Monday, December 29, 2014

Merry Christmas!! (Week 42)

Hello, Everyone!

This email will be short this time, I think! (Ha, I always say that!) I'm so loving this Christmas season. And I'm so looking forward to the time when I get to call my family on Christmas!!!! Aahhh. (; 

As you can see, I became festive and made my favorite thing of all time today: pretzel jello salad!!!! #tearsofjoy. 

SHOUTOUT to Katie Woods and all my other amazing family members for sending me Christmas gifts and CDs!!!! :DD You are amazing and I appreciate it SO much!!! 

There are just a few experiences I want to highlight this week. First of all, I had really wanted to visit with this less-active family, the Scanlons because their name sounds like my favorite word! So, we did! And it was scanlanous. :D 

Also, we had an amazing district meeting this week. We actually did a white elephant gift exchange and there were some, um, interesting gifts exchanged! I got off easy with a stocking full of andes mints but there were definitely some sketchy dinosaurs, santa in a bathtub figurines, and gaudy cat statues passed around. 

On a more serious note, we had a great district meeting about the Atonement. We each bore testimony of the Savior and His Atonement and the spirit was so strong!!! My love for, knowledge of, and appreciation of these things has grown so much!! How grateful I am for the Savior and His great atoning sacrifice and the love that permeates this holiday season. I can't really describe it or how I feel. It's just awesome. Christmas is truly the best on a mission! :)

Haha. Now on a more silly note, we were totally stuffed like a turkey because Sister Rice had us over for a fancy Christmas dinner. This lady is hilarious!! "Now Sisters, I don't think you Sisters are full enough. GO GET SOME MORE!!!" As Kimi would say: "don't tell me what to do!" Haha that's what I thought in my head at least. :) It really was good, though. People are seriously having a conspiracy theory to try and fatten us up for winter I think. Everyone and their Mom has decided that Christmastime is the best time to feed the missionaries and they obviously think we can never have too many Christmas cookies!! Oh DEAR! Good thing they will get back to their senses and stop feeding us once January rollls around. That's how I prefer it. :) 

Oh, and we got invited to seminary this week. :D That was exciting. 

I also learned the joy and ease of praying with people on the phone (wait... that actually works??!) Turns out it does. ;) That, along with many other experiences, (namely when some people are totally ready for you to leave and you can totally tell but have to pretend like you don't notice! :P) make me convinced that my awkward filter must be broken. These things don't bother me! I think missionaries learn to be immune to awkwardness. It's kind of funny sometimes. :) 

I have been SUPER abnormally tired this week, even more than normal, and am falling asleep everywhere. So that's a good indication we have been working hard and having a good week!

We also got to attend a baptism in Neenah. This was someone that Sister Peel taught. Baptisms are always great! :) 

Ahh, we also had a few great lessons this week. And we had a great and hilarious time folding laundry for the Irazzary's who can't hear a THING, but I need to leave enough to talk about with my family on Thursday!!! Ahh, I'm so excited! :) 

Here's just a brief spiritual thought. Ah, this Christmas Book of Mormon reading will be over this week and I have learned to much! Turn with me to Ether 6. In this chapter the Jaredites are traveling across the sea in barges that the Lord helped them to construct and it is describing the brother of Jared's experiences as he is traveling. However, I also think this is relevant to us today. In verses 9 and 10 we see that the brother of Jared is "singing praises unto the Lord." He did "thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord." Clearly this is a great display of gratitude that he is demonstrating toward God. How often are we grateful for about 5 or 10 minutes then get on with the rest of our day? I know that happens with me. Well, THis is a great example of having a continuous attitude of gratitude.  Well, in the next verse, consequently, we see that "they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them; and they did have light continually..." I really like that because we can each have light continually in our lives as we remember Christ with gratitude and turn to Him often not just at Christmas time, or occasionally, but all the time. Truly as we remember Christ with gratitude by our very thoughts and actions, we can have that light and protection with us always as we navigate through the storms of life. I know that to be true! 

On another side note, in verse 17 in that same chapter,  I admire how they were taught to "walk humbly before the Lord" and were "taught from on high." What a marvelous opportunity we have, that as we humble ourselves and seek direction in our lives from God through prayer, we, too, can be taught from on high. It's exciting stuff. :) 

I love you!!!! Merry Christmas!!!


Sister Woods

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Week 41

Hello, everyone!!

Well, we tried to revive the phone by soaking it in rice but it was to no avail. #babycomeback! It has been quite difficult, actually, to survive as a missionary without a phone! Lots of driving around and cancelled appointments. Eight in a row this week, actually! I really feel bad for the old-timers that served missions before phones were available. It's humbling to realize just how much we depend on technology!! But, on the other hand, it was kind of nice not to have to worry about checking it all of the time. They are going to send us a new one any day now! :) 

Anna got confirmed on Sunday, so that was fabulous. Next up, Albert!!! The Bishop challenged him to be ready for baptism by the end of the year and make it a "white Christmas." So, we are going to do all we can to help that happen! :)  The Vasquez family as a whole is not doing well. There is lots of stress involved but the great news is that we are going to start meeting with just the parents for lessons. I think that will greatly help to strengthen their testimonies, and their family as a whole. So far our mission is on the right track, and we are pretty sure we can get 299 baptisms before the end of the year (our goal is 300). Well, Albert may just be that unaccounted one that can help us reach it! So, we are hoping for him. Our other investigators, Lynette and Vere are at a crossroads right now. They could use a few prayers if you felt so inclined! :) 

I'm not really sure what to mention. It was still a great week. I don't think I've ever been so exhausted in my life! We have worked really, really hard. But, it's been great. Lots of tracting in the cold. It' s actually been warmer this week (in the 30s and 40s). I love getting to work hard as a missionary because that's when the miracles happen. We had a small one the other day. We only had a half hour before our appointment and SIster Peel didn't feel like we should use the surveys. Our mission has had a big focus on this recently and it is meant to help us get to teach the first lesson inside people's homes, but it takes awhile (plus it's a very bold approach that involves you basically inviting yourself in! Haha. Not for the faint of heart. :)). So, I felt like we should still try it for some reason. So we did and we ended up finding a really cool lady who is excited about what we shared . And we were still on-time to the appointment. #win. :) 

We went to go see Sister Moffitt in the hospital this morning. She had pneumonia. Poor lady. I sure do love her, she's like a third Grandma to me. :) I sure do love these people in Oshkosh! So grateful I get to serve here. I am not looking forward to the day I get transferred. 

I also finally watched Mr. Kreuger's Christmas this week. My comp made me. :P I'd never seen it before! And I finally made dinner in a  pumpkin!! :)

Well, that's all for now!

Love you all!

SIster Woods 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Week 40

Hello everyone!!

My oh my. Where to start?! So, who is ready for a long email? :)

 We had 2 Thanksgiving appointments. One was at the Bishop's house (We played football in the snow beforehand). This Thanksgiving was quite delicious! Sister Rhodes made the greatest purple mashed potatoes ever and it absolutely rocked. And homemade pies. I don't usually like pies that much but these were rockin!  (She told me that missionaries who help in the kitchen get invited back. ;) Hooray!). 

We also went out to the Gordon's house. They live out in Princeton which is pretty far away. I took a deep breath outside afterward and my nose hair froze!! Such a strange sensation. I seriously can't get over all this snow. I know it's not even bad yet. Not at all! But I've never seen so much! I also shoveled snow for the first time this week. :)  Let's just say that my electric blanket is my new best friend!!! 

Also, shoutout to Kyle, whose birthday is this week!!!! Here's to an amazing, spiritual, lovable, fun, genius, and fantabulous brother!! :) 

Sister Peel and I celebrated my halfway mark at Olive Garden!!! Hooray!! I feel like I've experienced quite a bit in 9 months and am excited to see what the remaining 9 months hold in store. :) I love that place. There's something extra magical about going to Olive Garden on a mission when my day-to-day diet consists largely of green beans, eggs, and salad. So good!!!! :D

 Oh man, I wish I had taken a picture of the ginormous plate of lasagna we were fed this week (that same day that we went to Olive Garden!!! Dx) It was ridiculous! What's more, Sister Peel had just told me that morning how much she dislikes lasagna. Ha! Well, we couldn't even use our "snowflake" password (the key word I use when we don't want to eat something. It means "please eat this so I don't have to!") because I could barely handle my own! It was ridiculously cheesy, too. But this sweet old Chilean lady made it for us and stared at us the whole time asking how we liked it. Oh dear. So, we took one for the team. Dx #toomuchfood.

Something we have been sharing with people lately is found in Alma 48: 11-13, 17.  We don't have very much information about Captain Moroni. We know he was "a strong and mighty man," a man of "perfect understanding," and a man whose "soul did delight not delight in bloodshed... but in the liberty and the freedom of his country and his brethren." He was "firm in the faith of Christ," and did "labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people." This is essentially it. But, perhaps something extra neat about Moroni is the fact that his "heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many blessings and privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people." Then when we look at verse 17 we see that "if all men had been and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever" and "the devil never would have had power over the hearts of the children of men." Clearly Moroni was an amazing, and powerful man! Ha! (Sheri Dew says she already has dibs on him if he's still single in heaven. sorry, ladies. :P) It's interesting to me that among the few characteristics we know about Moroni, his exceeding gratitude is highlighted. In fact, it gets its own verse. It seems like his gratitude is likely one of the foundations ( if not THE foundation) of his amazing character. Clearly he understood the true source of his great power and strength was the Lord. He was close to the Lord because of that understanding.  I believe that gratitude is a source of strength, just as it was for Moroni, and that the more we increase our gratitude and appreciation for all the amazing blessings each of us receives every single day, the more we can feel of God's power in our lives. It's good to be grateful throughout the year but the holidays are a time we can especially reflect on all that there is to be grateful for, especially for our Savior! 

Another couple of quick things I'll share. I have thoroughly enjoyed this Christmas study of the Book of Mormon. It has opened my eyes in many ways. It is looking more like a Christmas ornament every day (from all the red and green things I'm highlighting) :D. It is truly a great study and one that I would recommend to anyone. Anyway.  One thing I love is how in Alma 61 verse 15 it talks about how the spirit of god is the spirit of freedom. I was pondering about that and realized how true it is. When we have spiritual experiences, when we feel the spirit's influence in our lives, it is like being free. If we live worthy enough to feel the spirit in our lives it is like pure freedom from the cares of the world, from worldly appetites, selfishness and sorrow. I also love verse 17. It says "In the strength of our God according to the faith which is in us." I love how much "in the strength of the Lord" is mentioned in these chapters, as well as the idea that our faith can act as an energy source, that there is a direct relationship between the amount of faith we exercise and the amount of strength we receive from the Lord.  It is also interesting to see many examples in the Book of Mormon of how it is up to us to determine how we will allow the trials in our lives affect us. For instance, in Alma 62: 41 we see that some were softened and humbled, (they grew and were strengthened because of their afflictions) and some were hardened. It is interesting how it is up to us to determine how we will let these challenges affect us. We can use them to turn us closer to God and have them become strengths to us, or we can choose to turn away from God and not have this occur. This interests me. But it's okay if it wasn't very interesting to you, now the rant is over. :) 

We also had Anna's baptism on Saturday!!!!!!! Wow, that took a whole lot of planning but it really happened! :) I decided on Friday that since we needed a musical number I would go ahead and do that. So I played "I am a Child of God." Sister Kakuschke tried to play the piano part with me but it didn't quite happen in time so I went solo. The baptism was great.It was a small turnout, but still great. It is amazing how quick baptisms are! Weeks and weeks (usually months and months) of preparation for only a few short seconds. :) So, funny story. I get finished playing and I put the cello away. I close the lid without doing all of the buckles because Sister Hoffman started giving her talk right after and I didn't want to be super distracting snapping buckles during it. SO. I go to sit back down. Everything is fine. Then here comes Alvin, the 1 year old baby, who comes up to the cello and gives it a push. Everything happened so quickly. One minute I'm sitting (like almost halfway across the room) and the next thing I know I'm catching the cello before it hits the ground! Oh, man!!! Everyone told me "Nice catch!!" I moved quite quickly apparently. The elders thought it was really funny, that it had awakened the inner athlete in me. My cello senses were tingling!! :P It was especially embarrassing for me because Sister Kakuschke (it's her daughter's really nice cello) was sitting right there!!! It was truly a miracle I was able to get there in time.  I definitely would not have moved that quickly for anything else but a cello. :P So, this was definitely a baptism to remember! 

Sister Moffitt, Jared and I also performed our "Come Thou Fount" piece at sacrament meeting yesterday. That was fun. :) The members sure seem to enjoy when I play and I'm happy to do so. I'm so grateful I have all these opportunities  on my mission! :) I should have some more in December! 

We are in for another great week! Except, a certain sister missionary (whose name will NOT be mentioned. Sister Woods, cough, cough!  Haha, it must have been Abby. ;)) may or may not have dropped the phone in an icy puddle. So, now our phone is broken even after a few days of soaking it in rice. We are getting a new one later this week but this will make for an interesting time contacting members to come to our appointments with us! Ha. But we are having a lesson with Marcy at the church this week! So excited about her. This is the one who we met tracting that was like "I still want to join the church but we can't meet with my husband around." I didn't even think he was rude or anything. It doesn't phase me anymore. I don't notice. I figure it's much better when they let you know outright they aren't interested! :) So that's exciting.

Well, that's all for now, folks!


Sister Lacey Woods

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 39

Hello Everyone!!!

Ready for a super short email? Well, Sister Peel and I have had a very busy week! I am absolutely exhausted. I can't remember a time when I've worked harder! Since I've been in the area longer I've had to lead out the planning and phone calls.  Transfers are always crazy. :) 

Sister Peel is already famous around Oshkosh because it was in her last area. Everyone comes up to us and says "wait, I thought you got transferred!" 

By the way, it's FREEZING!!! I asked Sister Peel if it was blizzarding yet. She said "No way! We can still see!" So apparently I still have lots to learn about Wisconsin winter. :) Sister Peel has been out 13 months so she knows a real blizzard when she sees one. Ahh I can't believe my halfway mark is on Wednesday!! I feel old. 

There is so  much going on I don't really know where to start. We are excited about Anna's baptism on Saturday. We have lots of people to teach and I especially love teaching Paige!!! She is so, so excited about learning about the gospel it's not even funny. Ha! A miracle occured... Vere came to church!!!! The sisters have been teaching him since January 2014 and this was the first time!!! Hooray! :) I had never desired so much and prayed so hard for anyone to come to church and he actually did! Miracle. :) 

I just wanted to take a moment to express a few things I'm grateful for. Let me preface by saying that if you had asked me what I am most grateful for a year ago, the first thing that would have popped into my mind would be my cello. (I know it would be because I remember what I was thinking at institute last year at Thanksgiving time). I am of course extremely grateful for Ari and the ability the Lord has given me to be able to play him somewhat mediocre. :) (with mediocrity? Ah, I've been away from school too long. :P) I love to hear the sound of a cello because it allows me to feel close to my Heavenly Father and Jesus. But that is a side note. Anyway, well, considering that no one is forcing you to read this email right now I'm going to spend a few moments talking about what I'm truly most thankful for: my testimony of Jesus Christ and the restoration of His church. I'm grateful that I have my own conviction, my own witness of these truths, and that they have progressed to become what I consider to be unshakable. My mission has sealed this strengthened my knowledge and love of these things more than I can say. "How sweet the joy this sentence brings: I know that my Redeemer lives!" :) I'm so grateful I'm on a mission, for the lessons I've learned, the trials I've overcome, the growth I've experienced, the incredible people I've met, the amazing friends I've made. I'm grateful for the love and support from friends and family at home while I'm out here in the barren tundra of Wisconsin! I'm grateful for the habits, skills, and knowledge, including my love of studying the scriptures,that my mission has ingrained into me that I know will benefit me and my future family forever. I'm grateful for the service I've been able to give, the people I've been able to help. I'd like to embarrass my brother Kyle a bit. Well,I know it's impossible to do that. He's very hard to embarrass. But I would like to say that I am especially grateful for him, for helping me discover my testimony and to have the courage to act on it by going on a mission. I simply would not be out here if it weren't for him. He is an amazing, amazing man!!! Read his blog!!! He is a true modern-day Jeremiah. :) I love my family so much!!! 

Well, the night is cold and full of prospects! :) 

I love you all, and happy thanksgiving!!!!!!!


Sister Lacey Woods

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 38

Hello everyone!!!

So transfers happened. I'm a bit sad that Sister Wilson is leaving, she will definitely be missed, but I know she will do awesome in her new area. My new companion, Sister Peel, is awesome! I've already met her. In fact, her last area was the YSA branch so she already knows lots of people in Oshkosh. That should make for a smooth transition. :) 

Some exciting things are happening in Oshkosh! And in the mission. We are starting up a new survey approach, which apparently has been quite successful. It should greatly help us get invited in people's houses! And escape the snow.(perhaps for some hocho! :P) #satanstears. Just kidding. I suppose it's rather pretty if you squint your eyes. :) 

Well, back to the excitement in Oshkosh. Seriously. That former investigator who contacted us, Paige, is so awesome!!!! She told us the most incredible story. She has been attending institute and reading the Book of Mormon with her husband, who is less-active. She used to be totally not interested. Well, she was listening to the Book of Mormon the other day in Omni and it just hit her. She described it as a "knowing,"  a pure surge from the spirit and she knew she was feeling the spirit confirm to her that the Book of Mormon is true!!! So cool. And we are meeting with her several times a week because she is eager to get baptized! :D 

I got to go to West Bend on exchanges. That was fun! 

Since it is so cold outside we have been working out at the church in the gym. There is also a seminary class going on and it was funny because the seminary teacher, Sister Kakuschke thought we were hobos walking in to the church in our hoodies! 

I also had the opportunity to play the cello at the Evergreen old folks place we volunteer at on Sundays. I played prelude music for the cute old people at their Sunday service and then I played their hymns (with a pianist) with them while they sang. It was quite fun. They seemed to really enjoy it! SIster Wilson said that the pastor lady about laid an egg she was so excited. :P Ha! She is funny. 

We are teaching Quintesa again! Well, I don't think things have changed. She came to church yesterday and man oh man. Lots of intense drama! Dominic, her son, takes rowdy at church to a whole new level. We tried to lull him to quietude with some crayons (he broke them) and various other means but to no avail. So, long story short, she ended up having to take him out into the foyer, kicking and screaming, with laptop in hand and she ended up breaking her laptop with all her homework on it, in the struggle! She was not happy. Oh man. I'm so grateful we have such great members that were able to help out with the situation! They are sympathetic. Ha! Always an adventure with Dominic (and all these children!) :) 

Life is great! Hope you have a great week!


Sister Woods

Week 37

Hello, Everyone!!!!

Wow, it has been a really busy week this week! I'm afraid I don't have TOO much to report. 

Sister Moffit wasn't feeling well so we just had lunch at her fancy manor, we didn't play anything yet. We will be rehearsing our piece for sacrament this week, though. :) 

We had lots of members come to our lessons this week, which was great! Nine is the most I've ever had in a week! :) We have built up quite a teaching pool. I love being busy! And having lots of appointments. Teaching is fun. It has also been really fun to take our friend Ashley out tracting with us. She is 18 and thinking about going on a mission. We have a few eager youth that like to come with us. They rock! Anyway, we were invited into lots of people's homes (during the limited time we had to actually go tracting) and we were  actually able go in (since we had another girl with us). :D 

We also had a cool story. So on Halloween, at Sister Moffitt's place, we noticed this kind of sad-looking lady in a wheelchair. I felt prompted to give her one of the bat candy bags we were out delivering to people in the ward. Well, when we were at lunch at Sister Moffitt's, we saw her again! (we actually had to split up, as in Sister Wilson and I each had to sit at different tables and eat lunch with whoever was sitting there). Well, come to find out, this lady was really touched by the bat we gave her (it is sitting in her living room) and now she has a Book of Mormon and she is a new investigator! :)  

We were supposed to have a blizzard today but it hasn't happened yet. I'd definitely be okay if it decided to be delayed until, um, never. :P Haha. JK. I'm going to learn to love winter, like it or not! I'm hoping that since I'll be here in Oshkosh (aka the promised land) people will invite us in at the doorstep for some hocho! Haha. 

And last week I forgot to include a funny story about Charm, the skirt-lifter. Well, apparently this isn't the first time this has happened. This funny little girl also pulled down her Mom's pants (underwear and all) at the doctor's office!!!!! Oh man, I got off easy! :P 

We decided to push Anna's baptism date back a few weeks so she could retain the information better. Teaching hyper 9 year olds is a challenge, that's for sure! I invented a fun jeopardy game, though, for the baptism interview questions. And there were pieces of gum attached to the cards as prizes of course. ;) We did have a nice turnaround though, once we brought a member with us to the lesson. 

One thing I've learned on my mission thus far is that prayers get answered when done with faith. We have to ask in faith, nothing wavering like it says in James. Also see Enos 1:15. We have to ask with so much confidence that the Lord will hear and answer our righteous desires that it is like they have already been granted. I had a neat experience this week because I had fasted and prayed to find someone who was prepared and ready to make covenants with Heavenly Father last Sunday. Well, the next day we got that text from the former investigator who says she wants to get baptized. AND the day after that, we were following up with a potential investigator, trying to set up an appointment and she was like "Don't give up on me. I still want to join the church!"What?? Who says that?? Haha. Our jaws dropped a little bit. Of course, we don't know what will end up happening. I've been a missionary long enough to recognize that sometimes people just say things. Nevertheless, it was just a tender mercy to see my prayer answered.  I only mention these small instances as examples of the power that faith can have in our righteous petitions to our Father in Heaven.  

We are looking forward to another great week. I hope Sister Wilson doesn't get transferred!

Well, that's all for now. I love you all!!!!


Sister Woods

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Week 36

Hello, Everyone!!!!

My oh my, it has been an amazing week! Warning: long mail!!

First of all, when we have a missed call or a text message on our phone we are usually like: " Oh I just knew it! Ten people want to be baptized right now!"  Yeah right! :P What is this, Brazil?? Ha. But this morning we ACTUALLY, in fact, received such a text message from a former investigator saying she wants to meet up to discuss getting baptized!!!!! But actually. This really happened!!!! #tearsofjoy. :P 

It has been funny to hear about these returned missionaries, though. Benjamin, who served in Korea told us that since people like to grab things in Korea, they would just hold out a Book of Mormon and people would walk up to them and grab it. No way!!!! :PP If only that happened here, haha! And Jared, who served in Brazil, never really had to knock on doors. He just clapped his hands and people would open the door and invite them in. Ridiculous! :P People opened the door only twice my whole mission and the first time we were like: "Wait. Do you even know who we are??" :P  

OK. So. This week, a serious of funny, but unfortunate events happened. Hold on, cause this one is SCANDALOUS. So we were teaching Sister Lowery. She has two young kids, Charm, who is 2, and Isaiah who is 1. Well, so there I was, standing, talking to Sister Lowery, when out of nowhere I feel a bit of wind on the back of my legs. Breezy. And then a shriek of "NO!" I barely felt anything, but little Charm had totally lifted up the back of my skirt enough for Sister Lowery to see my whole butt, haha!!!! #justgotcharmed #aintnothingbutagthing. It was kind of a long skirt so that's why I didnt really notice. :P AND THEN. Oh no, this embarrassing story didn't end there. I was putting my shoes on and Isaiah totally grabs my butt! No joke. Like a full-on stroke and a pinch. This kid is one and he's copping a feel! Oh man, we were dying laughing. xD Apparently these kids have a butt fettish! I suppose I should feel honored that mine was the chosen one. :P 

One of the most useful things I've learned on my mission so far (and am continuing to learn more and more especially now that winter is here!) is found in Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." It's kind of funny because Sister Wilson says this about everything: "All things through Christ!" I've definitely learned that I am able to do things I never thought I would be able to do. This is something that keeps getting tested over and over again, often in kind of funny situations. :P So we actually had a very spooky cleaning experience on Halloween. We were helping one of our ward missionaries clean up an apartment that her son didn't clean up before he moved out. Anyway, we had very meager cleaning supplies (just a few dirty rags and some windex) and it was one of the nastiest experiences of my life! I won't go into much detail but one of our tasks was wiping out the spilled-mystery-sludge-filled fridge and freezer. Oh MAN. #vomitusmaximus!!!! I was like "don't think about the germs, don't think about the germs, all things through Christ" over and over, haha!  :P  Remember, all things through Christ! 

We also had  a pretty fun Halloween. We made cupcakes and cute bat candy bags for our less-active friends and investigators and dropped them off. We also got to surprise-decorate Sister Moffitt's door, hehehe. :P 

So this week was great for many reasons. One of them was that we got to have Zone Conference!! Actually, it was extra great because the Sheboygan sisters, Sister Osmond and Sister Milligan (who was both Sister Wilson's and Sister Peterson's companion and she is hilarious!!!) slept over with us at our apartment!! We had such a party! Any by party, I mean we went to bed by 10:30 and played a few rounds of the Ghost Blitz (i.e. Holy Ghost) game. But hey. That's how missionaries party. It was a blast! And I make pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. You know me, the breakfast committee! :)) 

I played the cello at Zone Conference and it went pretty darn well, I think! President and Sister Cutler enjoyed it. I played "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" which fit right in with our Atonement theme. (Isn't that always the theme? Pretty much :))

At Zone Conference we heard an amazing message from Elder Uchtdorf. He told us that overbearance is just boldness without love. But if people can feel the love we have for them ,then we will never be too bold. I loved that! Also, he told a story about two missionaries. One, whose name was Elder Strong, often referred to 3 Nephi 5:13 and his motto was: "I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and I fear no man!!" And he didn't. He talked to everyone, all the time!  He was always either teaching or seeking out someone to teach. Anyway, I was inspired and feel like learning to overcome my fears is something I'm meant to learn while I'm out here.  On a related note, here is another scripture that I have come to love: Jeremiah 20:9: "Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay." Isn't it awesome? :) 

I have some more gigs set up this week. Sister Moffitt and I have acquired the music we need to play "Come Thou Fount" in sacrament meeting. We will play with Jared, who plays the piano. Also, we, Jared, Sister Wilson and the Elders are doing a hymn performance at Sister Moffitt's high-rise fancy dining room. I'm really excited! We might even obtain some more people to teach from doing this. :D

As far as my studies go, I've been greatly enjoying reading King Benjamin's speech (see Mosiah 2-5). It is always such a humbling experience to read this part. It is one of my favorites! Reading the Book of Mormon is always great. One brief thing I'll share is that I love how the Book of Mormon is intended for us to "learn with joy" about our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and their plan of happiness for us to succeed in life (Jacob 4:3). It is very joyful indeed! 

We have lots of great lessons set up for this week. I honestly can say that I've never been happier in my life. I love that I get to wake up every morning with a purpose and with people to love and serve. I love being busy all the time doing productive things and being immersed in the Gospel. That doesn't mean it's easy and everything is always peachy. No way! But I do know, with all I've got, that the things I'm sharing with people are absolutely true and that makes me happy. :) 

And that concludes one super long email! :) Thanks for all your letters, love, and prayers! I hope you have a great week!



Saturday, November 1, 2014

Week 35

Hello Everyone!

Okay, I know I say this every week but this email will actually be super short! This week went by super quickly. It very well might have rocked but I can't seem to recall very many details. It's sad that many of our investigators are being evicted from their houses. We are sad that we don't know how to help them. All we really know how to do is teach the gospel and bring them uplifting talks. ( Which should fix everything, right?) :P

 But we also had another missionary return home from Brazil. He and the missionary that went to Korea have said that the hardest part about returning home is... speaking English. The elder who went to Brazil speaks English with an almost accent and it's funny. :) 

We had a ward Halloween party on Friday which was really fun. We had an appointment scheduled right after it, though, with an awesome family. It is one of those families that already seems like they are members of the church but they aren't! And they should be. :) I hope they will join one day!

Also, I am playing the cello at Zone Conference on Thursday with a sister in Fond du Lac who plays the piano. We are playing " A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" and we drove to Fond du Lac to rehearse today I'm looking forward to it! I'm not sure if I've shared this before but I thought it was funny. Our mission president called us last week to give us a referral and Today was a great p-day because I got to take  a nap. And eat venison that the elders made us.  

Thanks for your letters! I appreciate those very much. :D Have an excellent week!



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Week 34

Hello everyone! 

First of all, shout out to my lovely, darling, sassy, gangsta, Lady Gaga grandmother who celebrated her 83rd birthday yesterday!!!! :))) Seriously, whose grandma wants to go to a Lady Gaga concert?? And ends up liking it?! You are the best, Grammy! I love you to the stars and back. :) 

Also, a shoutout to my wonderful sister, Ashley who located an On the Border mexican restaurant in Korea! Oh man, am I ever envious! Attention: anyone who would like to air-lift me a Cafe Rio salad is more than welcome to do so. :) 
(Sister Cutler makes Cafe Rio salads for missionary leadership council (MLC) so if I am ever a sister training leader I will get to partake :P)

I had a pleasant week this week. We were able to see some investigators that we haven't seen in a while, which was neat. I don't have a whole lot to report on, actually. My companion and I are catching a cold so I have been downing lots of vitamin C. I will not get sick, I won't! :P I'm trying not to be Sister Hacking Cough but hey, sometimes it just sneaks up on you. We may have to start exercising inside soon because it is getting cold! Also, some craziness has happened with one of the families we are teaching. This is one of those stories that will have to wait 10 months when I get home, but let's just say I am basically an unpaid social worker on my mission! :P  

This week I also had the wonderful opportunity to create a fun lesson about the Holy Ghost using the Ghost Blitz game my wonderful brother, Kyle, gave me. :) It was fun! I found scriptures to describe the various roles of the Holy Ghost (Moses 6:61) as it pertains to the various objects in the game: a chair ( The "comforter" John 14:26), a book (Joseph Smith History 1:11-12 "if any man lack wisdom" ), and a green bottle (Mosiah 18:10, the spirit can be "poured out"). Then we got to play the game with the Paredes family and it got a little crazy but it was lots of fun! :) I share the scriptures because I had it written in my planner which is conveniently right next to me. 

One thing I really enjoy doing each week is helping out at the Salvation Army. We get to help make the food and serve it, which makes me feel like a lunch lady. I may have discovered a secret talent for displaying desserts. And making spanish rice. They have been successful. Marcus, the nice guy in charge, has told me he thinks his job is in danger. Ha! It was fun this week. We had a Mexican food theme and we get to have some too, of course. :) 

I also got to see Meet the Mormons this week! Our mission president and his wife brought it with them to zone training and we got to watch it. (Our mission is divided into zones of missionaries. Ours is the Appleton 2 Zone. Every transfer of 6 weeks we have a "training" by the leaders. The zone leaders get trained by the mission president who gets trained by the members of the 70 who are leaders of the church :)) I really enjoyed the movie! I especially enjoyed the clip from the Simpsons at the beginning. Homer opens the door and sees two aliens and says "Oh, great. Mormons." Bahaha. I thought it was very well-done and no, not preachy in the slightest. It has a broad appeal. In fact, it has been so successful that it has been shown in Green Bay AND Appleton and I have heard that it was ranked #9 out of all the movies in theaters right now. Exciting! :) 

Whenever missionaries get trained we are given lots of comittments, much like we would give to investigators (reading the scriptures, praying, come to church, etc.). Well, at zone training, they committed us to record one reason why we love the Book of Mormon each day and share it with someone. So, I want to share a few of those with you. There are many but I will share a few today. :)

 (I actually finished the Book of Mormon this week because I was already almost done with it before we started over again as a mission. It was amazing! I had gone through and highlighted all the references to Christ in one color, all his actions in another color and all his attributes in another and underlined when He speaks. It was amazing to see that almost every single page was full of colors because it is all about Christ. I have learned much about Christ from doing this!) As I mentioned before, this time we are highlighting references on Christ's nature and how to access power from His atonement. I have read this book I don't know how many times but it is always so cool to read looking for something specific. :) 

I love the Book of Mormon because it provides so many great reasons to be happy! (see 2 Nephi 1:15 and 2 Nephi 11:5, "My soul delighteth in his grace and in his justice and power, and mercy in the great and eternal plan of deliverance") Truly these are some great reasons! :)  I have found it interesting just how much the Lord wants us to be happy. He says it over and over again, so it must be pretty important. We are instructed to "not hang down our heads" (2 Nephi 10:20), "let our hearts rejoice" (2 Nephi 9:52), "cheer up [our] hearts and remember that [we] are free to act for [our]selves- to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life " (2 Nephi 10:23). There are many more examples! The word of God has a great tendency to invite happiness. :) I know it lifts me when I feel down. Let us remember to rejoice and be happy! 

I also love it because I've found that I'm able to gain constructive insights specific for the challenges I face and that people I teach are facing. When I read I feel like parts of it were written specifically for me at this time in my life. Anyone can do this. You just have to read with a specific purpose in the back of your mind as you read. And praying for guidance, of course. I have learned that makes all the difference in having meaningful scripture study. Anyway, I had never been much of a fan of Isaiah, for it can be hard to understand, but 2 Nephi 7 and 8 (in which the prophet Nephi quotes from Isaiah) are amazing! I came across scriptures that have become near and dear to me as I've been on my mission (2 Nephi 7:6-8 and basically the whole chapter!, 1 Nephi 21: 3-5). I also love 2 Nephi 8:7 because when we have these truths written in our hearts, when we allow God to write them there, we need never fear. I apologize for being long-winded here, this won't happen every email, ( I certainly don't write blog posts like Kyle! No competition there :)) but I thoroughly enjoyed reading 2 Nephi 9 as well. Here we are reminded that "to be spiritually-minded is life eternal" (2 Nephi 9:39), to "shake off the chains" in our lives and "come unto that God who is the rock of your salvation" (2 Nephi 9:45), and that "the righteous...love the truth and are not shaken" (2 Nephi 9:40). There is some great counsel in here. Also, shoutout to 2 Nephi 9:49, I think it is awesome. :)

Okay, phew, just a bit of missionary excitement there. I love what I'm doing out here. I know that this work is true! I love you, and hope you have a happy and exciting week! :)


Sister Lacey Woods 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Week 33

Hello, family!

Hello!!! I love you all and miss you. :)  This will be a shorter email, by the way. (Well, I usually say that but end up writing a longer one so... yeah right! :P ) Basically the Elders thought we had a key to the church when we didn't and we were locked out. So we had to meet them at Buffalo Wild Wings, but then the Ricks insisted that we join them for dinner! :) So, being good missionaries, we had to comply, and consequently this took up lots of our p-day time.  

I hope you all don't mind, but I would just like to take a brief moment to share a few of my feelings. These are personal, but I want to express how much I am loving this time in my life. I can confidently say that I know that I am doing what the Lord wants me to do at this time in my life. It has been a steep uphill climb and I am far from perfect but I know He knows I am doing my best. He has blessed me greatly. I know that the Savior loves me and all people! The Atonement is real. So is prayer. I have grown closer to Him than ever before. I have felt His love rescue me from my all-time lowest of lows, have felt His peace and His acceptance as I have learned to rely on Him when I couldn't rely on anyone else. I increasingly feel of His love for others. A new dawn has broken in my life (perhaps like Breaking Dawn, (Twilight reference intended!) ;)). I still yearn for more growth, more knowledge, more confidence. But one things is for sure. I do know that I am confident in Him.  I've been studying about hope lately and it has become a part of me, part of my outlook on life. Hope makes everything better, all my efforts.  I don't really want to go home. Nope! The Gospel truths have sunk in deep within me. I know I will never depart from them. I absolutely love being a missionary. Small things that used to seem impossible have become possible. It's hard to believe I am almost halfway done with my mission!!!  When they say time goes by quickly, turns out they weren't kidding! :o

I love the Book of Mormon! :) Increasingly so. Our mission is doing a Book of Mormon challenge right now. We are all reading the same chapters on the same day and are going to finish by Christmas as a sort of Christmas gift to the Savior and to unify our mission and companionships. I have been enjoying it immensely! We are reading about 7 pages a day, which requires some additional study, but hey, I am all about that! :) I do love studies. Anyway, we are highlighting all the references to the nature of Christ and His Atonement in red and all the references to how we can access the power of the Atonement in green. I have found so many green references! So has Sister Wilson. She is a smartical companion and it is fun to share with each other the things we discover. :) 

I get to see Meet the Mormons on Wednesday! That is exciting. :) 

By the way, we have had a lot of breakups this week. What that means in Wisconsin is that people tie the Book of Mormon we give them in a bag from their door with a note that says "Sorry, not interested" when we come back for a return appointment. Whenever I see a bag hanging from  a door I'm always like, "NOOO!" :) We always make them keep it though. It's just funny. We also had to break up with Quintesa this week. Talk about awkward! I've never had to break up with anyone in my life! It was difficult but necessary. Real-world preparation I suppose. :P 

But hey! We had a great lesson with Lynette this week, and she came to church!!! And loved it! It was an unusually good church. It's interesting how the Lords helps us out with that. ;) We are SO excited about her. She just needs to work on the Word of Wisdom. I bet you anything she will get baptized, but how soon I am not sure. I just love how wonderful the members in Oshkosh are. They are great at fellowshipping our investigators! :)  

I borrowed a hymn book from the church and Sister Wilson and I have been having fun with that. She sings and I accompany her on the cello! And sometimes I can sing and play at the same time, which is crazy. I've never done that before. :) Nor have I really played hymns out of the hymn book. Hey, maybe that ridiculous Aural Skills class actually came in handy! :) (since it forced me to learn to read treble cleff well). Do re mi! :) 

I love you!!!!

Sister Woods

P.S. Mom, I made your famous cornbread this week and it rocked!!! :) Thanks so much! The Elders enjoyed it too. :) 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Week 32

Hello Everyone!!!

Sorry, I don't have lots of time today so this will be a shorter email I think. Forgive the randomness in organization. :)

General Conference was amazing!!!! I can't think of a more highly-anticipated event as a missionary. It rocked!! My favorite talk was, by far and away, the one by Elder Klebingat about spiritual confidence. That one really spoke to me. I also loved Elder Uchtdorf's talk and Elder Scott's.  And Elder Ballard's. And Elder Godoy's. I liked what he said about patriarchal blessings. Okay, so I loved them all! :P There was definitely  a theme of prophets and personal revelation, and the sacrament. And prayer! I was very much inspired by conference and am eager to apply the personal inspiration I received.  

Another benefit of conference is that now we get to switch to having an hour of workout time instead of a half hour. Wahoo! :) This means more running! :) I think they want us to get extra endorphins now that winter is coming and we won't be getting much sun. This winter is supposed to be fiercely cold!! Equal to if not worse than last year. Hello, 50 below! I will be chastened for sure! :)

P.S. So Elder Hamula is the general authority that visited our house when Ashley and I dangled that hairbrush from rubber bands from the balcony?? Haha, I tell all my companions that story. :P 

I had to give the cello back this week... :( But the good news is I still have the electric one and I am going to play "Come Thou Fount" with Sister Moffit (who plays the violin) in November! :)

One of our investigators, Lynette, watched all 5 sessions of conference!!!! That was awesome. She is awesome. :) I am excited about her. 

We were able to watch one session with Quintesa and Dominique. Fortunately, we had conference bingo to help occupy Dominique during conference. It worked... sort of not really.But hey, he is three years old. 

We also got to watch the Sunday Morning session with the Vasquez's. They are a returning less-active family, and they haven't ever seen conference before. Albert, who is 9, and Anna, who is 8, were in for a big surprise. they weren't into it, but we were glad Anna stayed for most of the session. (Hey, I wasn't into conference at that age, either). Needless to say, conference bingo was a must. And I've figured out that Sour Patch Kid gum works quite nicely for helping these kids be attentive. :P  Psht, I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner! I have so much of that stuff.  It was actually quite funny, the kids were ravenous for more sour patch kid gum at the end of conference but since they weren't very attentive, quite rambunctious actually,  I decided they hadn't held up their end of the bargain to earn the extra piece. As I walked out the door they all screamed behind me, "SISTER WOODS!!!!!!!!". Ahh! It was seriously terrifying. :P 

Cool experience! During Elder Nelson's talk about prophets, Brother Vasquez was like "Wow!! I was just about to ask you a question but he just answered it!!!" That was neat. Yep, those conference talks are inspired!  I had never really written down questions for conference before, but I did this time and it was neat to see  all of them answered. 

Here is a quote about fasting I discovered recently and really liked: "Fasting, coupled with mighty prayer is powerful. It can fill our minds with the revelation of the spirit. It can strengthen us against times of temptation. Fasting and prayer can help develop within us courage and confidence. It can strengthen our character and build self-restraint and discipline. Often when we fast our righteous prayers and petitions have greater power. Testimonies grow. We mature spiritually and emotionally and sanctify our souls. Each time we fast we gain a little more control over our worldly appetites and passions" - Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin. 

Unfortunately I'm all out of time! I hope you all have a great week! :) Write to me if you feel so inclined! Missionaries love letters. :) 


Sister Woods

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fall in Oshkosh

           Yikes!  Don't step back, Sis. Woods!  


Look at those amazing colors on the trees!  Wow!

A flaming background for a beautiful girl!     

Week 31

Hello Family!

I am emailing you from the car, actually. The laptops are plugged in the church kitchen and we have a long extension cord allowing us to email from the laptops in our car so we don't have to sit in the rain. The Elders and we were helping the Wastarts move around noon today so that threw off our emailing schedule. Of course Elders and Sisters can't be in the church building at the same time, so we are outside. :) It looks kind of silly, but it works. 

Well, I've had a great week this week with investigators.  I have been unusually happy, actually. :) We had the best first lesson ever with a girl named Lydia this week. She is from Kenya, actually, and is going to school here. She is so cool!!! She had so many great questions for us. I just know she's going to read the Book of Mormon and know it's true. I am way excited about her. :)

We also had a breakthrough lesson with Quintesa. She and Lydia will be my first blacktisms, haha. (That's assuming all goes well with both of them! Which it should. Sister WIlson and I have a motto to expect great things, much like Kohl's).  Well, the trouble with Quintesa is she has no one else but us to tell all her problems to and she has been going through some really hard times with depression and money problems, and other drama, and hasn't put forth the effort to grab hold of the opportunities we are extending to her. This has gone on for a while.
 One thing that really impresses me about Sister Wilson is she is willing to "take one for the team" with Dominique, Quintesa's rather wild 3 year old son who is starved for constant attention. He has a really nasty cold and likes to come up to us and cough and sneeze on us without covering his mouth. And play in our bags, oh and comb our hair with his fingers. Blegh. Obviously I have to work on my tolerance in this regard. He is a cute kid and all, and I love him, but I have a hard time with this. Watching general conference with them will be... super rough. Gen con is precious. But if that's what it takes to get Quintesa to watch, then that's what we will do. Anyway, our breakthough lesson happened because we brought Sister Wesner with us, who babysat Dominique so Quintesa could pay attention and we could both teach (instead of having one of us entertain Dominique and the other teach).  Quintesa told us she had an eye-opening experience and feels like she is ready to be baptized. Hooray! Of course, we had to have a talk with her that this will require effort and as much as we love her and want this for her, we can't make these changes for her. Otherwise we have to stop teaching her. That was a hard discussion to have, but it was well-received, I think. We will just have to wait and see if she's going to put forth the necessary effort to read and come to church. We are hoping for the best! :) 

We run a family history booth sometimes on Saturdays at the Farmer's Market. It was gorgeous weather outside (we dressed super warm this time!). Highlight: a creepy guy bought us giant apples. Sister Wilson didn't eat hers, thinking it was a creepy apple, which it might have been. I ate mine, though, and I have to say it was creep-a-licious. Best apple ever. :)

We also had a returned missionary come back on Saturday from Korea. That was exciting! He bowed to us a little bit, on accident, and had a bit of a challenge thinking of some English words. But it was fun to see what missionaries are like when they return. :) 

 I loved the Womens Broadcast, by the way, especially Elder Uchtdorf's talk!!! I had no idea what a life hack was. :P But I was very impressed by his talk and his umbrella analogy. He is a funny man! :) I'm sure Mom greatly enjoyed it,too. I thought of you, Mom! :) But in all seriousness I greatly appreciated how he testified of God's love for all of us (which is especially easy, it seems, for us as women to overlook) just as we are. It was very powerful. 

Thanks to my wonderful mother, we now have some fabulous music to listen to in the car! We have been listening to Lamb of God, which is spectacular and features a solo cello, who represents Jesus. Awesome!!!!! :) 

What I have gotten into lately are conference talks. SIster Wilson calls me a talkoholic, haha. If anyone wants to send me a talk, please feel free! I love them. :) I found a really awesome quote about fasting, but I left it at home so it will have to wait until next week. Anyway, I read a really great one by Elder Bednar this week called "Clean Hands and a Pure Heart."  I was very impressed by it and want to share a quote:

 "Hands are made clean through the process of putting off the natural man and by overcoming sin and the evil influences in our lives through the Savior's atonement. Hearts are purified as we receive His strengthening power to do good and become better. All our worthy desires and good works, as necessary as they are, can never produce clean hands and a pure heart. It is the Atonement of Jesus Christ that provides both a cleansing and redeeming power that helps us overcome sin and a sanctifying and strengthening power that helps us to become better than we ever could by relying only upon our own strength. The infinite Atonement is for both the sinner and for the saint in each of us." 

Throughout this talk, Elder Bednar cites scriptural evidence of the fact that there is actually a difference between having clean hands (the sanctifying aspect) and a pure heart (the strengthening aspect). There are two parts to what the Atonement does for us. See Mosiah 4:2, Mosiah 4:26, Moroni 10: 32-33, Alma 13:12.  I love the example in Alma 13:12 because it shows that this transformation from good to better, happens to ordinary people like you and me.  

I  believe with all my heart that these things are true, that the Atonement is far more infinite and far-reaching than you and I can ever imagine, and that it is a tremendous source of power for not only redemption, but for a mighty change of heart, a true transformation to become more Christlike.  I have seen it work in small and simple ways and I enjoy learning all I can about it. 

I love this work and I know it is true!

P.S. I heard a good joke today. What do you call it when Batman skips out on church? Christian Bale. Ha! 

P.S.S. I'm SO excited for General Conference!!!!!! The Kakushke's, my favorite family in Oshkosh, are taking us out to lunch in between the sessions. Hooray!!! :) 

Monday, September 22, 2014

A couple more pics . . .

Sister Rice is always concerned we aren't being taken care of...  She is so funny. She goes on these huge tangents about how something needs to change, these members need to sign up on our dinner calendar every night. Someone MUST take care of you, sisters!!!!! She used to be a police officer in Vegas and is always telling us to check under our car and in the backseat for creepers BEFORE we get in the car. And she has oven spray to protect herself, haha. 

Sis. Peterson, Sis. Woods, and Ryan with his daughter (Stevens Point)

New Pictures from Sis. Woods

Go Packers!!  Yay!

This is Sister Billman, the super cute lady who invites us over for french fries. She made this dress. :) 

Yes, I have to eat french fries on my mission... out of a frier!!! D: Things I never thought I'd do, haha! She always gives us a gift each time we visit. That is mine, a hot chocolate santa pourer thingy. :)

This is Katie, our favorite cute old lady that we get to push to church at Evergreen on Sundays.

Feeding the ducks at a lake in Stevens Point!

Lucas, Sis. Woods and Sis. Peterson

Pictures of me, Tang, (a recent convert in Stevens Point) and Chris 

Week 30

Hello Family,

First off I want to wish my delightsome sister, Ashley, a happy birthday!!!!! I hope you can feel the love radiating off of all those exclamation marks, from Wisconsin all the way to Korea. :) 

I also want to wish Abby luck on entering the MTC on Wednesday!!!! Good luck, Abethus, get ready for the journey of a lifetime!!

Well, not a whole lot has happened this week. We weren't really able to see any of our investigators. The people we were able to see is a returning less-active family, the Vasquez's. We have been teaching their son, Albert, who is 9. Now we are also teaching his sister, Anna, who will be 9 soon. Both of them have a baptism date for November 1. They are a cute family. The trouble with Oshkosh is that no one seems to have a car (they take the bus), so it is very difficult to get people rides to church. This includes the Vasquez's and they are out of the way from the other ward members. We joke all the time about all of us chipping in to get a giant fun bus to take everyone to church. That would solve a lot of problems!  Haha, Kyle's comment about suffering the children certainly applies with this family! They are so cute but the little girl, Adrie always wants to play with our hair... with sticky watermelon hands! So that's fun, Haha. One trick we like to use with young kids is light a tea bag on fire to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson. The tea bag is unable to make it to the ceiling (heaven) without faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost (the fire!).  That one is fun. They are a nice family, like I said. But young Albert has some pretty bad behavioral issues and we were present for some family drama this week. This was us: "So... uh should we say a prayer now?? (and get outta here!!!)" Haha. It's fine, it happens, it is just interesting all the situations you get to see teaching people in their homes!

I got to play the cello in church yesterday!!! It was just me, no piano. It went alright, not my greatest performance ever. I definitely could have started preparing it sooner, but hey, I'm a sister missionary!! :) Nonetheless, everyone really enjoyed it and was very, very appreciative. I got tons of comments afterward, and people were impressed. (go figure right? I hadn't played in 6 months!!) This cello really is a nice one and it has great sound. (And I get to still keep it in my apartment!!! :) ) Sister Moffitt, the cute violinist lady, ran up and gave me a hug afterward telling me nice things about my vibrato, and all these technical terms that she observed in my playing. Cute lady! I sure hope we get to do a gig this week. She said it's time for another one. ;) 

Actually, speaking of Sister Moffitt, we were able to visit her this week in her adorable, decked out, penthouse apartment. This is seriously the most fashionable lady ever, and her apartment is full of cellos and musical things. Her bird is named Mozart! We had been told she was feeling down and was in need of a visit so we actually ended up spending the entire evening with her. She is hilarious!!!! I love this lady. She reads out of the Book of Mormon in Croatian while we read out of the English one. :) She ended up making us dinner, inculding the greatest eggs I've ever had in my life! She made them with olive oil. She seriously spoiled us :) We were able to help her with a few things and we were so happy we were able to help her feel better. :) 

I also had an interview with President Cutler this week. Those are always my favorite! What an amazing, loving, and inspired man!!!! He spent a rather long time with me, and answered my questions. He had some great insights for me, as mission presidents do. :)) 

This week I've been studying quite a bit about obedience (which, coincidentally, is the subject of Kyle's blog post this week! :)) I've been studying the Christlike Attributes out of Preach My Gospel (which is an amazing resource, I highly recommend it!) so this was my week's focus. I was able to see how obedience helps us to know Jesus Christ better (see 1 John 2:3-4) because we are following His example. Didn't He also align His will to the Father's? When we are obedient we actively become more like the Savior. A quote I love by elder Perry is as follows: "The discipline contained in daily obedience... builds an armor around you of protection and safety from the temptations that beset you." When we are obedient to the commandments (and mission rules in my case, there are many!) it fortifies us with strength. Pretty cool, right? This week I was able to think of obedience in a different way than I had before. Not only does obedience yield blessings and happiness, which are very nice indeed (D&C 130: 20-21 and Mosiah 2:41) but I think it is also a form of being true to ourselves, our immortal selves. After all, we shouted for joy at the opportunity to come to earth and prove ourselves by being obedient, to become more like our Heavenly Father and follow our Savior. This is the point of our life on earth, obedience! (Abraham 3:24-25). These are only a few of the many great reasons why it is worthwhile to be obedient, of course.  I've been able to experience an increased capacity and desire to be exact in obedience, even in details, as I've prayed for it. I'll share a few examples. I've been able to manage my time much more effectively, particularly in the mornings. Before, I used to struggle to be EXACTLY on time for things (maybe a minute or so late) but now I've got it down to a science. :) This was something a former companion of mine tried to instill in me, but I think I finally caught on. I must be feeling a lot better because I just didn't have the strength before now. I am striving to help my current companion in this regard but I definitely won't be using the Sister Peterson strategy. :P The same goes for my workout time. I'm able to get a full 30 minutes (thanks to Sister Wilson who is willing to tolerate us running outside in the cold for 20 whole minutes in the morning, she is NOT a morning person, poor soul! ).

Well, that is all for now. I'm learning lots out here in Wisconsin. I love being immersed in the Gospel 24-7. It is richly rewarding! The Gospel is the greatest. There is always SO MUCH to learn and read. All the time. I never thought that would happen with our limited mission library.  

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Look out for those tender mercies!


Sister Woods

Monday, September 15, 2014

More Pictures from Oshkosh!

Sis. Woods, Eric and Sis. Pearson 
(At Eric's baptism in Stevens Point)

Aww!  Sis. Woods loves the nutritious snacks that Mom sent to her!

The Kakuschkes let me borrow their cello for my performance next week in Sacrament meeting!  So happy and excited!  :)

Week 29

Hi Everyone!

Get ready for the longest email ever. Here we go! :) 

Well, it is definitely fall here in Wisconsin. All of a sudden the temperature dropped to the 50s plus wind and my California companion and I didn't know what to do with ourselves. It's not supposed to be this cold in September! We run a family history booth at the Farmer's Market every other Saturday and lots of people came up to us.... only it was to tell us to put some pants on, girls, it's COLD! Ha. I guess that worked a bit to our advantage to start talking about family history. I had to cave and buy a hat and gloves, for I was frozen! And not the Disney Frozen, either. :P 

We had a really great Zone Training meeting this week. It was really, really great. I could tell it would be because we sung "Hark All Ye Nations" which starts every good missionary meeting out right. ;) I enjoyed the STL's training about becoming a more consecrated missionary and how love should be our primary motivation for working our heart out to serve the Lord and His children . It is not easy, it involves sacrificing all of you, your thoughts, fears, laziness, pride, and even your primary motivations, despite your weaknesses. ARGH, I sure don't like that I have those! :P It's a good thing Nephi had them too. I like how it didn't matter to him, in the long-run, that he had weaknesses. I love how he says "why should my strength slacken?" (see 2 Nephi 4). He knew he had Savior's grace to rely on so he was able to look to the future and press forward, despite his weakness. Mission life is difficult for everyone for different reasons, that is for sure. I think my mission has and is continuing to force me out of my comfort zone in the worst (and therefore the best! :)) possible way. It's been great for me, it truly has. I've grown lots and have learned to rely on the Lord. Anyway, it was an exciting, great meeting, and I was able to set some goals, apply them, and refocus on my work. Consecration is the goal!! 

I'm having lots of kid experiences in this area. As you know, I don't have much kid experience. I don't really know how to handle them, so that's probably why the Lord is giving me lots of practice. They need to start calling me Sister Jungle-gym, haha. :P Whenever we go visit Sister Lowery, (Or Quintesa, for that matter, or the Vasquez's) these kids want to enter my personal space big time. They like to play with my hair, climb on me, play with my watch or necklace, oh, and Isaiah, the 1 year old, totally sneezed a big one in my lap. It must have looked like a nice pink napkin to him. Blegh! But hey, good times. :) 

Let's just say things are not going to best with Quintessa

We went on exchanges and Sister Nicholes came to Oshkosh. Since I don't really know my way around town super well yet, and we didn't have many appointments planned, we did lots of tracting. But it was great because we met so many cool people! I've decided that, for the most part, people are pretty nice at doors in Wisconsin. Or maybe that's just Oshkosh for you, but one guy, though he was adamently opposed to hearing a message about Christ, offered us a bite of his red velvet cake at the door. :) I loved that day. It was a great day, refreshing, and full of miracles.  We found TONS of super awesome new investigators. We gave out tons of Books of Mormon, and one guy called out to us as we were walking along, thinking we were Jehovah's witnesses (like everyone does!). At first he seemed a bit closed off but by the end of the conversation he was excited to read the Book of Mormon and said we could stop by again. :) Seriously. I think Oshkosh is the promised land! 

Also, while on exchanges, during personal study, a rather perplexed-looking Fedex lady knocked on the door, wanting help carrying in all these boxes of bubbly water!!!!! Yep, AGAIN. So we went out to her truck to help her carry in 10 cases. Haha.  She was probably like, "not again, you crazy church ladies!" I wonder what she thinks, haha. Thanks, family! 

On exchanges we also saw the cutest, frailest old lady, Sister Billman, who fed us lunch. She made a huge plate full of french fries and fish. She cried twice, actually, and loves telling us about cool experiences she's had seeing her mom in the temple. tells us to choose big or small before we visit her.  This determines what size of gift we are getting at her house. I chose small this time, so that meant a red monkey for me and a giant bear for Sister Wilson. And a giant Santa for Sister Nicholes. What awesome people they have here in Oshkosh! 

We had dinner with this awesome lady, Sister Rice. Ok, Sister Rice needs a bit of explanation. She's a little bit off, but likes to take VERY good care of missionaries. Like, extremely. She told us, no less than 10 times on Sunday, like a week in advance, exactly what we would be having at her house: sloppy joes, baked beans, and chips. She also describes for us, no less than 10 times, the pizza she bought us (we must put it in the freezer RIGHT AWAY) and tells us lots of safety tips, especially to bring a bright-beamed flashlight wherever we go, etc.. This lady is so funny. She claims to have a big crush on the prophet Joseph Smith especially, and also President Monson. Haha! She also added that Jesus is a swell guy, a fine catch.  ;) 

I was also able to go to Eric's baptism in Stevens Point on Saturday. I called President to get permission and find a member to drive us there, but it was AWESOME.  It was so great to see Eric again, lots of familiar faces, and both my former companions. :) We couldn't stay long afterward to catch up with people, but that's ok. I was sure glad I could go. It was such a strange feeling, it was like I never left! Lots has happened since I left.... crazy stuff.  Eric looked so happy and I sure am excited for him. 

I was finally able to meet lots of people this week I haven't been able to meet yet, like Sister Hanford. I am so impressed with the ward and how helpful the members are. (They actually like us, what?! :P) The Relief Society president is AWESOME. She fed us lunch today and is helping us coordinate visiting teaching. They are also starting up a missionary moment system in the ward. I'm not sure exactly what it means, but it is exciting. 

Guess what? I gave a talk in sacrament meeting. I was supposed to just give a brief introduction and maybe talk about sanctification a little bit. Well, I didn't plan anything at all, except to share Heleman 3:35. So I said a prayer, crossed my fingers, and went up there and just started talking. Somehow (magically! Just kidding it was totally the spirit) everything flowed together, I shared why I decided to serve a mission and how I came to that decision and it all tied together with sanctification. Many people told me afterward  they were really touched by what I said (I don't even know!).  I haven't given very many talks before in my life, and when I had them planned out. So it was cool to see in that instance, and in many other instances this week, that the Spirit can give us utterance! There have been many times when I have no idea what or how I'm going to say something but I just open my mouth and start talking and all of a sudden everything flows together coherently. It totally wasn't me. The Spirit rocks! :)

The Kakuschkes let me borrow their cello since I will be playing in church next week. They are awesome! Oh, and they gave us not only a cello, but some warm chocolate-chip zucchini bread! :D This cello is super nice, by the way. It has  great sound (some serious lungs!). I keep feeling bad for Sister Wilson because it is loud, but she claims to love it. Haha.  We will probably have a gig at Sister Moffitt's this week. Exciting!

Ok, that's about it for now because I'm running out of time. I love you all, have an amazing week!


Sister Woods

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Photos from Oshkosh

Picture taken in front of the Oshkosh Museum

Thank you so much for the packages, Mom!!

Check out this cute girl . . . she was our "third" companion at Church!

This is Ray and his scooter.  Lacey got to ride it at the Evergreen rest home where she volunteers.

Sister Wilson and I moved our beds into the living room of our apartment.  It is so much fun because it makes us feel like we are having a sleep over every night!  Hee hee!