Monday, October 26, 2015

This week has been pretty interesting. Just when you feel like you're getting used to missionary work, something happens to throw you in a tailspin. Then, when you don't think you can handle any more, Heavenly Father takes you by the hand and helps you calm down. It's comforting to know that he is on our side. 
I know that Heavenly Father is constantly aware of us and what we need. He knows each of his children perfectly, and loves us infinitely. He loves us more than we are ever aware of. I have seen that a lot this week. 
I have learned a lot about humility this week. I realize that I can't do it on my own, and if I want to touch peoples lives, I have to constantly have the spirit with me. I know that I myself can't convince people of the truth, but when I teach with the Holy Ghost, they will have a sure witness from him. This lesson came to me when we were teaching a lesson to someone else.
We had been contacting in a park, and I just felt off. No one wanted to talk to us, and I was getting discouraged. I wanted to leave, but I felt like we needed to stay. I asked Sister Blair if we could pray so I wouldn't feel discouraged and so we could find someone to teach. After we prayed, we both felt prompted to walk back the way we had come from. We saw a woman sitting on a bench, and went to talk to her. She had time, and was willing to let us teach her! It was awesome! After so many people saying no, it was amazing to have someone say yes. So we sat on the bench with her and began teaching. About five minutes in, I realized that I was just going through the points of the first lesson. I was worrying about what I was going to say, rather than listening to the spirit, and trying to discern her needs. I stopped for a minute, and just said a little prayer to help me and Sister Blair be in tune with the spirit. We then had this awesome lesson about families and baptism. We are teaching her tomorrow and are so excited! :D
That is pretty much the highlight of my week. I love seeing the light in people's eyes when they feel the spirit confirm the truth of something to them. It's so amazing. 
We have also been able to work with a lot of LAs this week, helping them come back to church and overcome their difficulties. I love hearing people bear their testimony. It's almost like watching a baby horse walk. It's a little bit wobbly at first, but slowly they get more confident and more sure of themselves and what they believe. Then they have that desire to come back to the Savior and feel the power of their own testimony. It's truly amazing to see the Lord's hand in our lives.
We had the ward Trunk or Treat on Saturday, and a crazy amount of people showed up. People who apparently haven't been active for months were there. It was cool being able to talk to them and get to know more people in the ward. Hopefully we will be able to meet with some of them in these next few weeks.
I love this ward and everyone that I'm meeting. I love seeing the gospel change people's lives for the better. I want you all to know that I love my Savior and I know that as we try to draw closer to him, he will draw closer to us. He is always knocking at our door, but it's our choice whether or not we're going to let him in. 
I love you all. :) 
Love, Sister Wood 
P.S. What do missionaries do on Halloween? 
           Trick or Tracting!! 
P.P.S. I made that joke up myself during a meeting and I totally lost it because I thought I was so funny. I literally started crying because I was laughing so hard. The Elders and Sister Blair thought I was nuts, but I thought it was hilarious. :D Yup, I know I'm funny. ;) 
Have a great week! 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Hello everyone!!
I am doing so well. I am truly starting to love missionary work. Being out here and serving people all the time is great. We go to help some people  move on Saturday, and today we are doing some service at a country club. Not sure what we're going to do, but it should be fun. Unfortunately, we have to wear skirts to do this service, but it should still be fun. Wearing skirts and dresses all the time sounds fun, but sometimes I really miss wearing normal clothes. 
I can't believe that I have been on a mission for a month... It's super crazy. We went and got gelato to celebrate my one month mark. It was pretty great. Sister Blair and I are working really hard to get new investigators. When we doubled in, there were none, so a lot of our time is spent contacting, tracting, and visiting less active people. We have had some interesting experiences with all three. I am happy to report that we have two new investigators, and quite a few potential investigators!!! I can't wait to begin teaching these people and helping them come closer to Christ. 
One of the investigators names is Ahmad, and he is Arabic. He lives in the park where we went contacting. He is super nice, and very interested in the gospel. We are excited to get to know him better. When we asked our District Leaders to get us an Arabic Book of Mormon yesterday, (we were on the phone doing numbers.) they paused and then said, "Sorry, but what did you just ask?" We repeated the question, and they kept saying, "Arabic? You want an Arabic Book of Mormon?" Yes we do. They will hopefully get that to us sometime this week. 
We also had an awesome experience at the Bishops house last Monday. We had been invited over to have dinner with our Bishop and his family, and to give a lesson for FHE. Sister Blair and I had decided to teach about building upon the foundation of Christ, and how when we do, we are kept safe and Satan can't hurt us. We decided on this because there is a cool object lesson that goes with it that appeals to teenagers and kids.
The object lesson goes like this, you get a can of soup (or anything, it just needs to be a normal can.) and you pass it around so everyone can see that it is a legitimate can. You ask everyone if they think that if you smashed someone's finger with the can, if it would hurt. The answer is unanimously yes. Then, one missionary puts their finger on a flat surface as the other missionary smashes their finger as hard as possible with the can. Because their finger is pushing against the table, the table takes all the force and their finger is not broken or hurt in any way. But the can has a huge dent in it from where their finger was. (It works, I promise. But don't try it at home.) This then applies to Helaman 5:12, and you teach about how Christ can keep us safe.
            We had practiced at home, and it had worked perfectly, so we were ready to show it to the family. We asked Sister Harmer for a can, and said that any can would do. She gave us a can of Progresso soup, that had expired in 2008. We thought it would work fine. We were wrong. We did all the normal things, but when Sister Blair smashed my finger, the can exploded. Literally everywhere. There was beef stew on the wall, the floor, the couch, the children, the window, the blinds, the pictures, me, literally everything. We all sat in stunned silence for a good fifteen to twenty seconds. I will never forget the looks on the Harmers faces. Then one of the kids said, "Well, we've never had missionaries do that before..." And we all died laughing. It was so funny, and they were all so great about it. We helped them clean everything up, and tried to salvage our lesson. The can had a pretty good dent in it, but we could not get through the rest of the lesson with any semblance of seriousness. I am just glad we weren't banned from their house.
Yesterday we go to go to a fireside celebrating the ten year anniversary of the dedication of the Newport Beach Temple. It was really cool to hear about all the miracles that were a part of building the temple. I feel so blessed to be a temple tour sister and be able to be so close to the temple twice a week. There is a wonderful spirit there. 
We were able to do a session at the temple on Saturday and it was amazing as always. I love the temple and the blessings we get from attending it. I know that Heavenly Father is aware of us and knows what we need. He loves us all so much. 
I love being a missionary and serving Heavenly Father’s children. I have met so many wonderful people here. 
Thank you all for your love and support. :)

Love, Sister Wood :D

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

T'alofa Family and Friends! 
I am doing well. I got pretty sick this last week, but I am happy to report that I am over the worst of it and well on my way to recovery. Being sick in the mission field is horrible. Being sick in general is bad, but being sick on a mission is worse. Luckily, we have priesthood holders who can give blessings and help us overcome these trials. I got a blessing from my mission president, which brought much needed comfort and guidance. I am so grateful for the priesthood.
This past week was pretty interesting though. Last Monday for P-day, we went to play a game of softball at a nearby baseball diamond. When we got there though, the entire field was soaking wet. As we walked on the dirt, we found out that it was actually mud. So, rather than play softball, we wound up playing in the mud for an hour. It was so much fun. We got kind of dirty, but we came out more unified. It was great to just have fun with the sisters of our district for an hour.
Sister Blair and I saw a few miracles this week. We were contacting some media referrals that we received, and when we pulled up to the last house, I looked at Sister Blair and told her that I didn’t think we were supposed to be there, and asked if we could go back another day. She agreed, so we wound up visiting a less active member named Sister Felix. When she answered the door, she looked so surprised to see us, then she gave us the biggest smile and asked us to come in. She then proceeded to tell us that whenever she was struggling with a big decision in her life, the missionaries showed up in some form. Apparently, minutes before we got there, she and her husband were discussing whether to move to Utah or to Texas, and when she said, “I think we should move to Utah”, we showed up at her door. It was a really cool experience that helped her in their decision of where to move, and also strengthened her testimony of the fact that Heavenly Father is aware of us and what we need.
The next miracle was just yesterday. After visiting with Sister Felix, we went home. When we got there, I realized that I couldn’t find the cell phone. It was really bad because the phone is our only way of communicating with anyone, and the only way investigators and contacts know how to communicate with us. We searched everywhere for it. It wasn’t in our car, our house, or at the church. I thought that maybe we had left it at the Felix house, or somewhere in the neighborhood where we were before that. So we went to the house, and no one was home. We left a note, asking about it, but weren’t too optimistic. As we were getting in the car, I had a thought that we should go back to where we had been parked the night before.  As we searched, I didn’t see anything, but after a minute Sister Blair said, “I found it!!” It was stuck in the curb between the grass and the sidewalk where there was this little crevice. The phone was completely fine, and we were so grateful because we knew that Heavenly Father had helped us.
When we go contacting in Santa Ana, there are a lot of Spanish people. This is really difficult because I don’t speak Spanish. We try to get our message across, but it doesn’t always work very well. Also, contacting is hard, add a language barrier and it’s almost impossible. Most people are polite and wait until we kind of stop talking to say that they’re not interested, but we were contacting on this one street yesterday. We walked past this man, and started to introduce ourselves. We asked him what his name was, and he responded with, “My name is Miguel and I do not want to talk to you two.” So we left. It was kind of funny, and kind of sad at the same time.
Heavenly Father is so good to us. He knows our struggles and our trials. I know the miracles we saw seem small, but to us they were a testimony to us that Heavenly Father heard our prayers and answered them. It also bore witness to us that the Holy Ghost is there for us if only we will heed his promptings. I know that as we listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost it will become easier to recognize them when they come.
I am so grateful for the experiences I’m having and the people I’m meeting. Thank you all for your love and support.
Love, Sister Wood
P.S. The picture last week was of Sister Hardin and I. I will work on getting one of Sister Blair and I
Picture 1) Me with President & Sister Orgill
Picture 2) The group of missionaries I came with 

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Yokwe and Aloha!! 
These are the customary words of greeting in my mission. Yokwe is a Marshallese word for hello and love, and Aloha is just another greeting. My mission president served as a stake president in Hawaii, which explains why we say it all the time. 

I finished my time at the MTC. I will miss a lot of the people I met there, but I'm so excited to be here in California. While I was an STL in the MTC, I called all of the new missionaries that we were leading ducklings on their first night at the MTC, because they were following us... like ducklings. It really stuck. The new missionaries affectionately called me "Master Duck" and saluted me every time they saw me, which was quite often. We got some weird looks, but it was fun. I also learned how to bear my testimony in sign language from some of the new ASL missionaries in our zone, which is very cool. I practice it every night. 

After waking up at 2:00 in the morning, taking a bus to the airport, having to go through security twice, due to having my toothpaste in my carry on, and taking my very first plane ride. I made it to California! I got to fly on my very first airplane! I was a complete mess. I found out that I do not do well on airplanes. Luckily, the trip was only an hour and a half long, so I managed. The Elder who was sitting next to me was very kind and helped me through it. It was very interesting. But I made it safe, and that is what's important. At the airport, we were greeted by our mission president, and some of the missionaries from our mission. We rode to the mission home where they fed us and let us take naps in the chapel. It was lovely, if not a little bit weird, to be told to grab a pillow and pick a pew to sleep on. It was very fun. 

After our naps, we had transfer meeting where they introduced all of the new missionaries. We all were introduced, then we got our new companions. My new companion is Sister Blair. She is very nice and fun to work with. She got kind of a surprise because we are doubling into a new area, (which means that two missionaries who haven't worked in an area go and open it and start serving there. Our area was closed for one transfer before we came.) training me, and was called as an STL. We also got called as tour guide sisters for the Newport Beach Temple. So every Wednesday night and Thursday morning we will be doing tours on the temple grounds. That is definitely a lot to handle. We will be serving in the South Coast ward. We have met some nice people, and taught a few lessons. We also have Elders serving with us in this ward, which is nice. 

This past week has been spent meeting the Bishop, meeting people he thinks we should meet, and trying to fulfill the busy schedule that comes with being a missionary. I have struggled a little with adjustment, but I know that the Lord will help me, and that this is where I'm supposed to be.

I loved General Conference. It was awesome to see three new apostles be called. I was so edified and uplifted. I loved Elder Nelsons talk about sisters, and Brother Lawrence's talk, where he asked "What lack I yet?". We can all learn so much from these brethren. They have been called by a loving Heavenly Father, and inspired to teach us specific things. It was wonderful to hear from the Prophet. I love the leaders of the church and the counsel they give us. 

We had the opportunity to be present for one of the Elders lessons. They were teaching an investigator about the Plan of Salvation, but it somehow turned into a lesson on the law of chastity. It is possibly one of the most awkward things that I have ever been able to witness, but it went alright... I think.

My mission address is:
Sister Anne Wood
23 Lake Road
Irvine, California 92604
If you want to send me anything. :) 

I am doing well and am enjoying being a missionary. I know this gospel is true, and that Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us. I love you all, and thank you for your love and support. 
Love, Sister Wood


Sunday, October 4, 2015

I made it to California. The plane ride was.... interesting, but I'll give you more information on that later. :) I am well, but very, very exhausted. I have been awake since 2:30 this morning. I am so excited to be here in California. Here are some pictures that they took of us today when we got here. :) I love you both very much, and am so glad I got to talk to you today. 
Love, Sister Wood 
P.S. There is a facebook page that you can join where they post things about us missionaries, and you can see more pictures and videos of me. It is called the California Irvine Mission page, look it up on Facebook, and you will need to add yourselves, and they will approve it, then you can see more about my adventures here in Irvine.

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