Saturday, July 8, 2017

Week 81: Signing off :')

Hello everyone!

Well, it's been quite a journey hasn't it? I'm not even sure what to say right now. I have so many feelings and emotions running through my mind and heart. 

I think I would like to start by thanking you all. It has meant so much to have each of your support and love and prayers. I can't tell you how much I have needed them in this great work. I am so grateful for all that you have done for me to help me during my mission. Thank you for everything. 

I also would just like to leave you with my testimony. This is the Lord's church. I know He is at the head, and guides and directs us. It was a true blessing this weekend to hear the words of the true and living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and his apostles. I know that these men have been called and ordained of God. I sustain them with all of my heart. 

I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. There is power in reading that book. There is peace and counsel to be found in it's pages. It can change us if we let it. It's true, and all are invited to take Moroni's promise, and read it for ourselves! I have taken that promise, and I know it's true. 

Most of all, I know that Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer lives. He loves us. He knows us perfectly, and is always walking with us, in our best times and worst times. He atoned for our sins, and felt our weaknesses, pains, sadnesses, and everything else.  I love Him, and it has been the greatest joy of my life to wear His name over my heart for 18 months. It has been an honor to serve Him, and I plan to do so for the rest of my life. 

This gospel is real. It's true I am so changed from who I was, and I will forever be grateful. 

I love you all so much. Thank you again, and I'll see you all soon. 

All my love, Hermana Wood 

"There will be times when you think you cannot continue on. Trust the Savior and His love."

"The more we follow Christ, the more we will feel His love and direction."

Week 80: The day of miracles has not ceased

Hello everyone!

If ever there were to be a motto of my mission, I think it would be something along the lines of, "Miracles happen everyday, we just have to look for them." I feel like every week, I say that we see miracles. But it's still so true! I saw so many miracles, and I know that when we ask Heavenly Father to show us his hand, he will expand our vision to see how he is guiding and directing us. 

This week we had a pass off lesson with the Elders in San Clemente. We passed off one investigator who is a 14 year old stuck in a 75 year-old's body. He's super funny. The lesson went well, and he is totally fine with the Elders coming to teach him rather than us. We are also totally fine with the Elders going over rather than us, but that being said, he was pretty funny to talk to. 

Oh my goodness, one of the biggest miracles I have ever seen on my mission happened this week. It's a series of multiple miracles though. Monday, we went over to see our investigators, we'll call them the MG family. We have lessons with them every Monday night. We went over last Monday, and started teaching, and everything felt kind of weird. I had no clue why. But the lesson we had planned to teach was not what they needed to hear. Then Hna. Laboriel started talking about eternal families, and the entire spirit in the room changed. Suddenly, they were all paying attention, and there seemed to be a new peace that filled the room. We talked about families, and I was able to testify of the love that God has for them and that he has a plan for them as a family. I know he loves them, because I have been able to feel part of that love. It was beautiful. Afterwards, we felt prompted to invite them to do a church tour, and we scheduled one for the very next day, which was amazing, because they work a lot. But they were willing to sacrifice a little, and come to a church tour. 

Fast-forward to Tuesday. We met them at the church building, and started the tour with a prayer. We knew that this church tour was super important, because the dad of the family had called us earlier that afternoon, and told us that they were considering getting a divorce. We wanted to help in any way we could, so we had been praying to know what to say, and what to do for this family. So we went on the tour, and we showed them the Primary room where we sang, "Families can be Together Forever". The Spirit was so strong. We went to the different rooms, explaining each one. We came to the Relief Society room, and we talked a little bit about the temple, and how we can be together as families, we asked them if they wanted to be a family forever, and they all responded with yes! Then the parents hugged, and all of the three kids came over to them and they all stood there hugging, and we all stood there crying. It is hands down one of the most beautiful moments I've ever seen. Plus, the member we brought with us bore powerful testimony of the power of the gospel and eternal families. We continued to the chapel, and we talked about the priesthood, and why it's important. We showed them the sacrament trays, and explained the ordinance. We then closed with "Come Unto Jesus" and asked the mom to say the prayer. It was so amazing. 

Wednesday we went over to their house, because the mom was still kind of struggling. We were able to help her, and invite her to the ward activity on Thursday. It was really neat to be part of such an inspired lesson. I know that God directs this work, because there is no way that we were the only ones teaching in that lesson. 

Thursday, they came to the ward pioneer activity on the church! They had a lot of fun and were able to talk to the Bishop about some things. 

Yesterday, we went over to the families house before church, to remind them to come. We got there, and they needed help doing some things around the house, so we helped where we could. The mom asked us how we knew that they weren't working that day and that they would be home... The Spirit. :) That was cool. 

Then they came to church for the very first time. I cannot explain how I felt when I saw them walk into the church building. It was so amazing. I felt this huge amount of love for them, and a huge amount of love from my Heavenly Father. For a moment, I saw in part how much Heavenly Father cares about us and loves us. It was an amazing tender mercy from the Lord. I will never forget that experience. Also, the three kids, LOVED church, and I'm sure that they will be back. 

We got to walk in the Swallow's Day parade again in San Juan Capistrano, which I was able to do last year as well. It was super fun! I also got super sunburned... :) The Women's General Session was AMAZING. I loved it so much. We have such inspired leaders. I'm so grateful that I got to hear from them, and am so excited to listen to their words this coming week! 

There were multiple moments this week when I had the thought, "This is what missionary work is about." This is the work of salvation. We are here to bring souls to Jesus Christ. This is what helps people, this is what brings true joy. I don't know what will happen with this family after I am gone, but I hope that they will one day end up together as a family in the temple. Simply because that is the purpose of this life. I feel so grateful, and so blessed to have been here for these 18 months. 

 I think it's so funny how we call it a sacrifice that we are giving to the Lord, but he gives us so much in return. I will always remember the miracles of my mission. There is a quote from Elder Holland that has helped me throughout my mission that I want to share. It says:

""You only get one chance to serve a mission; it is your responsibility, your duty, to use it to the fullest; to give every last ounce of energy until you collapse in exhaustion at the end of it. All the hardships, all the tears, all the hard work will be looked back upon as the best thing you've ever done, not because you enjoyed it, not because you baptized everyone, but because you gave everything you had, even when you didn't think you could, and especially when you didn't want to. Live your mission to your fullest, work harder than you've ever worked before. Let people know that this is the most important thing in the world to you... If you do not run until you have nothing left to give, and then keep going anyway; cry and pray and work and sweat and plead until you are so drained that all you can do is turn to the Lord; if you don't do this, then these people will not come to this joy because of you - their failure to come to Christ will be partially upon your head. Come out of your mission proud of what you've done, and this experience will bless the rest of your life."
Enough said. :) 

I love you all! Thank you for everything you do. Thank you for your prayers and your faith on my behalf. I know that I couldn't have done this without you. 

"With God, nothing shall be impossible."

"God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind."

I'll see y'all soon! I love you!

Much love, Hermana Wood 

Week 79: 18 months later... :)

Oh my goodness. It can't believe that it's here. This past week I hit 18 months. That was a super weird realization. But it's all good, cause I still have two weeks to do this great work. :)

This week was really good! 

We went to the temple, and it was amazing! Just what I needed this week. It was so good to be there again after not going for 3 months. If there's one perk to being home, it's that I can go to the temple as often as I would like. It was really good, and it was fun, cause we got to go with our whole zone! Which is only two districts and 19 people, so it's not super hard. We had a good time. 

I had my final interview with President this week. It was good/weird. We just talked about the things that I needed to do when I got home, and my plan, which is a 6 week program for missionaries to help them prepare to go home. It was good. I love President. 

We were able to see Socorro again! She's doing good, but we're going to have to push back her baptism a few weeks. She still has a desire to be baptized though, so we will keep working with her to get her there. Her kids and family is totally supportive of her getting baptized, which is a huge blessing. I'm so excited for her. :) 

Thursday I hit 18 months! It was crazy weird. We also had a zone conference with Elder Tad R. Callister, the Sunday School General President! It was SO GOOD! He and his wife are amazing. We learned so much about everything. They talked a lot about the atonement and how important it is in our lives. They also focused on the doctrine of Christ, (faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.) When we teach people, we need to be focusing on the steps that will help them achieve exaltation, and allow them to live with their families forever. Eternal families is the goal, and we help people get there by teaching as Christ taught, and teaching what Christ taught. We learned about the importance of opening your mouth and preaching by the way. Then we talked about being consecrated missionaries. It was really cool, and a wonderful experience. I feel so blessed to have been here for it. :) Over all, he pretty much summed up his book "The Infinite Atonement" and his talk, "Becoming a Consecrated Missionary" What a neat experience it was . 

We had two baptisms in our ward on Saturday! It was a mother and son, and it was so wonderful. I loved being there, and seeing them make covenants with our Heavenly Father. Every time I see someone step into the baptismal font, it makes me so happy, because I know how much joy they will have because of the gospel. It was so cool. :) Then we got to go and help with a Persian new year festival! It was so crazy. There were over 300 people in the Newport Beach Stake Center. It was so awesome! We were able to perform some musical numbers, and help people feel the Spirit that is in the church, and we also had a lot of fun! It was a super cool experience. We met some Elders from the California Carlsbad Mission, who had been switched from English work to Farsi work. I was suddenly very grateful that they had only asked me to learn Spanish. But the Lord qualifies those whom he calls, and I'm sure they will do a great job. :) 

Anyways, that's about it for me! I'm doing really well, and I'm excited for this coming week and the miracles that are going to happen. I am more thoroughly convinced of daily miracles now than I have ever been in my entire life. They are there every singe day if we will look for them. :) 

"Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good."

"Kindness is powerful."

I love these quotes, and I think they kind of speak for themselves. I know that we can always trust more in Heavenly Father and his promises, and we can always strive to be kinder to one another, and become more like our Savior. 

I love you all so much! Please let me know if I can help with anything! Have an amazing week! 

Love, Hermana Wood :) 

Week 78: The Lasts


This week was good! I don't have a ton of time, so this will be pretty short... Sorry! 

We found a super awesome less-active family this week. They were not super friendly at the beginning, but after a little while talking to them, they warmed up to us. They are now our friends, and we're going to work on helping them come back to church! I'm excited. I always get really excited at the thought of people making and keeping covenants and coming back to the truth. It's so amazing to see. There is nothing else that can bring more happiness into our lives than coming to know our Savior, and making sacred covenants with Heavenly Father and keeping them. I love it. 

A member in our ward is hopefully bringing his nieces to church next Sunday, and he wants them to take the lessons! We're hoping that we will be able to teach them. I love when members do missionary work! 

This week I had my last zone training meeting... It seems that I have started my round of lasts. Tomorrow is my last interview, my last time at the temple here, the last, the last, the last. It's super surreal. I never thought I would get to this point of my mission. It's super weird. At the same time, it still doesn't feel real. I never anticipated my mission would go by so fast, and I never anticipated it to be this hard to leave. But the Lord has a time and a place for everything. That's where faith comes in. I know he's watching out for me. 

This week we have a general authority coming to our mission! We're having a special zone conference so that we can all hear his wisdom. I am so excited!!! I will tell you all about it next Monday. :D Also, I get to go to the temple tomorrow!! I'm so excited. :) The temple is my favorite place. 

We had some really good lessons this week. We saw most of our investigators, and are working on finding those who are truly progressing and figuring out why others aren't progressing. I love the people that I am teaching. They are all so nice, and so loving. It's amazing to work with them. It's also crazy to me how the Lord is preparing people every day, in everyone's lives for the gospel. There are people that we know right now, who we are influencing in some way to help them be ready for the gospel message. Isn't that cool? Heavenly Father is doing his part, so we also must do our part and be ready and willing when he needs us to act.  

I'm out of time, but I want to leave you with my love, and my testimony of this work. There is nothing better. I heard a quote once that said, "Any problem can be solved with missionary work." I think it's true. I love missionary work. It's not always easy, but it is always absolutely worth it. :) 

I've been learning a lot about faith recently, and what faith really means. It's so interesting to me that the scriptures talk about how we walk by faith, not sight, and if we see it, why would there be any need for faith? I love that the first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. When we have faith, we can overcome just about any obstacle that we might have. It might not go away, bad things will still happen, but faith in God will help us to understand that he has a vision much larger than we do. There is a purpose for everything. 

I've also been working a lot on my prayers. I'm working more on saying sincere prayers, rather than just praying to pray. It's made a difference. I feel a closer connection to Heavenly Father, and I feel like my prayers mean something to me. It's been a neat experience, and I plan on continuing to make my prayers more meaningful. 

I love you all! I hope you have a wonderful week! 

Much love, Hermana Wood :) 

Week 77: Faith unto Repentance

Hello Everyone!

I hope you all had an amazing week. Wow, It's March! In my head I know that time is always the same, but it feels like it is moving so fast. I feel like I'm in the last leg of a marathon, and just sprinting my way to the end. It makes my head spin when I think about it too much. :) 

We're all good here on the California end! We have been having a ton of fun doing the Lord's work. It's a little funny, because sometimes we'll look at the day we have planned, then realize that we don't have any time for meals, because we have so many appointments.... So we'll put dinner as a backup in case someone's lesson falls through. It is a great blessing though. 

This week was wonderful. Last Sunday, a less-active member in our ward brought a friend to church. We introduced ourselves, and asked if she would be interested at all in having us come by. She said yes! So we set up an appointment for Tuesday. On Tuesday we went, and we taught the first half of the Restoration. It was an amazing lesson. The Spirit was so strong. It was almost palpable. Socorro (the investigator) is so prepared for the gospel. Every time we brought up a new point, it seemed to just click in her brain that it was true. She agreed with everything we had to say. She even bore her testimony to us about prayer. It was amazing. At the end of the lesson, I invited her to be baptized, and she said that she has been wanting to be baptized in a church, and a lot of her friends had been inviting her, but she hadn't gone to any, until she decided to come to ours. She talked about how to her, it wasn't a coincidence that we were there. So wonderful. We asked if she would like to be baptized on March 24th, or March 31st, and she chose the 24th!!! Oh my goodness, I wish I could describe how amazing it was to see her faith. She is so willing. We set up a return appointment, and went over the next day to finish the Restoration. We taught, and she talked about how she had been feeling that her baptismal date was really soon, but then she told us that if it was God's will, then it was time. OH MY GOODNESS!!! When does that happen? She's so cool! So we are working with her to be baptized on March 24th. :) She couldn't come to church yesterday, because she had to go to Mexico, but we will be seeing her this next week, and have been in contact. I'm so excited for her. :) 

We had a super funny moment in the middle of our first lesson with Socorro. The woman who owned the house started cooking jalepenos in the kitchen right next to where we were. About 3 minutes later, we all randomly start coughing because of the spice that is being pulled into our lungs... We all died for a good five minutes, opened all the windows and doors, and just tried to breathe. Then it subsided slightly, and we were able to bring the Spirit back. But it was so funny. 

We had an amazing zone conference on Wednesday. We talked all about the basics of the Gospel, and what we are teaching. So we are now putting a huge focus on helping our investigators do the simple things like reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and going to church. It's been really neat to just start again with the little things that make up the big things. Like it says in Alma, "6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise." It's by doing the little things that we bring about the great things. How do we gain a testimony? It's not like a huge tree will randomly fall from the sky, and plant itself in your heart. It's piece by piece, step by step. If we want a big testimony, we have to first do the little things to plant and nourish it.  

I had the opportunity to sing again in the temple music devotional last night. Kevin and Shelley came! It was so wonderful to see them again. I sang a song called, "I Heard Him Come", and it was a wonderful experience. I love to sing, and I am so grateful for the opportunities that I have to do so. I had Hermana Laboriel translate part of it for me, so I sang a verse and a chorus in Spanish, which was a lot of fun. :) I'll try to include a recording of it. 

Haha, I've been noticing recently that the more I learn Spanish, the worse my English gets. I probably won't be able to communicate in either language by the time I go home... ;) Haha, it's been a lot of fun. I love being in a trio. My companions are way too much fun. I absolutely love being with them. We have definitely felt a lot of joy the past few weeks. 

I love being here, I love serving the Lord. I am doing absolutely everything I can to give the Lord everything I am. I'm so happy that I have this time to serve the Lord, and I will be very sad when this time comes to a close. But that day is not today, so I'm not going to worry about it too much. It's so interesting to me, because when I came on my mission, I never anticipated feeling the way I do now. I feel like my heart breaks a little more with everyday that passes. I love these people, and all of the people I have served so much, with all of my heart. Every few hours or so I just think about how much I don't want to leave. Then I get back to work and choose not to worry about it, because I will cherish every moment I have to wear the Lord's name on my heart. 

I love you all so much. Thank you for all that you do. :) If you want to send a last letter before I go home, I would love to get one. I hope you all have a spectacular week, and that the Lord will watch over and bless you. I love you! 

Much love, Hermana Wood :) 

Week 76: Sometimes, we just need to walk by faith

Hello Everybody!!!!!

Oh my goodness, que semana. (What a week.) :) It was so good! So many miracles happened this week. 

Spanish word of the day: chevere - cool  ( I like chevere better. It sounds chevere. :) )

There's a scripture that goes along with the thought of miracles in Moroni, 

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven? … Has the day of miracles ceased?” (Moro. 7:27, 35.)

“I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men. … [nor will they], so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved.” (Moro. 7:29, 36.)

I have seen too many miracles to doubt that scripture. I know that God is actively, and intimately involved in every second of every day of our lives. It's amazing to have that kind of love, and that kind of support with us all the time. Sometimes I think I forget Christ's promise in John that says, 

"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." Our God is a god of miracles, and I think one of the greatest miracles that we can experience is that of never being alone, and being understood by one far greater than ourselves. 

Being moved into Spanish has really taught me this principle. I realized the other day that there is no way that I could have picked up this language as fast as I have without the constant help of the Holy Ghost. What also baffles me is the fact that I was being guided to this long before I ever wanted to serve a mission, when I decided to take Spanish when I was in Junior High. God is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving. He knows what is best for us. 

This week we saw some wonderful blessings. One of which is having Hermana Brown with us. She brings with her this amazing spirit of diligence and joy with her. She has wonderful ideas and has been a huge blessing to me. I feel so blessed to be her companion. I'm also super grateful for Hermana Laboriel. She shows me time and time again the kind of missionary I want to be. This week has been full of love and laughter. 

We were able to see our investigator Marcela this week. We started teaching her two daughters as well. She is very sweet, and very open to the gospel. This week we taught about the Restoration, and invited her to be baptized. She said yes, but she is praying for a date. We have been working really hard to remind people of our purpose, and to be bold, while showing them love. It has been really cool to see. 

On Thursday we had a ward missionary activity, so the members could get to know us, and we could get to know them. It was so so fun. I absolutely love this ward. We have so many amazing people here. I love them with all that I am. It's so funny, because this happens every time I move wards, at the beginning, my heart is still with my previous ward, but after a few days of serving them, I realize that I have enough room in my heart for all of them. I'm not sure how it works, but love only grows as you give it away. 

We tried to stop by some less-actives on Saturday night, but they weren't home, so we went to a potential's house who lives below them. She invited us in, and we were able to share the beginning of the Restoration, and bear testimony of eternal families. It was a wonderful lesson. By the end of our lesson, she asked when we could come back! So we are going to see her again this week, and are excited to work with her. 

Haha, yesterday we were texting one of our investigators to invite him to church, and he responded with, "I would like to go to church, but I am drunk." We kind of laughed a little bit, then invited him to the ARP class later that night, when he was feeling a little bit better. Then, 20 minutes into sacrament meeting, he shows up!! I know it's not funny, but we were laughing so hard, because he had driven himself to church. I think Heavenly Father definitely protected him. But he came, and he enjoyed it. He was a little out of sorts, but hopefully he'll be able to come nest week and soberly enjoy the sacrament services. 

Wow. I wish you all could just watch my life unfold every week, because it's really hard to type it all out. :) I'm also sorry this is super long... But this week was really good, and I have definitely seen the hand of God in my life. Never forget that I love you, and God loves you. I pray for you often, and hope that life is treating you well. :D 

Thank you for all that you do! Please let me know if I can help in anyway. I love you all!!!! Have an amazing week! 

Con mucho amor, 

Hermana Wood :) 

P.S. I really am sorry this is so long, please don't feel obligated to read it if you don't have time. :D 

Week 75: And then there were three...


Oh my goodness, I'm so happy. I have no idea how to express just how happy I am by way of typing, but I am so excited for this transfer. Seriously, I am like bursting with joy, and I am so ecstatic. :D 

So this week was good! We picked up 2 new investigators, which makes 16 for the transfer, which is so so cool. Some are progressing, and others are not, but it has been such a privilege to invite them all to come closer to Christ. One is Erica, a former investigator who is super open to the gospel. The problem is she's super busy, (which is similar to everyone else in our ward...) but we will hopefully be able to see her at our return appointment this week. She is super sweet, and I'm super excited to work with her.

 We were able to see a lot of people last week. One of my favorite people is Gina, who is super catholic, but a lot of fun. It was amazing! When we went over, she told us about her friend who had come over, and asked her why she had a copy of the Book of Mormon. He got a little upset, and started talking about how it wasn't the Bible and all sorts of other stuff. Then, she proceeded to teach him about the Book of Mormon, how we had never told her it was the bible, and that it was another testament of Jesus Christ, and that it helped us see God's love for his children, because he gave everyone his word. It was so cool. He then asked her if she was going to go to church with us, and she said she didn't know yet. I'm so excited for her. She's amazing. 

We happen to be teaching a bunch of old women, and they are super funny. We have a 75 year old, a 72 year old, and an 82 year old. :) They are so fun to visit. 

Friday was crazy! We went out in the morning after studies for like an hour and a half to see some people, then returned to our apartment for weekly planning. After about an hour, we got a mission-wide text telling all of the missionaries to return to their apartments, because all of Orange County was experiencing terrible storms. In Spanish it's tormentos, which I like a lot. :) So we were confined to our apartment for the rest of the day. We did a lot of stufff. We made some awesome cookies, which was fun, a member of our ward brought us dinner, and she was going through a really hard time, so we were able to pray with her, and give her comfort. It's neat to me that even though we couldn't go out, we were still able to help the people that we needed to, whether they came to us or through the technology that we have. It was amazing. 

I think it's wonderful to see the promise be fulfilled that no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. I know that to be true. Even storms and being stuck inside can't keep us from serving the Lord. It was a neat experience. 

 I love this work so much. :)

So we got transfer calls on Saturday!!!  I was so unsure of what was going to happen, but Hermana Laboriel and I are staying together in Mission Viejo 5th ward!!!! WOOOO!!!!! I am so so so so so grateful. Just as we were about to say goodbye to our district leader though, he said, "Hold on! There's something else!" We were super confused, but then we found out that another Sister was being transferred from English to Spanish, and we were going to be IN A TRIO!!!!!! I've never been in a trio, and I am so ecstatic that I get to have one for my last transfer as a missionary. Her name is Hermana Brown!! I will be including a picture of the three of us that was taken this morning in our car. :) 

Haha, I'm so happy to be exactly where I am. I know this is where God wants me, and am so grateful to be in his service. This is the best and most important work in the world. There is a scripture in D&C 123 that I thought of, which says,

 "12 For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—
 13 Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—
 14 These should then be attended to with great earnestness.
 15 Let no man count them as small things; for there is much which lieth in futurity, pertaining to the saints, which depends upon these things."
There are so many people who don't have the truth, and I'm out here working to help them find it. I love where it says that this should be "attended to with great earnestness." Because in the war against Satan, we can't afford to be idle. He isn't going to stop trying to drag people down to misery, so we can't stop trying to help lift them up to the light, the pathway of happiness. I know this gospel to be true with my whole soul. I know that Christ lives, and is fighting everyday with us, shoulder to shoulder, helping us bring souls back home to Heavenly Father. 
I love you all so much. Please let me know if I can do anything for you. Have an amazing week!!!

Con mucho amor,
 Hermana Wood 

Week 74: Feliz dia del amor y la amistad!

Hello! How is everybody? :D

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY! :) I hope that it is filled with love and happiness, and that you each remember how much I love you. :)  

Wow, this week was full of miracles. I think I say that every week, but it's still true. :) 

I made a rookie mistake on Sunday and asked someone for dinner, while my companion was talking to someone else, asking for dinner, and we set up dinner for the same night... So long story short, we had 3 scheduled dinners in 1 night. That was crazy, but we had some good authentic Hispanic food. Plus one was super nice, and just let us take it to go, so we only wound up having two. But portion sizes are real my friends, and I was just fine. :) 

This week we were able to teach Micaela's daughter about God's love. I absolutely adore the fact that the first thing that we teach people is about their divine identity, and a divine, loving father. Is there anything else that we would rather teach? I love sharing God's love with people. 

Thursday was amazing. Seriously, one of the most Spirit filled days on my mission. We went on exchanges as a zone, and I went to the North area of Mission Viejo with Hermana Smith, who came into the mission field with me. We had some great studies in the morning, then just went out and worked. It was so good. We went by a house, where a man they had met at a service project lived. He invited us in, and we began to talk with them. We were able to teach some things, and then they started talking about their daughter who had passed away.  As soon as I heard them talk about that, I knew that it was the reason why I was in that particular area that day. God had been preparing me through my experiences, to help this family. I was able to testify of eternal families, and share with them the love of God, and let them know that they were going to have their daughter again. It was truly amazing. 

We visited with a lot of people this week, and saw a lot of miracles. 

We had a Sisters Conference this past Friday, and it was so wonderful. We talked a lot about thoughts, and about how our whole lives begin with how we think about things. I think what I learned the most was that whether we are happy or sad in our circumstances depends on what we are thinking as we go through them. It was a wonderful experience, and I learned that to make each day more meaningful, more spirit-filled, and simply happier, we must think the thoughts that Christ would think. If we want to be like Christ, we must do as He would do. When we are doing as Christ would do, that is when we truly are happy. It was really neat to think about. 

I don't have much time left, but I want to leave you with my testimony. Missionary work is the best thing in the world. Here on my mission, I have truly come to understand what the Atonement of Jesus Christ means. I have been so blessed in being able to see others come closer to Jesus Christ and accept his atonement. I have been able to teach people from all walks of life, and probably one of the biggest lessons I have learned is that God loves all of them. Every single one, without exception. He sees our potential, even when we don't. He never forgets us, and puts others in our path so that we can come closer to him. That's all he wants. His sole purpose is to help us be happy. In Moses we learn that God's purpose is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." We also know that "men are that they might have joy." I have realized that when you put the two together, that God's purpose is to help us have joy. How do we get true joy? Returning to live with our Heavenly Father, and helping others do the same. That's why I'm here on my mission. So that others can have the joy I have felt in my life. It would be so selfish of me to not share it. I love this Gospel, and I know it to be true. I know that families are truly eternal, and that this life is only a glimpse of what is to come. I love my Savior, and I'm so grateful for Him, and his example. 

I love you all, and I hope you all have an amazing week. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. 

Con mucho amor, 

Hermana Wood :) 

Week 73: Andale pues

Hey y'all! This week was great!

So this week. We started February! What the heck!? I feel like all of time is just blurring together now. A year ago, I was leaving my greenie area... Never would I have imagined all of this happening. 

Spanish phrase of the week: Andale pues 

It literally means nothing, but is just used as a filler word. It took me 4 weeks to figure that out. No one could tell me the meaning of the word. If I figure out a better meaning, I'll let you know. :) 

We saw some really cool miracles this week. We saw Gina again! She is super nice. She loves the messages we share, and just like everyone has her hang up, but I'm confident that she will come to see the truthfulness of the gospel. That's something I love about this gospel. We don't actually have to convince anyone that it's true. All we are here to do is invite people to find out for themselves! Then, if they have a pure heart, and real intent, they will find out as well that it's true. I love that we're not selling a product, we're just sharing the message of God's love. What a blessing that we get to do that. 

We went to a crazy bible study this week, it was weird, but kind of cool. One of the ladies there said that she had a lot of questions about our church, which we are more than happy to answer, but we'll have to go on a day that they're not having the bible study, cause that was a crazy night. 

We picked up a few new investigators this week! One is Micaela. She is so awesome! The Hermanas met her contacting a while ago, and we were able to stop by and teach about eternal families, and how God is our loving father. The Spirit was so strong. We are going back this week, and will hopefully invite her to be baptized. We also had a pass off lesson with the English Elders, and it was so funny, because they don't speak any Spanish, so they just kind of sat, and nodded. :) But it was good, and a huge blessing for us. We're all on the same team, so that makes it all good. 

On Thursday we set a baptismal date with an investigator named Dariela. She is super sweet, and we actually haven't taught any of the set lessons that we have. But she agreed that if she knew this was true, she would enter the waters of baptism on March 4th. Hopefully we can help her get there. I'm excited to be a part of her journey. 

Friday we had some meetings, then were able to meet with a less-active young woman and her mother and grandmother, who are not members of the church. We talked about Helaman 5:12, and about building upon the rock of Christ. It was a wonderful lesson, and we are going back to teach them on Friday. :) I'm so excited. 

Something major that I've learned throughout these past few weeks is that we might not be able to communicate with people, whether it be because of a language barrier, or because someone is closed off or prideful, or whatever it may be, there are still a few things that are universally understood. The Spirit is one of them. I might not speak perfect Spanish, but I have learned how to teach with the Spirit. It has been amazing to see that even if I can't express myself as I would wish, I can still bring the Spirit into their lives. Another universal language is love. I love these people so much, and it makes me want to serve them. Service is another language that is universal. 

Some General Authority once said, something along the lines of,  "Always preach the gospel, and when necessary, use words." We can show people what the gospel is by how we act. I am so grateful for all the opportunities that I have to serve people. Service is probably one of my favorite things to do. One of the counselors in our mission presidency said in our last zone conference, "You love what you serve, and if you need to feel more love, serve more." It's so true. I can't help but love these people, because I am serving them. I am so happy to be exactly where I am, doing what I'm doing. It's the best thing in the world. 

Here is a quote for this week! 

"Perfect love casteth out fear."

This has been a lesson for me on my mission, and I thought it went well with my thought earlier about love. 

I love you all so much! If there is anything you need, please let me know! I would love to help in any way! 

Have an amazing week! 

Love, Hermana Wood :)