch. So it is completely different! But it is super exciting!
The members here are awesome and I felt such a strong cool spirit in Sacrament meeting last week! I am so excited to serve here! There is a lot to do, everyone is friendly, its sunny and hot, and its a beach community so everyone is happy and stuff like that!
Oh, and it is absolutely gorgeous here! It is like paradise! I have taken so many pictures since I have been here, and I have been trying to get them to send for the last several minutes, but the computer I'm on won't recognize any card readers, so I can't send any pictures yet this week. So sorry! I will try to send a bunch next week!
But I am absolutely loving it! And we are hopefully going to go out to Amoran this week and try to set up a Sacrament meeting out there for the following Sunday, so that should hopefully be cool! A huge opportunity! And we actually have 2 other investigators/potential investigators in other outlying villages that are interested to learn about the church, and that are also leaders of congregations. So there are 3 possibilities to start up 3 new units here. Its hard not to get over-excited and just rush into things, but we are trying to take it slow and do it right. But also do it as quickly as possible, too!
Well, I am glad things at home are going well. I am glad Rufus is doing okay now. Hopefully he holds on! But sounds like he got pretty dang spoiled! Lucky dog! He's eating better than I am haha! Ice Cream and cheese burgers?!
But the mission couple here is pretty good to us! They are taking us all ot the beach later today, so that should be fun!
Well, one more thing.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! Hope you guys have fun this week!
Oh, and for birthday stuff, I don't really have all that much I need. Maybe a football would be kinda fun to play with at the beaches here, because it sounds like that is a fairly common p-day activity here. But I may be able to find one here and just buy it here for cheaper. So I'll let you know. Maybe a little bag of Krusteaz would be kinda fun too. And ya that's about it. Maybe send a little more of that beef jerky...I don't know. Ya, that's pretty much it. I think for my birthday I will probably treat myself to some new white shirts, because mine are starting to get kinda gross...so I'll replace them at the year mark.. But don't worry about sending those because they are super cheap to buy here.
Well, I love you all so much! Thanks for everything! You are awesome! Have a great week!
Love Elder Wood