1. Thanks for the emails! They are awesome! Glad you liked the nativity! Sorry, I had written a card to go along with it as well that I meant to get to the Sheffields as well to bring home, but with the way timing worked out for the rest of the week, I was never able to get it to the office to send home with them before they left. So I do apologize about that. It is now just waiting on my desk. So I guess I will drop it in the snail mail and you will get it in a few weeks. Sorry. But I guess it will prolong the excitement.
This week has been pretty good. We had our mission tour with a member of the 70 come to speak with us. It was Elder Randy D. Funk. He actually served as a missionary here back in the early '70s, so that was pretty cool! He knew a few of the members, and some are even his own coverts. But it was a super inspiring meeting, and I learned a lot there about the gospel, about our purpose and commission as missionaries, and many other things. I don't know what it was, but it kind of became another turning point for me, where ever since that meeting I have had a hugely increased desire to study and understand so much more about the Atonement, and as a result, have also had an increased desire to share it with other people. I have just been trying to do a few more "little things" to help me be more obedient and dedicated, and to draw even closer to the Savior, and I can feel that even just a few little things have made a huge difference! It has been really cool to sort of experience!
So, we have been busy with getting prepared for the mission tour and stuff. And we have had some good lessons with some cool investigators. We have an investigator, C, who is preparing to be baptized this coming Sunday! We are super excited for him! He is awesome! We also have an investigator named Pak B who is committed to the 18th of January. We are working with him on stopping smoking. He is struggling with that, but he has a great desire to be baptized and we are encouraging and teaching him more about the gospel and the Atonement to strengthen him and help him! We had 4 investigators at church yesterday, which was awesome!
Um, ya, that's most of it for this week! It was a good week! Oh, we have also been using "The Living Christ" as a Christmas message door approach. It is such a powerful and true witness written by men truly ordained as Christ's living apostles of His divinity. It carries the spirit so powerfully. And so we have been using it to introduce ourselves to people and share a message about Christ, and also to bridge into explaining about the Restoration, and it has been going really well. But I would definitely encourage you guys to read and review it this year if you haven't already! It is awesome!
Thanks for all the Christmas packages and the 12 Days of Christmas! They have been so fun to open and read or use and stuff! I have enjoyed it! And everyone has loved the cookies and stuff!
2. As I wrote to President what I learned at mission tour the other day, I thought I would share it with you as well. So I will copy and paste what I wrote to President.
Man, this week has been awesome! I will try to condense what I learned at the mission tour with Elder Funk. I will start off saying that it was a major turning point in my mission for me the last few days. Most of it came through personal revelation telling me what I needed to do. I will just list some of the major points that I felt most important to me:
1. Know PMG as well as Elder Funk knows it
2. Am I always here for Jesus Christ?
3. I appreciate your letter of love, because I truly have felt the love you and Sister Donald have for each of us, and me personally. So one thing I wrote was, "Think of the love i have for President and Sister Donald, and the love I know they have for me. That is only a small manifestation of the infinite love that Heavenly Father has for each of us, and for me personally." so thank you for your love. And know that I truly do appreciate and love both of you so much as well.
4. Make the absolute most of the last few months I have and do everything I can to share the absolute joy of the Atonement with others. Use every hour of every minute of every day. Don't waste a second. (Effective planning).
5. Search myself--find out what it is--what parts of me--that I have not fully given to the Lord yet. And then figure out how to give it all to Him. All of it--lay it out on the table. All in. GO big until you go home. And then keep going.
6. Study and gain a greater understanding and testimony of the Atonement.
Ever since the mission tour I have had a burning desire to study and better understand the Atonement. It has only been a few days of study, but I have gained a much deeper testimony thus far, and have a great desire to understand and know more. And understanding and knowing more about the Atonement has helped me with all of my other goals and desires that I learned. It has helped me identify areas that I can give more of myself, it has helped me grow a stronger relationship with Heavenly Father through more meaningful prayer, and it has helped me have a greater desire to use time more wisely and make the most of every second. So I learned a lot at the mission tour, but most importantly I learned the Atonement, and that, as Joseph Smith said, everything else that we teach is only an appendage to it.
3. Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season! Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and emails! They mean a lot to me!
What a wonderful time of year this Christmas season is to think of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. At this time we think of his birth, and what his birth and life mean for us. "For God so loved the world, that He sent his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16).
Though far away, I just want to share a few thoughts about Christ, and a few things that I have learned and gained a testimony of throughout my life, and especially throughout my mission.
The first is my testimony of the reality of His divinity and service on earth. That He, the Son of God, came down to earth, lead a perfect life free of sin and guile, and became our perfect example I know to be true. And yet, even more, "He [went] forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he [took] upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he [took] upon him their infirmities, [and] his bowels [are] filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he [knoweth] according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." (Alma 7:11-12).
His life was real, as was his infinite Atonement. And it was for you and for me. He, the Son of God, condescended beneath it all to raise us up that we, through his grace and mercy, along with our works, may be restored to our perfect frame and character, even the character and glory of God. For God said, "Let us create man in our image." (Genesis 1:26). "In whose image? In the image of the Gods created they them, male and female, innocent, harmless, spotless, bearing the same character and the same image as the Gods. And when man fell he did not lose his image, but his character still retained the image of his Maker....Through the Atonement of Christ and the resurrection, and obedience to the gospel, we shall again be conformed to the image of his son, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29); then we shall have attained to the image, glory, and character of God." (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church--Joseph Smith pg. 52).
I am so grateful for God's greatest gift to man, even His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. I know that he is our Savior, and that he lives!
I love you all so much and hope that you have a wonderful Christmas! And especially that this Christmas we can remember the true meaning of Christmas, our Savior Jesus Christ and His gift to us.
Love Elder Wood!